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Thread: bullet seating difficulties Barnes TTSX

  1. #1

    bullet seating difficulties Barnes TTSX

    I have got back to reloading and all is going very well. I am trying Barnes TTSX 150 gr. in .308 Win and IMR3031. I have two very good loads with very good groups 41.7 and 41.9 gr.

    But I continue to have trouble seating these bullets. The all copper design requires a series of rings and grooves on the bullet shank proper, it is though boat-tailed seriously. When I seat the bullets there are two issues:

    1) Something happens every 5th or 6th round where it will not seat all the way in to the right consistent depth, though the ram goes all the way up. This is perplexing as all the press and die parts seem to be correct. I am using the Lee Pacesetter dies. I have disassembled the seating die and reviewed the element that contacts the bullet. This component seems to fit this bullet well enough. I can not see even how this is happening?

    2) As the bullets go in and hit the case mouth each of the bullet rings noticeably are 'scrunched' into position. The cases do not deform and I end up with a good looking round, but it is not comfortable. And when inspecting the inside of the die with a torch you can detect micro copper shaving/residue where presumably each ring gets nicked a bit as it goes in.

    I have adjusted and readjusted the die according to the instructions. The Pacesetter info says to put in a readied case and screw the die until it hits the case and give it another quarter turn in(the crimp is another die that comes after in this case). While the general instruction for seating dies normally is to hit the case and back it off by a half to whole turn. I have tried both ways with the same results.

    Any pointers? I am baffled.

  2. #2
    Have you tried a slight flare on the case mouth ?
    The flare will close down with a crimp die afterwards if needed.


  3. #3
    Is there a Lee flare insert you can get for the bullet seating die? I guess this would be a separate operation before bullet seating? I have also properly prepped the cased including trimming and chamfering inside and out and measuring each one. So it can not be that.

  4. #4
    Billh on here had a similar problem with tsx shaving a whisker off, do a search and see what the outcome was….as far as I remember he resolved it with a better internal chamfer.


  5. #5
    As others have pointed out putting a slight chamfer on the case mouth will help. I use a VLD Lyman tool and have no problems seating Barnes Tsx or any other bullets.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by western woodsman View Post
    Any pointers? I am baffled.

    You aren't giving us a lot to go on re your brass. What brand is it? Is it neck turned? Are you full length resizing with an expander ball? Have you tried using less neck tension?

    Regards JCS

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jcampbellsmith View Post

    You aren't giving us a lot to go on re your brass. What brand is it? Is it neck turned? Are you full length resizing with an expander ball? Have you tried using less neck tension?

    Regards JCS

    I am using Federal once fired brass, full length resized using Lee Pacesetter dies(I guess with expander ball??). I am not sure yet how to reduce neck tension with this die, but could review.

    I could try the VDL Lyman chamfer too as suggested too above. I have been using the bog standard Lee cheap one but with an electric drill. All my brass was processed uniformly and even measured. The Lee chamfer tool is a bit fiddly to use.

  8. #8
    The pacesetter set includes a seat/crimp die, and a separate factory crimp die.

    I suspect you have set the seat/crimp die too close to the shell holder so that the crimp ring is sometimes engaging, sometimes not, if you have not trimmed the cases to uniform length. This would account for the odd long round, when excessive crimp prevents the bullet seating fully, and the crunchy feeling. Maybe even the bullet shavings.

    You should set the seat/crimp die by snugging it down over an empty case until the crimp ring just touches the mouth, then back it off a full turn.

    It is the factory crimp die which has to bottom on the shell holder, plus a bit more.

    Personally I wouldn't bother with a crimp unless it was for a tube magazine rifle. It is usually unnecessary and an extra step that can be got wrong and add variability. Others take the opposite view.

    If you still get bullet shavings then put a bit more internal chamfer on the neck, or try flaring slightly with e.g a tapered punch. Lee do make a flaring die, but it is more for cast bullet use. Chamfer should be all that is needed.
    Last edited by Sharpie; 06-09-2014 at 12:21.

  9. #9

    Resize for best neck tension (Lee FL dies normally do this just fine if your brass isn't work hardened & needs annealing).
    Trim to consistent length (within saami spec).
    Consistently deburr inside & outside of the mouth.
    Use a Lee universal case expanding die to open the case mouth SLIGHTLY.
    Seat bullet using steady ram speed (don't crimp using the seating die).
    & finally use the factory crimp die to nip the mouth onto one of the TTSX lands - not in the canelure. ---- Works for me!


  10. #10
    Another thought: When you say "right consistent depth" are you measuring to the bullet tip, or using a comparator on the ogive ? Barnes are supposed to be consistent bullets, but any variations would look odd measured at the tip, no matter how perfectly seated.

    PS. Barnes usually do not recommend crimping their "smaller calibre" bullets. They say so in their FAQ.
    Last edited by Sharpie; 06-09-2014 at 12:58.

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