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Thread: Barnes TTSX bullet seating problem determined but not solved

  1. #1

    Barnes TTSX bullet seating problem determined but not solved

    I wrote earlier about a bullet seating problem with 150 gr. .308 TTSX bullets seating at varying depths despite the Lee bullet seating die being in one fixed position. It seems that the bullets are being held in the bullet seating plug in the end of the die and are being obviously or less that obviously pulled out as I draw the cam down after seating. This varies from 3/1000's on an inch to say 4/100's. It is confirmed as I actually worked a completely finished round in and it got pulled out noticeably. I have since adjusted my lowering of the press cam very carefully to avoid this, though I still feel a slight 'click'. It may have something to do with the seater plug ogive and the plastic tip interacting in an unholy way to grip the bullet.

    I now measure all rounds for COL to confirm that they are acceptably similar. It seems I need to either get a new bullet seater plug that suits these bullets better or get this one ground out a bit and polished. Any ideas? One idea was to get a spare plug or two from Lee and experiment.

    I have adjusted my die correctly backing ti out one full turn before adjusting the seater adjustment down accordingly. So no way near the crimp. And the neck tension seems okay, they are quite solid, certainly not loose, and they shot very well. But it is disconcerting to say the least. I have given all a slight 1/4 turn Lee crimp afterwards.

  2. #2
    Take a small amount of epoxy resin (like accraglass gel) and put it in the seater plug. Grease a bullet seated in a dummy case (Best to seat the bullet before applying the epoxy) and run the loaded round up into the seater, letting the weight of the handle hold it into place. The next day lower the ram and unscrew the plug. Trim off any epoxy that might have leaked around the edge and reload. See if that works. I make 'custom' seated plugs for my cast bullet loads in this manner. Make sure you degrease the bullet seater plug before you start.~Muir

    PS:Hard to imaging a mis-fit to the extent that it would pull a bullet forty thousandths of an inch.
    Last edited by Muir; 29-09-2014 at 23:13.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    Take a small amount of epoxy resin (like accraglass gel) and put it in the seater plug. Grease a bullet seated in a dummy case (Best to seat the bullet before applying the epoxy) and run the loaded round up into the seater, letting the weight of the handle hold it into place. The next day lower the ram and unscrew the plug. Trim off any epoxy that might have leaked around the edge and reload. See if that works. I make 'custom' seated plugs for my cast bullet loads in this manner. Make sure you degrease the bullet seater plug before you start.~Muir

    PS:Hard to imaging a mis-fit to the extent that it would pull a bullet forty thousandths of an inch.
    This is a brilliant idea, gonna steal this one for myself if i start reloading again, thanks Muir!

  4. #4
    Thanks for that, I think I might try to get a spare seater plug and have a go. Though it must be quite viscous and hold to the seater plug only.

  5. #5
    Far better to use an Epoxy repair putty, no chance of it running.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by western woodsman View Post
    Thanks for that, I think I might try to get a spare seater plug and have a go. Though it must be quite viscous and hold to the seater plug only.
    It takes just a very little bit. We have all different brands of epoxy putty sticks here ("JB WELD" is one of the most popular) where the hardener is in the core: You simply slice off a bit, knead to a consistent color, and apply. I'm sure you guys have something similar. And as I siad, it takes very little to do the job; to the extent that I apply it to the seater with a toothpick.~Muir

  7. #7
    I have been having exactly the same problem as previously outlined in this thread with seating Barnes TTSX bullets, although mine are 130g as opposed to 150g. Wanted to find out if changing the seater plug had solved the issue, or if anything else was tried. All Lee kit being used. Quite a frustrating problem, the seating die seems to have a mind of its own.

  8. #8
    Yes it is quite a bizarre technical glitch. You can imagine my frustration at measuring finished rounds at first and they were all different! It was only when I put a known measure finished round back into the press that I noticed that it actually grabbed the bullet and started pulling it out. I have now loaded a new batch and on the upstroke once the bullet is seated, I very gently lift slowly, the 'bite' releases and the round remains true. I think Muir's suggestion is a good one, though I will maybe buy first another seater plug to try this. It seems a gap in the LEE products not to create different seater plugs for different bullets.

  9. #9
    I was having a closer look at the die last night, I noticed the finish inside the seater plug is very rough from the machining process, I could see copper marks where the small sharp bands going up into the plug seem to be gripping the bullet on the upstroke. These marks correspond with the markings left behind on the bullet. I am seating on a fairly compressed load which is where the problem started, previous lesser loads where seating fine, I suppose with more resistance the rough surface of the seater plug was biting more onto the bullet head, sometimes taking the head completely out. It isn't just a Lee issue either, I have read about similar problems with other makes of seating die as well. I am going to wrap some appropriate sandpaper around a bullet and file smooth the inside of the plug and hopefully that will sort the problem. Will let you know.

  10. #10
    Regular Poster buck52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by western woodsman View Post
    I wrote earlier about a bullet seating problem with 150 gr. .308 TTSX bullets seating at varying depths despite the Lee bullet seating die being in one fixed position. It seems that the bullets are being held in the bullet seating plug in the end of the die and are being obviously or less that obviously pulled out as I draw the cam down after seating. This varies from 3/1000's on an inch to say 4/100's. It is confirmed as I actually worked a completely finished round in and it got pulled out noticeably. I have since adjusted my lowering of the press cam very carefully to avoid this, though I still feel a slight 'click'. It may have something to do with the seater plug ogive and the plastic tip interacting in an unholy way to grip the bullet.

    I now measure all rounds for COL to confirm that they are acceptably similar. It seems I need to either get a new bullet seater plug that suits these bullets better or get this one ground out a bit and polished. Any ideas? One idea was to get a spare plug or two from Lee and experiment.

    I have adjusted my die correctly backing ti out one full turn before adjusting the seater adjustment down accordingly. So no way near the crimp. And the neck tension seems okay, they are quite solid, certainly not loose, and they shot very well. But it is disconcerting to say the least. I have given all a slight 1/4 turn Lee crimp afterwards.
    The problem with a .30 150 grain TTSX bullet is that it is very long due to copper being lighter than lead. If you use 150 grain lead consider changing to barnes 130 grn ttsx, no loading or seating problems.
    Never a Lender or Borrower be

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