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Thread: Bullet Seating (not straight)

  1. #1
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    Bullet Seating (not straight)

    I tried searching, but couldn't find the help I was looking for.

    I just got a Dillon 550 and am starting to load .223, I am new to reloading. Right now I am trying to load plinking/training ammo for a DD 16" using Hornady 55 gr FMJBT, 844 powder, and CCI #41 primers. I am having a hell of a time trying to get the bullets to seat straight. I don't have a concentricity guage, but I don't need one. Some are so bad I can see they are crooked just looking at them, others I find them crooked when I roll them on a flat surface.

    I am probably around 50% (or maybe worse) "reject" rate. I tried searching but couldn't find much help other than to make sure the bullets are straight before seating them. Short of spending a couple minutes per round to delicately adjust the bullet as it sits on the case, what else could be going on? When I set the bullet on the case for the seating die, I am looking to make sure it appears straight.

    Also, I am noticing that the bullets have a light ring pressed into the jacketing after seating. Is this normal? I was seating at 2.245 OAL. The brass is short to begin with, that OAL didn't even get the bullet to the cannelure. I then shortened the OAL to 2.240 in hopes that would straighten the bullets. But it didn't, and that length get the case mouth just barely to the beginning of the cannelure.

    Any help would be appreciated. I am trying to work up some test loads to try out on Monday.

  2. #2
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    Are you using a neck expansion die?


    If not, it will help with setting the bullet in brass. If you are, you'll need to adjust it so it opens the brass neck up a little more.

  3. #3
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    Shortcut: try getting a Redding seating die.

  4. #4
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    My guess is that your bullet doesn't fit into your die quite right. Do you have any other 223 stems/dies? One that is more shaped to fit your bullet point and concentricity.

    ETA. +1 to the above by quiet shooter. By far the best.
    Last edited by Ghost__1; 06-09-12 at 11:53.
    "I know enough about a lot but enough to get me in trouble none the less." Me

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  5. #5
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    Call Dillon's tech number 800-223-4570 and have them check your setup. You have something grossly out of adjustment - probably the seating die, but impossible to know. Take a close look at the dies and their instructions and make sure you are using the correct dies for .223 and in the correct order - and they are set the correct amount off the shell plate.

    You want to be full length sizing a lubed case first of all - preferably in a separate toolhead. Good neck tension is very important, so the sizer die setup is critical.

    After lube is removed from the cases, seat primer, drop powder and seat bullet. You should not see any visible runout by just eyeballing. Be sure you are using a good scale to set the powder measure.

    ETA: My COL using the Hornady 55gr FMJBTs is around 2.222". It's not necessary to seat to the cannelure (or to crimp), but I do and use a very light taper crimp.
    Last edited by shootist~; 06-09-12 at 12:05.

  6. #6
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    I second the redding seating die. It makes a HUGE difference, even on a single stage.

  7. #7
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    New seating die (Redding or Forster) or seat bullet half way, raise ram, rotate case 180 deg in shellplate and finish seating. A real PITA but free.

    I'd spend $50 and get a new die.

    The other thing I'd do is borrow a concentricity guage and make sure your resizer is not bending the cases. You may be creating this situation through the resizing operation, but w/o a concentricity guage, I don't know how to check for that.
    Last edited by jmart; 06-09-12 at 22:39.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stangman View Post
    Are you using a neck expansion die?


    If not, it will help with setting the bullet in brass. If you are, you'll need to adjust it so it opens the brass neck up a little more.
    No, I am using the standard Dillon 3 die set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuietShootr View Post
    Shortcut: try getting a Redding seating die.
    Am I looking at the right one? $100 for the competition seating die. If so, that is probably more than I am willing to spend to load training ammo. I guess if I have to I will, but I will try other options first.

    Ghost- I don't have any other seating dies/stems.

    Shootist- I followed the setup instructions for the Dillon manual and have been doing the exact steps you listed. One toolhead/die for decapping and resizing and then a different toolhead to finish the ammo (after cleaning the brass to remove the lube). I haven't called Dillon since it is the weekend now, and I was hoping to shoot the ammo Monday morning. I will be calling Dillon if I can't get this sorted out by then.

    jmart- I will try rotating the ammo to see if that fixes it. I doubt I will be willing to stick to that method forever, but I will see if that fixes my problem. I don't know of anyone with a concentricity guage, but I will ask around and see if I get lucky.

    I am not at home right now, but I will re-adjust the seating die when I get home to make sure it is set as recommended by Dillon.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Is the ring around the bullet jacketing normal/acceptable? If not, what can I do other than buy another seating die in hopes of it fitting the bullet shape better?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TucsonFX4 View Post
    Am I looking at the right one? $100 for the competition seating die. If so, that is probably more than I am willing to spend to load training ammo. I guess if I have to I will, but I will try other options first.
    No. The standard seating die should do it. RCBS also makes a comp seating die with a window in the side for about $50-60 if you absolutely must have the side window.

  11. #11
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    Call Dillon cause something is out of adjustment. Do that before spending more money in additional dies.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TucsonFX4 View Post
    Am I looking at the right one? $100 for the competition seating die. If so, that is probably more than I am willing to spend to load training ammo. I guess if I have to I will, but I will try other options first.

    Ghost- I don't have any other seating dies/stems.

    Shootist- I followed the setup instructions for the Dillon manual and have been doing the exact steps you listed. One toolhead/die for decapping and resizing and then a different toolhead to finish the ammo (after cleaning the brass to remove the lube). I haven't called Dillon since it is the weekend now, and I was hoping to shoot the ammo Monday morning. I will be calling Dillon if I can't get this sorted out by then.

    jmart- I will try rotating the ammo to see if that fixes it. I doubt I will be willing to stick to that method forever, but I will see if that fixes my problem. I don't know of anyone with a concentricity guage, but I will ask around and see if I get lucky.

    I am not at home right now, but I will re-adjust the seating die when I get home to make sure it is set as recommended by Dillon.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Is the ring around the bullet jacketing normal/acceptable? If not, what can I do other than buy another seating die in hopes of it fitting the bullet shape better?
    You can get just seating die (which they are lovely dies my 6.8 agrees) and then later on when funds allow build up/install comp. seating die with redding carbide size button kit and redding seating mic..
    Last edited by lunchbox; 06-09-12 at 15:04. Reason: to add an "A"
    ^^ Read with southern accent !^^ and blame all grammatical errors on Alabama's public school system.
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  13. #13
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    There is no reason the Dillon dies should not work perfectly. My swag is it's not the right seater die or somehow defective. Let us know what they say



    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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    The advice about calling Dillon is right on. They will help you figure out what is out of adjustment. Dillon dies are plenty good enough.
    Last edited by R600; 06-11-12 at 20:55.

  15. #15
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    Is it seating the bullet off center or is your die bending the caseneck? Before or after crimp?
    "I know enough about a lot but enough to get me in trouble none the less." Me

    Quote Originally Posted by C4IGrant View Post

    Believe me, I know about not doing the "popular thing." Be a gear and gun dealer, go onto a tactical gun forum and tell folks to STOP buying crap they don't need.


    C4

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost__1 View Post
    Is it seating the bullet off center or is your die bending the caseneck? Before or after crimp?
    I don't think it is bending the case neck, as least I can't see that it is bent. The crimp doesn't seem to affect it, I have found rounds that are crooked before I crimped them.

    I re-adjusted the seating die per the manual last night. With a case in the shell plate I raised the ram and then tightened the die until it made contact with the shellplate. Then I backed the die off two full rotations. Even with the die touching the shellplate it wasn't touching the case, so I don't think it is bending the neck unless the act of seating the bullet is bending the neck. Still no improvement. I also tried a few rounds with the die a half turn tighter (adjusting the seating stem to get the same OAL) to see if that gave the die more time to straighten the bullet before seating. That didn't work either.

    I was hoping to get some loads worked up today so I could hit the range tomorrow morning before the heat kicks in. It looks like I will be waiting for Dillon customer service to open up tomorrow morning though. Thanks for all your help guys. If anyone has any other ideas, let me know as I'm willing to try them out.

  17. #17
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    My only other idea besides Dillon cs is if you had access to a different brand of cases and check to see if the problem still exists. I'm assuming of course that you are resizing the necks already. How well does your bullet fit into your seat die? I've had issues with some Dillon stems or does not fully supporting and straightening my bullet before press with seirra bullets.

    The optimal option would be to have the same shape our close so the die sports the tip as well as the body of the bullet and no edges for the bullet to catch on. This would straighten it. If your die doesn't have the right shape in contest to your bullet Dillon may just tell you that a new die is needed to achieve this.good luck in all however.

    ETA. I've also experienced crooked bullets when trying to load some compressed powder rounds a hair too much. Reloading is a very trying experiment sometimes and that is one of my examples.
    Last edited by Ghost__1; 06-10-12 at 12:47.
    "I know enough about a lot but enough to get me in trouble none the less." Me

    Quote Originally Posted by C4IGrant View Post

    Believe me, I know about not doing the "popular thing." Be a gear and gun dealer, go onto a tactical gun forum and tell folks to STOP buying crap they don't need.


    C4

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost__1 View Post
    Is it seating the bullet off center or is your die bending the caseneck? Before or after crimp?
    I'd be willing to bet that his sizing die is messing the case up somehow. or possibly the seating die is adjusted too low in the press and is bending the case when he is seating.

    Those hornady boat tailed bullets should pretty much self-center in an undamaged case.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyugo View Post
    I'd be willing to bet that his sizing die is messing the case up somehow. or possibly the seating die is adjusted too low in the press and is bending the case when he is seating.

    Those hornady boat tailed bullets should pretty much self-center in an undamaged case.
    That was my guess. Boat tail bullets are almost completely idiot proof which is why I prefer to use them. Ha I'm also curious about the brass being used. I've had issues with some Fed pre primed brass being out of whack. He's already started that its shorter so at least been fired once which may have an impact. There are too many variables at this point for me to try to guess. Dillon should be able to help him.
    Last edited by Ghost__1; 06-10-12 at 13:10.
    "I know enough about a lot but enough to get me in trouble none the less." Me

    Quote Originally Posted by C4IGrant View Post

    Believe me, I know about not doing the "popular thing." Be a gear and gun dealer, go onto a tactical gun forum and tell folks to STOP buying crap they don't need.


    C4

  20. #20
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    I don't have a concentricity guage, but visual inspection does not reveal any damage to the brass after resizing or in the seating die without a bullet in place. I have set the seating die as per Dillon instructions and also tried with it lower than recommended. Even when I set the seating die all the way down to make contact with the shell plate, it doesn't put any pressure on the case.

    I am not using an expander die, and I am not trimming or chamfering/deburring. The brass is once fired Speer. I clean, lube, decap/resize, clean again, clean primer pocket, swage primer pocket (crimped primers), then load. The brass is typically measuring 1.748, which is shorter than the trim-to length and why I am not trimming. I have noticed on a few rounds what appears to be a very small amount of copper jacket shaved off and sitting at the mouth of the case. Also, when I removed the seating stem and placed the bullets in the stem to check the fit, there seems to be a noticable amount of cant that is allowable. Are these potential culprits as well?

    Can anyone verify straight loads with .223 Dillon seating dies and 55 gr Hornady FMJBT?

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