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  #1  
Old 01-17-2010, 11:52 AM
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Setting Lee Dies


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Loaded my first round yesterday as a test. Everything went smoothly except that none of my instructions tell me how to set my bullet seating die. they all tell how to determine the correct depth, but other than seating the bullet, checking the depth, then increasing the depth setting in small amounts until I reach the right setting, I can't see any way of gauging what the depth setting is. Am I missing something?
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:02 PM
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Calipers.

Bullet Seating depth = case length + bullet length - COL (cartridge Overall Length; from bottom to nose tip)
COL = case length + bullet length - Seating depth

COL may also be recommended for the specific bullet by the manufacturer if there is a crimp groove (some cast lead bullets) or a crimp cannelure (some jacketed bullets.) In both cases you adjust the depth until the case crimps into the cannelure if you are crimping?

Reply with what cartridge you are loading and whether you are crimping or not, then we can be more helpful.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:18 PM
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"I can't see any way of gauging what the depth setting is. Am I missing something?"

No, you're missing nothing, there's no 'gauge' on the dies.

For newb OAL just keep it simple. Seat and crimp into the bullet cannalure OR just make your cartridges the same length (best you can tell) as a factory load. It ain't rocket science dependant on a precsion length.

Evenually you will want to obtain a 6" dial caliper reading in .001" increments for lots of measurements but you don't need one to get started and have fun popping caps.
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Old 01-17-2010, 06:31 PM
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Okay. I just figured there must be some visible gauge to show what depth you were seating it without actually trying it first. So apparently I just need to start it high and work it down to the depth I want. This is what I did, just wasn't sure if it was correct.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandman1 View Post
Loaded my first round yesterday as a test. Everything went smoothly except that none of my instructions tell me how to set my bullet seating die. they all tell how to determine the correct depth, but other than seating the bullet, checking the depth, then increasing the depth setting in small amounts until I reach the right setting, I can't see any way of gauging what the depth setting is. Am I missing something?

Try this get a bullet that feeds through your firearm put that in the die and carefully screw down the seating die until it makes contact. But you're going to have to get some calipers if you seat the bullet to deeply you can dramatically increase chamber pressures (boom) and that's something you don't want to do. If you have a Harbor Freight Tools around you they routinely have excellent digital calipers for under 12 bucks. Also check the link out below for gauges.These are one of the first things I bought when I got into this 15 years ago.

Quote: Lyman maximum cartridge gages check all critical dimensions of handgun ammunition to ensure proper functioning. These precision made gages allow the reloader to check the case length, diameter and overall cartridge length. This inspection is considered mandatory by top competitive shooters who demand 100% reliability for their competition ammunition. <!--GEM 03.13.06-->

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=595577


Tom j.

Last edited by Curt31; 01-18-2010 at 11:22 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2010, 11:59 AM
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Sandman,

The reason there is no gauge is that bullet noses have different shapes, so the seater's conical cavity doesn't contact them all the same distance down from the tip of the nose.

Once you establish the seating depth you want, you can make up a dummy round to keep for each bullet you will use. In the future, when you go to set up for that bullet, just put the dummy in and turn the seater down until you feel it make contact with the dummy's bullet. Saves lots of setup time.

The only other system is the one on competition seating dies with micrometer heads. These allow you to record the correct setting for each bullet, once you've found it, and use them to repeat the setting in the future. Lee doesn't make that type, but Redding and Forster make excellent ones. They cost what several complete Lee die sets do, though.
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Last edited by unclenick; 01-18-2010 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:18 PM
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Another thing you can do is take your calipers and measure the OAL of your seating die once you get it adjusted for a certain bullet and record it, then next time you load you can refer to that OAL for setup.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2010, 05:26 PM
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Good tips. thanks for the help guys. Going to the range tomorrow to create some empty brass so that I can load a few more batches.
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2010, 05:51 AM
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"Try this get a bullet that feeds through your firearm put that in the die and carefully screw down the seating die until it makes contact. "

Sandman, I think Eric means to take a factory or hand loaded cartridge that feeds and use that to set your seater, using just a bullet won't quite do the job!
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