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Discussion Starter #1
Hello.  I am new to this forum, but have been reading the posts from time to time.  It seems that there are many knowledgeable people here, and Beartooth seems like a great company, though I have not used any of Mr. Stanton's bullets yet.  That 325 grain gas-checked looks like just the ticket for deer around here.

I have recently started handloading for my Marlin 1895ss, some Valiant 405 gr. cast and some Remington 405 gr. jacketed, as well as some Mid-Kansas 300 grain cast a while back.  The only caliber I have loaded for till now is .357 Magnum, which I have done fine with for several years.

I am using a Lee turret press.  I have been expanding the mouths of the cases just enough to get the bullet started.  I try to make sure that the bullet is aligned with the case vertically before I seat it.  Some of my finished rounds have a bulge on one side.  Is this normal?  I occasionaly check the rounds after the bullet is about half-way seated, and it always looks fairly straight in the case.  The rounds chamber just fine.  

Thanks for any input.
 

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The bulge you see is caused by a misaligned bullet during seating and can be traced to an improper fitted bullet seating stem in the seating die. Unscrew the seating stem and see how it fits on the bullet you are using. I have three different stems for my .44 Mag alone. Many sets of dies have a stem set up for roundnose bullets and it will not align a bullet with a flat nose.
Best Regards, James
 

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From one Ray to another, welcome to the forum!

Hornady makes a heck of a floating bullet seating die that you can change the punch nose shapes in. I use the flat nose punch in it for all the LBT designs and I have had good luck with it.

Another bonus is that you can use it with a number of cartridges of the same caliber. I'll use the "44 cal." one for the 444 Marlin and 44 Mag. I'll use the "35 cal" one for the 357 Mag and 35 Remington and now the 358 Bellm. I've used the "30 cal" one for the Krag, 308 Win. and others. It will crimp also but I prefer either to use another die for that. (factory Crimp die, Roll Crimp etc.)

FWIW


:cool:

(Edited by Contender at 11:49 pm on April 16, 2001)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To Mr. Gates and Contender:

Thank you for the advice and input.  Now that you mention it, I do remember looking at the bullet seating stem.  It has a concave shape, as though it were meant for a pointed or roundnose bullet.  I've only loaded flatnose bullets, so I guess that die design is the problem.  I'll have to check into a different stem or maybe a different seating die.  

My dies are made by Lee.  I'll check out the Hornady.  I suppose that this situation is affecting my accuracy?  I would think that it would.

Thanks again for the advice.
 

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Ray,


If I'm not mistaken, the Lee seating die has a floating insert that is shaped to the bullet. I think if you contact them and tell them your situation, they'll send you a flat faced stem to put in the die.

Worth a try.

www.leeprecision.com

Regards


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Discussion Starter #6
I checked the seating plug last night against my bullets.  The nose of both the cast and the jacketed bullets fit into the plug at least 1/4 an inch.  Is this not enough to control the seating?  I'm wondering if the slight bulges I am getting (on 75% of my rounds) might be due to a misalignment of my die with the ram (the clip on my ram catches somehow, frequently allowing the shellholder to move out a little), or perhaps I am not starting the bullet perfectly straight.  Any thoughts?  I'd like to make sure the seating plug is the problem before I spend money on fixing it.  

Thanks so much.

Ray Floyd
 

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Ray,

Do you notice the bulge to one side before or after expanding the neck?

Depending on when it happens, try leaving the expander or seater die loose, with the o ring on on the lock nut just touching the top of the press. This will let the die rock or self align as it enters the case or seats the bullet.

Another thing to check for is any play in the press turret head rocking up and down. Also look at an off center expander stem problem with the shell holder. The brass also could be softer on one side than the other, try another lot or brand if you have it.

My gut thought is it could be either the press turret rocking or out of alignment or out of alignment shell holder. Eliminate each one by one to see.

Regards


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Ray...If the bullet is going up into the stem taht much the problem may be that the sizing die is sizing the case down too much...or the neck expander is not opening up the case enough. Two things to do...first, be sure your expander dies is going all the way done to it justs starts to bell the case mouth. If that doesn't work...size the case just enough to fit the chamber by not turning the sizer die all the way down. Also check that shell holder! I do one other little trick...as I start the bullet into the case I bounce the press handle a little, not much, just the settle the bullet into the stem...then seat about 1/3 and let up the handle and turn the bullet in the shell holder about 180 degrees, and do that another time, This seems to work best for me.
And last, check the bullet after it's seated about 1/2 way and see if there is any lead shaved off the side of the bullet. All this seems time consuming, but after you get the hang off it, you can rock and roll!
Best Regards, James
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Contender and Mr. Gates:

Thanks for the tips.  After reflection, I'm thinking that the shellholder moving may be the problem.  The Lee ram (don't know if it is different from other brands) has a little ring encircling the top, the end of which puts pressure against the shellholder.  Somehow, as I work, it sticks, and the shellholder is free to move.  I'm going to try a batch, making sure the holder is secure as I seat each round, instead of just periodically checking it.  If there are still problems, I will try the tips that you both mention.

Contender: the bulges appear as I seat the bullet.  If I check it as it is being seated, it appears to be vertically aligned in the case.  I am wondering if Mr. Gates may be correct in saying that perhaps my sizing die is sizing the cases a bit too much.  The bullet fit does seem a bit tight.  I expand the case mouth just enough to barely start the bullet.  I may try a little more expansion, say enough for the bullet to seat 1/8 in. or so into the case by hand.  I haven't gotten any shaved lead.

I've loaded two different lots of brass.  After reading both your suggestions again, I probably need to just play with the process a little.  Make sure the shellholder is in place correctly with each round, adjust my expansion a little, and maybe try backing the sizing die out a bit.

Thanks again for all the input and help.  I'll let you know what I come up with.

Ray Floyd

P.S.  Mr. Marshall: Got my Technical Guide yesterday.  Lots of good information.  I can feel a tight spot in my barrel when I run a jag and cloth through, so I'm sure the gun would benefit from lapping.  I'm just a little nervous about doing it though.  I've never done any work on a gun to that extent.  I'm anxious to try your products!  I've been married just over a year, and have  a little girl, so I have to watch the spending!  
 

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Mr. Floyd,

I'm glad you've enjoyed the Tech Guide!

I too know about watching the Sheckels... we have three kids, one in high-school and two in grade school... man do they know how to eat... then with high school kids the big issue is driving... cars, insurance upkeep... yep, I know the crunch too.  See what you have to look forward to?

I think you're right, the lapping would help your gun... all things in due time, and don't be afraid of lapping the barrel... it is a very straight forward process, and you can see from the tech guide that it's not rocket science.   It's very rewarding once you get the project finished!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mr. Gates & Contender:

I loaded 10 rounds yesterday.  I expanded the necks just about as much as I could, with the bottom of the expander die almost touching the shellholder.  I'm getting just enough expansion to seat the bullet slightly into the mouth of the case, maybe 1/8 inch.  I'm still getting bulges.  

However, I discovered that my ram is out of alignment with the dies.  I checked all 3 die positions on the turret.  As the bullet enters the seating die, the forward side of the case and bullet hits the die.  The case starts to bulge almost immediately on one side.  I tried turning the case, but still get bulges.

I think that as you mentioned, Mr. Gates, my sizing die is sizing the brass down too much.  After I fire the loaded rounds, I'm going to try backing the sizer out a little.  Also, I may see if Lee will replace my press.  I never had a problem with my .357 rounds, of which I've probably loaded 2 or 3 thousand rounds.  I may just purchase a single stage from RCBS or someone, which is probably what I should have originally bought anyway.  As long as the turret works for pistol rounds, I may just keep it for that purpose.

Thanks for all the help!

Ray Floyd
 

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Ray,

Is the turret itself loose or is it just out of alignment? It's possible the bolt it rotates on is out of alignment if it's hole is bored on a slant.

Don't have experience with the Lee Turret. I had a Redding turret at one time that was really good and built like a tank. However, I have one of the CH H-Type presses now which I tend to like more than a turret.

Let us know how you make out there.


Regards

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Discussion Starter #13
Contender:

The Lee turret does not rotate on a bolt.  Instead, it is a single piece that sets down into an open cavity at the top of the press.  It locks into place via a type of ball bearing.  It's rather difficult to describe, but you can see it at www.leeprecision.com.

The turret has a little play in it, but not enough to cause the problem, I think.  I think the misalignment has been there all along, but it never caused much of a noticeable problem with the .357 rounds.  I loaded up  a box of those yesterday.  Slight bulges are there, but are not nearly as bad as with the .45-70, actually barely noticeable.  I think the ram and top of the press are not properly vertically aligned.  I'll see what Lee can do for me.  Thanks for the help.  I'll let you know what turns up.

Thanks,

Ray Floyd
 

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Thanks Ray,

If you do send it back, might be best to enclose a couple of cases to illustrate the problem to them.



Regards

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Discussion Starter #15
Mr. Gates & Contender:

Just an update, if you are interested:

I may have worked through the problem, at least for now.  I backed my sizing die out to where the decapping pin will just barely knock out the primer.  I put a pretty good bell on the mouth of the case.  I seat the bullet about 1/3 of the way, then rotate the case 180 degrees, per your instructions, Mr. Gates, and seat it the rest of the way.

If I do it right, this just about eliminates the bulges.  The only thing I'm concerned about is the bottom part of the case is not being sized.  I'm wondering if that part will eventually swell too much on me to chamber the rounds.

It really seems like the sizing die should not size the case down so much.  I wonder if I can get another sizing die that will size the case to a bit larger dimensions, and size the whole case, rather than not sizing that bottom 3/8 or so?  The sizing does seems to be part of the problem, but the misalignment is there.  I may end up sending the press to Lee to see if they can fix it.

Anyway, thanks again for all the invaluable help.  It's nice to get some knowledgeable advice!

Regards,

Ray Floyd  
 

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Ray,

Going over the posts on this, I could say as others (JG) have said also, the case gets sized down a bit much.

You could continue to do as you are now doing by backing the sizing die out. This is known as partial resizing. Eventually, especially with heavy loads, you will encounter chambering difficulty near the base.

The only other route I can see is a custom sizing die. Maybe your chamber is on the outside of dimensions and the Lee die is more to min. dimensions. You could try or borrow another brand of dies but that will be hit or miss. I think Lee states that their dies run toward min. chamber dimensions.

Regards,

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Ray...Contender is hitting right on...Lee does go to the min. on there sizing dies, which I like in my custom chambers.  I don't remember in Lee's 45-70 dies whether the neck expander had the modified Lyman"M" type or not. I don't worry much about min sized cases if the "M" type die goes down and opens up the case. I think you have a combination working here...a min sizing die, a neck expander not opening the case right, and a misaligned turret/ram. Look around and see if you can borrow a set of 45-70 dies...if not send me you address and I will mail out my set for you to check out the press.  I would do this first, then if the problem is not the dies, contact Lee about the press. Turret presses aro OK, but for the best reloads an "O" press is best!
Best Regards, James
 

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Hi, Ray:
  Your problem's been irking me for a while. You're fairly sure the press is out of alignment and so am I. The shellholder movement suggests that the case is trying to align itself with the die and pushing the shellholder sideways. Plus you're getting bulged cases with two different calibres.

  The question is, where's the misalignment.  I've only got one clear picture of a Lee Turret press and it doesn't show everything I want to see. It looks like the three posts that hold the top plate to the base should be the same length. So I'd measure between the base and top plate at all three corners. If one corner is high, see if the post is being held off by a burr. If so, unbolt everything and file off the burr. If there's no burr, or a low corner, you should be able to level the top plate with thin washers.

  Have you got another turret? The die holes might be misaligned. The next possibility is a misaligned ram. Get a piece of clear plastic about an inch across and draw a crosshair on it. Put it on top of the shellholder and centre the crosshair. Turn your resizing die into a peep sight. Take the decapping rod out of the resizing die and push a decapped case into the die just so it won't fall out. Screw the die into the turret and see if the crosshair on the shellholder is centred. Give the die half a turn out and watch the crosshair. Off centre flash holes are fairly common, and a fired case might be bulged to one side, so try two or three cases that look good if you see movement off centre. Now raise the ram as high as you can and still see the crosshair. Recentre the crosshair if it goes off before you get the ram to the top. If the crosshair is off centre on the shellholder now, the ram or the turret is off centre. Double check with your other calibre.

 If the press is out of alignment, I'd have Lee fix it before you take Mr. Gates' very generous offer and start mailing dies across the country.

Bye
Jack    
 

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Right on, Jack....Another thing he should do to satisfy whether or nor the sizing die is min/min is to mike the case ahead of the rim of a factory case Vs his sized case. This should give an idea of whether the case is being size too much. The way that should be done is to hold the shellholder in your hand, with a sized case in it, and mike what the case is at the top of the shellholder. I just did it and RCBS die size it to .500" Another thing to remember..modern .45-70 dies are set up for jacketed bullets and sometime oversize cast bullets do bulge the case a little, but that's where a good "M" die comes in.
Best Regards, James
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Folks:

Thanks again for all the help.  Once again, all of your advice is top-notch.

I don't have a micrometer, but I do have a set of calipers.  I checked the jacketed bullets I was loading vs. the cast.  The jacketed were dead on at .458, while the cast were close to .459.  I get the bulges with both, unless I get the aforementioned seating technique down just right.  I do need to check a sized case vs. a factory round.

What I know about dies are pretty much limited to Lee, other than what I've picked up reading.  The dies I have are a 3 die set, just like Lee's pistol dies.  The expander die works via a plug that is slightly "V" shaped.

From my very limited knowledge, I do think I have a combination of a minimum sizing die and a close to max dimension chamber.  I haven't fired any max loads yet, but all of my fired cases easily slip back into the chamber with no pressure - they just fall in.

I tried a while back to measure the distance between the top plate and the base.  It seemed to be the same.  With the ram all the way up, viewing from the side the bottom of the die and the top of the shellholder, the "rear" of the die is close to lined up vertically with the ram and shellholder, while the "front" of the shellholder forms a lip past the die.  There is a misalignment there somewhere.  I've checked all three positions on the turret, with the same results, which leads me to believe that the ram or top plate is simply positioned slightly off-kilter.

I can get around that for now, but I'll probably end up having Lee correct it.  The sizing situation will still be there.  I may just check into getting a die that will size closer to max if chambering problems arise.  I probably won't be loading anything to max, at least for a while, so maybe it won't be a problem.

Thanks again for all the assistance.  You all have been very patient with my inexperience.

Regards,

Ray Floyd


P.S.
Mr. Gates:  Thank you for your kind offer to lend your dies.  I must admit that I would personally feel a little leery about sending my property to another state to someone I really didn't know.  Very generous of you.  
 
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