Possible die problem?

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Hawkmoon
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Possible die problem?

Postby Hawkmoon » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:18 pm

I encountered a slight issue yesterday. Suggestions are welcome.

I'm currently loading on a Lee Turret Press with the 4-hole turrets, using Lee's 4-die, carbide die sets. I have turrets set up for both .45 Auto (my primary cartridge) and 9mm (secondary choice). In the past I have loaded 9mm using Berry's 115-grain plated LRN (which aren't really "round" nose, if you're familiar with 9mm handgun ammo) with no problems.

Stopped by a large gun shop the other day hoping to find some reloading components. No primers to be had except shotgun. No powder to be had. No 9mm or .45 Auto bullets in any weights. But they did have some Remington 95-grain FMJ round-nose bullets for .380 Auto -- and those are also the right diameter for 9mm. I have a friend whose wife is learning to shoot, but she is recoil sensitive and hesitant about making the leap from .22LR to centerfire.

So I bought several bags of these 95-grain bullets with the idea being to make up some real powder puff loads that my friend's wife can shoot through my 9mm 1911 to help her transition into the centerfire world. I did some research and consulted (via e-mail) with two friends who are very knowledgeable reloaders with a lot more experience than I have. We settled on a possible load and last night I made up 20 samples to run through the chronograph.

Problem: I was looking for a C.O.L. of 1.029". I couldn't get any consistency -- I was getting cartridges ranging from 1.028" all the way up to 1.040". Not happy. This is plinking ammo, so I'll be happy with +/- .01" or even +/- .02" but ... + .11"? Not good.

I have never experienced anything like this length variation before, in either 9mm or .45 Auto. Trying to get a handle on how to fix it before I start loading batches of this stuff.

My theory is that the Lee seating insert is shaped for the typical longer, pointier 115-grain 9mm bullet, and that the rounder 95-grain bullets may be engaging the recess in the die inconsistently. It may not help that I wear rubber exam gloves when loading (had a health scare regarding high blood lead levels awhile back), and that makes it more difficult to set each bullet on top of the flared cases consistently.

I have dies for loading .380 Auto, and the shape of the seating insert is different. Looks like the inserts will swap between the 9mm and .380 ACP dies. Is there any consensus that using the .380 seating plug in the 9mm die might provide a solution?

Does anyone have any other thoughts?

magic mike
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Postby magic mike » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:53 pm

Hawkmoon if I am reading your posted measurements correctly you state that you want a COAL of 1.029". You measured finished rounds that ranged from 1.028" to 1.040". That is a difference of .012". You state that you would be happy with +/- .010" to +/- .020". Based on that you should be happy. I don't see where you're getting the +.110" from. Typo maybe?

If the .380 seating plug fits in the 9mm die and you are using .380 bullets then I would say use the .380 plug. Just takes one of the variables out of the equation.

Those are my thoughts.....................

mike

rowe_s
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Postby rowe_s » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:28 pm

I use a .357 RCBS seating die to seat the bullets on 380 Auto, follow that up with Lee FCD.

So.... Its my finding that if a seating plug fits the bullet pretty close it will do a good job.

Use your other seating plug.

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:38 pm

magic mike wrote:Hawkmoon if I am reading your posted measurements correctly you state that you want a COAL of 1.029". You measured finished rounds that ranged from 1.028" to 1.040". That is a difference of .012". You state that you would be happy with +/- .010" to +/- .020". Based on that you should be happy. I don't see where you're getting the +.110" from. Typo maybe?


Not "typo," just losing track of my decimal places. You are correct, of course.

Horseman
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Postby Horseman » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:51 pm

Have you checked the brass to see if it is consistant in length..

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:41 pm

Horseman wrote:Have you checked the brass to see if it is consistant in length..


I haven't, but I don't see how that would affect cartridge overall length.

I ran ten rounds through the chronograph and found that the velocity was just about what I was hoping to get. What I did NOT anticipate is that the lighter bullets at 95- fps don't have enough energy to cycle a 1911 Commander. So I have 40 more rounds to use up (probably with a lighter recoil spring, if I have one), then I'll bump the powder charge a little for the next batch.

Next time I'll try using the seating plug out of the .380 die set and see it that works better.


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