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Old November 14th, 2017, 03:17 PM #1
Swaim13 Swaim13 is online now
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Newbie Bullet Seating Question

Hello everyone,

I am just getting into reloading .223 and am getting odd results when I am seating bullets. I am getting OALs that vary up to 0.01" over 20 cases when I am using my Hornady seating die (from the custom grade reloading die set) . I am usually getting OALs within 0.004" but it does vary quite a bit.

I have tried disassembling the dies twice and spraying it down thoroughly with the recommended gun cleaner and lube. When I am setting up the die, I have a case on the ram at the highest position and I screw the die in until I am barely touching the brass then back it off a quarter of a turn. I am not trying to crimp the bullets. I then use the seater adjustment screw to set the bullet seating depth for the first round. I have been doing an initial seating with all of my cartridges, measuring the OAL, and then putting them into groups of the correct OAL, too long, and too short. I then press all of the cases that are too long again with the seater adjustment screw dialed in a bit more and repeat the sorting and pressing until they are all at the correct OAL or too short. I have been setting the cartridges that are too short to the side until I get a bullet puller to restart the process.

I hope I am just making a newbie mistake that is easy to correct or is this something where I should be contacting Hornady? Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.
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Old November 14th, 2017, 03:21 PM #2
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.004 to .010 is nothing to worry about.

You're talking about one to three human hairs worth of variation.

Sometimes frustrating? Yes. Is it a problem? No.
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Old November 14th, 2017, 03:27 PM #3
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The problem is that, unless you buy high dollar bullets, the ogive dimensions differ. Since you only have one seating head, whenever there is a different ogive measurment, you get a long or short round. The variance that you are getting won't matter a hoot if you are shooting from an AR at 100 yards or less. Now, if you are talking about shooting at 600 to 1000 yards or longer, you need to take a long range shooting course.
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Old November 14th, 2017, 03:28 PM #4
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Old November 14th, 2017, 05:39 PM #5
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John's pretty much on point. There's going to be minute variations in bullets from the ogive to the tip of the bullet itself. The seating die seats the round off the ogive.

So while you may be seeing swings in COL when measuring from base to tip, if you were using a comparator (which measures at the ogive), you'd be seeing little to no variation in COL.
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Old November 14th, 2017, 10:48 PM #6
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Welcome to the forum, Swaim13. (you're on the right track) Let us know how they shoot!
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Old November 15th, 2017, 08:31 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iH8DemLibz View Post
.004 to .010 is nothing to worry about.

You're talking about one to three human hairs worth of variation.

Sometimes frustrating? Yes. Is it a problem? No.

This ^ ^ ^
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Old November 15th, 2017, 08:43 AM #8
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What John said , and Brad and IH8 agreed with .
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Old November 15th, 2017, 08:44 AM #9
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You are likely measuring OAL based on the tip of the bullet to the head (the closed end of the case) whereas your seating die is hollow and pressing on the ogive of the bullet. The seating die therefore is pressing the bullets into the case as consistently as possible but you are measuring at a different point. Even match bullets will give slightly inconsistent results like this. To measure at the ogive you need a tool like the Hornady bullet comparator.
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Old November 15th, 2017, 09:03 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K31 View Post
You are likely measuring OAL based on the tip of the bullet to the head (the closed end of the case) whereas your seating die is hollow and pressing on the ogive of the bullet. The seating die therefore is pressing the bullets into the case as consistently as possible but you are measuring at a different point. Even match bullets will give slightly inconsistent results like this. To measure at the ogive you need a tool like the Hornady bullet comparator.
^^^ This... and depending on what projectiles you are loading, there can be a lot of variation when you measure tip to base on a loaded cartridge.

Measure a handful of bullets from the box and see if you see some variations in bullet oal, then invest in a comparator to assist with accurate measurements..
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