Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Adjusting Seating/Crimp die?


Shooting Bull
 Share

Recommended Posts

This SHOULD be a newby question but I find myself needing to start from scratch.  For some reason my reloads are not fitting in my case checker.  Some get hung up with about a 1/4' still sticking out and others I can't even get started.  It's darn near 50% of my reloads. Rounds are 38 Special loaded to an overall length of 1.50". I'm using a Lee combo seating/crimp die in a Dillon 650. This is happening with bullets from two different well known and respected suppliers whom I've used for years.  I can't see any abnormalities in the finished rounds but they won't fit in the case checker.  It's getting VERY frustrating.  Soooooo, how do you do an initial set up of seat/crimp and how do you troubleshoot if your rounds aren't coming out right?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't run a Dillon Bull, but I can talk you through a few things this weekend and try to help. But to start, have you looked in the dies and ensured they are free of build up and debri?

Will you be shooting this weekend?

 

Beaver

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would go back 2 more steps and check your resizing die. If finished rounds do not go all the way in the checker, that indicates they were not fully resized. This will mess up the rest of the process since your brass is not starting out at the correct dimensions. Chamber check the resized brass to ensure it is fully resizing and is within spec. I have learned to check all dies being tight every couple hundred rounds loaded on my dillion 650. Also brass length could be your issue, longer brass crimps tighter and could bulge the brass lower down the case. Hope this helps.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Inspect a cartridge that fails the case gauge. Where is it out of specifications? The case mouth or the base of the cartridge? 

You can paint the cartridge with a sharpie and insert it into the gauge to see where the problem is. This will tell you if it is a crimping issue or a resizing issue. 

 

Verify that the carbide sizing ring in your die is still there. Yes they do occasionally fall out. Verify your seating die is not gummed up.

 

Are you loading new to you brass? 

 

Pull the bullet from a case that fails to pass the case checker and measure the OAL of that case.

Now pull the bullet from a case that does pass and measure its OAL.

SAAMI specifications for case length are 1.135 to 1.155

 

 

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are probably SEATING slightly too deep, then when the CRIMP starts to take place, the mouth of the case is jammed into the lead band above the crimp groove.

 

All the die makers of combined seat and crimp dies recommend setting that die in two steps.   And that is how I do it, too.

 

Let's assume you are good with crimping into the crimp groove of the bullet.  The following description uses that crimp groove to "locate" what you are going to do.

 

Back off that die body and seating stem just so that NO crimp is applied to a "test" load and the bullet is still too "high" in the case.  Get the seating depth right with the seating stem so that there is 10 thousands of an inch (a business card thickness) clearance between the case mouth and the lead "ledge" just above the crimp groove.   This leaves you room to turn the case mouth into that crimp groove WITHOUT the case mouth jamming into the lead ledge - which buckles the case out just below crimp - which makes the round fail to chamber or fit the check die.

 

OK, now that the case mouth is "hovering" over the crimp groove, run the die body down just a quarter or eighth of a turn at a time.  After each stroke now, examine how much crimp has been applied.  This will/may also push the slug slightly deeper, so if the ledge starts to get close to case mouth, back off the seating stem a quarter turn.  Keep working the die body down until you get a good looking crimp, but you have a bit of "air" between the case mouth and the lead ledge above the groove.  

 

Check the tightness of crimp and bullet fit after you have adjusted the die.  Try pushing the loaded round into a solid wood item, like a door frame or a table top.  It should not collapse into the case even if pushed very firmly.   And try twisting the bullet in the case.  By hand you should not be able to twist bullet.

 

Then save a properly crimped bullet - does not need a primer or powder in it - in your loading storage drawer - that makes it easy to just run your die and seating stem down to exactly the right setting the next time you want to load.  Insert your gauge round into press, raise cartridge into the die, screw in seat crimp die until the crimp ring in the body stops the die, then lower the seating stem to the top of the bullet.  Bingo, die adjusted again.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All good suggestions.

 

The only thing I do that is different is I do my seating and crimping in two steps. I seat the bullets to length then swap to a factory crimp die and crimp separately.

This has solved me a lot of similar problems.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seating and crimping in two steps is great IF YOUR PRESS gives you that chance.  I run Dillon 550's and an RCBS powder lockout die on each cartridge, so I HAVE to use a combined seater/crimp die.   

 

The combined die will work fine.  You just have to learn how to set it.

 

good luck, GJ

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are trying to turn the crimp into a BAND on the bullet (not the crimp groove or a lube groove), and the bullet is HARD (like most commercial cast bullets are at 12 Brinnell hardness), you won't be able to crimp very much.  On those slugs, you JUST start to turn the mouth into the metal of the slug.  It will be hard to see unless you look hard.  Follow adjustment instructions, but stop lowering the die body at the first amount of crimp that shows on the slug.  

 

Still, you will want to do a push test on loaded ammo to see if the crimp is firm enough to prevent bullet collapse into the case. 

 

good luck, GJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Beaver said:

I don't run a Dillon Bull, but I can talk you through a few things this weekend and try to help. But to start, have you looked in the dies and ensured they are free of build up and debri?

Will you be shooting this weekend?

 

Beaver

 

Yep. I plan on bringing out a friend on Saturday. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Seating and crimping in two steps is great IF YOUR PRESS gives you that chance.  I run Dillon 550's and an RCBS powder lockout die on each cartridge, so I HAVE to use a combined seater/crimp die.   

 

The combined die will work fine.  You just have to learn how to set it.

 

good luck, GJ

 

I also use a 550. I find that good lighting, paying attention and weighing powder every 100 rounds, outweighs the benefits of a powder lockout die. Separate seating and crimping to create a useable round outweighs the benefits of a powder lockout die.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Cypress Sun said:

 

I also use a 550. I find that good lighting, paying attention and weighing powder every 100 rounds, outweighs the benefits of a powder lockout die. Separate seating and crimping to create a useable round outweighs the benefits of a powder lockout die.

 

I've loaded thousands upon thousands of rounds on this press with these dies and only experienced this problem recently.  For that reason I have a feeling it's either dirt/gunk, one of the dies has come out of adjustment or maybe one is simply worn out.  I'm going to try all of the above suggestions one by one until I isolate the problem.

 

Thanks to one and all.  I'll keep you posted. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Cypress Sun said:

Separate seating and crimping to create a useable round outweighs the benefits of a powder lockout die.

I have caught way too many LIGHT powder drops and heavy powder drops to EVER give up my lockout die.   Glad you can load perfectly.  I find I can't.  So I get the best assistance I can - that RCBS die.   There is not a pistol cartridge that I load that needs a separated seat and crimp operation.  

 

It's wise that a man knows his own limitations, and proceeds accordingly.  GJ

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loaded lots of cas rounds. (averaging 450,000/year)

I found that as the temperature changes, I would have to reset the sizing dies and the seating crimp dies. (I use Lee dies in the 650 Dillon loader)

 

The sizing die is easy enough to reset.

 

The seating and crimp die can get finicky at times.

To adjust this die, I would take clean brass and run it through the sizing die.

I would run it up in to the belling die with NO powder in the hopper.

 

Next I would back the bullet seating die out a couple of turns.

Then taking the sized/belled brass one at a time.

I was looking for the crimp I wanted on the bullet without the bullet in place.

I have several loaded dummy rounds on my bench in a board with holes drilled in it.

I find the 38 spl that is the length I want the loaded rounds to be.

I put this in the seating/crimp die and turn the bullet seating plug down until it touches the loaded dummy.

This is the starting point to adjust the rounds.

 

Now I run a case through the press, one at a time. No powder in the hopper.

I want to size, bell, seat and crimp this round.

Check the crimp on the bullet and measure overall length.

Adjust crimp if needed. (not usually)

Then adjust bullet depth.

Once I get the crimp and bullet depth right, I will run 10 rounds through the press.

I want to know if the adjustment is right with all stations putting pressure on the ram.

 

This sounds complicated but it takes about 5 to 10 minutes per caliber.

I usually have to do this each time the weather makes a change from summer to winter and them again back to summer.

 

The dummy rounds at the correct length for each bullet shape help speed the adjusting.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Ranger Dan said:

Also brass length could be your issue, longer brass crimps tighter and could bulge the brass lower down the case.

Too-long brass will also cause over-crimping, too far down on the case, causing the case edge to splay outward.  The splayed rough edge will then catch on a case checker (or a gun chamber).  It happens regardless of whether or not the case was properly resized.  The longer brass also bells much more at the powder die, which quickly weakens the edge, causing case splitting. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SB,

When shooting lube bullets I often experience  problems with seat/crimp die due to lube built up.  Different lengths of cases also often caused problems.  The lube built up of course ceased when I did convert in a big way to Hi-tech coated bullets.  But, sorting case lengths is not something I want to do on large scale for CAS.  You may not have enough stations but I made it a must on two 1050s to use separate Dillon seat and crimp dies.  I have been very pleased since.  Another,  more recent, step of satisfaction in my reloading has been convincing myself to the purchase of Lock-out dies.  I had tried Dillon before with limited satisfaction but have been very pleased, and rewarded, with the use of the RCBS version. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 1st time I resize brass I check case length after resizing.  This is very important for straight wall rimless cases and bottleneck cases that headspace on the shoulder.  I also resize virgin brass; which I learned this the hard way after I loaded a hundred 45C using new Starline cases with the resizing/decaping die removed.  I found that many wouldn't fit in a 45C case gauge.  Had to disassemble most of the loaded cartridges and run through the press again with the sizing die wo/decaping pin.

P.S. 45C is the only caliber I use Dillon dies all the others I use LEE dies & if there is a factory crimp die I use one which insures the cartridge will fit in a case gauge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Hells Comin said:

I had the same problem,  what I found out was the  bullet wasn't square in the case. Use the opposite in of case gauge to align the bullet to see if that's your problem. 

Hells Comin 

 

I'm not 100% sure what you're describing?  How do you use the other end of the case gauge to align the bullet?  And if that turns out to be the problem, what on my press do I need to adjust/fix?

Edited by Shooting Bull
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check your powder drop flare, if you're belling the  brass too much the seater/crimp die might not be removing it all.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From fellow cowboys recounting their experience, a buildup of bullet lube in the dies is the #1 cause of difficulties. 

 

I loaded for 30+ years on a single stage and turret. When I began shooting cowboy I purchased a pair of 550's. I use them to load for 38/357 and 38 Long Colt, 45 auto, 44-40, 44 Spl/Mag, 45 Long Colt, 9mm Luger. I have two because the change from small to large primers is a pain.

 

I've learned a few Dillon/progressive press lessons. 

  • You need to check the settings of the dies, occasionally or at least at each caliber swap. 
  • Seating and crimping in one stage will lead to issues eventually. 
  • For the straight walled calibers, the LEE Factory Crimp die is your friend.
  • You cannot load without a good caliper.
  • Each batch of cast bullets need to be checked for size and weight. (Not all of them, just a few random samples.)
  • Dillon die sets should be your first go to. If you have an issue at one of the stages, a different die may need to be selected. 

Dillon dies have a clip that lets you remove the guts of the die for a quick cleaning when a buildup of lube gums up the works. 

 

I have a case/ammo checker; and IMHO it can be compared to the "FIELD" gauge of chamber headspace gauges. There is no standard for the case gauge, so they are probably made to cartridge max specs or perhaps Chamber min specs, whichever is greater. Don't get me wrong, it is a useful tool, it will tell you when your ammo is bad. It however will not tell you how good it is, only that it is not bad. That is where the caliper comes in. 

 

Typically I measure the size of the neck, where the bullet is seated into, just after sizing, then again after belling and lastly with a bullet seated. Ideally this is a two, two, measurement. Working backwards, record the diameter of the case neck with a bullet seated, that should be at least 0.002" larger than the case neck just after it is expanded, (measure below the belled mouth. And finally, the freshly sized case doesn't need to have the it's neck diameter any smaller than  0.002" less than the diameter of the expanded case

 

I don't like to bell my cases too much, a bit more than the diameter of the neck of the case with a bullet seated. If I use a LEE FCD, I expand the necks to the point where it fits in that die with a slight bit of friction. 

 

OAL length is a function of the guns your ammo will be used in, the location of the cannelure and some other considerations. And again, fewer issues if you use one die to seat the bullet. One adjustment, not a combo of setting the die body for crimping and the stem for seating. On a single stage press, the seat and crimp is possible, on a progressive, doable with a bit of luck on your side, but I'd never recommend it unless you don't have the dies to split the steps. 

 

I had a 44-40 setup working nicely, and seated and crimped in one operation. But one small change in components made that impossible. Dillon does not make a die set for 44-40. The die set I was using was a Redding set. The bullet diameter of a 44-40 can vary from 0.426" to over 0.430". The Redding dies are too precisely made for that amount of variation. My tickle trunk isn't that extensive, so I modified the seating stem on a LEE seat/crimp die and set it to seat only, the Redding became my new crimp only die. I mention this just to illustrate the type of mix and match that may be required to fine tune your ammo. 

 

After you clean the old bullet lube out of your seat.crimp die, let us know how things are working. 38 Spl is probably one caliber that you can get away with seating and crimping in one step.

 

Bottom line, your set-up worked for you before, fix what's broke. If it ain't broke, don't need to fix it. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well it looks like the problem was self induced and has now been solved.  When making minor adjustments I guess I had moved the seating/crimping die too far down.  Too much crimp was causing cases to bulge ever so slightly.  I backed the die off a quarter of a turn and rounds are dropping into and out of the case check gauge like butter.

 

Thanks to one and all.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/10/2021 at 8:55 AM, Shooting Bull said:

This SHOULD be a newby question but I find myself needing to start from scratch.  For some reason my reloads are not fitting in my case checker.  Some get hung up with about a 1/4' still sticking out and others I can't even get started.  It's darn near 50% of my reloads. Rounds are 38 Special loaded to an overall length of 1.50". I'm using a Lee combo seating/crimp die in a Dillon 650. This is happening with bullets from two different well known and respected suppliers whom I've used for years.  I can't see any abnormalities in the finished rounds but they won't fit in the case checker.  It's getting VERY frustrating.  Soooooo, how do you do an initial set up of seat/crimp and how do you troubleshoot if your rounds aren't coming out right?

I just started trying to load some 45acp with a brand new set of hornady dies. It uses a combo seater and crimp dies as well. I can't get them adjusted right at all. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Tennessee williams said:

I just started trying to load some 45acp with a brand new set of hornady dies. It uses a combo seater and crimp dies as well. I can't get them adjusted right at all. 

That's a taper crimp. Much easier to set.

Revolvers use a roll crimp.

Get a Lee Factory Crimp Die.

OLG 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, Tennessee williams said:

I just started trying to load some 45acp with a brand new set of hornady dies. It uses a combo seater and crimp dies as well. I can't get them adjusted right at all. 

Follow the instructions I typed in above.  Worked for Shooting Bull, it will probably work for you too, it's just that you don't roll crimp and you don't try to put the crimp at any crimp groove that might be on the bullet.  Crimp at the top (driving) band of the .45 auto bullet. 

 

The 45 Auto cartridge is really easy to seat, and you don't really crimp much, you just use the taper crimp section of the die to return the case mouth to 0.471"  OD or so, so the case mouth just barely bites into the lead of the slug.  Way too many pards over crimp .45 auto.

 

Case mouth has to fall right at the point where the cylindrical body of the bullet turns into the nose section (where it starts to round over or go conical).   Leaving more than 0.010" of the cylindrical body exposed above the case mouth leads to rounds that fail to chamber fully.  Because the rifling in a 1911 starts within 0.010" to 0.020" in front of the chamber.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Shooting Bull said:

Well it looks like the problem was self induced and has now been solved.  When making minor adjustments I guess I had moved the seating/crimping die too far down.  Too much crimp was causing cases to bulge ever so slightly.  I backed the die off a quarter of a turn and rounds are dropping into and out of the case check gauge like butter.

 

Thanks to one and all.

Mongo strikes again :lol:

OLG 

  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/11/2021 at 7:51 PM, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

That's a taper crimp. Much easier to set.

Revolvers use a roll crimp.

Get a Lee Factory Crimp Die.

OLG 

 

On 11/11/2021 at 8:00 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Follow the instructions I typed in above.  Worked for Shooting Bull, it will probably work for you too, it's just that you don't roll crimp and you don't try to put the crimp at any crimp groove that might be on the bullet.  Crimp at the top (driving) band of the .45 auto bullet. 

 

The 45 Auto cartridge is really easy to seat, and you don't really crimp much, you just use the taper crimp section of the die to return the case mouth to 0.471"  OD or so, so the case mouth just barely bites into the lead of the slug.  Way too many pards over crimp .45 auto.

 

Case mouth has to fall right at the point where the cylindrical body of the bullet turns into the nose section (where it starts to round over or go conical).   Leaving more than 0.010" of the cylindrical body exposed above the case mouth leads to rounds that fail to chamber fully.  Because the rifling in a 1911 starts within 0.010" to 0.020" in front of the chamber.

 

good luck, GJ

Forgot to mention these 45acp are for my revolver. If it makes a difference. I haven't looked back at them yet. After blowing my primer tube up, I haven't had the nerve to experiment yet:P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regardless of all past posts, here's my 2 cents. Over 15 yrs ago, Pecos Clyde told me to set up my Dillon 650 with a Dillon seating die & a Lee Factory Crimp die. The LFC die does a complete resizing of the case &  99 percent of my cartridges pass the case gauge test. Full resizing to the base. 

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

.45 auto - depends upon whether the revolver headspaces on the case mouth or a "clip" on the extractor groove.   A Ruger  single action which headspaces on case mouth - better have a taper crimp on the cartridge.  A Colt or Smith double action (1917 ?) using a half-moon clip, can be roll crimped if desired because headspace is established from the rear of the cylinder via the clip, but a taper will work too.

 

good luck, GJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.