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This is a discussion on bullet seating within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Yep I'm back with yet another rookie question, but it's making me mental!!! When I'm seating a 64gr Nosler BSB which has a lead tip, ...


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Old May 14th, 2017, 02:50 AM   #1
 
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bullet seating

Yep I'm back with yet another rookie question, but it's making me mental!!!
When I'm seating a 64gr Nosler BSB which has a lead tip, or a 62 gr Nosler Varmageddon hollow point, in order to get ALL the bullets seated to the EXACT SAME seating depth I would have to walk EVERY bullet down to the correct depth, I can't just walk one or two bullets down to the manual spec and get the rest of the bullets in that lot to seat EXACTLY the same.. I have a RCBS Competition Die set to get these bullets as close to uniform as possible.What is an acceptable variance in seating depth?? + or - what around the manual's spec? These bullets at a close inspection show differences in the finished tip. Which I'm sure is causing the different COAL readings.



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Old May 14th, 2017, 07:59 AM   #2
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Measure the length of the bullets prior to seating, just grab a handful out of the box. Most bullets will vary a few thousandths in length, mainly due to the tip (I have some premium "match" bullets that have a ragged mouth of the HP, but they shoot beautifully). While I don''t use one, a seating die that seats with the stem on the ogive of the bullet will be more consistent, and measuring with a tool that measures the ogive to head dimension will be more accurate/consistent also.

How much variation are you getting? I understand wanting "perfect" reloads, but some things are much less important than others (bullet to lands settings are waaay down the list of accuracy aspects for me)...

Last edited by mdi; May 14th, 2017 at 08:02 AM.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 08:14 AM   #3
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28points, Many years ago I bought a nifty tool from Hornady called a "Bullet Comparator". It mounts in a dial or digital caliper and comes with six different inserts for different popular diameter bullets. Here's a link: Hornady Manufacturing Company :: Reloading :: Metallic Reloading :: Tools & Gauges :: Lock-N-Load Gauges-Formerly Stoney Point :: Bullet Comparators :: Bullet Comparator Kits :: Lock-N-LoadŽ .224-.308 Comparator Set With 6 Bullet Inserts

This tool measures from the bullet's ogive to the base of the brass rather than the bullet tip. The ogive is the diameter between the lands of the bore .... about .008" smaller than bullet diameter. This is the most consistent place on a loaded cartridge because that's where the bullet seating die touches when you seat a bullet. You're right .... the length of a bullet can vary considerably because the lead tips are not very uniform.

So what I do is .... test select a bullet that has a good tip then set the bullet seating die where I get the exact COL listed in the reloading manual. From there I use the Hornady Bullet Comparator to measure that cartridge and the rest of the loaded cartridges in the batch. +or- .005" is an acceptable variation but I've found the tighter the variance, the better accuracy will be. Of course the length measured with the Bullet Comparator is shorter than the COL but the measured lengths are very uniform .... +or- .002" is easy to maintain.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 08:22 AM   #4
 
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Most brass and bullets are a consistent size. Measure a few to determine if yours are consistently close. If not consistent, many trim the brass to get a uniform length. Without uniform length, you can not seat the bullet to a consistent COL.

Do the same for the bullets. Unfortuneately, I know of no such fix for the bullets.

Small amounts of COL variance is to be expected and is usually no big deal to accuracy. But is your rifle is picky about bullet jump (too short) or is already sitting on the lands(too long), you may have some issues.

Go for accuracy tests before you get too O/C. As David Bradshaw often says, The proof is in the target.


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Old May 14th, 2017, 10:24 AM   #5
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Prescut, Case length has nothing to do with cartridge overall length .... it's strictly how you have your bullet seater die adjusted.

28points*had reported in another post about excessive pressure signs with his primers. As it turns out, bullet seating depth is the very reason for his primer issues so resolving the variation in bullet seating depth is important to him.

What is critical is the distance from the bullet's ogive to the start of the lands and grooves (leade). When a cartridge is chambered and the ogive of the bullet touches the lands, pressure will increase dramatically. If the distance to the lands is too far, the bullet will suffer damage as it collides with the leade and chamber pressure will increase due to less case capacity. When the distance is just right, pressure will not increase and the bullet will not be damaged as it starts down the bore. This will provide optimum accuracy while maintaining safe chamber pressures.

COL to the tip of the bullet does count .... but only because the magazine will not feed if cartridges are too long. Other than keeping the magazine happy, the tip of the bullet is not in the formula .... it never touches the bore. It's the location of the ogive that really matters because the ogive is the first part of the bullet to contact the lands and grooves. The procedure in my previous post using a caliper mounted Hornady Bullet Comparator is the best way to deal with bullet seating depth.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 02:42 PM   #6
 
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WEll thank you Iowegan... I'm ordering the tool today. And I did reduce my Varget charge, and set the bullet to 2.175 as YOU and the manual told me. The 20 rounds I tested shot more accurately and had no pressure signs. My stupid way of thinking let me believe to follow the .223 schematic of the bullet on the first page of the .223 chapter in the new Nosler manual. I see the COAL is for bullets are very different. Its my dumb fault for not reading more thoroughly, which in this hobby can be disastrous!! Thank YOU AGAIN!!!
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Old May 14th, 2017, 04:04 PM   #7
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28points, You're quite welcome! The Nosler manual is my least favorite when it comes to being obvious about COL or other bullet unique issues. The chart for your specific bullet shows a max SAAMI length of 2.260" (upper right hand corner) then shows a "tested OACL" of 2.175" so it's no wonder why it is so confusing. Nosler also likes to make up their own acronyms .... like OACL, which stands for Overall Cartridge Length. COL is a much better acronym .... overall is one word, not two. Of course there are other acronyms that are just as bad .... like Speer's COAL. Makes me wonder if the authors took English classes in school???

I think you will enjoy using the Hornady "Bullet Comparator". It is a very simple tool but works great. I'll bet your COLs weren't as far off as you thought when measured at the ogive. If you nudged the bullets a bit deeper so the measurement at the tip was uniform, the ogive measurements would be off.

You're right .... this hobby can be disastrous. You were very fortunate that you had warnings and didn't continue without checking out the reason for the blown primers. BTW, standard rifle primers are made to withstand pressures up to 65k psi so I'm guessing your pressures were notably higher. Some lesser quality rifles may not have held together at these increased pressure levels.
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Old May 15th, 2017, 01:49 AM   #8
 
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holly crap!! it's amazing that so small of a difference will yield such a huge increase further down the line. but I guess the difference between 2.260 & 2.175 is not small. I'm going to look into the Speer manual as well. Can I pull bullets on all ready loaded rounds WITH OUT damaging the bullet? I have about 50 I would like to drop the charge down to 24.5 gr of varget.
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Old May 15th, 2017, 06:28 AM   #9
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28points, Yes, you can use a kinetic bullet puller with something soft pushed into the body of the puller. I use a small piece of doe skin but cloth will work. This will help make a soft landing so the noses of your bullets don't get distorted.

Just a word of caution .... always use the same brand of reloading manual as your bullets. As evidenced by your first attempt, every bullet has a factory recommended seating depth (COL) and if you use load data from one manual and a bullet from another, results could be way worse than you experienced with your primers.

BTW, my Speer #14 doesn't have a 64gr bullet .... 62gr is the closest and I've found them to be very accurate in my AR556. Speer doesn't list a load for Varget powder with this bullet but I found 24.7gr works just great. COL with the Speer 62gr bullet is 2.255".
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Old May 15th, 2017, 12:41 PM   #10
 
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And thank you AGAIN!! looks like another tool is going to be added to my growing collection.
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Old May 18th, 2017, 06:36 PM   #11
 
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Just want to add that the micrometer seating dies are only useful to RETURN to the same setting. The seating stem contact to the bullet and the case head in the shell holder are ALL that matter. You could have a $10,000 micrometer, and seating consistency would not be improved.
Better to spend a little money for a better fitting custom seating stem than to spend money for a micrometer that is not contributing to anything but letting you return CLOSE to where you were before. I get seating stems that touch down the ogive further than normal and don't contact the meplat at all.
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Old May 20th, 2017, 04:57 PM   #12
 
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noylj, thank you for the seating stem input that also makes a lot of sense to me. I will be checking into that as a new component as well.
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