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Lots of gauge failures with Redding comp seating die and Blue Bullets 147 RN


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I recently added a Redding competition seating die to my XL750 so I could switch bullets and COALs more easily. The first batch of ammo I made with the new die used the 147gr RN (.355) from Blue Bullets at about 1.135", and I experienced a huge number of case gauge failures. I previously experienced some case-gauging issues (but not this many!) when loading these bullets for my short-leade Shadow 2 at around 1.08" with the Dillon seating die, but I attributed that to seating long bullets so deep in the case. Since these bullets didn't work well with my CZ, I've been loading them longer for my Glock. Nearly all of the rounds that fail my case gauges (Armanov hundo-type and EGW 7-round) drop into the Glock's barrel just fine. 

 

I tried marking the rounds before gauging, but there's no definitive mark left behind, other than (maybe) light scratches where the base of the bullet bulges the case slightly. I *think* the bullets aren't being seated exactly straight, leading to a slightly larger bulge on one side of the case. I tried upgrading from the Dillon powder funnel to the SSI Alpha Dropper funnel, which made placing the bullet a lot easier using a lot less bell, but didn't affect the seating as far as I could tell.

 

I've made dummy cartridges at COALs from about 1.11 to 1.14 and the issue persists. However, the following bullets all gauge fine with the same seating die at comparable lengths:

 

SNS 147gr RN

Ibejiheads 147gr FP

SNS 135gr RN

Blue Bullets 135gr TC (.356)

 

The 147gr RN Blue Bullets look to be symmetric, and are exactly .355 past the ogive to the bullet base, so there's no indication this is a bad batch. Perhaps this bullet profile just doesn't work well with the Redding die? Or maybe I'm doing something else wrong? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

 

Here's the full setup:

XL750

Dillon sizing and crimping dies (~.377-.378 crimp)

SSI Alpha Dropper funnel (belling to ~.383)

Redding Competition micrometer seating die

No bullet feeder

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Not sure how you installed the die, but this video is the one I used when installing the Redding die.  I have zero issues.  Maybe too large of a bell when seating the bullet is the issue.  Way better than Dillon Die in regards to changing OAL.

 

youtube.com/watch?v=fWkoDoFBH7I&t=107s

 

 

Edited by Boomstick303
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My experience with the Redding Comp Seating die for 9mm and 40SW was exactly the same, basically a  lot of money for bad results. I found the Hornady Seating die the best for guiding the bullet straight into the case and it cost substantially less. Even the Dillon seating die worked better than the Redding.

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1 minute ago, HesedTech said:

My experience with the Redding Comp Seating die for 9mm and 40SW was exactly the same, basically a  lot of money for bad results. I found the Hornady Seating die the best for guiding the bullet straight into the case and it cost substantially less. Even the Dillon seating die worked better than the Redding.

 

Ugh, that's disappointing. It's supposed to excel at straightening the bullet before seating. I bought it mostly for the micrometer (which I like), but so far it seems my Dillon seated straighter and with less COAL variance.

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6 minutes ago, Boomstick303 said:

Not sure how you installed the die, but this video is the one I used when installing the Redding die.  I have zero issues.  Maybe too large of a bell when seating the bullet is the issue>

 

youtube.com/watch?v=fWkoDoFBH7I&t=107s

 

 

 

Thanks, that's really helpful! I'm not sure of that's the issue since I substantially decreased the belling when I switched to the Alpha Dropper funnel, but I hadn't tried tailoring the bell to the seating die's body.

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Well... You changed two things at the same time. Seat back to your short load, load a dummy or a few, and see if you get a better passing percentage.

It could be just the profile of the blue bullet needs a deeper seating depth. Oal really only matters for getting things to fit a certain space like a magazine. Once they're in the barrel, the limiting dimension is CBTO (case/cartridge base to ogive) or, from the base, to where the bullet contacts the rifling. Bullets can be the same length but have a different profile, even if they look the same, and need different seating depths to clear. This is also barrel dependant, because chambers aren't all cut the same. From what I'm understanding, this seems to be your case. Various other bullets fit at a similar oal, but not this one.

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4 minutes ago, nhyrum said:

Well... You changed two things at the same time. Seat back to your short load, load a dummy or a few, and see if you get a better passing percentage.

It could be just the profile of the blue bullet needs a deeper seating depth. Oal really only matters for getting things to fit a certain space like a magazine. Once they're in the barrel, the limiting dimension is CBTO (case/cartridge base to ogive) or, from the base, to where the bullet contacts the rifling. Bullets can be the same length but have a different profile, even if they look the same, and need different seating depths to clear. This is also barrel dependant, because chambers aren't all cut the same. From what I'm understanding, this seems to be your case. Various other bullets fit at a similar oal, but not this one.

 

I'm not having trouble with the OAL in general. The Glock leade is very generous and will accept this bullet profile at OALs longer than the magazines would allow. The CZ required a really short OAL with this bullet profile, but I can seat the SNS 147 RNs longer.

 

The issues I'm having now are with case gauges, where OAL shouldn't be a factor (within reason). The offending rounds chamber fine in the Glock and seem accurate enough, but I'm trying to figure out why I can't get these rounds to gauge reliably. I've varied the OAL substantially when making dummy rounds, and the problem seems to happen only with this particular bullet. 

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I'm not having trouble with the OAL in general. The Glock leade is very generous and will accept this bullet profile at OALs longer than the magazines would allow. The CZ required a really short OAL with this bullet profile, but I can seat the SNS 147 RNs longer.
 
The issues I'm having now are with case gauges, where OAL shouldn't be a factor (within reason). The offending rounds chamber fine in the Glock and seem accurate enough, but I'm trying to figure out why I can't get these rounds to gauge reliably. I've varied the OAL substantially when making dummy rounds, and the problem seems to happen only with this particular bullet. 
Gotcha. I misunderstood. Carry on

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4 minutes ago, slowhands said:

and the problem seems to happen only with this particular bullet. 

 

Have you measured the bullets yourself or are you just stating the manufacturer's measurements in the original post?  Are they out of round possibly?  Bullets can come to you out of spec.  Just something to verify before pulling your hair out.

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Just now, Boomstick303 said:

 

Have you measured the bullets yourself or are you just stating the manufacturer's measurements in the original post?  Are they out of round possibly?  Bullets can come to you out of spec.  Just something to verify before pulling your hair out.

 

The bullets I measured were consistently .355 from the base up to ogive. But I'll measure some more samples before loading them just to be sure.

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I have this seating die for my 9 and 40 and use it with great success. However these dies are seating dies only and does not fully remove the bell on the cartridge case. I crimp separate and don’t have any issues related to seating the bullet.


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1. I've had very good luck with the 9mm Redding competition die seating bullets straight.

 

2. If the rounds fit your barrel, there is no need for them to fit the case gauge.  We get so many people on here trying to make the rounds fit the gauge, when it doesn't matter if they fit the gauge. It only matters if they fit the barrel. Yes, I know the arguments for using a gauge - if they fit the gauge they'll fit everything - but even that is not always true. Some people have found that they fit the gauge but not the chamber. Thus it comes down to the bottom line that the important thing is for the ammo to fit the barrel. It does not matter if they fit the gauge. 

 

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24 minutes ago, superdude said:

2. If the rounds fit your barrel, there is no need for them to fit the case gauge.  We get so many people on here trying to make the rounds fit the gauge, when it doesn't matter if they fit the gauge. It only matters if they fit the barrel. Yes, I know the arguments for using a gauge - if they fit the gauge they'll fit everything - but even that is not always true. Some people have found that they fit the gauge but not the chamber. Thus it comes down to the bottom line that the important thing is for the ammo to fit the barrel. It does not matter if they fit the gauge. 

 

 

Yeah, I know it doesn't really matter, but using a hundo-type gauge is a lot faster. And mostly, I just want to figure out why this is happening to rule out an underlying problem.

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I just pulled the spring out of die, as I've seen recommended as a solution to OAL variability. On a small sample, it seems to tighten up the OAL range substantially, but I'll need to do a larger run to confirm. In any case, removing the spring doesn't seem to affect gauging: the BB 147 RNs still fail, and the other bullets gauge perfectly.

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slowhands,

I have posted about my experience with the same die and the same problem, it was with a different bullet. My problem has been ONLY with coated bullets so far. I have read suggestions to remove the spring. I frustration I cleared the bench and made up some dummy rounds of long time favorite loads with FMJ bullets, hdy and everglades, the problem doesn't exist with those bullets. I don't think I was getting crooked started bullets, I had no bulging but large variation in COAL. I am using different seat die for now.

If I figure it out I will blab about it.

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4 minutes ago, slowhands said:

I just pulled the spring out of die, as I've seen recommended as a solution to OAL variability. On a small sample, it seems to tighten up the OAL range substantially, but I'll need to do a larger run to confirm. In any case, removing the spring doesn't seem to affect gauging: the BB 147 RNs still fail, and the other bullets gauge perfectly.

I've had many years of excellent results from the Redding Pro Micrometer Seating Die!

 

Also, having went through the powder funnel dilemma and trying several different avenues including the Alpha Dropper, IMO there is no way that the Alpha Dropper will provide the STABILITY when seating a bullet as the MBF powder funnel will!  The profile of the Alpha is almost identical to the stock Dillon XL650/750 funnel.  The MBF will create an EXPANDED mouth in the brass versus a flared/bell type.

 

And yes, the stock Dillon and the Alpha funnels are being used by hundreds of reloaders loading different bullets/profiles successively. 

 

I had pulled my hair out trying to overcome the setbacks of loading different manufacturers coated lead bullets until I discovered the results of the MBF funnel.  This thread gives some feedback on its use:

 

https://forums.brianenos.com/topic/205711-fix-for-shaving-lead-bullets/

 

IMO, if your having gauging problems with only the BB 147RNs, then I would gauge a few right after they came out of the seater (no crimp) and compare to how they gauge after coming out of the Crimping Die.

 

HTHs, and Good Luck!

 

 

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8 minutes ago, HOGRIDER said:

I've had many years of excellent results from the Redding Pro Micrometer Seating Die!

 

Also, having went through the powder funnel dilemma and trying several different avenues including the Alpha Dropper, IMO there is no way that the Alpha Dropper will provide the STABILITY when seating a bullet as the MBF powder funnel will!  The profile of the Alpha is almost identical to the stock Dillon XL650/750 funnel.  The MBF will create an EXPANDED mouth in the brass versus a flared/bell type.

 

Thanks for the advice! I haven't used the MBF funnel so I can't comment on that, but I've found that it's a lot easier to place bullets with the Alpha Dropper compared to the Dillon. With the Dillon, I was belling to at least .390 and still having the coating being shaved and bullets tip over. With the Alpha Dropper, I'm belling at .383 (and could probably get away with less) and I can place the bullet almost straight. I pulled a seated and crimped SNS bullet for inspection, and there was no damage to the coating, and just a faint impression from seating/crimping.

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22 minutes ago, slowhands said:

 

Thanks for the advice! I haven't used the MBF funnel so I can't comment on that, but I've found that it's a lot easier to place bullets with the Alpha Dropper compared to the Dillon. With the Dillon, I was belling to at least .390 and still having the coating being shaved and bullets tip over. With the Alpha Dropper, I'm belling at .383 (and could probably get away with less) and I can place the bullet almost straight. I pulled a seated and crimped SNS bullet for inspection, and there was no damage to the coating, and just a faint impression from seating/crimping.

If you'll notice the empty brass I have circled in red, you can clearly see the "step" for bullet seating that is created by the MBF funnel.

 

This step was created for .356" coated lead and DID NOT require any "belling" of the MBF funnel.  All the stock MBF funnels I've got have the upper step machined to .358".  This has provided plenty of clearance to seat a coated bullet without any or minor flare.

 

Bayou135-2.png

 

 

Here's a good profile pic of the Alpha Dropper that I tried in the RL1100, and it shows a great view of the profile and type of expansion it creates.

 

Alpha Stick.png

 

 

And finally a good profile view that includes the MBF funnel in the center, and the Alpha Dropper on the right.

 

Powder Funnel Dims.png

 

👍

Edited by HOGRIDER
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7 minutes ago, HOGRIDER said:

If you'll notice the empty brass I have circled in red, you can clearly see the "step" for bullet seating that is created by the MBF funnel.

 

This step was created for .356" coated lead and DID NOT require any "belling" of the MBF funnel.  All the stock MBF funnels I've got have the upper step machined to .358".  This has provided plenty of clearance to seat a coated bullet without any or minor flare.

 

Ah, that's interesting. I had never noticed that step in the MBF profile.

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Brass?

 

I am another one of those 'used 9mm comp die forever & no issues' people.

 

On the spring, Redding will tell you that there is no problem pulling it if you have any concern, they suggested it to me as something to play with when I called them and talked about use with bare lead or coated bullets. 

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9 minutes ago, IHAVEGAS said:

Brass?

 

I can't find any correlation with the brass. Happens with FC, Win, R-P, etc. I've got an abundance of brass right now so I put aside the more problematic headstamps to be used only if I'm desperate. 

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I use the MBF Powder funnel, and the Redding Seating Die with 147 gr Gallant coated bullets without issue.  Maybe the Alpha Dropper is the issue? 

 

I will say that I do pre-expand my cases with a Redding Premium Expander Die in station 3.  

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6 minutes ago, Boomstick303 said:

I use the MBF Powder funnel, and the Redding Seating Die with 147 gr Gallant coated bullets without issue.  Maybe the Alpha Dropper is the issue? 

 

I added the Alpha Dropper a couple weeks after the Redding die to see if better expansion would help with the problem. I might have to put the Dillon seating die back just to confirm it isn't some other issue. 

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Try adding a couple thou more crimp just to see if that does anything and check there's no shavings in front of the case mouth.  Those are common causes of mystery doesn't-quite-gauge-failures (fails way out are more likely to be concentricty or not enough resizing).  If you have a Shockbottle hundo you can send dummy ammo in to be inspected and measured against spec.

 

 

 

 

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