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Bulged cases on 9mm major loads


Reloader98
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Hello everyone, 

so I’ve been making a good load for 9mm major and have the seating depth, crimp, and preferred load all down. 

My issue is with my Dillon XL650 reloading press, I have the Dillon dies. 
 

Load:

-Starline virgin brass

- Montana gold 124 gr JHP 

-6.9 gr Winchester Autocomp 

-CCI small pistol primer

-seating depth: approximately 1.160”

 

my issue is that the bulge on about half the case, I think, is from the bullet going in crooked while seating, but I have sufficient belling on my cases before seating, or so it looks to me. This bulging is causing the seating depth to become inconsistent, varying between .002 - .005off between some rounds. 
 

Is this a die issue? A bullet issue? Flare issue? Belling issue. I can’t seem to figure it out. All the ammo shoots fine, but my seating depth is varying between loads, and they honestly look a little crooked, to me at least. 
 

* also, if I measure one loaded round, twist it a little in the caliper arms, most of them have a different measurement after being twisted slightly, making me thing bullets are seating crooked. 
 

I’ve listed a link below to pictures of the loaded rounds and one belled case. 
 

photos: 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WyfDPTsvXaPqkMZs5 

 

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Inside the seating die is a reversible stem, rounded & flat.  Did you flip it to have the flat stem set the bullet since you're loading HP?

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31 minutes ago, BJB said:

Inside the seating die is a reversible stem, rounded & flat.  Did you flip it to have the flat stem set the bullet since you're loading HP?

Yes, the flat stem is set for loading the JHP bullets, I’m pretty sure it should be that way, I’ll if Montana gold needs to be different though. 

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9 minutes ago, workingmanjeff said:

So I had similar issue with "bullet straightness" going into the case with the standard Dillon seating die.  I switched to a Redding competition seating die and problem went away. Its design seems to make the bullet go in straighter 

Not a bad idea, I hate having to loosen lock rocks and turning the die just to change seating depth, might look for a Lee seating die. 

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1 hour ago, Furrly said:

What sizing die are you using... Do the bullets plunk into your barrel easily?? 

They all plunk well, I figured out that issue in another post about seating depth problems I was having, and that was an obvious  fix (go figure). But I’m using the Dillon precision sizing die, which is slightly undersized, as all Dillon dies are, you think that could be a possible culprit? 

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1 hour ago, superdude said:

Wow, thanks for that article superdude, that was VERY interesting, I’m wondering how velocity changed with crooked seated bullets in his tests, if he had measured them that is. Goes to show I guess it doesn’t matter what bullet alignment the round has, for pistols at least. 
the test round I loaded for my 9 major loads were very accurate at ten yards when fired freestyle, so maybe it doesn’t really matter?  
 

I still have the issue with inconsistent seating depth, it didn’t seem like he had that issue though. 
 

thanks for that super article superdude. 

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43 minutes ago, Reloader98 said:

They all plunk well, I figured out that issue in another post about seating depth problems I was having, and that was an obvious  fix (go figure). But I’m using the Dillon precision sizing die, which is slightly undersized, as all Dillon dies are, you think that could be a possible culprit? 

As long as your rounds plunk your fine.. However I would make sure your not getting bullet set back, I've had that experience with dillion sizing dies, I tossed them. 

 

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Listen to workingmanjeff's advice. The Redding micrometer seating die starts the bullet straight into the case from the start.  This is an obsession with bench rest rifle shooters and the same concept can carry over to reloading for pistol.  I use the Redding micrometer seater for all the pistol calibers I reload.

 

Michael

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15 minutes ago, mikedio said:

Listen to workingmanjeff's advice. The Redding micrometer seating die starts the bullet straight into the case from the start.  This is an obsession with bench rest rifle shooters and the same concept can carry over to reloading for pistol.  I use the Redding micrometer seater for all the pistol calibers I reload.

 

Michael

That die sounds like a great idea, the article posted by superdude really has me conflicted now, in the article the writer intentionally tested crooked, straight, seated bullets in Dillon dies and used a Redding seating, along with a Lyman M die. Test all of them, and the results were null, the differences were negligible, along with, in his test, the crooked bullets, oddly shot better than most. 
 

great read, I highly suggest reading it. 
 

My bullets shoot well, but seating depth is a little inconsistent (.002-.006, I don’t know if it’s worth spending $80-$100 on a new die for. 

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13 minutes ago, Reloader98 said:

 

My bullets shoot well, but seating depth is a little inconsistent (.002-.006, I don’t know if it’s worth spending $80-$100 on a new die for. 

 

There's almost always a little variation in seating depth. Sometimes it's minor differences in the bullet nose. There's not much you can do about that. Progressive presses are more inclined to produce variation as well since there is a lot of stuff going on that can affect shellplate tilt. 

 

I would not be concerned with .002-.006 variation.  If the rounds fit, feed and shoot well for you, there's no need to change anything. 

 

If there is any change in accuracy with .002-.006 variation, and I doubt there is a meaningful change, you would need a super-accurate gun, super accurate ammo, and test it in a Ransom Rest. And the difference would likely be in fractions of an inch, or otherwise a meaningless difference.

 

Even when accuracy testing, group sizes will differ with the same ammo. This makes it challenging to see minor differences in ammo even under the best of conditions. 

 

Here's an article on looking at group size that you might find of interest:

 

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2019/9/25/accuracy-testing-shortcomings-of-the-five-shot-group/

 

 

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I also use the Redding Pro Micrometer Seating and Crimp dies.  They definitely help create excellent bullet alignment in the case.  However, IMO, that bullet has to have the proper "seat" for bullet placement prior to the seating die.  That's where the MBF type powder funnel comes in as sold by DAA, Uniquetek, and Photo Escape!

 

https://www.photoescapeinc.com/products/powder-funnel.html

 

https://www.uniquetek.com/product/T1582

 

Related post for examples:

 

👍

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, 4n2t0 said:

MBF powder funnel.

 

This ^^^^^^.  Will definitely solve the problem.  Adjust so there is no bell at all, or a miniscule one if using coated bullets.  Bullets will drop in straight and remain vertical when the shell plate rotates.  Best $35 you'll spend on the press.  

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I had same issue with MG JHPs and Dillon Seating Die. Problem is the seating stem. It needs to be modified.

 

Flipped or not it will touch the top of the bullet when seating and will not align or hold it it properly during seating operation.

 

You have to Drill the center out and then put seating stem in drill, Wrap some sand paper around the ogive on the bullet and make seating stem to conform to the contour of the bullet.

 

I have some pictures.... but I need to find them.

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OP,

Lots of people have loaded MG bullets on the ol'650 using Dillon dies, including me.  While other dies, modification of seating stem, etc. may improve your reloading experience, these aren't 100% necessary.

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Lots of threads on this subject and the solutions are the same, MBF powder funnel or equivalent which both bells and necks the case to allow the bullet to be pushed straight into the brass.

 

In my opinion the Comp seating die is way to expensive and over kill for loading practical pistol bullets. Hornady is less expensive and does a great job if you want the collar.  
 

Also if the cartridge “plunks” it will shoot with adequate accuracy. 
 

Also this is not precision rifle loading and small variances in OAL are normal in a progressive press. 

Edited by HesedTech
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21 hours ago, zzt said:

 

This ^^^^^^.  Will definitely solve the problem.  Adjust so there is no bell at all, or a miniscule one if using coated bullets.  Bullets will drop in straight and remain vertical when the shell plate rotates.  Best $35 you'll spend on the press.  


Thanks for this reminder guys - Meant to order me a MBF powder funnel about a month ago and forgot to follow thru…Seeing this I ordered two this morning from DAA……Mark

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