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Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question

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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:30 am

As I am getting ready to start my reloading quest (likely in the New Year, as my attic is getting finished), I am collecting as much information as I can to prepare myself for success.
Friends recommended that I don't attempt to seat and crimp at once - check. I bought a separate Lee factory crimping die for the last operation.
I was able to buy lead SWC hollow point bullets from Zero - check.
I ordered a seating plug for the SWC bullets for my Lee die from RRPMI on Ebay - check.

Now come the next questions:
I read on this forum that it is very important to correctly bell/flare the case for seating of the lead bullets. Is there a recommended measurement for the size of the case flare for Zero R186 bullets?

Roze Distribution: 45 Acp (.452 Diameter) - 185 GR SWHP $ per 1000

Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question 186_me10

I plan to seat these bullets to .915" - .918" length as measured from the base of case to the bullet shoulder.
Are the any specific tricks to seating these bullets using a Lee press?

Best Regards,
Oleg.
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:01 am

Case expansion isn't press specific, but rather specific to your workflow and dies you use in the process.  With 3-hole turret press you probably can try using Lyman's M-die as a stand alone expander - https://www.lymanproducts.com/brands/lyman/dies-die-sets/pistol-die-sets/pistol-neck-expanding-m-dies

That would be less expensive option then using my Single Stage die kit in conjunction with 45-HTC PTU.  However if you would want to combine case expansion with powder drop, then using my parts would make more sense.

However once again, and based on your previous posts and questions related to reloading with 3-hole turret, defining workflow is extremely important.  Looks as you will need to use two -3-hole turrets for each caliber.  The first turret would have de-priming/sizing die on first station, m-die on second and case priming on the third.  Then second turret - powder drop, bullet seating and bullet crimping.

That is just my thoughts.  I'm sure others will chime in.

AP
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Post by Schaumannk on Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:19 am

I plan to seat these bullets to .915" - .918" length as measured from the base of case to the bullet shoulder.
Are the any specific tricks to seating these bullets using a Lee press?

Best Regards,
Oleg.




Your gun should dictate the seating depth.   Don’t pick the seating depth first.  Some guns have a short chamber and you won’t get good feeding with too long a shoulder.   Other guns when you load too little shoulder, the case mouth when crimped correctly will hang up when feeding and damage the mouth of the brass.  


Case length is also variable because brass shortens with use.   Therefore either measure for a consistent OAL or for distance between case mouth and shoulder, not from the base of the case to the shoulder.   That will drive you crazy.  


I think the Lee dies are fine.   Your expander die should create enough bell so that you can seat the bullet straight into the mouth of the case without shaving lead.   Too much bell and you will start ending up with cracked cases sooner rather than later.  

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Post by James Hensler on Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:38 am

People rarely mention this and it’s probably because they don’t know this happens with Lee Factory Crimp dies

Measure your bullet before to run it through the press. Let’s say it measures .452. Then run it through the press and then using a bullet pulling hammer type take the round apart. Now measure it again I bet the farm it will measure .446 to .447. Now to some people that’s ok but by making the bullet smaller accuracy suffers. So now what do we do???? Here’s the answer. Take the die apart and using an extension a socket ( can’t remember what size but it’s in your socket set) and a hammer. Insert the socket and extension into the die and hit it with the hammer and knock out the bottom ring. Now run a round through the press and take it apart. It will measure .452! Once you do this add the right amount of crimp and watch how accurate the round shoots!
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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:54 am

Alex,

Thanks. Good ideas. For workflow I plan the following:
Station 1 - depriming and resizing
Between Station 1 & 2 - priming using Lee safety prime, which is built into the press.
Station 2 - Case expander powder through die for case belling and powder charge
Station 3 - Bullet seating

Station 4, using a separate Lee APP single stage press and Lee factory crimping die, which I already ordered - crimping.

If the Lee die does not give me desired results, I will try your parts Smile

My question still stands - how exactly do I determine or measure the required case flare to seat the Zero bullet?

Shaumannk, goood point about the seating depth. I plan to start with replicating the rounds I already have, which shoot very well in my pistol. Once I am comfortable copying the round, I can venture into other refinements.
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Post by Wobbley on Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:56 am

Another reason to NOT USE  a Lee “Factory” crimp die.
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Post by Schaumannk on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:06 am

Your belling is going to vary with the length of the case you are expanding because your cases aren’t all the same length.   It needs to be enough so you are not shaving lead on your bullets.   This is a precise enough measurement.

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Post by James Hensler on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:08 am

Wobbley wrote:Another reason to NOT USE  a Lee “Factory” crimp die.
I still use my LFCD because I really like how it puts a thin consistent crimp when compared to others
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Post by James Hensler on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:10 am

Just on how much bell. I was always told to bell the the case only enough that when you place a bullet on top of the case its snug. And the bullet doesn’t wobble
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Post by Schaumannk on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:23 am

James Hensler wrote:Just on how much bell. I was always told to bell the the case only enough that when you place a bullet on top of the case its snug. And the bullet doesn’t wobble
Not to add too much information but I have found that if you want to get consistent seating, no lead shaving, tight upright stable bullets, and no reduction in bullet size, use a 454 Casull resizing die.

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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:23 am

James,

Thanks for the advice on the Lee factory crimp die. I still have no clue what exactly you are suggesting to knock out but I guess that it will become evident when I receive the die and actually look at it. Smile

Thanks, folks, I now understand that belling the case is not a matter of a specific measurement but is dependent on the case size and exactly how the bullet feels going into the case.
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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:26 am

OK, I will shut up now and wait until I can actually set up the press and run a few rounds through it and then test them at the range. Then I will figure out what I know and I what don't know. Smile (Not to mention what I don't know that I don't know...)
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Post by James Hensler on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:37 am

Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question 23145510
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question C42b5c10This is the tungsten ring and it’s located at the bottom of the die. Just knock it out from the other end of the die and yes it can be put back if needed.
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:44 am

Oleg,

I want to make two points and explain / expand on James' and Ashley suggestions.

Firstly - Lee FCD die.  I have it, but I do not use it in my workflow on progressive presses.  I have it on one of the turrets for individual tasks, i.e. bringing rounds that didn't pass gauge and may potentially create feeding issues (I use spare SARO 45 barrel and Shootersbox gauges).  Any round that went through FCD is relegated to training only for the reasons stated by James.  Accuracy of the ammo heavily depends on conditions and size of the base of the bullet.  FCD tends to swage bullet's base from original (i.e. 0.452") down by 0.005" or more.  That is where issue with accuracy comes from, as most common ID of the 45ACP barrel is about 0.452" +/- 0.0005" at the end of the chamber / start of the rifling, and then it is about 0.4500" +/-0.0005" at groove diameter for the length of the barrel.  Thus if the bullet is swaged to below 0.450" it doesn't make sufficient contact with rifling and subsequently accuracy suffers.  And this brings me to my second point, so......

Secondly - while FCD die swages bullet at the last operation, it is very important to understand the difference and relationship between case sizing, case belling / flaring with i.e. Lee Powder through die and case expansion with i.e. Lyman M-die.  Case sizing brings expanded case back to size where it can hold bullet.  Without case being sized first, bullet can be inserted by hand and set back to almost the bottom of the case.  Belling opens just a very small portion of the top of the case, while below the bell case remains sized to the level where bullet can't be inserted by hand, and must be pressed in by the seating die / process.  Now, we need to remember that brass as a material is harder then either cast and especially swaged lead.  Subsequently, with case only being belled, bullet's base once again is getting swaged during seating.  Outcome is the same as with using FCD.  Lyman M-die creates cylindrical pocket sized to the OD of the bullet, so it can be then inserted by hand to desired depth minus ~0.002", so there is enough neck tension to hold bullet from setting back.  Also, I personally crimp my rounds loaded with lead/coated to heavier level then those loaded with jacketed/plated, - 0.463" - 0.465" for lead, and 0.468" - 0.470" for jacketed / plated.

I hope, it makes sense.  Also, above is more prevalent to loading cast/swaged/coated bullets.  It is less so when loading jacketed / plated bullets, as copper has hardness in line with brass.

AP
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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:44 am

Thank you, Sir!!!
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:48 am

James Hensler wrote:
This is the tungsten ring and it’s located at the bottom of the die. Just knock it out from the other end of the die and yes it can be put back if needed.

James,
FCD in essence is sizing die with crimp option.  What you suggest is totally diminished the purpose of having FCD as it relegated die to only crimping. 

AP
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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:56 am

Alex, your post makes a lot of sense...
With that in mind, which of your products (or a combination) will allow me to replace the Lee expanding powder through die and still use the Lee auto disk powder measure that comes with my press kit?
If there is no such option, I may need to rethink my workflow to accommodate the Lyman M die...
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Post by James Hensler on Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:13 pm

Did you guys notice the M-Die in my picture
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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:41 pm

I gave this discussion some thought.

Question: how much do the considerations about decreased bullet size impact accuracy at 25 yards?
If the answer is none to negligible, I can focus first on making short line ammo using the Zero swaged bullets. I have a good stash of long line ammo with JHP bullets. Once I figure out the mechanics of producing reliable shot line ammo, I can focus on the art of making long line rounds.
However, if the decreased bullet size will impact 25 yards accuracy as well, then I will need to completely rethink my work flow.
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:48 pm

Oleg G wrote:Alex, your post makes a lot of sense...
With that in mind, which of your products (or a combination) will allow me to replace the Lee expanding powder through die and still use the Lee auto disk powder measure that comes with my press kit?
If there is no such option, I may need to rethink my workflow to accommodate the Lyman M die...
I'm not familiar with Lee Auto-Disk Powder Measure, Oleg.  If it allows for case activated powder drop, I doubt it would work with my parts.  Besides Lyman M-die would be quite inexpensive in comparison with my parts, especially taking to account workflow I envision. 

AP
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Post by James Hensler on Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:54 pm

Oleg G wrote:Alex, your post makes a lot of sense...
With that in mind, which of your products (or a combination) will allow me to replace the Lee expanding powder through die and still use the Lee auto disk powder measure that comes with my press kit?
If there is no such option, I may need to rethink my workflow to accommodate the Lyman M die...
Unless it’s all you have don’t use the auto disk. Get an auto drum
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Post by Wes Lorenz on Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:49 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:
Oleg G wrote:Alex, your post makes a lot of sense...
With that in mind, which of your products (or a combination) will allow me to replace the Lee expanding powder through die and still use the Lee auto disk powder measure that comes with my press kit?
If there is no such option, I may need to rethink my workflow to accommodate the Lyman M die...
I'm not familiar with Lee Auto-Disk Powder Measure, Oleg.  If it allows for case activated powder drop, I doubt it would work with my parts.  Besides Lyman M-die would be quite inexpensive in comparison with my parts, especially taking to account workflow I envision. 

AP
Hi Oleg,
Just thought I'd do a pictorial to show what Alex is communicating. He could make M-die expanders if he wanted, hint-hint.
I use both sizer and Lee FCD in .45 colt.

Calibrating the caliper (old beaters)
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question Calibr10

A10 tool steel custom M-die expander - 1st step for LSWC's
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question M_die211

Custom M-die expander - 2nd step for LSWC's (equivalent/better than a flare)
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question M_die10

LSWC is seated with finger pressure about .100" into case. Then completely seated in the seating die.
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question Bullet10

Picture of a LSWC removed after being crimped using a Lee FCD (with carbide ring intact).
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question Remove10

Hope this helps,
Wes

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Post by fc60 on Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:07 pm

Greetings Oleg,

Kate's suggestion of using a 454 Casull sizing die is spot on.

Most of the off shelf Carbide sizing dies are "one size fits all".

The now defunct Shockey (Perfection) and LifeTyme carbide sizing dies usually sized the fired case to an outside diameter 0.470". This worked well with most brands of brass with the exception of early R-P and Western, which have thinner case walls.

As an experiment, size a piece of your brass, flare the mouth, and seat a jacketed bullet with no crimp.

Now measure the outside diameter of the loaded round where the bullet sits.

Compare this dimension to the diameter of a sized only case.

I suspect your sized cases will measure 0.466" to 0.468".

A loaded round tends to measure 0.471" to 0.472", varying with the bullet diameter used.

Most of the Lee Precision 45 Colt Carbide sizing dies will size a piece of brass to 0.469" to 0.470".

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:17 pm

Wes Lorenz wrote:
PhotoEscape wrote:Hi Oleg,
Just thought I'd do a pictorial to show what Alex is communicating. He could make M-die expanders if he wanted, hint-hint.
I use both sizer and Lee FCD in .45 colt.

Custom M-die expander - 2nd step for LSWC's (equivalent/better than a flare)
Lead SWC Bullets: Case belling and seating question M_die10
Thank you Wes!
One picture is better than thousand words!  And your old beater caliper is right on the money, - 0.4545" is exactly what second step should be for 0.452" bullet. 

I just want to make one clarification or rather drawing attention to particular words in your post, so Oleg and others don't get confused about sizing and FCD dies.  Sizer and FCD for 45 Colt and same dies for 45 ACP have very minor ID differences, - Lee has two different sets of dies for these calibers.  However such differences are sufficient to address brass thickness of the 45 ACP cases loaded with 0.452" projectiles without swaging base of the bullet.

To make it short FCD for 45 Colt ISN'T the same as FCD for 45ACP!

AP
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Post by Oleg G on Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:18 pm

Guys,

Thanks a lot for this terrific help. I have been thinking of dies and workflows (and cabbages and kings...)
I have a Lee 1000 3-hole progressive press and
Lee new APP press, which is essentially a single stage press with some automation features built it.

The setup I now evision is something like this:
1. APP press set up for decapping and sizing brass. I can prep as many cases as I need before proceeding to the next step. Question - is this where I need to use the 454 Casul sizing die? If so, can I use  this die for both decapping and sizing?
2. First station of the Lee 1000 press - Lyman .45 ACP Pistol Neck Expading M die.
3. Second station - priming and Lee Powder Through expanding die, used only to charge the cases with powder, no expansion.
4. Third station - Lee seating and crimping die with the custom seating plug for SWC bullets used for seating only, no crimping.
5. APP press set up for crimping. What crimping die should I buy for this station, if Lee Factory seating Die is not the best option?

Please let me know, if this set up is a reasonable compromise. It will require only infrequent changes to APP setup between decapping/sizing and crimping.

Best Regards,
Oleg.
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