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Another 38 Special reloading question! (a weird one)

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jwax
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Post by mspingeld 11/17/2022, 8:39 am

Starline brass, Zero HBWC, Photo Escape expander (.360"), Redding seating die with wadcutter (flat) insert.

Sometimes, when I seat the bullet, the round comes out of the die and the bullet is sticking up between ~1/8" and ~1/2". At first I thought, "this is impossible". There are no moving parts in the seating die, if the round is inserted fully into the die there's no room between the case mouth and the seating die insert. Then I realized what's happening. The bullet is being fully seated and then pulled back out! If I take the die apart, there's lead in it and, if I clean it out, it'll work fine again...for a while. It seems I'm shaving lead and it's accumulating in the die. Alex (PhotoEscape) says the Zero bullet is .358" so I should be expanding enough although the bullet only goes in about 1/8" easily by hand before seating. I do lube the inside of the brass before loading or else it's really difficult to get the brass off the expanding die.

Anybody else have this issue? Any solutions?

Thanks!

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Post by BE Mike 11/17/2022, 9:09 am

My seating stem for my .38 SPL wadcutters has been ground down to be a smooth, flat surface.
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Post by mspingeld 11/17/2022, 9:25 am

@BE Mike, When I got the seating die I spoke to Redding. They sent me (at no charge) a seating stem with a flat surface specifically for wadcutters. It's not highly polished but it is flat.

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Post by PhotoEscape 11/17/2022, 10:27 am

Mike,

Issue boils down to lube that is found on bullets.  As little as it is there on Zeros (in comparison with i.e. Remington's) accumulation still occurs, and that's what causing bullets pulled back out on extraction from the die.  Compound this with extra expansion due to using PTU sized for larger OD and force for pulling bullet out is even lesser.
Seating die must be cleaned periodically, - you can determine frequency by counting rounds from previous cleaning to the point when bullets start to come out.  However there is no need to take die apart.  Shortened and flattened chopstick from your favorite chinese restaurant and q-tip is all you need.

That's what I do, even though is use properly sized expanders.  There is also another side of this problem, although it is more prevalent when I load Remington HBWC.  If seating die isn't cleaned, build up over time accumulates on the face of the seating steam, and bullets are getting pushed deeper in the case.

AP
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Post by fc60 11/17/2022, 1:00 pm

Greetings,

I had a similar issue.

Turns out that the bullet compressed the air in the case and when the tool head retracted the air pressure inside the case pushed the bullet out.

On some cartridges, you could actually watch the bullet rise in the case.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Jon Eulette 11/17/2022, 2:15 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

I had a similar issue.

Turns out that the bullet compressed the air in the case and when the tool head retracted the air pressure inside the case pushed the bullet out.

On some cartridges, you could actually watch the bullet rise in the case.

Cheers,

Dave
Assuming seating only operation and taper crimp would be next operation?
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Post by mspingeld 11/17/2022, 2:16 pm

Correct Jon. Crimping in separate stage.

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Post by PhotoEscape 11/17/2022, 5:03 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

I had a similar issue.

Turns out that the bullet compressed the air in the case and when the tool head retracted the air pressure inside the case pushed the bullet out.

On some cartridges, you could actually watch the bullet rise in the case.

Cheers,

Dave
Valid point and should be taken to consideration.  Although, I don't think, it is applicable to OP's case.  He doesn't use fire-formed cases TMBK, as you normally do, Dave!  Also Mike uses Starline brass and 0.360+" expander that expands case to almost full length of the bullet.  Even taking to account 0.001+" brass spring back, Zero bullets can be pushed all way in to almost full seating depth by finger.  However internal tapering of Starline brass can be a culprit as well.

My extra Smile 2 cents.
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Post by jwax 11/17/2022, 5:53 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

I had a similar issue.

Turns out that the bullet compressed the air in the case and when the tool head retracted the air pressure inside the case pushed the bullet out.

On some cartridges, you could actually watch the bullet rise in the case.

Cheers,

Dave
Whatcha got there Dave is an insufficient air leak rate!

Does it sound like a mouse fart?  Smile
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Post by Rodger Barthlow 11/18/2022, 9:36 am

Actually, PhotoEScape  didn't mention it in his reply but he also makes and expander just for Zero HBWCs which is .358" diameter and using the HBWC expander (.360") could be what is causing the bullet to be sucked back out of the case.
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Post by mspingeld 11/18/2022, 2:10 pm

I thought about Alex's new .358" expander but I wasn't sure since I do seem to be shaving some lead already.

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Post by Dcforman 11/18/2022, 2:15 pm

Another option that could help mitigate the accumulation of lube and possibly lead is to expand twice. Use AP's expander in a standalone station, then use a standard PTX with your powder drop to just flare the mouth slightly. This solved the tiny amount of shaving I was having loading Zero bullets. Significantly decreased the amount of leading in my barrels. 

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Post by mspingeld 11/18/2022, 2:32 pm

@Dave, That's an interesting idea. Are you loading on a Hornady press? If so, I assume you're talking about Hornady's .357 PTX?

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Post by Dcforman 11/18/2022, 4:08 pm

Yes, and yes, .357.

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Post by Texasref 11/20/2022, 8:19 am

I'm relatively new at reloading 38spl. But the case is long and will get stuck if given a chance.
Hornady "One-Shot" is something I've come to like and use it now on all my cases. Seems to really smooth things out.
It takes a little bit of time but I believe it does help. At least in my mind.

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Post by 243winxb 11/21/2022, 10:34 am

+1  "using the HBWC expander (.360") could be what is causing the bullet to be sucked back out of the case."
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