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Loose Bullet - What Did I Do Wrong?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by etrain16, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Okay, as a total newb to centerfire reloading (I do have experience loading shotgun shells in a MEC600), I am going really slowly to make sure I don't bung things up while I get a feel for the process. I've got a Lee Turret Press, but I'm doing my first rounds all by hand with a Lee hand press. I'm working on my first batch of 9mm. I had no trouble cleaning, decapping and priming the cases, that went very smoothly. Thanks again to @Benchrest who got me some bullets and primers I needed to complete the whole process.

    This morning, I've moved on to try and complete some rounds. I ran 10 cases through the expanding die. I test measured and re-measured several shots using Hodgdon CFE Pistol and charged several cases. I went to set my first bullet using a 115g copper jacketed bullet. I set up the bullet seating die per the instructions and set the first bullet. When I pulled it out though, the bullet had dropped all the way into the case, just poking above the top of the case. The bullet was moving freely, so I turned it over and was able to pull it by hand back out to about the right length, which I tested with a reloading gauge. Since it was loose, I decided I would put it in the crimp die, and set it first for a light crimp, with no real change, then a more firm crimp. Even with that firm crimp, I could still fairly easily twist the bullet in the case with my fingers, and pulling up, the bullet came up enough that I could see the crimp line on the bullet itself.

    Okay, with no previous experience, my guess is that my mistake was made with the expanding die. I'm assuming I opened the case too far. But I'm curious as to why the crimp die wouldn't have corrected that, or should it? I even went back, since the round seemed a bit bunged anyway, and did an even tighter crimp, but it's still loose.

    So, experienced loaders, help to educate this newb on what I did wrong. I'm literally only on my first cartridge and wanted to ask the question before I move on to #2.
     
  2. Beta1759

    Beta1759 Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    i would run a "new" (or previously fired and clean) case through the sizer again. Then check the specs on the case after that operation. If everything checks out, then i would run the case through the expander die. After running it through the expander, i would pull out the case and try to place a bullet onto the case. if it doesn't drop down, then the issue is with your seater die seating the bullet too far. let me know how it goes!
     
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  3. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you over expanded the case mouth with the belling die and maybe under crimped it with the crimping die. Should be fixable by backing your belling die off a fair amount on subsequent loads. You should adjust your belling die so that it bells the case mouth just enough that your bullet base just fits the case. The seating die then will push the bullet into the case, and then adjust for proper crimp...
     
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  4. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    i am assuming your projectiles measure .355 or .356. that being said,in my experience, i just barely expand the mouth of the case for 9mm and 40. just enough for the bullet to sit on top without falling off. try backing off the expansion die a tiny bit and then back off the seater all the way, and with a round ready to seat the bullet run it up into your seater die. once the handle is all the way down then screw in the seater part of the die until it touches the bullet. raise your handle so the round comes out of the die and then screw in the seater a little more. next, press the bullet in. its not going to go in very far but repeat this until you get your desired overall length.
     
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  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The bullet itself measures right at .355 I'll readjust the seating die as you recommended and just tighten it down a little bit at a time. I'll also back off the expanding die.
     
  6. Wayne

    Wayne Near Tacoma Active Member

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    Also double check your sizing die. 9mm is not a straight walled case, it tapers to the mouth. If your sizing die is not down enough you will not get full sizing at the mouth, and you need that for bullet tension. The taper crimp is not for bullet retention.
     
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  7. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    yes, make sure youre getting the 'cam over' on your sizing die first and foremost. also, ive loaded lots of 9mm and 40 with no crimp and havent had a problem.
     
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  8. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you using the 3 or 4 die set? The 4th "factory crimp" die should fix the crimp issues just add more crimp a quarter turn at a time per instructions. If you do not have the 4th die I would recommend getting it and only use the 3rd die for seating the bullet.
     
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  9. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    It's the 4 die set.
     
  10. SHPD_Retired

    SHPD_Retired Saint Helens Well-Known Member

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    I do not crimp 9mm and have never had that problem so I would also assume you are flaring the case mouth way too much.
     
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  11. gundog10

    gundog10 Member

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    I have never used a hand press but as everyone has given good advise, mine would would be to stop and start over. Make sure your sizing die is contacting the shell holder then adjust the decapping rod down until the primmer is pushed out. Then, as others have said bell the mouth just a little and stop. Try pushing by hand a bullet into the case mouth if it a really tight fit you are good to go, if it is still really loose I would set that hand press aside and mount your dies on the lee press and start over and don't forget that on the sizing die the handle must cam over in order to get a full length sizing.
     
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  12. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    I don't crimp 9mm either.

    I find it hard to believe you're expanding to the point of no bullet tension.

    Either the sizing die is not set correctly, or it's way outta spec (seems unlikely).
     
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  13. Lilhigbee

    Lilhigbee SE Portland Visit Target550.com Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The flaring and crimping only affects the mouth of the case. If the bullet is loose all the way down it is a sizing die or expander issue. Double check your sizing die setting and measure the diameter of the expander. Not sure what the spec for that is, but someone here will know.
     
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  14. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Sounds like you didn't size the brass properly.
     
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  15. Bing

    Bing Salem (Independence) Member

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    Are you using the Lee Loader, where your press is a hammer? If so just run your brass through the sizing die and see if the bullet will slip into the case; if it does I would guess a bad die. Also, some of the dies don't do full length sizing (45 ACP for one) so this might be your problem, but it sounds to me like you are hitting your flaring tool too hard. Work up to the proper flare, where the bullet just barely enters the case mouth, by progressively heavier hits (I am assuming the Lee Loader here). My experience with a hammer for a die has shown me light taps are best in this area. Too heavy and you can ruin a case, and make sure your case is lined up with the flaring tool. I went to Harbor Freight and picked up a cheap arbor press and use it in place of a hammer. If necessary you can beat on the arbor for certain steps. If you aren't using a Lee Loader hand loader set disregard this post.
     
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  16. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    No, it's the Lee Hand Press, used with the Lee Carbide Pistol Die set, so no hammers involved. I used their universal decapping die to remove the primers, and I don't think that die should have done any resizing/expanding of the cases. I used the powder thru expanding die for that. It sounds like I may have set the expanding die too deep.

    90685.jpg

    90685.jpg
     
  17. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    There is your problem. No sizer die.

    You went:

    Universal decapper
    Flaring powder drop
    Seating die/crimp

    ???
     
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  18. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    this die should be used not the universal:

    image.jpg

    image.jpg
     
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  19. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Ah, that would appear to be my issue. I wasn't thinking about the sizing portion of the decapping die in the kit when I grabbed the universal. I'm glad I stopped when I did. I do have the proper decapping/resizing die, I just failed to use that one the first time through.

    Now, a huge newb question since I've created a problem now - 50 cases, decapped in the universal die, so no case resizing, and then primed. So, what do I do with the cases? I guess it brings up the question of how to deprime a case with a hot primer? Can that be done safely with a decapping die, without setting off the primer? If so, are the primers toast after that?
     
  20. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Pull the depriming rod and size them.

    Your first size is external because they expand as you have found. So there is no harm with pulling the depriming rod and running them through again. Then put the rod back in and carry on with the rest of your cases after that.
     
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