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Discussion Starter #1
Dillon 550B

I loaded up 25 rounds after my initial 8 rounds.

I had set the OAL to 1.265"
Crimp at .041

After all 25 rounds were loaded- I checked the OAL for each cartridge. Unfortunately none were the same. They varied from 1.263 to 1.276. Only one was over the max though.
Most were around 1.270.
What's the deal???
 

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I had that happen the first time I loaded a number of rounds, and the folks here gave me some good suggestions. I haven't had the problem since, and I think the problem was solved by re-tightening the seating die with a round up in the die. These dies do much better if you tighten them always with a round in them. The die could also get gummed up, but my press was new at the time and I think yours is too, right? Once you load alot you'll have to clean it out now and then.
 

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Valkman already gave part of my answer (i.e., a sloppy shellpate can cause variation). The other part was that I've found I need to measure for OAL when ALL of the four stations are occupied. I get different readings if I've only got a round in the final station vs. all four occupied.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My toolhead IS a bit sloppy, I notice it moves (ever so slightly) when the cartridges reached the top. Any way to make it tight??

Also- I did tighten those dies with the cartridge in the die. And they are good and tight.

Could it be that I'm using mixed brass?? I used all sorts of brass- TZZ, WCC, Federal, Winchester, plain brass, nickel plated, etc.
Someone told me maybe it was because of that.
I measured all the brass and they vary too.
I didn't think that could be the problem- or part of it.

Maybe- somehow- I did not go all the way down with the handle?
I doubt that, but you never know.


Dillon said possibly the crimp it set too tight, It was at .041.


MAybe tomorrow I'll load up all the same brass, just to check that theory out.

But finding a way to make the toolhead snug would be good. I notice only 2 pins hold it in place.

BUT--All 25 rounds fired and ejected perfectly! Matter of fact at 15 yards they were making very nice groupings. So I got that goin' for me!


Whatever the problem- It's fun! And I think I've found a perfect way to r-e-l-a-x. And after 17 yrs in the Navy, I could use that.
Sorry to ramble.
 

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The other part was that I've found I need to measure for OAL when ALL of the four stations are occupied. I get different readings if I've only got a round in the final station vs. all four occupied.
This is exactly correct.

I have seven tool heads for my 550B. Each has a different amount of play between it and the frame when installed.

I once asked a Dillon tech about this and the only answer that I got was that nothing was exact and it shouldn't matter all that much. :confused:

It's annoying to me at times. This is why my labels read + or - in the COL line. :(
 

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dsonyay said:
My toolhead IS a bit sloppy, I notice it moves (ever so slightly) when the cartridges reached the top. Any way to make it tight??
Can't really do anything to the toolhead. Those two pins are it. I was talking about the SHELLPLATE which holds the brass in place as its being moved around the four stations on the 550B.

Could it be that I'm using mixed brass??
I don't think so. The seating operation should push the bullet down to the predetermined level regardless of how long the brass is. I do not have this problem with TONS of different headstamped brass.

Dillon said possibly the crimp it set too tight, It was at .041.
???? Max crimp for the 45ACP is .473". I usually crimp somewhere between .469"-.471" for jacketed rounds; sometimes more crimp on moly coated lead bullets. (There are also several good threads here about crimp vs. case tension for holding bullets in place; interesting stuff.)
 

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just a stab dsonyay?

if your using good bullets,this probably won't matter, but I've noticed when I load with bullets like Rainiers (even though I still shoot the H#!! out of 'em) the overall length varies drastically, mainly because the bullets are not all identicle on the nose.
( ya get what ya pay for )
This has never bothered me for geneal shooting, but it can be an issue for consistant accuracy.

happy shootin' Jeff P
 

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Things I have found that effect COL variations:

1. Using a seating die insert that doesn't match the shape of your bullet well enough. On the Dillon die you can flip the insert to see which shape works the best. It's not always the one you think would work the best.

2. Shellplate tension is not set tight enough.

3. Seating die not tight or centered.

4. Over belling the case at station 2. That coupled with crimping causes variation in COL.

5. Use case lube even with carbide pistol dies as it drastically cuts the amount of force required which minimizes shellplate flex.

6. Using bulk bullets that have dings on the tip and or variation in the bullet shape. I have trouble holding COL with Winchester bulk HP but zero variation with Nosler bulk HP. The Win come always with dings and dents and the Nos are free from dings.

7. There is always .005 difference in COL with an empty shellplate than with a full one. I seat long till the shellplate is full and then bring it in. Reseat the long ones kept separate at the end of the session.

Just what works for me.

Dog
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am using rainiers 230 gr TMJ RN. And my seating die is set for the round nose bullet. 500 round box

I did use lube.

My shellplate has a "bit of play in it" But it seems fine.

I adjusted the dies one at a time. But did tighten the dies with the casing in the die. Even if I do that, it would seem that ALL the rounds would still end up at the right height, just that they'd all off the same amount.

My bell may be too large. But the bullet does not "drop" into the case when I put it on top. It barely fits in the case and if I'm not careful, the bullet looks like it may fall over on the way up.

I'll just keep playing-- My crimp is .472. To me it should be OK.

And as I said, they all fired and cycled fine. Over all- a good day.
 

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How to tighten a tool head

I saw a few comments on sloppy tool head fit and no way to tighten it.

On my 650 tool heads the flange is approx .375 going into a groove on the press that is .020-.030 larger. The flange itself would have what can be discribed as (3) faces; lower face, upper face, and outer face

I used a centerpunch to move metal around the bottom edge of the outer face of the flange. The punch marks push the tool head into the up position (which is where you want it, pushed up).

Just a trial and error process, punch it several places around the lower edge of the outer face and try it for fit. Make the punch marks larger as required for a good fit. If you get it too tight, file some metal off.

This isn't exactly pretty, but it pushes the tool head up and gets rid of the slop.;)
 

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If you adjust your dies properly, the play in the toolhead is irrelevant, except for the last three cartridges loaded. Always tighten the die lock rings with cases in all the stations, especially the size die. This ensures the toolhead is fully lifted upward. The toolheads average about .004" play. This a combination of manufacturing tolerances and the float allows your dies to better center themselves in the toolhead, if you adjust your dies as described above. the last three rounds,since there is no upward pressure at the sizing station, will typically be a few thousanths longer.
With any bullet, but moreso with jacketed than cast, you will get variations in overall length. The bullet seat stem works by pushing the bullet from the point where the seat stem contacts the bullet downward a fixed distance. But, the diameter on the bullet where the seat stem actually makes physical contact will vary from one bullet to the next, sometimes by as much as .025" ( I know this because I set up a bullet seat stem upside down on a level block, and measured the height after setting bullets in the stem.) The reason for this variation is that bullets are drawn, formed and shaped by different pieces of equipment, with mutliple tooling on it. Each piece of tooling wears, and not always evenly. Even cast bullets,since they are poured into multiple molds, which expand or contract due to changes in temperature, will give some variation. For almost all shooting applications, this few thousanths isn't enough to cause any measurable change in accuracy or function. Just keep shooting!
 
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