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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Loading some 38 Specials yesterday. I am pretty picky with trying to get all rounds uniform. In seating the bullets, 158gr Hornady XTPs, I want OAL 1.450" but measured several rounds 1.455"
A few measured below 1.450" I am using Hornaday dies with the correct bullet seating stem (Concaved).
Maybe on some bullets...the taper in front of ogive different?
Need to Flare the mouths of the case a little more?
But .005" difference nothing to be concerned about with non target bullets?

Thanks
 

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Loading some 38 Specials yesterday. I am pretty picky with trying to get all rounds uniform. In seating the bullets, 158gr Hornady XTPs, I want OAL 1.450" but measured several rounds 1.455"
A few measured below 1.450" I am using Hornaday dies with the correct bullet seating stem (Concaved).
Maybe on some bullets...the taper in front of ogive different?
Need to Flare the mouths of the case a little more?
But .005" difference nothing to be concerned about with non target bullets?

Thanks
Here is a few tips that I leaned back in the 1980’s when I started out on the 38 Special .
1, use the same brand of brass
2 trim the to the same length, this will help cut down differences in OAL
3, clean the primer pockets of the cases
4, flare the case mouth just enough to seat the Bullet, this called high pull.
5,The roll crimp should be good and consistency is the key accuracy
 

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Hey Paul,

.005" is not an issue in handgun ammo.

If you are concerned, check and see if your dies are clean.

Sometimes, especially with cast bullets, the bullet lube will accumulate in the seating die and cause random seating depths.

Later, Mark
 

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Here is a few tips that I leaned back in the 1980’s when I started out on the 38 Special .
1, use the same brand of brass
2 trim the to the same length, this will help cut down differences in OAL
3, clean the primer pockets of the cases
4, flare the case mouth just enough to seat the Bullet, this called high pull.
5,The roll crimp should be good and consistency is the key accuracy
+++
 

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I am kind of anal about things and when I started reloading the slight variance in OAL would drive me crazy. I found that by sorting my brass by headstamp, that variance all but went away and is down to plus or minus about .001
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am kind of anal about things and when I started reloading the slight variance in OAL would drive me crazy. I found that by sorting my brass by headstamp, that variance all but went away and is down to plus or minus about .001
Yes....I am using different brand's of brass......
 

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Actually, even with long range loads I load, 0.005 is inconsequential. In reality the 'slop' between the reloading components, press ram, shell holder and the die itself will cause that. Even how you advance the ram and your handgrip will cause thet.

When I load my long range handloads I use an RCBS micrometer seater die and I machine my own stems (do that for the handgun loads as well. I also made up a what I call a seating uniformer. It's a length of round drill stock with 2 broached square holes, one, 1/4" square, the other 3/8" square. When I seat pills, I insert a torque wrench (usually a 1/4" clicker inch pound wrench in the 1/4" square hole and set the wrench for about 25 inch pounds to start with) When I seat the pills that way, I get exactly the same seating force, every time and that directly relates to uniform seat depth.

If the pill don't seat fully, I increase the torque setting until it does and then use that setting for all the rest of the handloads.

All about consistency.
 

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Loading some 38 Specials yesterday. I am pretty picky with trying to get all rounds uniform. In seating the bullets, 158gr Hornady XTPs, I want OAL 1.450" but measured several rounds 1.455"
A few measured below 1.450" I am using Hornaday dies with the correct bullet seating stem (Concaved).
Maybe on some bullets...the taper in front of ogive different?
Need to Flare the mouths of the case a little more?
But .005" difference nothing to be concerned about with non target bullets?

Thanks
I'm a lot more picky than you are. You can take that to the bank.
 
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Nothing to be concerned about, You can probably get that variance on how hard you squeeze the calipers.;)

The trim length of the brass doe not change the COL. It will change where (if any) the crimp is.
The same brass will help in consistency but again not change the COL.
Neither will cleaning primer pockets. Who does that?:D
 

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Nothing to be concerned about, You can probably get that variance on how hard you squeeze the calipers.;)

The trim length of the brass doe not change the COL. It will change where (if any) the crimp is.
The same brass will help in consistency but again not change the COL.
Neither will cleaning primer pockets. Who does that?:D
I do at least on the long rage stuff. Not only do I clean them (after the STS tumbling), I use a pocket uniformer and I deburr the flash holes too.
 
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So long as you heavily discount the opinions at outright myths.

First paragraph says.. Loading to the lands (or as close as possible contributes to accuracy and that is false and I didn't read any farther. Loading to the lands (rifling) may or may not produce a high accuracy load but it will do one thing for sure. It will create an over pressure situation if you aren't very careful with your charges. Far as handgun rounds are concerned, stick with the COAL as specified under SAMMI specs. Don't experiment like I do....lol
 

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I do at least on the long rage stuff. Not only do I clean them (after the STS tumbling), I use a pocket uniformer and I deburr the flash holes too.
We yesm for rifle when I am winning trophies and money, I clean the pockets and do all kinds of OCD benchrest things,:D

For revolvers at 25 yards or less, there is so many other shooter variables it makes no difference. Good enough is good enough.:)
 

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I can't help with the 38 special loads but on 9mm loads I also get concerned when things start changing by a couple of thousands. What I can help with is (wish this had come to me sooner), " Good cannot stand as the enemy of perfect." If you are speaking hand gun and they kerpluck, I believe, you would not see the difference on paper or steel.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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There is a deference between a "Handloader & Reloader". Know the difference! For what I refer to as handgun range/practice ammunition, its mixed head stamp brass loaded on a progressive such as a Dillon SDB. The reloaded ammunition is employed at 10-7&3Yds. I don't shoot Bullseye at 25&50Yds anymore, but when I did the parameters were different. I never considered handloading as an enjoyable concept/endeavor, more or less a necessary evil.


I have (3) progressive units one dedicated to 9X19mm, one dedicated to 45ACP and one unit capable of rifle or handgun reloading presently set up for 44 Mag. The single stage Redding unit I employed for rifle reloading is no longer required, thus on consignment sale at a local FFL.


When you load in lots of a thousand, for me its not a fun project and with the advent of online ammunition vendors 9X19mm isn't worth reloading. :)
 

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This is a suggested answer to your original question. If you want very consistent overall cartridge length, use a bullet seating stem that is dead flat on the end. The seating stem in my RCBS dies is a 1/4" -20 UNF hex bolt that has the hex head rounded corners to fit inside the die and filed dead flat to seat the bullet. The bullet is seated by pushing on the end of the bullet, not a 'profile' that matches the bullet nose.

EDIT: The flat bolt head works with any flat nose or round nose full metal jacket bullet. It will not work with plastic tipped bullets or spire point bullets. I load all my cast bullets and hand gun bullets with this type seater plug. I load spire pointed rifle ammo with the standard seater plug.
 
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Nothing to be concerned about, You can probably get that variance on how hard you squeeze the calipers.;)

The trim length of the brass doe not change the COL. It will change where (if any) the crimp is.
The same brass will help in consistency but again not change the COL.
Neither will cleaning primer pockets. Who does that?:D
I do and I deburr flash holes too. Usually, I don't have to clean pockets because I run all my decapped brass is STS and that cleans the pockets quite well but does nothing for flash hole burrs.

When I get real particular like for long range loads, I weigh every case, check the volume with water, weigh every bullet too and segregate everything by weight and volume and reject any that are over or under the specific volume and weight. I turn my case necks for concentricity and trim for OAL if necessary.

Before I load any fired cases, they all get annealed too and I anneal magnum straight wall cases as well. Reason is because the heavy crimp workhardens the case mouth and causes it to crack after a few loadings.

I'm anal but I know when I draw down on an animal at say 300 yards, the bullet is going right where I want it to, barring spin drift and elevation changes.
 
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This is a suggested answer to your original question. If you want very consistent overall cartridge length, use a bullet seating stem that is dead flat on the end. The seating stem in my RCBS dies is a 1/4" -20 UNF hex bolt that has the hex head rounded corners to fit inside the die and filed dead flat to seat the bullet. The bullet is seated by pushing on the end of the bullet, not a 'profile' that matches the bullet nose.
Fine for a flat nose pill. Not good for a tapered ogive pill.
 
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