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Author Topic: Handloading Accu-Loading Part 5: Cartridge Assembly  (Read 385 times)

Offline TalkHunting Mag

  • Button Buck
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Posts: 44
Handloading Accu-Loading Part 5: Cartridge Assembly
« on: April 03, 2013, 06:49:14 AM »
The cartridge assembly steps are nearly the same as the ones for Typi-Loading. What I have done is discussed the subtle changes and tooling required when you are loading precision loads.
Seating to Minimize Run-Out

Another common step in the reloading process where bullet run-out can be caused is in the bullet seating process. The first thing you can do is to use a high quality die with a sliding sleeve. The sliding sleeve perfectly aligns the case with the bullet to be seated. Good examples of these dies are the Redding Competition Micrometer bullet seating dies, Forster Ultra Seaters, or RCBS Competition Seating dies. All of these dies utilize a micrometer top to precisely set seating depth. They are all very high quality dies that have tight tolerances to maximize bullet straightness during seating.
Of the many questions we receive most of the callers are trying to seat long pointed bullets such as the Berger VLD or Hornady A-Max. One problem that the reloader faces with longer bullets is that they are so long that the standard seating die stem (the part that pushes the bullet into the case) is not machined deep enough to contact these bullets properly. The point of the bullet is “bottoming out” in the stem and the result is off center seating and/or rings and dents on the bullet nose. What should be done if you plan on using such bullets, is to purchase a “VLD” style seating stem, which is cut to accommodate the longer bullets. The use of this stem results in truer seating of the bullet without leaving a ring or marring the tip of the bullet.
Besides using a traditional press and threaded seating die another great way to get a true bullet seat is by using an arbor press and Wilson chamber type seating die. These dies are cut to very tight tolerances and have proven themselves for years as the main choice for bench rest enthusiasts. The design of the die positively aligns the case with the bullet as they are both captured by the die before the bullet is pushed straight into the case by the stem. These seating dies are available with the standard seating cap and stem or an additional micrometer top can be added for precise adjustment. Wilson also offers a stainless seating die with an integral micrometer seating head. This process is quick, true, and a great way to get the most out of your reloading!
Finally another trick used by many in the seating process is to turn the case while the bullet is being seated. Some people claim this will keep things straight. What they do is raise the ram in increments while seating and rotate the case in the shellholder in increments of 90 degrees from the original starting while the bullet is being seated. Personally I have tried this and have seen no significant difference at all. However you may be the judge of this one. It makes sense, and maybe I should try this a little more before I rule it out.
Bullet Straightening Tools
For those who want to mechanically straighten a loaded round there are a few tools out there that will help you true them up. The Hornady Lock- and- Load Concentricity Gauge (Part #050076) has a straightening feature. The gauge uses a threaded screw that you can tighten down on the bullet and observe how much you have straightened it out on the included dial indicator or how much more adjustment is needed. It can take a little bit of trial and error to get this just right, but it does work. Additionally there are other tools on the market that straighten out bullets. However, one concern that comes up is what are you doing to the neck of the case in terms of neck tension? The theory is after seating if you must adjust or straighten the bullet the flexing of the neck will ultimately loosen neck tension. If any of you have this with success please post something here and let our fellow reloaders know. From my experience it is time consuming, and I would rather spend my spare time loading and shooting, besides if you are methodical and meticulous in the preparation aspects this should theoretically be a non-factor.
 
Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Concentricity Gauge
After Assembly Measuring
Finally the last step in this process is to measure the cartridges after they are assembled. This may seem a little redundant but in the pursuit of absolute accuracy we are ruling out all mechanical options. With the cartridges are uniform and microscopically identical then the only remaining variance is the shooter. So once again we’ll put our bullet comparator on the calipers and measure the over-all-length one last time before we put the cartridges to rest in their ammo box.
Accu-Load Conclusion
Well there you go by following the steps in this series your ammunition is ready to let you know how you did. The only thing left to add is; Happy shooting and carry on! Practice! Practice! Practice!

Dutch-Hunter

Full document attached with picture.

PJ

 

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