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MikeJ

Lee seating die (6.5CM) and Sierra 142gr MK

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Something is not quite right...…. the 142gr MK is long and slender, and although the tip doesn't "bottom out" in the seating die the bullet doesn't sit snugly and wobbles somewhat as though the surface of the seating plug isn't well-matched to the shape of the bullet (does that make sense?). Consequently the bullets, when seated in the case, do not appear to be concentric and have visible run-out at the tip.

Is the Lee die just completely unsuitable? I would be surprised (my Lee .308 die coped perfectly well with 175TMK) but perhaps there's a modification that can be made? Any thoughts please?

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Thanks Triffid. After I posted my query I put the seater plug in the lathe, drilled the hole deeper and reprofiled it to approximate the shape of the bullet. It now seems OK. The plug is now pushing on a larger diameter part of the ogive.  Thanks for the link - the epoxy "bedding" idea that was suggested there might be worth trying too.

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Lathe? Gosh, that's sophisticated . . . I did mine with a cordless drill!

Having just built a concentricity gauge and starting to measure run-out, I find the (modified) Lee seating die to give only marginally more runout than the much more expensive Forster benchrest  micrometer one (3.9 vs 3.4 thou averaged across 30 rounds). But I'm only just starting on this particular journey with my reloading.

Triffid

  

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I wouldn't use the Lee die with my 6.5 and unless certain that I could drill absolutely concentrically wouldn't go down that route either when there's alternative more suitable seaters available.  I use the Redding seater with the VLD plug and that works fine with slender pointy bullet designs.  The Lee one didn't nor did the standard Redding seater plug.

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13 minutes ago, VarmLR said:

I wouldn't use the Lee die with my 6.5 and unless certain that I could drill absolutely concentrically wouldn't go down that route either when there's alternative more suitable seaters available.  I use the Redding seater with the VLD plug and that works fine with slender pointy bullet designs.  The Lee one didn't nor did the standard Redding seater plug.

That's what I thought and had retired the Lee dies in favour of the Forster ones . Then I ran out of time making up hi-grade ammo doing each operation separately and weighing out each powder charge individually, so I set up the old Lee dies in my Dillon 550 press, along with an auto-drum powder measure and churned out a batch of ammo to shoot later that day. I was surprised that it performed identically at 1000X to the ammo I'd spent (much) more time producing, so I've started measuring things.

With the drilling out, I don't think the extra depth needs to be absolutely 1000 percent concentric. I'm making a space for the bullet's tip to fit in, allowing the concentric part of the seating plug to push on the bullet's ogive. Apparently Lee do a service machining seating plugs to bullets, but I suspect the cost of posting the new plug to the UK would be prohibitive. Anyway, I'm going to do some experimenting now I've go a concentricity gauge, trying to minimise run-out.

 

Triffid

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17 hours ago, VarmLR said:

I wouldn't use the Lee die with my 6.5 and unless certain that I could drill absolutely concentrically wouldn't go down that route either when there's alternative more suitable seaters available.  I use the Redding seater with the VLD plug and that works fine with slender pointy bullet designs.  The Lee one didn't nor did the standard Redding seater plug.

Understandable. I shall see how the rounds produced with the modified Lee plug perform at the weekend. Assurance of concentricity was why I used the lathe to extend the depth of the hole in the Lee plug, but I do wonder why I bothered when the plug itself rattles around in the screw-in cap, and the projectile itself is a very sloppy fit in the body of the seating die; all potential sources of misalignment but the Lee system generally appears to work satisfactorily. I could make up a plug which was a better fit overall, but when the hole in the die body through which the bullet passes is so sloppy I don't think it will be worth it.

It's useful to know that Redding produces a VLD plug though, thank you. I'll look out for one but would be interested to know whether the Redding is manufactured in a way which holds the case and bullet in better initial alignment than the Lee item?

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Yes, that's a very fair point Mike.  I like the Redding seating dies.  I have the micrometer head on mine which is surprisingly useful and bob-on once set.

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6 hours ago, VarmLR said:

Yes, that's a very fair point Mike.  I like the Redding seating dies.  I have the micrometer head on mine which is surprisingly useful and bob-on once set.

I have given the interior of the modified Lee plug some extra polishing and it now holds the bullet quite snugly. Loaded rounds now appear to be fine insofar as tip run-out is concerned, so I shall load up a few more tonight and give them a tryout at S'Side on Saturday.

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