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Discussion Starter #1
As i reloading newbie, I have just purchased some Lee equipment and anticipate pumping out some loads soon for my 30-30.

I have been fairly confident with the brass prep and resizing but have yet to seat any projectiles.

I currently have some of the 125 gr Sierra´s (fnhp) to use and have one query re seating depth. I assume on a bullet like this, the projectile would be seated and crimped at the base of the cannelure?

Do you then ignore COL?

Cheers,

Matt
 

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Yes, seat at the base of the cannalure. Ignore the OAL----lighter bullets in calibers that should/need to be crimped are many times too short to seat to max OAL!

Hip

P.S. I find seating and crimping in seperate operations is a bit more time consuming BUT with much better results. I put a washer under the seating die when seating the bullet. After seating I back off the seating stem, remove the washer, then crimp!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, thanks. I assumed this would be the case, as these projectiles are labelled as 30-30 projectiles.
 

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I don't think I would go so far as to say ignore COL. Load manuals will show the COL for each particular bullet loaded and if done right then your load should be very close to that which is given, give or take a thousand. The bullet you are loading indicates a COL of 2.420 as tested so that's just about where you should be with the finished product.

Personally, when I crimp for a rifle such as the 30-30 which is tube fed, I crimp at the top of the cannelure because bullet set back is my worry. When crimping for a bullet in a revolver I crimp at the base of the cannelure because of bullet pull.
 

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Overall length becomes more critical when you're loading long-for-caliber bullets at the upper end of the scale. With flat-nosed bullets it's not likely to be a concern.

I'll second the recommendation of seating and crimping in two steps. I've done it both ways, and there was a marked increase in accuracy, though your mileage may vary. When I was single-loading the bullets for pure accuracy testing, I didn't crimp them at all.
 

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Trim your cases all the same length, set your seater and crimp and it will repeat until your cases need trimming again.

Many ways to get the same job done, me I just like to match my cases so I can set my dies and forget it.

I have currently well over 1000 30-30s I've trimmed all the same size which is shorter than the minimum the book calls for, but then a Lever evolution case is shorter than them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmm this had led me into another query re case-length. I have prepped and resized all my (one-fired) brass and measuring the individual case lengths shows some variation. The average length is around 2.03. As they are all under max (2.039?), I figured trimming isn't necessary but it seems slightly uneven lengths and possibly slightly off-square mouths are not accuracy winners.

I have the basic lee case length gauge (although still need to get cutter and lock-stud), but I assume this trims to cases to 2.039?
 

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In my experience Lee trimmers cut slightly less than maximum. You won't know what length yours cuts until you try it.
I stone the pin on them until they cut the length I want. For .30-30 I stoned mine to 2.032".
The exact length is not critical as long as it is less than max.
What is important, is a uniform length.
M.
 

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earplay I am happy you are asking these questions it tells me you are focused +1
Please don't be afraid to ask,you help all the people that don't :)
You are beginning pay attention to basics like double checking you are using the right reloading data the only powder and bullet type on top of your bench is for load you are doing :) If you do a few things wrong gun will blow up in face ;D
The one cheap tool I have for OAL is a comparator Nut I bought at Sinclairs reloading supply and it is simply a hex nut with a different caliber hole on each face. It will identify seating depth at the diameter of bullet where bullet will contact the lands. Which jump to the lands is a big part of accuracy.( I write all this stuff down and know what Oal for what gun what works what don't) I measure factory loads both at Oal and with nut as bullets are shaped differently you stay in factory spec till you want to improve accuracy ok.

It never hurts to cycle a round through the gun to add confidence and Identify a problem. Like you pick up someones brass that has a bigger chamber and you didn't full length resize.

Now days you can youtube video search and watch the prosess to do things :) And just like here you can get good or bad info. Haven't seen any here so far keep it fun :)
 

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+1 to what everyone said. Always remember that if you go changing your COAL from what the manual says, that if you make a longer COAL you are increasing your effective case volume in the assembled cartridge (which decreases pressures upon firing), and if you go the other way and decrease the COAL you are shrinking your effective case volume and will increase pressures...so if you are running anywhere near max you need to reduce your charge (i.e. start low and work your way up, as usual) if you reduce your COAL.

Like PJ said the main reason you worry about max COAL is when you are using exceptionally heavy or otherwise long (copper? I don't know I've never used copper bullets) bullets. There are a couple reasons you might want to avoid this. You don't want to jam the bullet into the rifling too hard or you will increase pressures upon firing due to the resistance on the bullet. Most loading data accounts for some space between the bullet and the start of the rifling. Other times you have to worry about magazine length (as in a box magazine fed rifle such as a Mauser style bolt action or an AR-15 or similar. In the case of the Marlin if you get your bullet too long I'd guess you might have feeding issues. A lot of times if your load calls for a COAL that is too long for your magazine but not too long for your leade, you can single load the rifle and still shoot it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the replies, just trying to get head fully around all the concepts before i get too far down the track. As an interesting aside, I made up an OAL gauge (kinda), which involved drilling and tapping the primer cavity in a once fired case to accept a bolt and locking nut. I lightly ran the top off the neck into the FLR die to give some tension at the mouth and allowed the projectile to be relatively lightly held. I ran this dummy bullet (without bolt/nut) into my action a couple of times and measured OAL.

This method gave a consistent OAL of 2.4705. I was able to screw bolt into back of case to push projectile out again. I assume this measurement (for the Sierra 125g fnhp) is the point of contact between ogive and lands. My assumption is that anywhere approx .010 less than this measurement will be appropriate? With my current case lengths, 2.44 puts case mouth at the base of the cannelure. I assume the Sierra manual measurement of 2.42 is to be on the safe side in all firearms?
 

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earplay said:
I assume the Sierra manual measurement of 2.42 is to be on the safe side in all firearms?
No, it's only safe in the firearm they used to do the testing, and it should be listed. OAL is limited by the magazine length and a few other factors, but most manuals list a COAL with each bullet. Having several manuals to use as a comparison is always a good idea, one book may not agree with the others, and it's up to you to figure out who's right. Published reloading data is useful, but remember, what they show is what worked in their gun, not yours. Adjustments DO have to be made.

ETA: Here's an example of what I mean..........the manual I was using said with this particular bullet in the 375 Winchester, COAL should be 2.560 inches. They were wrong. 2.400 was where it needed to be.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, starting reading about ladder tests, barrel harmonics, nodes and optimum charge weights... Brain is relishing the options! Overkill potentially for my application, but I can't see why I shouldn't aim to get the best group possible out of the rifle.

Another question re crimping. I have the Lee pacesetter set, and am wondering what the usual amount of crimp people apply? ie what fraction of a turn past where the die contacts the case. I´m not so much of a fan of the FC die only because of the deformation of the case mouth. Is just using the resizing die to crimp suitable?

Cheers,

Matt
 

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earplay said:
Is just using the resizing die to crimp suitable?
The seating die is the one that crimps........not the sizing die. (I know, all this new terminology can get confuzzing. ;))

I adjust the seating die down until the crimping shoulder just touches the case mouth, then keep turning it in 1/8th turns until I have enough. Overcrimping is NOT a good idea, it can cause all kinds of problems.........like crushing the neck, collapsing the shoulder, and not chambering. Be gentle with the crimp! Once you get it set properly, then set your seating depth.

Most 30-30 bullets have cannelures right where you need them. If they don't, THEN I get out the FCD.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok thanks, yes sorry 'I' knew which die I was talking about :) So seating and crimping is still best performed as a two step process, even though you are using the same die?
 

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Doing the two steps separately tends to produce better ammo, but requires a 4-die set. Or you could seat bullets first, then re-adjust the die to crimp without the seating plug installed............but that's a PITA. The 4-die set is a better mousetrap, and worth what it costs.

For what it's worth, I started reloading on a 3-die turret press in the 80's, and still use it for 95% of my reloading. So yes, I seat and crimp at the same time, because it's easier and faster. But if I ever upgrade to a 4-die press, I'll be doing it the better way. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Another question about crimping... Are 30-30 loads typically very sensitive to amount of crimp?

I am wanting to ensure my loads are as uniform as possible and this is the one step that seems a little random. Am I best to just note the amount I turn the die past where it makes contact with the shell and repeat this for further reloading sessions?

Cheers,

Matt
 

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Get a Lee Factory Crimp Die. OAL is less critical, and you can easily control the amount of crimp...........just don't overdo it. You can jam the crimping jaws shut my trying to apply too much force, or by having the die adjusted too low.

Particularly with lead bullets, crimping can make a lot of difference in the accuracy. Too little is better than too much (due to bullet and neck distortion) but having the bullet held in place long enough to develop proper shot-start pressure gives a better, more uniform burn, and the crimped portion of the neck can help keep the base of the bullet properly aligned in the throat as it moves forward.

As with most things, a little trial-and-error will go a long way. Play with varying amounts of crimp and see how they shoot. But what works well with one bullet may not work with others, due to differences in bullet hardness, amount of bearing surface, bullet weight, the type of lube used, etc. Some guns take a lot of shooting before they settle down and tell you what they like. Keeping GOOD notes is critical to figuring out what the gun likes, then being able to reproduce it at will. 8)
 

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papajohn said:
The seating die is the one that crimps........not the sizing die. (I know, all this new terminology can get confuzzing. ;))

I adjust the seating die down until the crimping shoulder just touches the case mouth, then keep turning it in 1/8th turns until I have enough. Overcrimping is NOT a good idea, it can cause all kinds of problems.........like crushing the neck, collapsing the shoulder, and not chambering. Be gentle with the crimp! Once you get it set properly, then set your seating depth.

Most 30-30 bullets have cannelures right where you need them. If they don't, THEN I get out the FCD.
Another thing that gets people in to trouble when crimping is case length and it is best to have all cases the same length with very little difference. After trimming my cases and all other steps I adjust my bullet seat to the desired bullet depth and seat one bullet on a loaded case. I then remove the bullet seat from the die and then screw the die down until the mouth of the case touches the crimp on the die and then I set it down to my desired crimp. I then put the seat back down to the bullet and lock it in place.
 
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