Some times a bit of planning ahead will save a lot of hassle in the end. When setting up your bullet seating die, having a sample cartridge can save a lot of time and hassle! If you plan ahead and save sample cartridges, your bullet seating die depth adjustment can be set in just seconds as demonstrated in this Quick Tip video:
To summarize, here’s the parameters and process:
- Setup the press with dies and components for the cartridge you’re loading
- Back out the seating plug most of the way
- Put a sample cartridge (same brass length, same bullet you want to load) into the bullet seating station
- Raise the ram to the top of the stroke
- Turn down the seating plug until you feel it contact the bullet
- Turn down the seating plug a tad more (very slight) to account for compression
- Load a cartridge
- Measure the Cartridge Overall Length (COL) and compare to the spec you’re loading to
- Make minute adjustments as needed
Sounds like a lot of steps, but can be done in about 30 seconds. Note that this can only be done if you have a sample cartridge (factory or reloads) on hand to use as reference.
Here’s a great example of where this would be helpful: In this lineup of 500 S&W bullets from Matt’s Bullets, I can leave the press setup the same for each bullet, only changing the charge weight (powder measure), and the bullet seating depth. The seater, the expander, the powder measure height, and the crimping station can remain as-is (with the exception that crimp may need slight adjustment from one bullet to the next depending on crimp groove profile and depth).
More on 500 S&W cast bullets coming up shortly!
Hope this tip helps! This is the way I like to set my seating depth. Have a seating depth tip/trick to share? Please leave a comment!
4 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Setup Your Bullet Seating Die in Seconds”
I used a scribe to scratch a small indicator mark on the top of the seating stem. That way I was able to accurately see/reference how much I was moving the stem in relation to my COAL dimension changes. For Example: Now I know that 1/6 of a turn on the stem gives me certain depth change with different bullets.
On my Lee 300BLK seating die, I turned the adjustment plug into a micrometer. I started by removing the threaded plug and scribing a line down its length. Reinstall the plug in the die and run it all the way in. Scribe another line around the diameter of the plug at the top of the die. Turn the plug out exactly one turn and scribe another line around it. Repeat several times. Now cut 5 evenly spaced notches around the top of the die body. Mark one of them as “zero”. Measurement is done as number of lines above the die body and relative rotation on the 5 notches. The plug threads are 18tpi, giving 0.0556″/turn. In actual use, once I’ve established a load I record the setting. Next time I just set it and measure the first round out to verify.
Sounds great, but makes my head hurt. Wish I was an engineer.
Great tips Gavin – my father and I have been making our own bullets for a year now and its a great money saver.