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Posted: 8/17/2005 6:41:51 AM EDT
I've got my cases all prepped, my new Lee dies in my press and a atarting load all picked out.

Last night I found out that the bullet seating die dosen't even touch the bullet!!!
What seating plug do I need? I'm loading a Hornady 300gr HP #4500 over 37gr Hodgden H110 to start with.

Also, how many rounds should I fire to check for pressure signs before I can up the charge half a gr. at a time? Can I shoot 10 rds. and if no pressure safely move up?

Sorry if these are simple ?'s I am new to reloading but I have the ability, guess I should have started with something easier.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 7:42:22 AM EDT
Annoying, isn't it. What I did for the same issue was I just took the die apart, tapped the actual seating plug (right term??) and put in a allen head bolt that was the same diamater. I then took a dremmel and smoothed the edges to replicate the original seating plug. It's kinda shady, but hey I've loaded over 500 SOCOM rnds with it and no prob yet. It took a little polishing to ensure it didn't mar the bullets on seating, but it worked for me. If you are more patient, I have heard the one for the .44 mag works, but don't qoute me. I read it in a thread maybe 6 months ago. When all else fails...ask Marty.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 9:12:40 AM EDT

I'll try to help some. As to the seating die, it is important to adjust the main body down as low as it will go beforeadjusting the stem. I usually put in an empty case, and spin the die body down until it starts to crimp the case (if the die crimps also), or to the point that it starts to remove the bell that I put on it in a previous step. I then adjust the stem for OAL. I use the Lee and CH dies for mine, and have had no issues other than some marks on the seated bullets. Don'y know if this could be part of your problem.

As to the load, I do not have my numbers in front of me, but always start at at least 10% below the published min's. I would say with standard run of the mill calibers, a good book, and eye to pressure signs is usually all that is needed. As the 458 is still a semi-wildcat (or full depending on how define things), a chrony is VERY helpful. Pressure signs for the 458 include extracter and ejecter marks, primer marks and case head expansion. Velocity is very key for me.

As to the number of loads to check, I would say that 10 is high, especially if you see any pressure signs, or velocity is not right. Velocity can be tricky due to barrel variations, but you should be "close" to published. I would say that if you get 3 rounds that are showing some pressure, better check with a chrony before going any further up. If you get clear signs on the first round, I would stop right there. Also, factory loads and a chrony can help you get a feel for whether or not you might have a fast or slow barrel/throat.

There are a lot of variables that are involved in the handloading process. If you are seeing pressure, and your velocity is "low", it could be the brand/type of primer, the seating depth, a fast lot of powder, your steps in sizing, the size of the chamber/throat or a few others. Do not get discouraged if your velocity is way low and you think you are getting excessive pressure. Reloading is a process that can take a fair bit of work, and substuting different components can make a big difference. If you do not have a chrony, perhaps you have a friend with one. I will say this to any new reloader. If you try to get every last bit of velocity from your load, you will probably not have your most accurate load, and you will be on the ragged edge of a minor problem (trashed brass), a big problem (sheared lugs), or a major problem ( a trip to the emergency room). I would heartily encourage you to run your loads through a ballistic program when you get to where you think you want to be. You will find that the extra 50-75 fps means exactly nothing in terms of bullet drop, wind drift and point blank range, in field conditions. No animal or piece of steel can tell the difference.

I am not trying to preach here, but you did mention being new, and I've been there. I have had exactly one blown case in a 460 Rowland in 25 years of handloading a lot of different calibers, and that happened recently. I could have lost a hand. Handloading is not hard, it is just fairly meticulus.

Link Posted: 8/17/2005 10:20:03 AM EDT
Craig, Thanks for the info, I ran the die body down 'til it touched the ram, seating stem all the way in, still no luck. I think Lee sent the wrong seating plug.

Link Posted: 8/17/2005 3:31:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JEEPJERRYP7M8:
Craig, Thanks for the info, I ran the die body down 'til it touched the ram, seating stem all the way in, still no luck. I think Lee sent the wrong seating plug.

I believe the problem with the Lee seating plug is the fact it was built with heavier, and therefore longer bullets, in mind. IIRC, I think they were of the 500 or 600 grain variety. I was trying to load 300gr Remingtons and I had the same issue.

You can play MacGyver or call Lee and ask to have custom seating stems built. I can't remember the exact cost but I think it was under $20 out and back for two new stems. All you will need to do is call them, send in the bullets you wish to seat, a case and a couple weeks later, you get your bullets, case and stems back. Very easy and relatively quick...

Link Posted: 8/17/2005 3:41:41 PM EDT
Be careful as a 1/2 grain can be alot if you are near max. Work carefully and go up is small incriments. Marty can send you some data if you ask him to.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 4:02:42 PM EDT
I had the same problem with the seating die. Spooky is right give lee a call, I had to send in a bullet and I think 6.00 and they made me a new insert for the seating die. I read the dies from the group buy came with both. I don't know why lee didn't just include both and charge a little more, When I first tried loading and it wouldn't work I called lee and they acted like I was an idiot thinking that the die would come with both. I think the bitch was offended when I asked if they would sell a 30-06 die that would only seat 220 grn. bullets and you had to special order a custom part to load 150's or 165's? She didn't really have a good answer for that.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 7:43:59 PM EDT
Just a little trip down memory lane on the Lee die thing. When Lee was brought into the 458 mix, it was for basically custom dies. At the time, CH was the only one doing dies, and one of the board members here speerheaded the Lee "build". He sent them a bunch of bullets to help them sort out the seating issue.

I would agree that Lee might want to be more specific about the stem or include all of the proper stems, but to their defense we were all just pretty happy to have a second source. The 458 is not a "30-06" die type to any of the makers. It is non-standard, and is a widcat. I would cut Lee a little slack, as they are probably used to wildcatters being very specific about there requests. Unfortunately this is information that those of us with 458 kinda know, but the new reloaders are apparently not getting the word. Perhaps Marty and the other 458 makers will help get this information to the new 458 reloaders. I know it is a pain the the butt to get dies to only find that they do not work, and I will confess to not being more helpful as I have both CH and Lee, and have never had a problem.

Rather than hammering Lee with names, perhaps we should spend the energy helping the new reloaders of the 458 get better information.

Link Posted: 8/17/2005 9:39:25 PM EDT
I didn't even think Lee had any more dies, they were supposed to have run out LOOONG time ago, even the ones they kept in the back....

And why they do not alert to the seater plug I dunno. But you should be able to use a 44 Mag plug.

Sorry about the inconvenience, had I realized that they still had them, I would have notified those that asked

On your load, 37.0 H110 is WAAY too hot to start with. I would drop that back to 32 - 35 and see how she rides. Also, H110 is not ideal, we have since found that Reloder 7 is probably a LOT friendlier in terms of repeatability, ES, lower flash signature, etc

Link Posted: 8/18/2005 4:13:43 AM EDT
Despite what some will claim, I have found that CH dies have problems as well. The biggest problem I have with them -- other than absolutely crappy customer service -- is their seater plug. It distorts many of the JHP bullet noses. I tried ordering a different seater, but they just sent me another copy of the one they supplied with the dies. I returned it along with a sample bullet and asked for the correct seater, but that "got lost in the mail." After a lot of time and emails and phone calls complaining to them, they agreed to send me another seater. That was July 7 and still nothing. Must have gotten lost in the return mail. I cannot waste time with that level of non-service. Never again will I go near a CH product.

I have found that the "cheap" Lee dies, when mated with an old 44-40 seater plug, work great.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 6:30:06 AM EDT
I called Lee yesterday and they are sending a .44 Mag plug. They also sent the wrong shell holder, but I'm just happy to have dies.

As of last week 8-11-05 Lee had 6 die sets left on there shelves, give them a call!

Marty, I'll drop back to 32 gr of H110 and go from there. You sent me load data and I didn't see RL7 listed, I've seen it mentioned on this board but I thought I would take the Info "from the horses mouth" so to say.

I can't be the only one looking for down-loadable data. I've tried several links from this board for data, and none work. Marty or Tony, in your free time (LOL) could you get some data on your web sites, and maybe a section for others to chime in with there own loads?

Link Posted: 8/18/2005 9:28:15 AM EDT
I am surprised to hear about the bad experience with CH, Dave and his crew have always been nothing but stellar when I have dealt with them... That said, Dave appears to be less and less involved ....

On the load data and other websites, if I EVER figure out how to update the site, I will. My webmaster is exasperated with my 0200 pleas for help. Something seems to go awry every time I try. Heck, I've been wanting to add the video of the SBRs in full auto now that I have HUGE band width ....

Will try tomorrow to see what I can do
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 9:43:47 AM EDT

I e-mailed you a bit ago. I can get you copies of the spreadsheets that I have, we just have to coordinate the format, as I have them in Excel, and not everyone can adeqautely use excel, or have version issues. I can PDF them, so if anyone needs copies, please drop me an e-mail or IM.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 3:41:08 AM EDT
Pulled a seater stem form one of my 44 mag dies. A lot longer and works just fine.
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