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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 3/10/2011 6:38:25 AM EST
I picked up a Lock-N-Load AP a couple weeks ago. After doing 150 rounds of 45ACP on a single stage I decided that it was too much of a chore to do long term. The press is awesome and I'm loving it!

Anyway, I had spent most of the day setting it up and dialing all the dies in and did a couple test rounds. I was using a 200 grain XTP bullet seated at 1.230". After the two test rounds I did a run of 10 and then checked them, all of them were between 1.230" and 1.240" and very inconsistent. I use the flat tipped seating stem on my New Dimension dies since I'm loading hollow points. I dialed the seater down a small amount and did another 10 but the COL's still varied by .01"

I never had this problem loading on the single stage, the bullets have always seated almost exactly the same in COL so I'm left scratching my head.

I have a re-sizer in station 1, expander in 2, powder in 3, seater in 4, taper in 5.

If anyone can lend any thoughts as to why the .01" variance it would be appreciated, let me know if you need more details.

Also, I can't believe that they didn't make the throw the same to let you swap dies between the single stage press and the AP without adjustment, could someone please explain this logic to me?
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:29:14 AM EST
Pull all dies from press. Take handfull of brass. Find shortest and longest. Now, install powder expander die. You want to seat die just deep enough to barely bell shortest case. Now bell longest case. Your RAM should extend fully. If not bring die up
1/4 turn until RAM fully extends. OAL solved. Seat other dies per instructions. gtg.

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:30:49 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/10/2011 7:49:10 AM EST by NA_Wreckdiver]
Pull the seating stem out of the die and see how it ACTUALLY contacts the bullet.
Unless the stem is completely flat with NO lip, you may find that the stem is actually
contacting the bullet on the ogive.

Either way, I SUSPECT, you may find variances in the bullets. They are not match bullets,
so they may be varying slightly. Unless it is creating feeding issues, I doubt you will notice
any effect on accuracy in a pistol round.

ETA: .01 seems like a lot... I thought I read .001.
Anyway, make sure the bushing isn't rotating slightly as you load.
I had a problem with my powder measure doing that on the LnL.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:43:17 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
Pull all dies from press. Take handfull of brass. Find shortest and longest. Now, install powder expander die. You want to seat die just deep enough to barely bell shortest case. Now bell longest case. Your RAM should extend fully. If not bring die up
1/4 turn until RAM fully extends. OAL solved. Seat other dies per instructions. gtg.

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Makes sense, I am pretty happy with the way the expander is set-up currently. it flares just enough to place a bullet. I don't get how there is a connection between the bell and the OAL?

By the way, I'm using brand new unfired Starline brass and the brass is very consistent, .897" if I remember correctly, with very little variance.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:45:51 AM EST
Originally Posted By NA_Wreckdiver:
Pull the seating stem out of the die and see how it ACTUALLY contacts the bullet.
Unless the stem is completely flat with NO lip, you may find that the stem is actually
contacting the bullet on the ogive.

Either way, I SUSPECT, you may find variances in the bullets. They are not match bullets,
so they may be varying slightly. Unless it is creating feeding issues, I doubt you will notice
any effect on accuracy in a pistol round.


The stem is perfectly flat with no lip. Bullets do vary, but the XTP is well made and very consistent. Even if there was a large variance in bullet length this would be canceled out by the flat stem and should seat exactly the same every time, but for some reason it's not...

Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:49:47 AM EST
see my edit.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:54:57 AM EST
RAM has to stop at same point every time to maintain oal from one round to the next. Next suspect is sizing die. Seater die would be suspect if loading lead. Lube has tendency to build in seater die. Is press hard mounted ?


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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:04:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/10/2011 8:06:23 AM EST by rob944s2]
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
RAM has to stop at same point every time to maintain oal from one round to the next. Next suspect is sizing die. Seater die would be suspect if loading lead. Lube has tendency to build in seater die. Is press hard mounted ?


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Yep, I get that, need to have complete strokes of the ram. But in your previous post you had mentioned that if the ram isn't going up all the way to back out the die. I'm confused about what you're describing. Are you referring to the expander die? If so, that die doesn't limit the motion of the ram, it sits up pretty high to bell just the case mouth. Now the sizer does contact the shell plate when being used, but the ram has full motion.

I was actually looking at the shell plate as a suspect. See, on my test rounds I was doing 1 at a time, and got the correct measurement, but it wasn't until I loaded up the whole shell plate and did a run of 10 that things went out of whack. Could the uneven stress caused by only 1 round in the shell plate, activating only 1 die at a time, cause it to cant slightly differently than when it is fully loaded?
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:04:55 AM EST
There's an easy way to trouble shoot oal. Remove all dies except seater.

Seat 3 bullets and measure. Don't powder charge, just seat, measure and pull. If oal is same go back to expander die. This is one part of many parts necessary to tune your press.

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:09:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/10/2011 8:16:42 AM EST by 1911smith]
O'But Contrare'. You're expander die can be stopped short of full stroke on longer brass.

eta. One die is stopping the ram. I doubt you have issue with shell plate.(could be wrong) I know where your at. Somewhere between cloud and full mental block..... just follow me for a spell.

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:12:13 AM EST
Originally Posted By rob944s2:
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
RAM has to stop at same point every time to maintain oal from one round to the next. Next suspect is sizing die. Seater die would be suspect if loading lead. Lube has tendency to build in seater die. Is press hard mounted ?


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Yep, I get that, need to have complete strokes of the ram. But in your previous post you had mentioned that if the ram isn't going up all the way to back out the die. I'm confused about what you're describing. Are you referring to the expander die? If so, that die doesn't limit the motion of the ram, it sits up pretty high to bell just the case mouth. Now the sizer does contact the shell plate when being used, but the ram has full motion.

I was actually looking at the shell plate as a suspect. See, on my test rounds I was doing 1 at a time, and got the correct measurement, but it wasn't until I loaded up the whole shell plate and did a run of 10 that things went out of whack. Could the uneven stress caused by only 1 round in the shell plate, activating only 1 die at a time, cause it to cant slightly differently than when it is fully loaded?


I have found this to be the case on my press,

get all stations loaded then adjust your seater die as needed.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:18:45 AM EST
See edit above... check to insure shell plate is secure.

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:22:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By Ch0wd3r:
I have found this to be the case on my press,

get all stations loaded then adjust your seater die as needed.


Yes, absolutely. That is why I made myself a dummy round (no powder or primer) for each cartridge/bullet/OAL combination I like to load.

When I'm making the first few rounds in a batch, I place the dummy round in the final stage (taper crimp on my setup) and grab it before it can go in the bin.

For whatever reason, you get more consistent bullet seating depth if all the stages are "loaded."

0.010" OAL variation is actually sort of normal for my standards, using roundnose, cast lead bullets. It's maybe a little much for a high-quality bullet like the XTP, but nothing to get too excited over.

I don't even bother thinking about variations in brass length. I can't be bothered to trim pistol brass, or to sort it by case OAL. It's just not worth the effort.

Some variation in OAL is inevitable on the LNL AP. That's why I set my seater die to seat at least 0.005" above the minimum OAL in the load data, and always measure OAL on the first few and last few rounds of a batch (as well as random samplings in the middle) to be sure there aren't any "short rounds." With some cartridges, the minimum OAL is well under my target OAL, so I don't even have to worry about that.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 8:23:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/10/2011 8:26:27 AM EST by 1911smith]
Went back through your posts and caught fact you have one die to expand, another to powder drop. The expander die is my suspect

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 9:46:11 AM EST
Boy.... am tempted to buy an LNL just so I can figure this one out. There should be very little variance in oal regardless of make or model. My two Lees won't vary and aren't hard mounted. Then again, they aren't used to size either.

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 9:47:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By Objekt:
Originally Posted By Ch0wd3r:
I have found this to be the case on my press,

get all stations loaded then adjust your seater die as needed.


Yes, absolutely. That is why I made myself a dummy round (no powder or primer) for each cartridge/bullet/OAL combination I like to load.

When I'm making the first few rounds in a batch, I place the dummy round in the final stage (taper crimp on my setup) and grab it before it can go in the bin.

For whatever reason, you get more consistent bullet seating depth if all the stages are "loaded."0.010" OAL variation is actually sort of normal for my standards, using roundnose, cast lead bullets. It's maybe a little much for a high-quality bullet like the XTP, but nothing to get too excited over.

I don't even bother thinking about variations in brass length. I can't be bothered to trim pistol brass, or to sort it by case OAL. It's just not worth the effort.

Some variation in OAL is inevitable on the LNL AP. That's why I set my seater die to seat at least 0.005" above the minimum OAL in the load data, and always measure OAL on the first few and last few rounds of a batch (as well as random samplings in the middle) to be sure there aren't any "short rounds." With some cartridges, the minimum OAL is well under my target OAL, so I don't even have to worry about that.


I found out the hard way just like you did, I would single stage it to set up my loads and when i started pumping out rounds my OAL was way off!

So now I just set my seater a little high to get it close and pay close attention to the first 4 or 5 rounds that come out.
adjust the seater down till its spot on, run those 4 or 5 back through the seater if necessary. After that I will randomly check rounds but they are
always right where I want them.

I also use the seater that came in the die to seat all bullets (except LSWC) I find seating on the ogive to be more consistant
than on the tip of the bullet.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 9:52:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
Boy.... am tempted to buy an LNL just so I can figure this one out. There should be very little variance in oal regardless of make or model. My two Lees won't vary and aren't hard mounted. Then again, they aren't used to size either.

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LOL.. it is a pretty good press, but I think the shell plate flexes just a tad when you only have
one station loaded.

So when all stations are loaded and the ram is at/near the top the rounds in all the other dies help
steady the plate as the bullet is being seated that last .01 or so.

At least thats my story and I'm stickin to it!

Link Posted: 3/10/2011 10:09:47 AM EST
Originally Posted By Ch0wd3r:
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
Boy.... am tempted to buy an LNL just so I can figure this one out. There should be very little variance in oal regardless of make or model. My two Lees won't vary and aren't hard mounted. Then again, they aren't used to size either.

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LOL.. it is a pretty good press, but I think the shell plate flexes just a tad when you only have
one station loaded.

So when all stations are loaded and the ram is at/near the top the rounds in all the other dies help
steady the plate as the bullet is being seated that last .01 or so.

At least thats my story and I'm stickin to it!



I'm thinking you're right, this seems to be the most likely source of my problem, especially since you seem to have had the exact same issue. I wonder if I can figure out a way to correct this, kind of a bummer if the first and last 4-5 rounds aren't the same as the rest of the set, a small issue I know, but still bugs me.

By the way, you said you used your AP as a single stage when you set things up. Do you just mean one round at a time or is there some way to keep the turret from spinning and use the AP as s true single stage?
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 10:34:25 AM EST
For around $50.00 you can get a Lee single stage and be done with it..... I seem to remember this as issue in past posts.

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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 10:37:44 AM EST
Here's a link to another thread discussing the same problem, seems to confirm the flexing issue.

http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-338676.html
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 10:38:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
For around $50.00 you can get a Lee single stage and be done with it..... I seem to remember this as issue in past posts.

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Yeah, actually already have a Hornady single stage.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 11:36:14 AM EST


I'm thinking you're right, this seems to be the most likely source of my problem, especially since you seem to have had the exact same issue. I wonder if I can figure out a way to correct this, kind of a bummer if the first and last 4-5 rounds aren't the same as the rest of the set, a small issue I know, but still bugs me.

By the way, you said you used your AP as a single stage when you set things up. Do you just mean one round at a time or is there some way to keep the turret from spinning and use the AP as s true single stage?



Yeah I just loaded one round at a time on the plate.

I also have a single stage for that purpose.

Its really not a big issue with me. just a matter of keeping an eye on things, which you should be doing anyway.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 1:01:33 PM EST
The subplate can flex slightly. You'll see that if you push the lever forward too hard when priming, and see it flex just a bit. Set your COL with all five stations full. As you adjust the length closer, set the rounds that are too long aside. Once you have the COL set, you can slip those rounds in later and seat the bullets fully.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 1:06:17 PM EST
If I owned that press....I would re-install your dies as suggested. Next time at Graf's will take closer look. What impressed me about press is how solid shell plate looked to be. Looked over built, now I am puzzled which is not good.....usually leads to out pour of cash. Maybe I can stumble into one of those "finds" dryflash3 is infamous for..........



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Link Posted: 3/10/2011 2:06:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/10/2011 2:34:37 PM EST by ma96782]
If anyone can lend any thoughts as to why the .01" variance it would be appreciated, let me know if you need more details.



IMHO...........

First off (considering what we are currently talking about)............

0.01 inch is a small variance.

Yes, things could be improved...........but, as long as your ammo fits...........you're GTG.



Second............

IF, you are seating and taper crimping at the same time. It might be............that you haven't correctly adjusted your seating die. The seater plug must make positive contact before the crimp is applied. Some choose to use a FCD to break up the two steps.

**OK you did say that you had a TCD in station #5.

Third............

It could be, that some air pressure is building up when you're seating the bullet. Make sure "venting" can occur when seating your bullet.

Fourth............

Being that it's reloaded ammo and it's shot out of a pistol (normally, handheld)...........really, what is a difference of 0.01" COAL worth?

Aloha, Mark

PS.........and I do believe that "flex" is/can be an issue with progressive machines (some more than others).

Make sure the seater plug is clean (guys who load lots of lead bullets know of what I speak) and that contact is consistent.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 2:53:30 PM EST
Remember the discuession we had a while back about .45 ACP headspacing on the bullet, casemouth or extractor?

OK.......so it got me thinking (DANGEROUS)...........

An extractor groove is cut into the cartridge case...........what if.........the shell plate was acting like an extractor?

Could the shape/size of the extractor groove in your brass meeting with the shape/size groove in the shell plate be affecting things?

____________________

BTW.........I once measured some of my reloads made with mixed brass and 200 grain LSWC bullets made on a LEE progressive machine.

I had a variation in COLA of 0.014" from the 5 samples.

Since it was lead bullets...........well, I didn't sweat the variance.

But............that's ME.

Aloha, Mark


Link Posted: 3/10/2011 3:30:21 PM EST
User Idano from theHighRoad gave this info, sounds likely:

Idano
February 11, 2008, 12:10 AM
IMtheNRA,

There shouldn't be any noticeable variance if the resizer has casing in it or not.
Check your decapping mandrel, it sounds like it may be adjusted too far down. If it is adjusted too far it will hit the bottom of the case. I usually adjust the decapping pin by backing it out then run a case into the die and manually screw it down until it just pops the primer. I mark that spot on the threads then adjust it down until it hits the bottom of the case and then back it out half way back to my previous mark. This way I am sure it will knock out the primers but not bottom out on the brass.


Link Posted: 3/10/2011 7:59:02 PM EST
On the LNL AP (and probably many other progressives... I've had at least one Dillon guy tell me the same thing occurs with his press), you'll find .005" to 008" of flex in the plate, when only one station is used as opposed to all 5. Adjust your seating depth with all stations full.

You will also get some slight variations of COL in the same batch if you are using different types or lots of brass; the case head can be slightly bigger from one piece to the the next. Tolerance stacking could lead up to .010" of variance if you add this in.
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 5:14:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/14/2011 5:22:58 AM EST by Objekt]
Originally Posted By rob944s2:
Originally Posted By 1911smith:
For around $50.00 you can get a Lee single stage and be done with it..... I seem to remember this as issue in past posts.

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Yeah, actually already have a Hornady single stage.


The Lock-n-Load single-stage? I really like the Lock-n-Load system, so much so that I put a LNL conversion bushing on my Rockchucker and bought LNL bushings for the dies I use with it.
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 5:22:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By DEDON45:
On the LNL AP (and probably many other progressives... I've had at least one Dillon guy tell me the same thing occurs with his press), you'll find .005" to 008" of flex in the plate, when only one station is used as opposed to all 5. Adjust your seating depth with all stations full.

You will also get some slight variations of COL in the same batch if you are using different types or lots of brass; the case head can be slightly bigger from one piece to the the next. Tolerance stacking could lead up to .010" of variance if you add this in.


I think those two things pretty much explain it.

0.005"-0.008" is about the minimum COAL variation I see on my LNL AP, even when loading brand new brass of a single brand (e.g. Starline) with dimensionally-consistent bullets (e.g. plated flatnose).
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 6:13:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By Objekt:
Originally Posted By DEDON45:
On the LNL AP (and probably many other progressives... I've had at least one Dillon guy tell me the same thing occurs with his press), you'll find .005" to 008" of flex in the plate, when only one station is used as opposed to all 5. Adjust your seating depth with all stations full.

You will also get some slight variations of COL in the same batch if you are using different types or lots of brass; the case head can be slightly bigger from one piece to the the next. Tolerance stacking could lead up to .010" of variance if you add this in.


I think those two things pretty much explain it.

0.005"-0.008" is about the minimum COAL variation I see on my LNL AP, even when loading brand new brass of a single brand (e.g. Starline) with dimensionally-consistent bullets (e.g. plated flatnose).


In fact, I was loading unfired starline brass with 200 gr XTP's. At least now I can just expect the variance and not be surprised by it.

PS, yes my single stage is the LNL.
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