Not happy

Not happy

This is a discussion on Not happy within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I may have to start over from scratch. Having recently changed both press (moved to a Dillon 550), powder measure (Dillon powder measure) and case ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    Not happy

    I may have to start over from scratch. Having recently changed both press (moved to a Dillon 550), powder measure (Dillon powder measure) and case lube (yup, you guessed it, I decided to try Dillon Case lube). I went to the range this morning and things were all over the place - I mean both groups and velocities. Each 10 round string was just a little over an inch (25 yards with a red dot, not a magnified scope), when you combine all the strings, 150 rounds, the overall group was a little over 2 inches - ugly!. However, in my defense, it was a bit chilly out - low 40's when i got there and mid 40's when i left with the sun never coming out from behind the mountain. Well, that is an excuse for the groups anyway.

    As for the velocities... Velocities across the board were low and I am not sure why, 40 really isn't that cold in terms of effect on powder. In terms of ES and SD - For 45 ACP, that went fine, i had an ES of 55.9 and an SD of 18.1, not as good as I would like, but something I can deal with. 223 Rem was a different story. I had some ES that were over 200 and the best SD I got was 30.7. My best guess is that I am using too much case lube and getting inconsistent powder drops because the powder is clumping up in the powder funnel and then falling inconstant into the case, and on the shell plate. Every time I ran a test powder drop it measured perfect, but those drops were with dry, unsized cases with the old used primer still in place.

    Since those drops, with the dry cases all measured pretty much spot on, I am going to work on the case lube part of it. I had originally decided to try the Dillon Case Lube because it was a spray on lube, but was not an aerosol. I had been using Hornady One Shot previously and decided that I still wanted to use a spray on lube, but wanted to find something that was not an aerosol I thought that DCL might be it. Well, my first step will be to go back to the Hornady One Shot, with the Dillon powder measure and see what happens. If that brings my numbers back down, I will then go back to the DCL and try using less spray and see what happens. I could also try doing my case prep a week before the actual reloading to give the lube a chance to dry up a bit - Dillon says that DCL should be fine for up to two weeks - the reason that I do not tumble my cases after case prep, which includes resizing/depriming and primer pocket swaging, is because I do run them through the sizing die again when I load them. This keeps me from having to keep removing the sizing die from the tool head when I reload.

    If, on the other hand, going back to Hornady One Shot does not help any, I will go ahead and put the old Lee powder measure on the 550 and see what that does. If that solves it, then I will remove the sizing die, go back to the Dillon Powder measure and tumble the cases before loading them. Removing the sizing die and then having to put it back in every time I do case prep, or when I reload cases that have already been swaged, is something that I would prefer to avoid, but will happily do for testing if it helps me to determine what my problem is.

    If going back to the Hornady One Shot solves my problem and I can not get things right with the DCL, well I will just go back to using One Shot. However, if I am still "lost and wondering", well, then I will just tear everything down and start again from scratch. I already know that my components will do the job, because they were doing it just fine on the Lee Turret. I know that the 550 will do the job because it does it with my handgun loads where small inconsistencies show up even more because they are a larger % of the powder drop.

    The way I see it, the remaining possibilities are either the lube, the powder measure, or me messing things up in some stupid way when I set up for this caliber.

    I do not think my goals are all that ambitious, <2MAO and SD in the teens, but I know that I can get there because I was there with both 223 Rem and 308 Win before changing everything. If I can get down to 1 MOA, which is actually were I was with 223, so much the better. But I will not take a shot past 300 yards these days and I feel that this is the minimum I want in order to take shots out to that range.
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  2. #2
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    I can't imagine case lube being an issue unless you're somehow getting it inside the cases.

    What was your previous press that presumably gave you acceptable consistency?
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    Member Array jejb's Avatar
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    If you are shooting 1-2" groups free hand at 25 yards with a 45, I don't think you have a problem.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    I can't imagine case lube being an issue unless you're somehow getting it inside the cases.

    What was your previous press that presumably gave you acceptable consistency?
    The old press was a Lee Classic Turret. Very nice press, but I wanted to move everything to my Dillon 550.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jejb View Post
    If you are shooting 1-2" groups free hand at 25 yards with a 45, I don't think you have a problem.
    No, I wish!

    The 1 - 2" group was 223 rem with a red dot. From a rest, with a 3-9X scope I can generally get everything inside a 1 1/2" group at 100 yards. For this, with the red dot from 25 yards, I was expecting everything to be within a 1" group, but I was just too cold to worry about it and went as fast as I could keep them within the chrono uprights.

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    If you have any ammo left, You may want to pull a few bullets and weigh the powder charges before condemning the powder measure. As you pull those bullets also pay attn to the neck tension. It could also be responsible for your ammo changes. Good Luck DR

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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    If you have any ammo left, You may want to pull a few bullets and weigh the powder charges before condemning the powder measure. As you pull those bullets also pay attn to the neck tension. It could also be responsible for your ammo changes. Good Luck DR
    Thanks for the suggestion. I do have some of each load left and can pull a couple of each to measure the powder charge and take a look at the powder itself to see if it is clumped up or not. I will also pay attention to the neck tension as well - I should be able to get a good idea on this based on how easily the bullets come out of the case, correct?

    Personally, I do not think it is the powder measure, I have spoken with too many who use fine ball powders with the Dillon powder measure without any issues. I actually think that i am using too much case lube and that once I either go back to Hornady One Shot, or learn the trick to using enough, but not too much of the Dillon Case Lube, everything will work out fine. However, if I have to, i am ready to tear this tool head down and re-setup all of the dies and the powder measure from scratch. Haven't had any issues with the powder measure loading either 9mm or 45 ACP.

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    Distinguished Member Array Rabbit212's Avatar
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    That's what you get for abandoning Lee and drinking the blue koolaid!!!
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    Unless you want to play design of experiments games, change only one variable in you reloading process at a time. That wholesale swap buggered all your control.

    DISCLAIMER: I just bought all Lee stuff since it was on sale...
    Still Clingin'

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    What makes you think case lube makes a difference?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit212 View Post
    That's what you get for abandoning Lee and drinking the blue koolaid!!!
    But it tastes so good !
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BentLink View Post
    Unless you want to play design of experiments games, change only one variable in you reloading process at a time. That wholesale swap buggered all your control.

    DISCLAIMER: I just bought all Lee stuff since it was on sale...
    I hear you. I am planning on only making one change at a time, unless after that, I still have not gotten anywhere, in which case my last resort is to accept that I messed up something basic when I setup this caliber on the Dillon and I will start form scratch with it, setting each die up one at a time. I don't think it will get there, but I am prepared in case it does.
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    What makes you think case lube makes a difference?
    The reason I am thinking case lube is for two reasons. First, when I was initially setting up this caliber on the Dillon I got a lot of powder spilling all over the shell plate and when I called Dillon, the tech i spoke with said that too much case lube might be one of my problems. The second reason is that even though I was able to re-adjust the powder measure so that I was not getting the spillage, I can see a few grains sticking around the mouth of the case on almost every case as they came down out of the powder drop at station 2.

    No, I am not 100% certain, but that is why I am going to try tumbling the cases after resizing/depriming and swaging the primer pockets. I am also going to try Hornady One Shot case lube. I have used One Shot before and know what to expect from it (when I go back to One Shot, then EVERYTHING except the press itself will be the same as before) and, in conjunction with loading a dry case that has been tumbled, it should give me a good idea whether or not case lube is a contributing factor. If it turns out that case lube makes no difference either way, then I have no idea where to go, other than to go through the initial setup all over again. I already know what I should be able to get out of my current load because it is the same bullet, primer, powder, powder weight, bullet and seating depth as before I changes presses. I have always had a bit of range pickup brass mixed in with my LC brass, but this time i am going to stick with just LC brass until i figure out what I am doing wrong.

    Also, setting up and reloading pistol calibers (9mm and 45 ACP) went smoothly and gave me similar results to what i was getting on the Lee Classic Turret. The major difference between pistol and rifle is that for the rifle you have to lube the cases. Both do resize/deprime and prime on station one. Both do powder drop on station two, although pistol does flare the case while rifle doesn't. Both seat on station 3 and both crimp on station 4. My only real changes are the case lube and the press. There are just so many people out there that have good success with this Dillon 550 that, if it is not the case lube, the only conclusion I can see is that I made some mistake in my initial setup that is so boneheaded that I am just not seeing what I did wrong.

    One last thing... I was talking to a gentleman over the weekend who said that he has been using Dillon Case Lube for his rifle case for twenty and he i still on his first bottle. I don't know how accurate that is, but even if it only "feels" like he is on his first bottle, then based on how much of my bottle I have already used, I MUST be using substantially more than he is.

    In any case, I will verify whether or not it is the case lube before i tear everything down and start the setup all over again on this caliber.

  15. #14
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    OK, I was trying to discern if you were somehow contaminating your powder charge with case lube. Lube confined to the exterior of the case should have zero effect on the loading process insofar as the variables regarding charge weight and bullet seating are concerned.

    In about 9 years of reloading experience I've loaded around 100K of pistol but fewer than 1K rifle rounds. FWIW my press is a Hornady LNL AP, and .30-06 ammo for the Garand were a handloader's dream. Easy to dial in loads and plenty repeatable. My only problem was with loading .30-30, as the way I had the press set up, the force required to activate the powder drop was carried through the cartridge case. .30-30 brass is far less robust than .30-06 brass, and the extra force required to "cut" powder grains in the drum-style powder measure caused about a 20% failure rate with the brass. Changing to a ball-type powder eliminated that problem.

    Back to case prep: I know it's a pain, but I tumble and/or dishwasher wash (in a lingerie bag) rifle brass after decapping and resizing, to remove any traces of case lube before priming and dropping powder.
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    Case lube hosing things up? Never heard of that one before.
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