C oal Variations when loading mixed brass?
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Thread: C oal Variations when loading mixed brass?

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    C oal Variations when loading mixed brass?

    I have noticed when I have been loading mixed brass my COAL seems to vary a bit for example was loading some bullets today at 1.085 and during measuring would find some at 1.065 up to 1.084. checked my press, tried changing seating stems nothing seemed to help. So I tested same head stamp brass and noticed they all seated to around the same measurement. I found that some brass seemed harder to seat or stiffer than other brands. does anyone run into this issue? any recommendations?

    using a lee single stage press with lee dies.

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    Are these 9's? What bullets? My 1st thought is "did you zero the caliper" after each reading? Fresh battery? What COL were you expecting and how many rounds landed within .005 of your target COL? The ones that were outside of your target COL, did you do a "triple check" to get an average COL? Sometimes a high or low spot on the bullet will yank your chain!

    BTW....I use a single stage Lee press and Lee dies.

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    Last edited by nevadabob; 11-16-2019 at 03:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevadabob View Post
    Are these 9's? What bullets? My 1st thought is "did you zero the caliper" after each reading? Fresh battery? What COL were you expecting and how many rounds landed within .005 of your target COL? The ones that were outside of your target COL, did you do a "triple check" to get an average COL? Sometimes a high or low spot on the bullet will yank your chain!

    BTW....I use a single stage Lee press and Lee dies.

    PS...This is my 1,000th post! What did I win?
    congrats ! lol

    these are 9mm loading with a 147gr berrys hhp

    Battery is good, zeroed after ever 10 bullets.

    went back and measured 10 of them they went from 1.075 - 1085 my desired length is 1.085. I know some do have small high and low points on the bullet because I would rotate the bullet and get a slightly different length. Has never bothered me in the past and they all have shot well but was not sure why it would happen.

    what I did notice some bullets went in smooth when seating and others had more resistance which im guessing is from the case thickness.

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    Neck tension will vary on mix headstamp/brands of brass more than same brand, same lot number brass. Also brass thickness and taper in web. This can cause a little spring back or bullet to not seat to same exact depth each time. In most loads it is not an issue when loading mix headstamp brass, the loads are usually practice rounds.
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    Your 2nd readings should be OK. When I make up a batch of 50 9mm reloads, I check the COL on 5 to 8 rounds. Usually everybody falls within .005. Since I've been doing a bunch of 38 special revolver loads, I don't check the COL as the case opening is right on the bullet crimp groove. I also do this with my 9mm revolver loads since I shoot 38 special 125 grain bullets out of my Pit Bull.
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    I ran into this issue with the Extreme 124gr plated I have. I randomly pulled 10 projectiles out of one box, and there were variances in the length. I noticed that some had slightly more "build-up" on the tip than others. This can happen in the plating process. On my Lee turret press, I set the seating die for .010 over min OAL. This was the average variance over the 10 I checked. Once the round is complete, it gets the plunk/twist test in my Xd barrel(tightest chamber of the 4 I own), then goes into the range box if it passes. So far, this has worked for my range fodder, and I haven't noticed any differences in accuracy. I do load some higher-end projectiles(mostly Hornady and Speer), and those have a tighter tolerance on projectile length than the bulk stuff. As soon as I can get another Dremel bit for engraving, I'm going to put a scale on my seater dies for faster adjustments.

    On brass, yes, some manufacturers are thicker than others. You should notice the difference when you run them through the sizing die. NATO brass seems to me to be the thickest. I really have to bow up when resizing that stuff, and separate that for my +P loads. I decap with a universal decapper, so I know it's not having to overcome the primer crimp.

    As a reloading buddy told me, slightly longer is OK. If it's under min OAL listed, reject it. 9mm is susceptible to pressure spikes, and going under min OAL can cause serious pressure spikes with some powders.
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    Not to worry too much. Most of this variation is coming from the bullet and the seating stem. The Lee Stem on most bullets does not register on the tip of the bullet but down the side a short distance and I have found that both Berry's and Xtreme are not always perfect copies of one another. That the bullet shape can be off a slight bit where the stem and the bullet meet. This variation in diameter where they do meet will throw off your bullet length.

    Just to prove my point set up a bunch of bullets on the and then take the seating stem out of the die. Place the bullet and stem together and measure it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOldRedneck View Post
    Neck tension will vary on mix headstamp/brands of brass more than same brand, same lot number brass. Also brass thickness and taper in web. This can cause a little spring back or bullet to not seat to same exact depth each time. In most loads it is not an issue when loading mix headstamp brass, the loads are usually practice rounds.
    What he said.

    You can't expect consistent results when you are using mixed brass. Every headstamp- and even lot within a headstamp- has a different set of variables and there's no single answer that's going to work across the board.
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    thank you everyone for the input and confirming my suspensions, usually when I load test ammo I use the same head stamp but I was just loading to try the load and grabbed a bunch of randoms lol so far I have good luck with loads I usually load longer than minimum overall length. This particular load is a load I have tried with everglades and rmr 147gr plated so going to give it a shot with these and see how it runs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOldRedneck View Post
    Neck tension will vary on mix headstamp/brands of brass more than same brand, same lot number brass. Also brass thickness and taper in web. This can cause a little spring back or bullet to not seat to same exact depth each time. In most loads it is not an issue when loading mix headstamp brass, the loads are usually practice rounds.

    Which brings me to MY observation!
    Quit worrying over such trivial matters.
    unless loading max (or very near) and self defense loadings then I really don't worry about such little variances, as long as you are below max loading then these make very, very little differences in the finished product.
    if the loaded round functions in the weapon, is accurate for your use then relax and enjoy the process.
    I have intentionally shot as many different weights, styles of projectiles and brands in the same caliber as I could lay my hands on at targets out 15 yards and could not tell you which ones hit where as they were all in one medium sized cluster.
    Retired Firefighter, Advanced Georgia Master Gardener, Hazardous Material Response Member, Certified Hazardous Material Incident Commander, 1911 Addict and General Gun Lover.
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