Saturday, May 27, 2017

Thoughts on Powder Coated Bullets

I'll give my nutshell opinion on pistol bullets. Jacketed bullets are great, but are about the most expensive bullets you can buy, and my range no longer allows them when shooting steel targets after one range officer took a trip to the ER after getting hit with a bullet jacket. Plated bullets, in my experience are tempermental - you will get huge groups if you don't flare the case mouth enough or the crimp cuts into the plating. Lubed cast lead bullets are fine and cheap, but if you rapid fire, you'll end up standing in a cloud of nasty acrid smoke, especially if you use a hot-burning powder like TiteGroup. Powder coating adds a little cost over cast bullets, but you don't get as much smoke, and I get 50 extra feet per second, plus you can use them in polygonal barrels without lead buildup in most cases. Coated bullets are kind of the best compromise, provided that you are not going for ultimate bullseye accuracy.

I will throw in a quick note, that I will not buy Black Bullets again. I measured diameters with a micrometer, and checked the variation in bullet weight, and they were horrible. I don't know if Roger's Better Bullets are cost effective if you need to mail order, but they were three times more consistent in weight in diameter compared to Black Bullets.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lost Secret to Setting Up Seating Dies

The following is a tip published in the May/June 1985 issue of American Handgunner.  It could apply to adjusting seating dies when loading bullets with cannelures or revolver bullets with crimp grooves.  The bolt will work as-is for pistol bullets, but you would have to cut some kind of indentation into the tip of the bolt if you were loading pointed rifle bullets.
Texas reader Lannie Dietle suggests dialing a 7/8thsx14x3-inch hexhead bolt into your reloading press to facilitate determining desired seating depth.
"Ordinarily," says Dietle, "this adjustment is a trial-and-error process, performed with the use of the seating die. The disadvantage of using the seating die is inherent in the fact that the operation can't be observed. One must proceed in small increments, checking constantly, until the proper seating depth is discovered. 
"Using the 7/8ths bolt, instead of the die, one can see both the case and the bullet during the entire operation. All you have to do is press the bullet up against the tip of the bolt until the case mouth is properly aligned with the cannelure.  It is then an easy matter to adjust the seating die by lowering the seating plug until it contacts the correctly-seated bullet.  Subsequent seating is performed using the die."