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I just purchased a new set of Lee Dies. I am seating the bullets and notice about .003 of a difference on every one I seat. I can't imagine this being an issue but wanted to check with you all. Thanks guys
 

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I wouldn't worry about it. I've had some up to .005 and have had no issues. I'm not loading any where near max. loads either. I'll watch this and see what some of the veteran reloaders have to say.
 

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It's not a problem, cmann. The variation in OACL has more to do with your press than your dies. What kind of press are you using? ;)
 

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What firearm ? what kind of bullets ? what caliber ? seating and crimping in one step or two ? How did you determine OAL to start with ? do all the bullets chamber ?
What's the load--Min. Max. .003 is not much in most cases, but info is helpful.
+ or - .003 could give as much as a .006 variation.
I sometimes have a .002 or .003 difference on some 45 ACP bullets but I know why
and also know if it's a concern or not.
If I were short loading a high pressure round like a 40 S&W with close to or max loads it would be a big concern.
forgot to say " sometimes the bullet tip is a little distorted, if the seater hits the tip you can be a little off.
 

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I would not worry about .003 variation in COAL. Between the various tolerances of the dies, the press and variations in your bullets, .003 is nothing to worry about.:)
 

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As long as they are not coming out short it is of no concern.
Mine consistently vary from .001 to .003 over. If I ever get a short one I will pull that bullet and check that die.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry for the lack of info. I was loading a .40SW. Using a Lee bullet seat die. Crimping with the Lee factory crimp die separate. I am not loading max loads or near them. My COL was 1.125 for the 180gr. bullet I am using. Shooting it out of a Berreta.
 

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That's a very good press with high degree of repeatability and virtually no springiness. There are factors that can easily influence OAL that are not readily apparent, especially with short cartridges. Rims often get nicked during firing, for instance, which can raise or tilt a short a case such as a .45 ACP on the shell holder by more than a couple of thousandths. The greatest offender is with regard to variations in bullet shape that occur in shipment and handling, or even with mixed lots from different swaging or casting dies. Your seating stem will sit differently on a narrower profile than a stouter one, even if the difference is only discernable under an optical comparitor. That's why some competitors shoot in competition with Sierra bullets or the like that hold to such absolute standards. But I must tell you that a .45 bullet gets battered around pretty easily when a fork lift lays a pallet of bullets down with a ton of bullets on top of it.

There is also the human factor, which relates to how fully you exert the press linkage on each stroke with uniformity.

In any case, .45 ACPs, are not the sort of cartridge class that is critical of OAL to absolute standards. Far more important than OAL for that round is bearing surface that affects resistance, and cartridge case insertion that affects internal pressure; neither of which is affected by slight variations of forward profile (ogive). You should be in good shape. :)
 

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I use the Lee Classic Turret & when I load 40sw fmj or xtp, I have the die set for 1.125... I use both titegroup & win231 powders for this cartridge, but like the titegroup more... Factory ammo from Winchester I have measured at 1.117 & Blazer, at 1.115... Good luck w/your reloading...
 

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I just purchased a new set of Lee Dies. I am seating the bullets and notice about .003 of a difference on every one I seat.
If it makes you crazy, seat and crimp as separate steps. Revolvers and autos fired from an unsupported position will never find the error in that much variation. Straight walled cases like the .357/.44, fired from a rifle, scoped and from a rest, maybe.
 
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