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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've reloaded 9mm cast bullets with success, so I decided I wanted to reload for my Winchester 94 in 30-30.

I ran into a couple problems, and so I need some advice.

I am loading on a Lee breech lock single stage press, using Lee dies.

First I ran my brass through the de-capping/sizing die, and re-priming in the same step, using the Lee safety prime.

Then I put the brass through the Lee Deluxe Quick Trim die. This is where I noticed something odd. Some of the brass, when trimmed, looked like the rim of the case mouth was rather sharp and narrow. The Deluxe quick trim is supposed to de-burr and champfer the case, which it looked like it did. Just some of the brass looked like the de-burring had made it sharp, like the edge of a knife. I do not know if this is normal.

Then I charged all the cases.

I am using a .309 sized cast lead bullet, that weighs 115 grains. When seating the bullets, it did not appear as though the necks of the cases had much room to accept the bullet. While seating, a tiny bit of lead and lube was shaved off of all of them. A couple case necks actually got crushed.

Also, the rest that seated all had a ring cut into the bullet by the seating die, which I can only assume is going to effect accuracy.

This is meant to be a cost effective plinking round, so I can shoot my Winchester more often, without breaking the bank. Hence the lightweight lead bullet, requiring less powder, and keeping costs down.

So what's going on here? Shouldn't the neck be sized a little wider to more easily accept the bullet? Did I do something wrong in the trimming step? And why is the seating die leaving this ring? I have the seating die adjusted as the Lee instructions specify, but had to have the actual seating depth adjustment cranked almost all the way down. I tried adjusting the die in or out, and re-adjusting the seating plug in or out correspondingly, but the ring remained on the bullets.

Any experience or helpful thoughts on the situation would be welcome. Thanks!
 

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You're going to have to expand the necks like on the pistol to get the lead bullets to seat to keep them from shaving the bullet. Then a light crimp. And the .30-30 is one of the thinest centerfire cartridges so the require a light touch.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have read something about a Lee universal expander die. Would this be the tool for the job? I thought the full length sizing/de-capping die was supposed to prepare the neck size for the bullet. Do jacketed bullets slide in easier, not requiring as much width? Sorry for all the questions. It's gonna suck adding another round of pulls for neck expanding. Would this operation take place after sizing? Like, sizing/de-capping/re-priming, trimming, neck expanding, charging, seating, crimping, would be the order of things?
 

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I seat .311" diameter lead bullets in 30-30 cases without shaving and I don't expand any more than what the decap/expander provides inside my RCBS die. Not sure the difference. Could be the type of bullet used too. Gas checked bullets would likely remedy the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yea, the extra cost (although minimal) and extra steps involved with gas checks was something I am trying to avoid. And they aren't necessary with the lighter, low velocity loads I am trying to put together. Also the 500 115 gr .309 lead bullets I have aren't meant for gas checks so....
 

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I think your ring grove on the bullet is from a seating plug not designed for round nose lead bullets.

I would also be cautious about trimming after priming as there maybe debris left in the case and I don't know whether or not the trim die would hit the inside of the primer I don't know how the Lee trimmer gauges and I don't know anyone who does it in that order,prime then trim.
 

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Your 30-30 dies are made for jacketed bullets, for lead bullets you will need to flare the end of the neck slightly, like a revolver case. Your dies are correct, the neck should be smaller then the bullet. When seating a jacketed bullet the bullet expands the neck for a tension fit.
I think Lee makes a rifle flare die, to load lead bullets.

The sharp edge your getting is from cutting too much chamfer, just try to deburr without removing too much brass. Also 30-30 head spaces on the rim not the neck like 9mm, with your light loads case trimming won't need to be done much if any.

The light weight bullet your using is shorter than the 150-170 normal weight, so yes the seating adjustment would be screwed in farther than normal.

Hope your project goes well
 

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Morning Soulman1282;

I sounds like you are doing a number of things that should be done slightly differently and/or you should be using different die set-up's.

The best advise I can give you is call Lee Precision ( phone (262) 673-3075) then ask to speak to a customer service adviser about die problems. Lee is a GREAT company to work with & they will usually take the time to help you out & talk you through any die set-up or bullet seating issues.

You should also go the Lee's web site --http://leeprecision.com/-- as the they have some help videos & die set-up instructions on their web site.

On those rings in your bullets?-- as mentioned above, that is your seater plug not matching your bullet tip profile, You can either live with the bullet ring, or remove the seater plug & spin it with your power drill then file/sand it to (try) to make it fit better, or talk to Lee as they can make you a custom bullet seater plug if you send them a few of your bullets. (usually just removing (filing/sanding) a little off of the lower lip of the seater plug can make that ring in the bullet go away.
 

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You also have to chamfer new or once fired brass on the inside so lead bullets don't get shaved when seating.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help guys! I think I can manage beveling the edge on the seater plug myself. And I ordered a Lee Universal neck expander die to flare the cases before seating bullets. Hopefully this will resolves the problems. I'll post again with further problems,or hopefully successes!
 

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Soulman,
I'm not familiar with the Lee Universal neck expander die (didn't know they made something like that) - however, I have used the Lyman "M" dies for my cast bullet loads in bottle neck cases (to include the 30-30). The mouth of the case needs to be "belled" slightly in order to start the bullet without shaving lead/lube. Once I became "enlightened" to that ('bout 40 years ago), my loading issues with cast bullets & bottleneck cases went away.
If the Lee die doesn't "do it" for you - the Lyman "M" die will (should?).
The ring on the bullet nose is due to an incorrect or improper seating plug in your seating die. It needs to be modified to more closely match the bullet nose profile.
Good luck in your quest. A word of warning - shooting cast bullets in rifles is addicting!

Skyhunter
 

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Soulman, There was a time when I loaded many, many 30-30 rounds with a 125 gr or so cast bullet for plinking and small game. It's not bullseye accurate as the bullet is so far from the barrel throat but I don't remember it being overly inaccurate from my Marlin 336 with micro grooves. If memory serves Unique was my powder of choice for this load. Today use what powder you can find and what load data you can find for it.

What you describe with your brass is sort of typical of 30-30 cases. If you have extremely thin brass then discard it otherwise thin neck brass is fine for a few loadings. Watch for splits and discard as soon as you see splits. Note the head stamp of these and look for a different brand until you find something more consistent. It seems when I was loading Remington cases were preferred.

Almost all reloading dies are designed with jacketed bullets in mind henceforth the expander isn't quite enough for jacketed bullets. This is what you are seeing with the lead shaving. I am not familiar with the Lee dies as, like Skyhunter, I also use the Lyman M die. The M die is designed specifically for cast bullets and does a very good job of opening the case mouth just enough not to shave lead but not too much as to overwork the brass. If the Lee expander die does not work out give the M die a try.

http://www.brownells.com/reloading/reloading-dies/rifle-dies/lyman-rifle-m-dies-prod42820.aspx

Dan
 

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Soulman,
I'm not a 30-30 loader, but I've reloaded thousands of .357 lead SWC bullets, each batch it seems has a slightly different approach.

I'd like to point out brass first. Name brand matters as does overall thickness. The thinner and feels like "egg shell" brass will have a shorter life span than thicker heavier brass. So, be gentle when expanding the neck. My "new" batch process involves, loosening the expander die, placing a test brass in the ram and running to length. Then hand tighten the expander die until resistance is felt. At this point, one half-turn by hand, then start fitting. Lower ram check bullet to case mouth, repeat 1/4 turn of die until you get that just "right" fit. Then an additional 1/8 turn and lock it down. =Works for me.

As mentioned earlier, the seating die might need some "special" attention. I'd like to point out my ignorance of the Lee die, but my brand has optional seating stems for different bullet types. RN, FP & SWC. To load the newer style wide flat points as is the rave for the "cowboy" loads, I'm in your boat, as none of my on hand stems make a good fit. :mad:

Lastly, before tossing any brass, dedicate a few for die set-up and testing purposes. It matters not if they're slightly split etc, as long as they maintain shape and length of your good brass, I also put a red line on them and store them with the powder scale and other delicate tools.

Maybe something along the way helps you out. Enjoy, and we'll see you at the range! :D
 

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I had the same experience with Lee 30-30 dies and my cast bullets. I tried the Lee universal expander, but the flare was almost always eccentric (off center). After realizing that the dies were just not ideal for cast lead, I got the RCBS cowboy 30-30 die set. The set includes a neck expanding/flaring die similar to the Lyman M die. The results are ideal.

I still use the Lee dies for jacketed bullets and it's handy to have a set of dies set up for both types of bullets I load. It's an additional expense to have more than one set of dies for one caliber, but it's a one time investment and well worth it in the end.
 

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Instead of buying an expander die I simply insert a .270 case into the 30/30 case and give it a couple of light taps with a rubber mallet.
 
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