- February 6, 2016 at 6:11 am #22943
Just a recommendation to every caster to purchase a set of 0″-1″ micrometers.
This is a recommendation that I ignored in my early casting career, thinking that I could measure accurately with my calipers.
And I could do a decent job, if the bullet was round.
But I had leading issues with my 45 (the first caliber I cast for) and it turned out the the issue was bullets out of round, leaving part of them undersized at .449 or so.
I could only tell this with micrometers.
There are good deals on EvilBay, $25 or less for good American made micrometers.
My set got misplaced during renovations and I finally got around to getting a new set a few weeks ago.
The first set I agonized for days, trying to figure out which set to buy, what brand, what all the differences were.
The latest set I knew I needed some now, it was time to cast again.
Logged onto Ebay, sorted by ‘but it now’ found a set that looked good and clicked ‘buy’ within a few minutes.
What arrived was a nice set of B&S 0″-1″, capable of measuring down to tenths (better than I can), nice and shiny in a factory box for $23.
Tried to zero it, was off a little, cleaned the anvils a time or two (take a piece of paper, tighten the anvils down until you can just pull the paper out and remove the paper).
Took a couple of cleanings but they zero’d out fine once the anvils were clean.
Now I am waiting on my new 6 cav 356-120TC mold to arrive and hoping that it casts round bullets. My 2 cavity of this version is out of round at the parting line .355x.359 or so.
Thought I had found the issue, there was a burr at one of the alignment pins, but another casting session yesterday gave out of round bullets again.
And my first test loads leaded the barrel, but I expected that.
Out of round bullets, softish alloy,Titegroup and tumble lube, not a recipe for success.
Once I get round bullets I will test again and then work on my other issues if needed.
I would have never known of the issues with either of my molds without micrometers.
Don’t be stubborn like I was, buy a set to go with your first mold.
- February 6, 2016 at 12:03 pm #22948
I can’t understand why anybody would ignor this advice. Solid as a rock.
- February 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm #22951
I will disagree. Proper observation after sizing said bullet will tell you if the bullet is out of round. With a Ballisti-cast Mark VI, Star, or Magma sizer one can tell in seconds after sizing a bullet if there is 360 degree contact. If there isn’t the bullet is out of round. Micrometer not needed. When it comes to a good micrometer Ebay isn’t my preferred vendor. I am spoiled being that I used to be a factory plant inspector. A lot can be said for simple observation and I mentioned a simple way to see if bullets are out of round with a mic not needed.
- February 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm #22953frkelly74Participant
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A Micrometer is the easy way to measure accurately. Even Harbor freight micrometers will do but you might have to go through the pile on the shelf to get one that moves freely. Also watch the yard sales, I got a dandy little starrett, that was someones grandpas and the person had no idea what it even was, for $2. They thought it was some kind of wrench, ///\//\/ Shudder to think /////////. Of course there is no substitute for keen observation, you have to keep your eyes open and pay attention. If they look egg shaped, they are egg shaped.
- February 6, 2016 at 3:50 pm #22967
Observation can tell you a lot.
And I do use observation while sizing to help me, sizes too easily, pull it out and check the size to make sure I am not too undersize.
Sizes way to hard, time to check and make sure I didn’t cast way oversize.
But should you spec your sizing die?
Simple WAG or slug the barrel and measure?
Also with mics I can QC my bullets as soon as they cool down, while taking a quick break from casting.
I will not leave a molten pot of lead unattended, so taking the bullets inside to check them with a sizer is out of the question,
I would rather be able to spot check my process quickly and easily and be able to correct it on the fly (did a working mold get crud on it causing issues that a quick cleaning can fix).
I get very, very limited casting time, making the most of it is important to me.
And how do you QC your sizing dies?
They can be out of spec, as can any tool.
So if I get undersized bullets, and run them through an undersize sizing die they can look fine but still be out of ‘spec’ and lead to issues.
I guess I just need at least some point of reference in my system from which to work from.
Which would then bring up the issue of measurement tool calibration.
- February 7, 2016 at 6:26 am #23120
Micrometers. Gotta have them! At the very least to check your sizing die.
If you buy a mic try to get one that reads to the tenths (ten thousandths). That’s .0001″. If you ever have to lap a sizing die it is good to know exactly how much you are taking off. It helps take out a lot of the guesswork and can make quick (er) work of a time-consuming job (like lapping a sizing die).
- February 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm #23127AnonymousInactive
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I am going to Harbor Freight today to get some powder coat. I will look at their micrometers while I am there.
- February 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm #23132
First of all the sizers I mentioned work on the principal of sizing, lubing and pushing the bullet thru the die in one operation. Every die I have I have made custom for me by lathesmith. I specify the diameter, number of lube holes and the lube hole location. These dies are round and true as they are turned on a lathe and then hardened afterwards. These are the only type of sizing dies that will produce a true round sized bullet. There are other sizers out there that work on the principal of putting the bullet in the die moving the lever and manually removing the bullet from the sizing die. These unfortunately for the most part do not produce a round bullet. I have at my disposal a set of precision pin gauges, micrometers, verniers, and I could continue with the items I have on hand. The idea of trying to lap a finished hardened sizing die causes a grin to appear on my face. If I have learned anything in my 20 years in a factory its to do things correctly. Need a different size die? Have one made. If you do succeed in altering the diameter of your sizing die then you also made it softer and prone to rapid wear. Someone mentioned a mic graduated in .0001…… that works for me but still you have to be smart enough to use the tools in front of you and most aren’t. Telling someone they need to purchase a micrometer is well kind of foolish. Inability to operate the tool in a manor that will yeald the proper results is rather stupid in my opinion. Its kinda like giving your kid a Vernier caliper and letting them measure OAL of your finished loaded ammunition. The result will yeald a number of different inaccurate answers. My opinion still is that the average person is incapable of the operation of a mic and is better off taking the bullets that need checked to someone capable of doing so. What I recommended in a prior post of using simple observation may be far better for most than investing in a DECENT micrometer. Got sizing contact all the way around your bullets after sizing? If so the bullet is round and if not the bullet isn’t round. At this point if a problem is apparent a trip to a machine shop is in order. Most can setup your mold and take laser measurements that will pinpoint the problem and when armed with this information you have something to take to the manufacturer and let them know there is a problem.
- February 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm #23133
How do I check my sizing dies someone asked? Simple…. I have a set of ground pin gauges in .0001’s up to 1″ I also have spray blue. So, I can check to a 4 place decimal.
- February 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm #23137
There is a lot of truth in all that you say 6bg6ga. There is also great arrogance.
Molds are another thing that I could VERY easily say that 99% of the casters out there do not know how to operate properly, and therefore I suppose I should recommend people spend their money on jacketed bullets, if I were to take such a dim view of my fellow man.
That is not the attitude that is encouraged here. What I say is, buy the tools for the job, and I’ll teach you how to use them.
Also, much as I love Lathesmith dies and own a few, they do not guarantee a certain size with all alloys. They make things very round and concentric, but the size is a matter of the alloy used.
Further, your power of observation is only as good as the tools you use to validate it. Otherwise, factories (like you mention you worked in) would have inspectors trade their instruments for rose colored glasses.
Just because you have contact all the way around the bullet, does not mean that your bullet is round (although with Lathesmith dies its a damned good bet) nor does it mean your bullet is the correct diameter for accurate shooting from your firearm. All that tells you is that your sizing die was smaller than the driving bands of your bullet in every way. That’s all.
Invalidated precision is referred to as superstition around here. That goes for speed, size, pressure, weight…………you name it.
Another bone of contention I have with what you said above:
The idea of trying to lap a finished hardened sizing die causes a grin to appear on my face. If I have learned anything in my 20 years in a factory its to do things correctly. Need a different size die? Have one made. If you do succeed in altering the diameter of your sizing die then you also made it softer and prone to rapid wear.
I suggest you think real hard about the fact that a good percentage of the people on this forum MAKE THEIR OWN DIES.
Have a look at the modular push through dies that NOE sells. I helped design that, and I made the prototype here at MBT. I change the size of my dies all the time, and they remain round. The only time you get into trouble with lapping hardened steel dies, is if you are trying to do it to CASE HARDENED dies with giant holes drilled through them. Opening these dies .001 is perfectly acceptable and able to be done accurately (in fact, when done correctly, it makes them even rounder), but if you get ham handed with it and hone through the case hardened layer, things go south in a hurry.
Also, the RCBS and Lyman sizing presses do not make the bullets out of round. The rams simply do not line up with the dies (sometimes, but not always) and they literally bend the nose of the bullet off center. So then you have a very round bullet with a nose that is not concentric with the base. Still, these janky bullets will shoot well if they are the correct size for your pistol/revolver/rifle.
Now, that said all that, you do make a very good point that many many people do not understand the correct use of a micrometer or calipers, and that needs to be rectified. We need a solid tutorial with pictures here for each instrument. Would you care to help me do this?
We need tutorials for:
Proper use of micrometers
Proper use of calipers
Proper use of pin gauges
Proper use of Hornady OAL guages
- February 7, 2016 at 2:01 pm #23145
6bg6ga;n1072 wrote: How do I check my sizing dies someone asked? Simple…. I have a set of ground pin gauges in .0001’s up to 1″ I also have spray blue. So, I can check to a 4 place decimal.
That tells you the diameter a soft bullet will exit your die. A hard bullet will be larger than your pin gauge measurement.
The only way to know for sure what diameter a die will size your bullet, is to measure one of the bullets you run through the die.
- February 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm #23161Bodean98Participant
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“That is not the attitude that is encouraged here. What I say is, buy the tools for the job, and I’ll teach you how to use them.”
Thank you Goodsteel! That is what I am looking for.
My own experiences with making my own dies and tools, rebarreling my own rifles, and casting my own bullets have been adventures to say the least. A lot of my learning has involved getting accurate measurements and learning how to use the tools. I have had numerous failures in my quest but they have all been learning experiences. I believe one can be “told” how to do something but until you put it into practice and learn from your mistakes one cannot claim to “know” how to do the task. Being the DIY type, I rarely let lack of knowledge stop me from attempting a new(to me) task. I want to learn!
That said, I find a good set of micrometers almost indispensable. As a matter of fact I have been looking for a better set to replace my janky old set. I have learned enough about reading them that I can now see the need for a better tool.
- February 7, 2016 at 4:51 pm #23178
If you are anywhere near St. Louis MO, let me know and I will teach you how to use a mic to get repeatable measurements to the tenth. Is it hard? No. Can anyone do it with a little practice…yes. Using pin gages to measure holes can get hairy when you get down to the tenths. You have to develop and have “the feel” when that pin gage slides in. Ideally, when it comes to sizing bullets, it is best to run a slug through the die and measure the slug…and preferably the slug should be of the alloy you intend to use.
Lapping an already hardened die with proper laps and technique on a lathe is not difficult. It can be kept both round and concentric. By hand or by drill does make things a bit more difficult.
As far as buying a mic, I am not rich by any means, but my advice would be to buy the best one you can afford. If you buy a cheap one that is not well made you have gained nothing over using a standard caliper.
I have 8 or 9 sets of mics, of varying sizes and types. They all get used regularly (not for bullet casting stuff). I think someone mentioned Ebay???? I would look for a good used Starrett, Mitutoyo, or Brown and Sharpes micrometer. They are on their all the time. I would recommend making sure the micrometers come with 1.) The case 2.) The adjusting wrench
- February 7, 2016 at 5:08 pm #23179
Tim, if you want me to I will volunteer to do a nice write-up on how to use a standard 0-1″ micrometer, including reading out to tenths. Just let me know. Thanks!
- February 7, 2016 at 8:33 pm #23198
Thank you sir! Please do. Add pictures, and I’ll add it to the “Articles” section.
- February 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm #23203762sultanParticipant
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This is exactly why I came to this forum. There are skills I need to master and the people who have these skills and are willing to teach and help me learn them. I look forward to the tutorials.
- February 8, 2016 at 1:18 am #23234AnonymousInactive
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It appears from the avatar photo that your coyote has shrunk up a bit………:eek:
- February 8, 2016 at 2:31 am #23241
Lol. Yeah…I was at work one day and saw that little rat run up a tree. Perched itself perfectly about 15 feet up. Got a good angle on it so when my 135 grain Nosler traveling at over 1535 FPS went through the rat it would go into the tree. Our secretary put the claims on the meat quite quickly. That was her dinner LOL.
Hodgdon Longshot in the 10mm cartridge is a beautiful thing. Really shines in most all “semiauto” cartridges.
- February 10, 2016 at 11:18 pm #23529
Glad to see this getting some traction, can’t wait to read the micrometer tutorial.
I, like many did not know how to use a micrometer, but I have read up some and fumbled through it.
Can I read to the tenths, probably not.
But can I at least measure if something is round, if my case is swaging down my bullets etc.
And now thanks to lathesmith my 9mm cases are no longer swaging things down.
We all need to start some where.
I wrote more, but then thought better.
This is a new forum with a new beginning.
Let the learning and sharing begin.
- February 11, 2016 at 1:28 am #23549
I posted the tutorial in its own thread in this section. Enjoy!
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