Cartridge Colapse

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by mharrell11, May 1, 2009.

  1. mharrell11

    mharrell11 New Member

    May 1, 2009
    I need some guidance. I have been loading 40 Cal S&W cartridges with 200gr FMJ bullets without a problem. However, I started loading 155gr Hollow Points yesterday and found that the cartridge is colapsing. I am confused as to why the 200gr works find and the 155gr hollow point doen not.

    I also noticed that the metal jacket is sliding up the bullet.

    The attached image shows what is happening. Some are worse than others.

    Can somebody tell me what I am doing wrong?

    My equipment is RCBS.

    Mike Harrell

    Attached Files:

  2. Gene Seward

    Gene Seward Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Batesville, Arkansas
    I had the same thing happen while setting up my dies for .40. Try setting your expander die a little deeper.

  3. mharrell11

    mharrell11 New Member

    May 1, 2009
    Since I am new to reloading, I have one question. The RCBS Die Set has 3 dies, 1 for the Sizer/Deprimer, 1 for the 40 S&W and 1 for 10mm. When you refer to the Expander, I assume you are referring to the Size/Deprimer Die.

    The expander is part of the deprimer on the RCBS die set.


  4. 3ME

    3ME New Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    It looks like you are not getting quite enough bell on the mouth of the cases and as the bullet is being seated, it there is so much friction that it crushes the case. Adjust so you are getting a good open bell and that should fix it.
  5. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    It looks, to me, that instead of screwing your bullet seater stem down more, to seat the shorter bullet, you screwed your entire die down more. This is causing your case to start to crimp too early. I base this opinion on the extremely heavy roll crimp on that shell, while the bullet is not ever completely seated. Also, when I first started loading, I had the die down too far with bottleneck rifle cases, and collapsed the shoulder. I didn't think it was possible to collapse a straight-wall case, but you seem to have succeeded.

    Back your die out about three full turns. Run an empty case up into the die. While leaving the case in the die, turn the die in until it starts to bind.

    Back the seating stem out three or four turns. Run a charged case with a bullet on it up into the die. Run the seating stem down until it touches the bullet nose. Lower the round. Screw the stem in a half a turn. Run the round back up into the die, then lower it and check for seating depth. If not deep enough, screw the stem in a little more and run the round up again. Continue doing this until the bullet is seated to the correct depth.

    Back the seating stem out as far as it will go. Screw the die into the press about a half a turn. Run the round back up into the die, then bring it down and check the crimp. Continue doing this, screwing the die down a little at a time, until your crimp is right.

    Run the case back up into the die. This will prevent the die from moving. Screw the lock ring down. Now the die is set for the right crimp. Lower the seating stem until it is pressing on the nose of the bullet. Lock the stem into place. Now your die is set up for that bullet.

    You need to do this whenever you change bullets. Total re-setup.
  6. mharrell11

    mharrell11 New Member

    May 1, 2009
    Ok, so after reading all of the replies so far, this is what I did.

    Backed the Seater die out multiple turns. Ran a primed and charged cartridge all the way up. Turn the die back down until it touched the shell casing then backed it out one full turn. Then I set a bullet on the casing and seated it. The image below is the result.

    Apparently I have run the shell holder up without a cartridge set the die down to the case holder and then backed off a full turn and was crushing the case.

    Attached Files:

  7. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Harriman, Tn
    I'm no expert but I gotta agree with alpo. Only cuz I did the same thing. It drove me nuts, such a small oversight:eek:
  8. mharrell11

    mharrell11 New Member

    May 1, 2009
    Thanks to all. Got it working correctly now. Feel kinda stupid for missing the setup.

    BTW, I should have known. I did the same thing on my first .223. But it was more obviouse because I calapsed the shoulder on the bottleneck.


  9. tEN wOLVES

    tEN wOLVES New Member

    Howdy mharrel11

    Your RCBS dies come with good instructions, and it would be a good idea to run through them, this helps take the guess work out of it, and you will have something to refer to now and later on.

    tEN wOLVES :D
  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    Here's what the pictures show:

    The first pictures show the belling die is not belling the case enough as the copper jacket is partially stripped off the bullet and bunched up at the case mouth. Without adequate belling the bullet catches on the case mouth and get stripped of some of its copper outer surface and collapses the case in the process

    The second picture shows that the seating and crimping die is set up wrong. There is no taper crimp, that I can see. The seating and crimping die body's vertical position in the press head sets the amount of the crimp whereas the adjuster controls the amount the bullet is seated into the case.

    To set up the press you first have to get the bullet into the case without a crimp. You do that by backing the die body out of the press head a turn or two and use the seater part fully extended to seat the bullet in the test case to the correct overall length (OAL) without a taper crimp. Once you have the OAL correct with no crimp, you remove the seating adjuster from the die and slowly incrementally move the die body down into the press head until you achieve the correct taper crimp (for the pistol round you show in the pictures). Then lock the die body to the press head. Place the finished test round into the shell holder and move the handle to position the test cartridge all the way up into the die. Now install the seater adjuster until it just lightly touches the bullet of the test cartridge. Lock it down. Test the adjustment with another test round, verify the measurements and the crimp, and you are good to go.

    Last edited: May 2, 2009
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