Witness line on 45

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by jdon72, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. jdon72

    jdon72 New Member

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    Anyone know how to get rid of or minimize a witness line on ammo when reloading? I have it on other calibers as well, but mostly on 45.

    J
  2. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I don't know what a "witness line" is, could you tell me what it is?
  3. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    are you talking about a case cannelure? If so, they're pretty much permanent. I've never had one disappear.
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Id like to know too, a picture perhaps???

    Maybe the slight bulge in the case where the base of the bullet sits????
  5. jdon72

    jdon72 New Member

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    Yes, JLA, it is the indention from inside the case where the bottom of the bullet buldges the case in a ring or looks like the bullet is off-set somehow. It appears on the outside...just where the bottom of the bullet is. It pushes out on the brass and creates the witness line.

    So now you have a case- instead of being straight walled, it has a buldging line about a third of the way down...It is NOT a cannelure, but appears where the cannelure would be.

    J
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    In years past the reloading die manufacturers made dies that provided only minimal tightness of the fit of the bullet to the case (low bullet pull). In ammo like 38 Special you could actually revolve the bullets in the case. It has been found in the interim that a tighter fit of the bullet to the case, which gives your "witness mark", shoots more accurately (much higher bullet pull). The sign today of correctly reloaded and potential accurate ammo is this tight fit and your "witness mark".

    What is important is that the case easily goes into the chamber of any 45 gun. There are outside dimension given for the case in almost all reloading manuals. Stay at or under that and all is OK. A die for pistol cartridges that may smooth the cases and assure the finish cases will readily chamber in any gun is the LEE Factory Crimp Die. Its use follows the seating and crimping die but can be adjusted along with the seating die so that it does the crimping instead of the seating die. It has a carbide ring at its base that smoothes the outside of the case. Many here find it useful. But it may not remove your "witness mark" completely or at all.

    LDBennett
  7. jdon72

    jdon72 New Member

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    LD,

    I have the lee die and have used it. It does ok on removing the excess dimentions, but still leaves a mark and i am trying to minimize the line. I guess that is the only answer...Lee die.

    J
  8. garydude

    garydude Member

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    Jdon, is this the line you are talking about? (stretched brass from the bottom of the bullet) If you have seated the bullet symmetrically, then you shouldn't have an issue. I was having an issue with seating them symmetrically and the lyman m-die and redding competition seating die resolved it for me.

    LD gave a marvelous explanation (as usual)! Thanks LD

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  9. jdon72

    jdon72 New Member

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    Yes, and it is more dominent when using heavier bullets...that looks like 185 gr...correct?

    Ld always is good at explaining things.

    I am using a dillon seating die and of course it is caused in the seating...dillon is usually a good brand. Just having issues on this.


    J
  10. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Not all bullets are the same diameter either.
  11. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    If they chamber and function properly, then you don't have any issues. These "lines" are common and if you measure the case diameter at various points, you should find them all within spec. I can pull most any 45acp off the shelf our out of my reloads and they will look the same. Nothing wrong with the dies at all.
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Jdon, the best way I find to minimize the line is to 'bump seat' the bullets.

    Its a method for seating bullets on a single stage, Im pretty sure I invented it ;).

    But its where you would start the seating then quickly back off the ram just a tad and slightly spin the case in the shell holder and finish seating the bullet.

    Sometimes, depending on the nose profile of the projectile and the shape of the seating plug, the bullet may start a little cockeyed in the case. It usually isnt an issue to pistol accuracy but can cause nightmares in revolver accuracy.

    starting the bullet just slightly and then turning the case allowing the plug to engage the high side will almost always straighten the bullet out in the case...

    Good luck J, hope this helps. :)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    As I implied earlier, good dies for pistols make the ammo that looks exactly like the pictures. There is nothing wrong. The case has been sized so that there is a lot of bullet pull force required to launch the bullet. That increases the accuracy because the bullet is lunched more uniformly cartridge to cartridge. The line appears because the case is sized extra small and the bullet has to stretch it to enter and seat in the case. The diameter of the finished case (if the correct bullet size was used) is well within the specs for this ammo. The line normally appears even if the bullet is started absolutely square but can be more pronounced on one side if the bullet is not started squarely in the case for seating.

    Dillon, for example, touts this approach as the "way" to do it for max accuracy. Not all manufactures make their dies to load ammo this way. Consequently not all reloaded pistol cartridges end up with the line. But better dies do it this way. The line might not appear if the bullet is undersized or the case wall thickness is excessive. Some of my ammo comes out this way and some does not. But that is because some of my dies are decades old and other are brand new. My cases have numerous head stamps but that seems to make little difference. I notice the effect most on my reloaded 9 mm ammo and not so much on others.

    LDBennett
  14. garydude

    garydude Member

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    J,

    Sorry for the delay in my response (I was out shooting!) The round pictured is a 230 grain Berry's. I have noticed the most pronounced line with 230 grain XTP's, and I'm certain that it is because they have so much of the bullet inside the case as compared to the 185's.

    One other consideration with this phenomenon is that the tighter the case body is, the less likely a semi-auto round would be set back upon chambering the round. But as all before me mentioned, not to worry as long as the bullet is seated reasonably straight.

    Thanks JLA for another fantastic tip! I'll have to give that one a try.
  15. jdon72

    jdon72 New Member

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    LD, that is exactly what dillon had said.

    JLA, I am using a 1050 and to bumpseat the bullet actually ruins the cartridge that is being fed into the shell holder...it takes it back and puts a dent in it. Good advise on a sigle stage or other type.

    I am going to try another die...I like the redding, it will also help save time when switching different bullets.

    One guy that was using my ammo was having problems chambering a bullet in his Match barrel...the dimentions were ok, but the bump on the side may have held the bullet up.

    Thanks for all the advice...Does anyone have advice on a die for the seating?
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