Annoyances with Hornady FTx and Lee 30-30 dies

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by Branth, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Branth

    Branth Member

    I told a friend of mine I'd load up some 30-30 for him, and let me tell you, it's been a nightmare. I thought I had dies, but I couldn't find them anywhere, so I had to go out and buy some. I went to the local Scheels, but they were out, so I had them special order some for a good price ($25)

    The dies came in a half a week later, and I went to pick them up, only to find that they had ordered the Lee RGB dies, which do NOT come with a shellholder. I went to pick up a shellholder, but the only one they had was the RCBS, which was $6, and at that point, I'm into these new dies for over $30, and I could just order the 3-die set online with free shipping for that and get a crimp die, so I return the dies and go order some from Amazon where I can get free shipping.

    A few days later, my new dies arrive, and I set up and get started. Halfway in, I read through the directions for setting up the die and find out the bullet seater doesn't crimp! Not only that, but the third die in my set isn't a crimp die, but a neck sizing die, so my die set has no way to crimp a bullet, which is absolutely VITAL to 30-30 reloading, at least if you want to shoot more than 2 rounds! Disgusted, I return those, which is a hassle, since they're online, and finally order the PROPER set of dies with the Lee FCD for the THIRD time from Midway, where I have to pay shipping.

    They arrived today, and I start loading. I had chosen the Hornady FTX 160gr bullets, since they're a spitzer shape and if my buddy doesn't end up wanting 100 rounds, I can probably work up some plinker loads for my .308 and get rid of them, not to mention the ballistic advantage of the FTX is better anyway. I get my powder charges set and screw the seater die all the way in, only to find that even all the way in, the bullets aren't deep enough - They're barely touching the crimp groove!

    My reaction:

    Thoroughly annoyed, I run them through the Lee FCD anyway. I'll have to call Hornady in the morning and see if I can get a replacement seater plug. I heard on another forum that thye give them away for free, so at least I won't have to sink any more money into this project.
  2. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    Ahhhh.... The relaxing joys of reloading!

  3. SWO1

    SWO1 Member

    Got to be careful on which set of Lee dies you order. I just get the 4 die set and have them all ..... :p I wouldnt worry about the roll crimp being right on the crimp ring. The Lee FCD works on bullets without a crimp ring, I do it all the time on .243, .270 ect. Sierra bullets usually dont have one anyway, except for some pistol ones.
  4. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    The bullet seating plug in the bullet seating and crimp die is generic and designed to seat a wide variety of bullet types. If the bullet is a very low drag bullet and has very steep sides, the steep sides will allow a large portion of the bullet to slide into the bullet seating plug before the plug makes contact with the bullet ogive. This causes the bullet seating plug adjustment to bottom out before the bullet can be seated to achieve the COL you are trying to load to.

    You can order a custom bullet seating plug for $8.00 + shipping. Order the plug online at:

  5. Branth

    Branth Member

    Update: I took some mild loads out to chronograph yesterday (halfway between min and max loads, H4895 powder). 10 shots were fired.

    Results were... interesting. With the 160gr Hdy FTX bullets, I was getting 2,080 fps on average, with the lowest at around 1960fps, and one or two rounds spiking all the way up to 2200 fps! No pressure signs on the primers or any other indications of trouble, but that seems like a really high spread to me. It's possible, though very doubtful, that I somehow really screwed up my powder measuring and slightly overcharged a couple cases. It's also possible, though doubtful, that my chrono was malfunctioning. It was very windy out that day, and I don't think that would have anything to do with it, but I guess I don't know for sure.

    I'm betting a chrono malfunction was the most likely cause of these weird readings. I weighed every charge when making the loads, and I wouldn't think my QC is so sloppy that I could throw in what had to be almost another full grain of powder to account for those velocity spikes. Again, no pressure signs on the brass - All were shot in a lever-action, and extracted smoothly without any primers flattening or cratering. Anyone else have some thoughts?
  6. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    Its not an exact science. Some times the powder burns different. And the chrono can be very sensitive