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Confirmed: damaged die = bad ammo

Six-GunSix-Gun Senior MemberPosts: 8,155 Senior Member
A few months back, I came up with an excellent recipe for my Tikka T3 Lite Stainless in .243 Win. It was posting 3-shot groups in the .3" range while also hitting near max book velocity using a 100 gr. Sierra Hunter bullet and 43.0 gr. of Ramshot Hunter powder. However, the groups degraded with the next batch of this recipe I produced and I wasn't sure why. Nothing terrible, as the groups were now consistently around .75" @ 100 yards with no obvious cause. Further distances saw correspondigly worse groups, as well. Due to season temperature changes, I wrote it off as powder temp sensitivity issue. Then, during a recent loading session of another batch of this same recipe, I noticed increased resistance when pushing the Redding full length die through the case neck and it got worse with each case until it became unacceptable. When I pulled the die to see the cause, I noticed that the decapping stem was bent and no longer center with the decapping pin also bent!

Best I can tell, a piece of tumbler media got perfectly center in the flash hole at some piont, creating enough resistance on a slightly bend the decapping rod. Since an out-of-center decapping pin will not pass cleanly through the flash hole, the problem slowly got worse until the decapping rod had literall started to buckle. I can only imagine how bad the runout had become over the course of those successive batches, but I had none of the unfired rounds left to measure. I called Redding and they immediately sent me a new decappimng rod at no charge, but with mule deer season approaching and only a handful of range days left due to work obligations, I was forced to go to Bass Pro and buy a second set of RCBS dies to fill the void until the replacement rod came in. I literally couldn't waste the only forseeable range day I had to finalize my zero/practice before the October 5th opener.

I went to the range with a new ammo batch loaded (same recipe) with new dies. Fired two shots at 400 yards to confirm zero. They hit just over an inch of each other, a bit left in calm wind. I made the necessary adjustments and fired one more shot. Dead center, a little over an inch high of the bull, zeroed for all pratical purposes.

Morale of the story: if you have a recipe that you KNOW is accurate, check your dies! It's rare, but sometimes they do get damaged.
Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

Replies

  • mkk41mkk41 Banned Posts: 1,932 Senior Member
    RCBS has excellent customer service. Don't matter if yer the original owner , or the 10th , ya can always send a die back and have it polished , repaired or replaced , usually at no charge.
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Posts: 5,463 Senior Member
    mkk41 wrote: »
    RCBS has excellent customer service. Don't matter if yer the original owner , or the 10th , ya can always send a die back and have it polished , repaired or replaced , usually at no charge.

    You could also just about tell them that you shot it with a 357Mag just to see if it would damage it and now it isn't working properly so you tried to fix it by running it over with an 18 wheeler. They would more than likely replace it no questions asked.

    RCBS has my business for life.
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • mkk41mkk41 Banned Posts: 1,932 Senior Member
    Send 'em a few once fired factory rounds and they can match it to yer chamber!
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Yeah, RCBS is excellent, but I must say that Redding is equally responsive in their customer service department. When I told them that the entire decapping stem was bent, the next question from the CS rep was "what's your address?" Three days later, I had a whole new .243 decapping stem assembly.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 2,035 Senior Member
    Good to hear. Never had poor customer service from any of the major reloading people.

    I do love RCBS equipment as well. Just picked up a set for my new 243 as well.

    Bellcat
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
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