Bullet seating is the art and science of pressing a bullet into a case to the proper depth. The seating depth controls the interior volume of the cartridge case, playing a large role in determining the optimum chamber pressure of the fired cartridge. Prepping cases to obtain the proper bullet tension (that is, the “grip” on the bullet) is also critical to proper seating.
This is the last and one of the most important steps in reloading, which you will want to master in order to get your projectiles spinning consistently toward the target.
As you become more proficient in reloading, you will refine your own processes based on your tools/equipment, the type of shooting you do, the guns you reload and the goals you have for your handloaded ammunition. We suggest that you continue to read, learn, and understand various methods so that you can find the system that works best for your needs.
- Determine the Seating Depth and Cartridge Length – Most bullets are seated to a depth so the cartridge will fit into a box magazine. When performing long range competition you may wish to seat bullets out to a longer depth relative to the lands of your rifling.
- Select the Seater Die – Choose the correct die that will help you achieve the best results. Forster Products produces two types of seater dies:
- Bench Rest® Seater Die – Holds the bullet, case, and seating stem in perfect alignment when the bullet is seated.
- Ultra™ Micrometer Seater Die – Has an integral micrometer that fine-tunes your precise seating depth. This die also holds the bullet, case, and seating stem in perfect alignment when the bullet is seated.
- Seat the Bullet – We suggest you begin with the seating stem backed up slightly in the die, and then continue to adjust the stem downward until the cartridge is slightly longer than your desired length. Use the Datum Dial to measure, then fine-tune, your final adjustment for proper seating depth.
Safety - Please follow all pertinent safety procedures such as wearing safety glasses, being in a well-lit and well-ventilated workspace, and having all reloading tools in top working condition. Also, no flames, sparks or static electricity.
Suggested Further Reading
- Top-Grade Ammo, Glen D. Zediker
- Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges for Rifles and Handguns, Ken Howell
- NRA Firearms Sourcebook: Your Ultimate Guide to Guns, Ballistics, and Shooting, Michael E Bussard and Stanton L. Wormley Jr.
- Reloading Ammunition: The Final Steps, Seating, Crimping and Inspecting, Tom McHale
- Shooter’s Bible Guide to Handloading: a Comprehensive Reference for Responsible and Reliable Reloading, Wayne van Zwoll
- Step-by-Step Reloading: Handling Powder, Roy Hill
Co-Ax® Reloading PressThe simplest, most powerful, and most accurate press on the market, bar none.
Seater DiesThe secret to perfect alignment is holding the bullet, case, and seating stem in the same close-fitting chamber for the entire seating operation.
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