Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quality Control problems at Sierra Bullets?

I dunno, but somethings weird.

So there I was, in the basement with baby CTone while everyone else slept. I have several hundred cases that were prepped and primed over a week ago, and I thought it would be a dandy time to fill them with the sweet lemony goodness of Hodgdon Varget and top them off with a 175 grain Sierra Match King.

My seating die is already set up for this exact load, as I had already been making these for awhile for testing in my gun. I had bought a bunch of new Winchester cases, and to make sure I had enough bullets, I picked up another box of the 175s. Not seeing the already open box of SMKs in the mess of a cabinet where I keep my bullets, I opened the new box and started cranking away. I would find that box soon enough and use them up.

That's when I noticed that something wasn't right.

I measure each loaded round to the ogive with a comparator, as bullet tips vary so much that you won't get a precision seating depth, and the measurement that I normally measure to - 2.219" - didn't match what came out of the die - 2.229". So I take off the comparator and measure the over all length. . . .2.810" - that's the right length. What gives?

I loaded several more, and got the same thing. I thought that was weird, so I measured the bullet itself to the ogive, as well as the over all length. Then I found the opened box of the same 175 SMKs, manufacture number 2275, and measured those. . . . .they were different. Then I remembered that I've encountered this problem before and didn't think too much of it, and I still had two loaded rounds that I had made with pulled bullets from factory Federal Gold Medal Match. I pulled one of those rounds and measured the bullet. . . .different from the other two!

So I have three samples of the exact same bullet from the exact same manufacturer, and all three have different measurements.

  • The 175 grain SMK bullet pulled from the Federal GMM is 1.234" overall, and .661" to the ogive.
  • Five 175 grain SMK bullets, #2275, pulled at random from old box measured 1.241" overall, and .645 to the ogive.
  • Five 175 grain SMK bullets, #2275, pulled at random from new box measured 1.235" overall, and .657" to the ogive.
Anyone ever heard of this?

I can't possibly see how people win matches with them if they are that far off from one box to the next.
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