jaymanges
jaymanges
6 posts
Joined January 2013

.338 Lapua Safety Issue on RL550

Just purchased a new conversion kit for .338 Lapua Mag for the old RL550B. I inserted the first piece of new/unfired brass into station one, seated the primer, and indexed to station two. I inserted the next piece of bass, raised the ram to charge the first round, then lowered the round to prime the second piece of brass. BOOM! Federal large rifle magnum primer goes off sending tiny pieces of shrapnel into my arm. Thank God I was wearing safety glasses. It was so loud it caused the wife to come running out of the house. She spent the next 20 min digging little bits of metal fragments out of my arm.

First time in the 20+ years of my RL500B's life that I ever had a primer go off. Not fun.

I looked into this problem and this is what I found. The tolerances on my .338 Lapua shellplate are tight. Very very tight. So tight, that the second and subsequent pieces of brass will not go fully into battery leaving the primer pocket just enough off center to crush and detonate the primer when seating.

I used different types of brass, new-once fired, different headstamps, all the same. I also tried different brands of primers. I don't want to take a Dremel tool to the shellplate. I shouldn't have to with a new, precision piece of reloading equipment. Maybe it will break in over time but for right now, my only solution is to load one round at a time and fully indexing the round through all the stations before putting on the next piece of brass. I realize this defeats the purpose of a progressive press but it is the only safe way to reload this caliber.

Thought about sending the shellplate back to Dillon but having it replaced with something cut to the same specifications really isn't going to solve my problem.

Had I known that reloading .338 Lapua Mag on the RL550B was going to be so dangerous, I probably would have tooled up to run it on a single stage press. If I had more space on my bench I probably would. For this caliber, I really wish Dillon had a .338 LM conversion kit for my Dillon BFR.

I have looked at this problem from many different angles and have tried a multitude of adjustments. If anyone else has had the same experience or has a solution, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!
dillon
Administrator
dillon
3,067 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: .338 Lapua Safety Issue on RL550

Lapua has changed the dimensions on the extractor groove and rim five times since the inception of the cartridge. This has resulted in three different shellplates being used over the years for this case. It depends on how old the brass you are using is, the brand, and which shellplate you have. You also could have the shellplate bolt too tight. Remove the shellplate and try the cases by hand for fit.
jaymanges
jaymanges
6 posts
Joined January 2013

RE: .338 Lapua Safety Issue on RL550

Tried loosening the bolt as instructed. Still having problems getting subsequent rounds into battery. Anyhow, it's not like I am shooting a high volume of .338 LM. Therefore, I've been using the RL550 like an inverse turret press. One round, one station at a time. Better to be safe than be fast. Thanks!