The latest generation long-range hunting bullets are known as Very Low Drag (VLD) or Reduced Drag Factor (RDF) bullets. These super-slippery slugs have revolutionized hunting and shooting with improved aerodynamics. Like all engineering, there is no free lunch and so it is with VLDs. Their secant ogive profiles can create major tuning headaches for reloaders. VLDs are considered “touchy” when it comes to seating depth. Also, they can get damaged when seated atop compressed powder charges.
To mitigate these issues, reloading die makers, such as RCBS, have developed bullet seating “stems.” Stems are inserted into a seating die to aid depth control and reduce bullet damage from the higher press pressures needed with compressed loads. Here’s a neat video from the boffins at Nosler with more about stems.
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