View Full Version : 577-450 step die

Brett Ross
03-17-2015, 03:54 PM
Talked to the machinist here at work about boring out a Lee 577-450 FL size to 9/16 to use as a forming step for 24ga shotgun brass. As the die is hardened he said he will have to use a EDM process to bore it. I read a bit on the internet about this but was looking for a little info on what to expect as a result.

03-17-2015, 04:31 PM

There was a step die too. It might be cheaper to make a step die and not have to mess with FL sizer...

If your machinist makes one - I might be interested...I have the rifle and 50 rounds of formed 24 ga. brass. Need a few other items to reload...and form.

Geoff in Oregon

03-18-2015, 11:32 AM
I've been having luck making a 2-piece forming die for my MH. It is very difficult to cut the shoulder in a one piece die without making a special reamer. However, it is easy if you make one die that forms the case taper and another that forms the shoulder and neck. I use 7/8-14 threaded rod to fit a standard press. Each die can be used separately to reduce the force needed and then both screwed into the press to do the final forming.

Brett Ross
03-18-2015, 04:53 PM
Well the machinist showed up to my desk just now and handed it to me. It looks good a bit rough maybe but nothing 600 grit sand paper on a dowel wont fix. Now, I need to order the die body from Lee to replace this one and I will be in the MH forming business.

03-18-2015, 05:04 PM
I think others anneal the Lee dies, machine them, and then case harden again. Lee does a good job on the hardening so the only way I've cut them is by grinding with dremel and stone.

03-18-2015, 05:53 PM
I use the RCBS bullet puller collet die, works wonderfully


Brett Ross
03-19-2015, 10:05 AM
Skeettx, I wish i would have ask here first as that would have been much less of a hassle and a dual use tool (also cheeper). I am fortunate in I work for a company which had a robust R&D department and could machine hardened steel without annealing. The only bug in my plan may be if Lee happens to be out of the die body to replace to one I had opened up.

03-19-2015, 05:36 PM
I made some dies out of 7/8-14 threaded rod to fit a standard press. Here's a photo of my forming a case.

left is a Magtec 24 Ga brass, next trimmed to 2.28 length, die one then forms a cone, anneal shoulder and use die one to form neck, anneal shoulder and die two finishes the forming.

03-19-2015, 05:45 PM
I have just been using the regular Lee die. I barely screw the die in, anneal the case, and round over the end, screw in a little more, and work my way down. Lose maybe 3 or 4 out of a box of 25. If a kink forms in the really soft brass rounding it over, its done, never successfully gotten the kink out where it didnt start again or just move down as I form. Dont know if a modded die would make any difference or not, and would have to ruin quite a few cases to justify the cost of a die to find out.

Brett Ross
03-19-2015, 10:19 PM
Tackleberry sounds like you have a good process. The reason I went with the step is 30-40% case loss.

03-20-2015, 02:54 AM
He could make you a fast and nasty forming die from scratch faster than goofing up your die with an EDM.
The EDM finish will need a good bit of polishing to smooth up the finish.

He can probably make you a die out of prehardened steel at about 32 to 40 Rockwell in an hour.

Talked to the machinist here at work about boring out a Lee 577-450 FL size to 9/16 to use as a forming step for 24ga shotgun brass. As the die is hardened he said he will have to use a EDM process to bore it. I read a bit on the internet about this but was looking for a little info on what to expect as a result.

03-20-2015, 08:34 AM
My first couple tries at it yea I messed up almost half of them, if not half of them. I looked at the various methods, tried some things. I tried tempilac to get the temp right when annealing. Found that watching the color in a dark garage worked way easier and just as good. Just a cake pan from the kitchen, little water in the bottom. Many were doing it a few big steps. I found that many small steps reduced my losses. More work but not like Im making a bunch of them. That first round over is the critical one, that die is barely in the press at that point. I just shove them thru, going slow on the handle seems to increase the losses. The end will round over nicely or it gets a kink, gets a kink chuck it, it wont come out. Then I crank the die in 1/2 a turn, run them all thru again. I can usually get 4 passes before you can feel and hear as they work harden. Reanneal, then 4 more passes, maybe 5 just depends, I usually have to anneal 3 times. I lose 2 or 3 out of a box of 25. Not like I need a couple hundred cases anyways.

When you get close, I have not found you need the the die touching the shell holder, or full length sized. Lee die is probably a bit tight in guns with big chambers. I get close I start checking to see if the bolt will close, and I have learned to help them out with a punch from the top to prevent bending the rims when you get to that point of full length sized. Lean on the handle while tapping with a hammer and they come out way easier. Those rims just bend easy.

I dont full length size after that, I have neck die I made from a spare 45-70 die.

03-20-2015, 02:57 PM
I use the finger sensor method for annealing. I hold the base between my fingers and rotate the case about 10 times (10 seconds) in the torch flame. When its too hot to hold I drop it in a bucket of water. This works well for me as my success rate in forming is now almost 100%.

03-22-2015, 08:58 PM
In the last couple of years I have formed in excess of 20K .577/.450 M-H cases from the 24g MagTech brass, all of it done with the regular Lee FLS die. With my first attempts the 'loss' rate was quite high (sometimes 50%), but is now closer to 6%. I say 'loss' as they are not really lost but are used for .577 Snider. Once in a great while I will have a case buckle at the shoulder junction in the very last stage of forming, but if that happens one time in a thousand I'd be surprised.....these I shorten even further & put them aside in anticipation of one day buying a .577 Boxer revolver!:smile:
My process is kept simple:

1. Anneal & air cool (usually in batches of 75 cases)
2. Lightly lube cases with Royal Case & Die Lube
3. Ease case into FLS die, until I feel contact with shoulder, & then back out a hair.
4. Gently ease case mouth into the die's shoulder area.
5. Inspect case mouth for any sign of creasing, if present put it aside*.
6. Redistribute the lube & reinsert case into die & gently push the case 'through' the shoulder area & just start the neck.
7. Visually check case, redistribute lube again, reinsert case & complete the forming in one stroke of the lever.
8. Trim case to length, debur & tumble.

* The cases that were set-aside with small creases at the mouth are trimmed just a little longer than final length, deburred & then put back into production. Most of these can be saved, if not into the .577 Snider (or .577 Boxer) box they go!

Brett Ross
03-24-2015, 10:41 AM
How are you guys trimming to length. My method of cut of saw and file is time consuming and less than perfect. I read about peeps modding the Lyman universal case trimmer but am a bit hesitant until I can get a bit more detailed description on the mod.

03-24-2015, 12:03 PM
I know nothing about the 577-450, I saw this video on U tube last night. It might help.


03-24-2015, 12:17 PM
Trimming, I mark them a little long and cut with a dremmel. Final trimming with the Lee tool, 577/450 wont fit in most trimmers.

03-24-2015, 02:02 PM
I use one of the Harbor Freight mini chop saws, along with home made jigs to control length.

Brett Ross
03-24-2015, 03:44 PM
Lee no longer makes a trimmer for the 577-450. I will have to make up a jig to get a square cut out of my mini chop saw. Bonza, do you have some info on what you made. I find I can get a idea in my head and it will sometimes not let me see the obvious solution.

03-24-2015, 05:02 PM
I do the trimming in my lathe. I scribe the case then index it against the chuck and turn it to length. Then I take a light file cut on the OD to de-burr it. Once set up I can use the index for the rest of the cases.

03-24-2015, 11:18 PM
Wonder when Lee stopped selling that tool. Was talking to a friend other day, he still hasnt bought a case trimmer, but doesnt have many calibers he loads, so maybe try the lees. I like the Lees just for the fact all I have fit in one of the smaller red die boxes, vs a full size trimmer. But you are kind of stuck with whatever spec Lee uses for length, shorter isnt hard.

03-25-2015, 06:56 AM
They are really very simple. These photos show the 'first generation' jigs, made from plywood with copper pipe brackets to hold the case. I have since upgraded the design to use a good piece of hardwood as the base, two copper brackets on longer cases, & a steel face plate that the rim of the case rests against, as I found that over time the wood got indented by the pressure of the rims being held against it resulting in shorter case length. In use the jig just butts up against the little vice on the HF saw.

Brett Ross
03-25-2015, 11:10 AM
Bonza, Perfect. I knew I was making it to complicated (a fault which I suffer badly)
Tackle, not sure when but I wish they still had it. I have a Lyman universal trimmer but I have and use the lee trimmers most of the time (have them for most calibers I own and 1 custom for the Vetterli) just so Idiot proof ( I call it Tony proof).