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Thread: 38/357 Lee powder through expander in 9mm die mod

  1. #121
    Boolit Man
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    Great info, thanks to all who contributed to this thread.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here.
    The way I understand this is the sized 9mm case is smaller than the .358" cast bullet so when setting the bullet in the case the brass will swage down the .358" bullet to a smaller size. This was noted to be .355" from the OP. By using the 38 S&W part, the brass will be wider (.356"?) so the cast bullet (.358") will not get swaged down by the brass case such that if you pull the bullet it will still be .358".
    The amount of expansion is set to approx. .30" down from the top of the case.
    Is that correct?

    A thought occurred to me about using a fired non-resized 9mm cartridge instead. Perhaps it is enlarged enough from the firing expansion to accept the .358 cast bullet without doing the mod to the 9mm die. This would keep the tapered case dimension rather than changing it with a straight .30" expansion area if doing it with the modded die.

    Thoughts?
    Thanks.

  2. #122
    Boolit Master
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    The 38 S&W expander opens the case up further down than the 9mm expander does due to it's longer length. Your experiment may work but I would think you would have quite a bit of extreme spread in your load due to inconsistent neck tension. Sizing and then expanding gives you repeatable results.
    Last edited by Jailer; 05-30-2017 at 05:02 PM. Reason: fix typo

  3. #123
    Boolit Master rsrocket1's Avatar
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    I forgot about this thread for a while. Anyway, here is a picture comparing the 38 S&W PTX plug to the 9mm plug and the 38/357 plug sitting next to a TL356-124-2R and 356-120-TC.
    You can see that the 9mm plug will not expand the case enough for the lead bullets. You can also see that the 38/357 plug is too short and needs to be lengthened to reach a 9mm case.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #124
    Boolit Master Pee Wee's Avatar
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    nice job jailer

  5. #125
    Boolit Master
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    A thought occurred to me about using a fired non-resized 9mm cartridge instead. Perhaps it is enlarged enough from the firing expansion to accept the .358 cast bullet without doing the mod to the 9mm die. This would keep the tapered case dimension rather than changing it with a straight .30" expansion area if doing it with the modded die.
    Yes, it might work... I might investigate this if I shoot and load for only one 9mm firearm. I would check to make sure setback is not going to be an issue with my specific cast bullet.* I would check to make sure the ammo feeds and chambers without issue. I would check this in all headstamps. I would recheck this as I load those cases multiple times, because this might change, maybe? (Like when neck sizing rifle ammo, you eventually need to FLR?) If your chamber happens to be exactly right, then this might work great. But that's a lot of hassle.

    *With the 38S&W expander, the case is only opened up to where the base of the bullet sits. Even if the neck tension isn't 100% for your bullet, the bullet can't easily setback.

  6. #126
    Boolit Master

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    Ok that is allot to go through . All right hear is my question ( I have been using a lee powder through die with a 38 s/w expander plug in it ) it helped a great deal with squishing down my fat little 9s . So now I am interested in a lyman 9mm m die but do I need a different expander plug to open up to .358 . I am still getting a little swaggering out of my lee die with 38s/w insert. Thanks.

  7. #127
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have any experience with the m-die in anything other than 30 cal so I don't know what you would need to get. If you need something different NOE does offer custom inserts for Lee Universal Expander Dies in rifle and pistol and Buffalo Arms offers custom expanders as well.
    You can read all the stuff online, in the magazines and in books and buy into the hypothesis but if you don't actually load up and test them then you know nothing until you do.

  8. #128
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks will check in on it .

  9. #129
    Boolit Master
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    The Lyman M die expanders are essentially exactly the same size as regular expanders. In 9mm, that means the expander is .353" wide, and that is not going to help you in the least.

    The largest NOE expander (in the right zipcode, anyway) is the 0.356" expander with a 0.360" flare. Notice that the Lee 38SW plug you are using also measures .356. So if you're still getting a little swaging, then this is still not big enough.

    I would consider ordering a custom plug that is 0.358" with a .361" flare. This will open your brass to about .356" +- half a mil, with a .359" flare.
    Last edited by gloob; 09-21-2015 at 06:23 AM.

  10. #130
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks for the heads up on the lyman m die. Will look into larger insert . But I think I am going to harden up some lead a little and give that a try first . I have been using plumbing lead and tin but it is very soft / so I have a couple buckets of coww I am going to melt down and try 50/50 ww and plumbers lead to see if that helps . I pulled some and am getting .3565 after switching to the s/w 38 expander witch is much better but would like to get .357-.3575 . After swapping out the inserts I started getting groups instead of patterns but now trying to get real good groups I guess it never ends . After 25 yards will want 50 right. But thanks again about the m die ,I use them on the .357 mag and am having good result.

  11. #131
    Boolit Master
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    I've got 2 different molds I use for 9mm, both Mihec molds. One is the 125gr HP and the other is the 140gr solid. The 140gr are just enough longer that they swage down some when seated so I heat treat those rounds to keep them from swaging.

    It takes a bit of experimenting to find out what will work for your situation.
    You can read all the stuff online, in the magazines and in books and buy into the hypothesis but if you don't actually load up and test them then you know nothing until you do.

  12. #132
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the heads up on the lyman m die. Will look into larger insert . But I think I am going to harden up some lead a little and give that a try first
    Experimenting with the alloy is fine. Personally, I prefer to first open up the cases, if needed. I prefer to keep the alloys softer, where possible. Heat treating or increasing tin/antimony of an alloy to keep the bases from swaging can work, but it's just a compromise. If you have to harden the alloy to stop the swaging, your bullet is also going to be too hard to completely obturate (and most barrels aren't completely perfect). Harder alloys are preferred by commercial casters because they are most likely to shoot ok in any random gun without terrible fouling. But harder alloys aren't particularly likely to shoot superbly in any gun. Tin and antimony are also more expensive than lead.

    If you want to shoot cast bullets with the mystical "no leading at all," you'll need some luck with your gun. But chances are you'll only get there with a big enough bullet of a soft enough alloy. Some guys are lucky, because they can get this with standard off the shelf tools. A lot of reloaders will never experience this without a custom expander. If you are making bullets for yourself, not for a thousand different joes with different guns and messed up dies, you may find that softer alloys are one of the key ingredients for success.
    Last edited by gloob; 09-26-2015 at 11:56 PM.

  13. #133
    Boolit Master

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    Well my harder alloys did not help , I have tried everything except a custom plug .I know I probably should have started with it , but I usually do everything the hard way it helps me remember. So I'm gonna to try noe custom plug as recommended. Strangely enough I have not had a problem with leading at all .

  14. #134
    Boolit Master

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    I got in touch with noe today , and was advised to give buckshot a try for a custom expander . Will do.

  15. #135
    Boolit Master crabo's Avatar
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    SO I am having troubles with my Dillon Square Deal loading 9mms. Do you think if I took one of the 9mm powder funnels, chucked it up in the drill press, and made the taper longer and a little smaller, it would do what you guys are talking about here?

    https://www.dillonprecision.com/powd..._48_25279.html
    Last edited by crabo; 04-02-2017 at 12:50 AM.
    Crabo

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  16. #136
    Boolit Master

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    I wish I could help crabo but I'm not familiar with your press and dies , but after installing custom expander plugs in my lee , and Lyman dies I'm a happy shooter . Buckshot made me one before he retired , and lathsmith is making me another . I think you're on the right track ...

  17. #137
    Boolit Master
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    I have used the 38S&W insert in my turret press with great results. I just acquired a Dillon 550B. Is Dillon or anyone else making a Dillon compatible funnel with the Lee 38S&W profile for Dillon powder dumpers? I really wanted to set this up for 9mm, but it might have to be for 45ACP. I haven't tried the supplied 9mm funnel with it, it looks like it is longer than the Lee 9mm expander but not the .3" length of the 38S&W.

    Update...Going in the right direction with lathesmith now!
    Last edited by remy3424; 03-13-2018 at 11:17 PM.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check