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

  1. #41
    Boolit Mold
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    I have the Lee 4 die set. I see the 3rd seating die can be screwed down to crimp the bullet. I wish i had know that before buying the 4 die sets. I didn’t know the factory crimp would cause problems with cast boolits!

    I hope I set the sizing die correctly.

    The way I initially set this die: I used a empty piece of brass and screwed the die down until I couldn't turn it by hand any more. Then i removed the brass and gave the die another 1/4 turn. Then I put a factory load in the die and screwed the seating part of the die down until it touched the facotry rounds bullet.

    The rounds look to be crimped.

    I sized my rounds a bit longer than 9mm specs. They fit the mags on both guns fine and chamber in both. They are 1.1875 long with 125 gr round nose. I figured the closer to the rifling the less gas blow by!

    It is weird that mt XD 45 will not chamber full length 230 gr cast 45s. I had to make them shorter than 230 gr FMj ball ammo. The gun would not go into battery. The case was protruding past the end of the barrel where the base of the boolit is supposed to be flush. The FMJ has a more pointed profile than the cast round.

  2. #42
    Boolit Mold
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    Geez wrong thread I posted in!

  3. #43
    Boolit Bub The Amateur's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    My wife and I went to the range this weekend and her 9mm, "Tinkerbell" had some leading. I searched the forums and found this thread. Great info

    Here is what I did to make my 9mm expander die work for Lee TL-358-124-2R:



    I turned the expander on my lathe to bring the shoulder back to 1/2".
    Next, I removed the case mouth expander taper and used this area for the new.358" dia. expander area.
    Behind that, I made a new taper at 5 degrees. I made this area long for experimentation.
    To make up the extra 1/4", I made a brass spacer .25" tall and .56" dia.

    A boolit was "loaded" and pulled to check for case swaging. It measured .358", no change from inserting into the expanded case!

    I will need to load some new rounds and test at the range. I will report back.
    73, KC5CQW

    Hard work usually pays off in the end but... Procrastination pays off right now!

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    Well you screen name belies your ability, nice work!

  5. #45
    Boolit Bub The Amateur's Avatar
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    Thanks! I was afraid my wife would beat me up if it went wrong. I had to get the lathe to support all of my hobbies.
    I couldn't think of anything good for a name and that was the first thing that popped into my head. I'm somewhat new to reloading and I'm also an amateur radio operator.
    73, KC5CQW

    Hard work usually pays off in the end but... Procrastination pays off right now!

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    I tried using the 38/357 powder funnel to bell case mouth on the 9mm cases on a Dillon 550 to prevent the lead from swaging as it is being seated. Unfortunately by the time the die is screwed down far enough for the powder funnel to bell the case it is already sitting on the shell plate. So that does not work! I don't know who ever came up with that idea!

  7. #47
    Boolit Man autopilotmp's Avatar
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    So I am curious, do you need both the 9mm die and the 38 die or can you do the mods and use the 38 die body? Probably be cheaper to buy the 3 die set but just wondering if you even needed the 9mm powder charge die.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
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    You'll want to use the 9mm die body so the insert will have the proper amount of travel to flare the 9mm brass. If you use the 38 die body the brass will never reach the insert to flair the case.

    Just use your 9mm die body and order a 38 insert from Lee. No need to buy an entire set of dies when all you need is the 38 powder through insert.

  9. #49
    Boolit Man autopilotmp's Avatar
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    Thanks Jailer i'll have to pick up the riser as well. Great thread.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    No problem, thanks for the compliment.

    You'll definitely want the riser if you are using a turret press.

  11. #51
    Boolit Buddy fullofdays's Avatar
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    will the lee powder thru expander die work on a dillon 550b? what's the part number?

  12. #52
    Boolit Master
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    They will work just fine. They are caliber specific except for the rifle charging die.

  13. #53
    Boolit Buddy
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    I didn't have a possum hollow trimmer, so I wrapped a couple layers of electrical tape around a 15/32 drill bit and slid the PVC over that. worked pretty well.

  14. #54
    Boolit Bub The Amateur's Avatar
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    Here is a plug I made from scratch. Testing is in progress...


    The only scrap metal I had was 1/2" round bar so I used some heat shrink to make up the O.D.


    .358" seating dia .25" long, 7.5deg case mouth bevel, 10deg end bevel. Polished to 800 grit.




    Drilled powder via with a step drill. A reamer would have been better for an edgeless funnel.
    (I don't have one).
    Last edited by The Amateur; 07-11-2012 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Add Photo
    73, KC5CQW

    Hard work usually pays off in the end but... Procrastination pays off right now!

  15. #55
    Boolit Bub The Amateur's Avatar
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    The print is a little different then what is pictured below it and was added later for revision.
    The seating area was a tad too long in the prototype. The mouth expander taper should have been a little longer and perhaps < 5deg. not 7.5deg.
    These aspects of the prototype caused some minor brass stress.
    A bulge in the brass is to be expected with this plug as it removes the designed tapered body of the brass within the seating area.
    Otherwise, no case swaging of the cast boolit with this plug!

    Reduced barrel leading and improved accuracy is realized with this 9mm plug vs. the Lee plug when loading cast boolits.
    73, KC5CQW

    Hard work usually pays off in the end but... Procrastination pays off right now!

  16. #56
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    He speaks truth. I received one of the prototypes and its great!
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master
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    Just wanted to post an update to this thread.

    Another member on this forum suggested a 38 S&W expander as an alternative. I got one and it is a direct drop in replacement for the 9mm powder through expander plug. The expander portion is the exact same dimensions as the 38/357 expander and it works fantastic for seating 9mm boolits.

    Hey, why re invent the wheel when a simple alternative is available for 3 bucks?

    Lee 38 S&W powder through expander plug

  18. #58
    Boolit Bub The Amateur's Avatar
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    Huda thunkit. Thanks for the update, i'll have to get one.
    73, KC5CQW

    Hard work usually pays off in the end but... Procrastination pays off right now!

  19. #59
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Rock on!! Nonetheless your original prototype is really nice.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  20. #60
    Boolit Man
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    Just getting serious on loading 9mm, great info.Thank's

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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