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Thread: Lubricating 310 expander plug

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Lubricating 310 expander plug

    In learning how to use an old Ideal steel 310 tool in 30-06, I have all the dies adjusted and running well except for the expander plug. I tried using motor mica like I do in my bench mounted presses for lubricating the inside of the case mouth, but couldn't pull the Ideal expander out of the cases very easily. The old Ideal Reloading manual I have (No. 39) says to use some oil on a pad and touch the case mouth to it to put a little oil into the end of the case mouth to lubricate the expanding plug. But it didn't say what kind of oil (wale oil?) or how to clean it back out before loading the casing. So I tried a little gun oil on a clean rifle cleaning patch on a cleaning rod to insert it into the mouth of the case and twist it and pull it back out. That seems to work ok as the expanding operation was much less of an effort. How do you 310 users lubricate your expander plugs and clean out the cases before loading powder?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    There is dry case lube media available, unless your trying to perform thing as it was intended with these tools.

    I'm not sure what to use, maybe a touch of bullet lube??
    I'm looking for Lyman Truline Jr / 310 dies. PM me if you have any.

    Scott

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I use the Lyman Case Lube set with brushes that fit inside the case neck where lubrication is needed to apply white mica powder. This was a real problem with virgin 327 Fed Mag brass from Starline... Apparently it was too squeaky clean!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  4. #4
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    I use the Lyman Case Lube set with brushes that fit inside the case neck where lubrication is needed to apply white mica powder. This was a real problem with virgin 327 Fed Mag brass from Starline... Apparently it was too squeaky clean!

    Froggie
    This is exactly what I tried on 30-06 cases. And had a heck of a time pulling that expander plug out of the case mouth. So that didn't work at all. I do use the white mica powder successfully with modern dies with the carbide expander buttons.

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    Boolit Master Pavogrande's Avatar
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    I still use the "ink" pad method -- I drag the mouth of the vertically held case across the pad. I usually lube every third or fourth case --
    I have never had a problem with 310 expanders but learned to lube the top of the tru-line ball expanders -- they can be a real drag --

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    This is exactly what I tried on 30-06 cases. And had a heck of a time pulling that expander plug out of the case mouth. So that didn't work at all. I do use the white mica powder successfully with modern dies with the carbide expander buttons.
    Don,

    It sounds to me like you've gotten hold of a die actually meant for a TruLine Jr press. If the expander ball is on the decapper stem, you are trying to open the mouth back up on the pull stroke AFTER you have sized the neck down on the squeeze motion. If you have the proper 310 die, it is just a tapered plug in a dedicated die (much like he current M die) that is used AFTER the (separate) neck sizing step is completed.

    If the former scenario is not the case, your muzzle resizing die is apparently sizing your case neck WAY too small or you are pushing the expander plug in way too deep. With the proper dies used in the proper sequence, the problem you describe should not persist.

    Best of luck!
    Froggie

    PS Let me know if I can help out with additional info, etc. BTW, what is the size marked on top of the expander plug yo have, if that is what you have? It should be 308.
    "It aint easy being green!"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Froggie probably has the solution, Don. You are not supposed to use those dies in the handles.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I mixed one little tin of Imperial Graphite dry lube into one big can of Midway Mica. It turned the Mica silvery gray and enhanced its lubricating properties by a factor of two, at least. Still leaves the necks of the cases black after sizing and expanding, but it's not such a mess on hands or clothes. But I only use this for neck sizing with depriming in jacketed bullet dies in a bench mounted press. Once set up this way, the bench press "M" expander die I use for loading cast boolits doesn't need lubrication.

    I've never had a problem like you describe with tong tool reloading. I don't understand how it could happen, since that kind of effort suggests a situation where the case mouth is sized down with the expander button down inside the case, and then it has to be dragged back through the sized down neck to come out. The expanders in tong tools act like "M" die inserts; they expand the sized down case mouth from the front and don't have a constriction they have to pull out of. I dampen a piece of cloth with a few drops of Marvel Mystery Oil, and wipe the outside of the case necks, and that's it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Don,

    It sounds to me like you've gotten hold of a die actually meant for a TruLine Jr press. If the expander ball is on the decapper stem, you are trying to open the mouth back up on the pull stroke AFTER you have sized the neck down on the squeeze motion. If you have the proper 310 die, it is just a tapered plug in a dedicated die (much like he current M die) that is used AFTER the (separate) neck sizing step is completed.

    If the former scenario is not the case, your muzzle resizing die is apparently sizing your case neck WAY too small or you are pushing the expander plug in way too deep. With the proper dies used in the proper sequence, the problem you describe should not persist.

    Best of luck!
    Froggie

    PS Let me know if I can help out with additional info, etc. BTW, what is the size marked on top of the expander plug yo have, if that is what you have? It should be 308.
    I bought this set of steel handles and set of 5 dies as a set, probably as they came from Ideal originally. The neck sizer die is a number 123, and the expander die is a straight cylinder with a 308 expander plug in it, carefully adjusted down so that the case mouth is just flared enough to except the bottom of a jacketed bullet. When I use the powdered mica liberally inside the case mouth and slide in the expander, pulling it out takes a lot of force. Enough so that I think the tong set is going to get damaged. When I did wipe the inside of the case mouth with gun oil on a clean bore cleaning patch, it took about the same force to pull out as it did when using the neck sizing die. Comfortable and without a lot of force. But I worried that if I use this approach I would have to clean out the necks of the cases with something to keep the oil from contaminating the powder charge. So thats why I though others might have techniques to remedy this situation.

  10. #10
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    Use the Hornady aerosol (not pump) lube. You'll never use anything else again !

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I found years ago that mica makes a very poor case lube. For neck sizing and expanding in a 310 tool, I keep a small tin (old typewriter ribbon tin) with fine powdered graphite in it. I dip the case neck into the graphite and tap it on the edge of the tin to remove any excess. This lubricate both the outside and the inside of the necks.

    I have a serious aversion to putting any kind of oily lube inside the case mouth. I want no oil anywhere near the powder charge.

    I have been using fine powdered graphite for inside case neck lube since 1959 and have had zero problems with it. A few years back, I bought a 1 pound can of Microfyne graphite made by Southwestern Graphite Division of Asbury Carbons in De Quincy LA. It is a lifetime supply for you and several more reloading friends.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    I found years ago that mica makes a very poor case lube. For neck sizing and expanding in a 310 tool, I keep a small tin (old typewriter ribbon tin) with fine powdered graphite in it. I dip the case neck into the graphite and tap it on the edge of the tin to remove any excess. This lubricate both the outside and the inside of the necks.
    My first question is, What is an "old typewriter ribbon tin"? I think I know what a typewriter is. I saw one in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania once when my grandparents took us to the East Coast to see all of that really old stuff when I was a kid. It was like a keyboard directly hooked up to the printer, and I don't even think it had a computer attached to it?

    I have a tube of powdered graphite on my loading bench that I had brought up from the shop to lubricate one of my reloading presses I think. It says on the side of it for "lubricating locks". I think I bought it for lubricating door locks in the cars and the house so that they didn't have oil in them to freeze. I will make a test run of this and see if it works for me too. So, I need to go shoot some more rounds now so I have some empty cases.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I also am thinking you are using the Tru-line die with the ball expander that is on the decapping stem?

    I use the 310 for Colt 38 Short, Long, 38 special and 357, 45 Colt, 8mm Mauser and 30/30. Granted, I have steel tongs for all of them (I hate the aluminum tongs) but on the pistol cartridges as well as the bottlenecks, I use a 319 die with an expanding plug after I use a neck resizing die. May not be kosher but I have never used lubricant on the expander plug of any of them. My brass is clean and the plug goes in and expands and pulls out without a problem. The brass is softer than steel so I doubt I will ever wear an expanding stem out.

    Keep your eyes open and see if you can't find a 310 die that uses an expander plug (much like a regular expander die only in the small 310 size. My dies are back in MI and I'm in AZ for another month or so or otherwise, I'd post some photos.

    FYI - a typewriter ribbon tin is a two piece tin (obviously that a typewriter ribbon used to come in) that has a tight fitting top. It's about like an Altoid tin if the tin was only half the length it is and had a one piece top instead of a hinged op. Sometimes you can find confectionary candies in a similar sized tin at a place that sells candy - what comes to mind is one that I have that used to hold fancy English lemon drops. Something like a small prescription plastic bottle with a screw on top would work as well - put enough in the bottom, dip cartridge neck in and tap excess off on the lip of he bottle.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    A cotton bore swab with light oil or Imperial sizing die wax impregnated will lube case necks quick and easy. I have one made from a small can. SOldered 3 bushings with 8-32 threads on the bottom. Screw the most used plugs in them and a small ring of Imperial sizing die wax under the swab. After some use the swab is impregnated and you only need to touch the lube underneath every fifth to tenth case other wise just slide over the swab

  15. #15
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    I also am thinking you are using the Tru-line die with the ball expander that is on the decapping stem?

    I use the 310 for Colt 38 Short, Long, 38 special and 357, 45 Colt, 8mm Mauser and 30/30. Granted, I have steel tongs for all of them (I hate the aluminum tongs) but on the pistol cartridges as well as the bottlenecks, I use a 319 die with an expanding plug after I use a neck resizing die. May not be kosher but I have never used lubricant on the expander plug of any of them. My brass is clean and the plug goes in and expands and pulls out without a problem. The brass is softer than steel so I doubt I will ever wear an expanding stem out.
    The die with the expander plug is a straight cylinder with threads on the outside that screw into the steel tong handles, with a lock ring on the outside to position its depth, and there is an expander plug that screws into the top of it with the 308 number on it. And it also has a lock ring around it to position it in the die. The expander plug is a stainless steel shaft with a bevel on the bottom of it to ease it into the 30-06 casing, then there is a straight piece of shaft about a 1/2" long, and then there is a slightly enlarged section of shaft above that that I have positioned to give a slight flair to the top of the casing for the bullet to fit into maybe 1/64". It is shaped just like one of my Lyman M dies that I use to expand my other cases on a bench mounted press. The interior of the die shaft does not touch the casing when inserting it into the die for interior case mouth expanding to size it to fit the bullets, and there isn't any decapping device on the end of the expanding plug. I have a separate die that only decaps. I looked for a 319 numbered die in my Ideal Handbook No. 39 and there are no dies listed in there anywhere with that number. I have the book listed 123 muzzle resizer and the 123 Double adjustable chamber die to hold the bullet seating plugs and crimp the case mouth. The conclusion I am coming to is that the 123 muzzle resizer must be too small so that the 308 expanding plug must have to push the neck too far back out. Or my brass is too hard and needs to be annealed? So, what muzzle resizer should I try to get? One for a 303 British, 7.7 Jap, 7.62 Russian, Argentine Mauser? But I think I need to try some annealed brass first. . . . ?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Don, something isn't adding up properly... I'm wondering whether you have been the victim of tolerance stacking with your set having an extra tight muzzle resizer and an extra large expander plug. If the fired brass will go back into your rifle's chamber without neck sizing, I think I would try using the neck expander in an unsized case to see how much pressure that gives, then if that case will grip a bullet lightly I would seat the bullet and crimp the case, all without neck sizing. If that works in your rifle, you get to load while doing one less step. That's about the only thing I can think of at this juncture.

    Froggie

    PS I have encountered a couple of undersized Lyman sizing dies so this scenario is not as unlikely as it may seem.
    "It aint easy being green!"

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    I have been reloading and casting bullets since about 1949. Just recently, I started noticing extremely heavy "pull back" when neck expanding (in my Dillon 550B's, no less). As Green Frog touched on it, the new Starline brass is "too clean" and the drag is enough that I was afraid I would stretch a case or break something. I use a wax based case lube and just get a bit on my finger and drag it across a case mouth, every few cases. It works, just fine. The wax will not damage powder or primers.

    However, a real solution, and especially when loading in bulk, is to make up a solution of Lee case lube (comes in a tube) in water/lube 10/1 and enough tubes to fill a container. I was loading .308's in bulk for competition and use a .50 caliber GI ammo can. I found a french fry basket that would allow me to drop the clean DEPRIMED cases in the basket, dip the basket with cases into the GI can. Then, I shook off the excess and dumped the cases out to dry on a tray. In the summer, you could put the cases in the sun and they would dry quickly.

    At any rate, this put an almost invisible film of DRY case lube all over the inside and outside of the cases. It works for general sizing as well as any of the premium case lubes. Further, it coats the inside of the case with dry lube and is inert as far as the powder and primers are concerned. It worked beautifully and there is NO drag from the expanding punch. When you close the GI can, the lube was protected from dirt or dust, and the seal did not allow it to evaporate. C.E. (Ed) Harris put me on to this very valuable tip that saved me a LOT of aggravation when I was competing in IPSC and Big Bore rifle competition. It'll certainly end the problems with pistol rounds, also. Of course, you must wipe off the case lube from the loaded rounds as you do not want to increase back thrust against the chamber when the rounds are fired. Since the lube is water soluble, a damp cloth makes it easy. Far easier, in fact, than trying to clean conventional case lube from loaded rounds.

    FWIW
    Dale53

  18. #18
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Don, something isn't adding up properly... I'm wondering whether you have been the victim of tolerance stacking with your set having an extra tight muzzle resizer and an extra large expander plug. If the fired brass will go back into your rifle's chamber without neck sizing, I think I would try using the neck expander in an unsized case to see how much pressure that gives, then if that case will grip a bullet lightly I would seat the bullet and crimp the case, all without neck sizing. If that works in your rifle, you get to load while doing one less step. That's about the only thing I can think of at this juncture.

    Froggie

    PS I have encountered a couple of undersized Lyman sizing dies so this scenario is not as unlikely as it may seem.
    When I fire the cases that I originally loaded using a Hornady sizing/decapping die with expansion plug, and then prime and seat bullets/crimp with the 310 dies, the remaining mouth opening of the case is larger than a .308" bullet by maybe 0.002". So I can't just replace the primer and then fill with powder and seat bullets in a conventional way with the 310 dies. But the fired cases do fit back into the gun ok and I can turn the bolt closed on them ok. So, I still have the apparent lubrication problem of the expanding stem on the 310 die. So I am going to approach it with some annealed brass and try again. I took a tour of the Sierra bullet factory in Sedalia, Missouri this morning, and noticed an annealing machine down in their shooting/reloading room. They fire thousands of rounds every day, so they have to anneal their brass often. So, I got a lecture from the people that do this every day for a living on how to anneal my brass. Before I go attempting any more reloading with an Ideal 310 reloading tool I am going to anneal all of my 30-06 brass and see if that helps anything.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Well, I finally got back to working on the 50 old 30-06 brass that was given to me, and couldn't pull the resizing plug out of. I annealed the entire stack of brass, cleaned them in my vibratory Lyman 1200 case cleaner with walnut media, cleaned the last bit of black stain off the outside of the cases with 4/0 steel wool, and then went to resizing and reloading. And guess what? The annealing did the trick. It made both resizing the case neck much easier, and allowed me to use motor mica applied with a brush inside the case neck, and the resizing plug went in and out with very little force. Although more then sizing a bullet. So the annealing was the trick to using my 310 tool to reload 30-06 casings. So now that I know how to use one of these 310 tools, should I collect another one? Or two or three?

  20. #20
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    I do my loading in the batch style, even with the 310 tools. Lube as needed on the outside and inside. Size, deprime, expand. I use water soluble lube, I have a cleaning solution made up of water, dawn dish soap and a bit of vinegar. I put the some of this in a pot, heat to boiling. Take off heat, dump in the brass and agitate. Pour out the brass and solution through a sieve to catch brass and collect solution for reuse.Rinse brass with clear hot water to remove traces of solution. let dry. Once dry proceed with priming, powder and bullets. Leo

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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