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Thread: M-die worth it?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    M-die worth it?

    Presently I am sizing .30-30 brass by first outside sizing in a conventional RCBS sizing die WITH THE EXPANDER/DECAPPER REMOVED. Then I push the cases up into a Lee 303Brit expander/decapper that I've mounted in an oversize (.30-40 Krag) Lee die. This does two things:
    1.) cuts way down on stretching of case necks, as I'm pushing the expander into the case neck instead of pulling it through from the inside.
    2.) expands the case necks to 0.307", a few thousandths larger than what the conventional .30-30 expander button does. (The Lee 303Brit plug measures 0.395". Obviously spring-back is occuring.)

    Finally, I do a very gradual flare with needlenose pliers or a burnishing tool.

    All of my cast boolits for this caliber are sized 0.311-0.312". So I probably have more neck tension than I need (0.004-0.005"), and with the soft lead I mostly shoot, I might be damaging the bullets in seating. And possibly also causing some eccentricity (runout) in seating, though the bullet seating operation is smooth and does not require much force.

    If I added the Lyman M die to this operation as a final step, can I expect to improve bullet alignment in the neck and possibly achieve better group consistency? Presently I get excellent groups sometimes but the erratic results lead me to believe inconsistent seating/alignment might be a cause.

    If an M-die is advised, which die and which size plug should I order?

    Thanks. Look forward to your remarks.
    Last edited by PBSmith; 08-03-2017 at 12:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master fred2892's Avatar
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    You need the '.31 long' m die.

    Sent from my BN NookHD+ using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred2892 View Post
    You need the '.31 long' m die.

    Sent from my BN NookHD+ using Tapatalk
    ^^^^ and yes you should see more consistent results from an M die verses pliers
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  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke4320 View Post
    ^^^^ and yes you should see more consistent results from an M die verses pliers
    Thanks, Fred and Smoke.

    I don't care much for that wicked steep flare that M dies give, so even if I do purchase an M-die I'll probably look for an alternative to flaring. One member here had a machinist knock down the Lyman radical flare to a more gradual angle.

    But I do like the step M-dies give. That's what I'm thinking might make a big difference in alignment.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    Lee makes a universal neck flaring die that works on anything I'm likely to load. I also like the M die and RCBS cowboy dies.
    WW

  6. #6
    Have you looked at the NOE neck expanding plugs used in the Lee die, they have no steep flare, but size the mouth .004 larger than the rest of the neck. For instance when I use a .311 bullet, I use the .310/ .314 plug and adjust so my bullet seats to the depth of the gas check with finger pressure only,then finish seating in the press. These plugs are made in several sizes per cal. so you can experiment till you find the perfect bullet fit. After using these you will wonder how you ever loaded lead without them, no more shaved lead and crooked bullets!

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gewehr-Guy View Post
    Have you looked at the NOE neck expanding plugs used in the Lee die, they have no steep flare, but size the mouth .004 larger than the rest of the neck. For instance when I use a .311 bullet, I use the .310/ .314 plug and adjust so my bullet seats to the depth of the gas check with finger pressure only,then finish seating in the press. These plugs are made in several sizes per cal. so you can experiment till you find the perfect bullet fit. After using these you will wonder how you ever loaded lead without them, no more shaved lead and crooked bullets!
    I've heard about them - will investigate. Thanks.

    I rarely if ever have a problem with shaved lead. It's crooked bullets I'm concerned about.

    Do I understand correctly that the 0.310 part of the plug sizes the entire neck, while the 0.314 is adjustable to whatever depth you want? If you're using these in .30-30, what internal case neck diameter - in the upper part of the case - are you left with, after sizing with the plug? Does your .311 sized bullet slip easily into that, as it would for the step that an M-die produces?

    I'm thinking I'd like to start the bullet by fingers to a depth of about 1/8-3/16", hoping that will guarantee better alignment.
    I
    Last edited by PBSmith; 08-03-2017 at 04:00 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by PBSmith View Post
    Thanks, Fred and Smoke.

    I don't care much for that wicked steep flare that M dies give, so even if I do purchase an M-die I'll probably look for an alternative to flaring. One member here had a machinist knock down the Lyman radical flare to a more gradual angle.

    But I do like the step M-dies give. That's what I'm thinking might make a big difference in alignment.
    You don't have to use the flair part of the M die, I never do. It's just not needed.
    Try it without the flair, you might like it.
    Calamity Jake

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  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calamity Jake View Post
    You don't have to use the flair part of the M die, I never do. It's just not needed.
    Try it without the flair, you might like it.
    Jake,
    I have done as you suggested in other calibers, maybe just a tweak from that sharp flare Lyman puts into the top of the plug.

    With the right diameter step, I can see where flare wouldn't be necessary. That's why I asked about the correct plug size for my 0.311-0.312 bullets. Spring-back of the case neck is the fooler here. I don't want to have to buy several plugs and experiment.


    Thanks

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Anneal your brass and you will not have much if any spring back.
    If your brass is not annealed you will eventually have newer brass that is soft and old brass that is hard. They will not have the same spring back.
    So be prepared to buy a variety of plugs and experiment or anneal your brass or do both.
    You cannot cheat the system. You must get the brass prepared properly to get good ammo. You may not get to chose the cheap route.
    Eventually you will probably need a variety of plugs. Just use your best judgment to avoid buying them as long as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by PBSmith View Post
    Jake,
    I have done as you suggested in other calibers, maybe just a tweak from that sharp flare Lyman puts into the top of the plug.

    With the right diameter step, I can see where flare wouldn't be necessary. That's why I asked about the correct plug size for my 0.311-0.312 bullets. Spring-back of the case neck is the fooler here. I don't want to have to buy several plugs and experiment.


    Thanks
    EDG

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    swheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBSmith View Post
    Presently I am sizing .30-30 brass by first outside sizing in a conventional RCBS sizing die WITH THE EXPANDER/DECAPPER REMOVED. Then I push the cases up into a Lee 303Brit expander/decapper that I've mounted in an oversize (.30-40 Krag) Lee die. This does two things:
    1.) cuts way down on stretching of case necks, as I'm pushing the expander into the case neck instead of pulling it through from the inside.
    2.) expands the case necks to 0.307", a few thousandths larger than what the conventional .30-30 expander button does. (The Lee 303Brit plug measures 0.395". Obviously spring-back is occuring.)

    Finally, I do a very gradual flare with needlenose pliers or a burnishing tool.

    All of my cast boolits for this caliber are sized 0.311-0.312". So I probably have more neck tension than I need (0.004-0.005"), and with the soft lead I mostly shoot, I might be damaging the bullets in seating. And possibly also causing some eccentricity (runout) in seating, though the bullet seating operation is smooth and does not require much force.

    If I added the Lyman M die to this operation as a final step, can I expect to improve bullet alignment in the neck and possibly achieve better group consistency? Presently I get excellent groups sometimes but the erratic results lead me to believe inconsistent seating/alignment might be a cause.

    If an M-die is advised, which die and which size plug should I order?

    Thanks. Look forward to your remarks.
    I think what you are doing would make the necks not concentric with the center of the case, roll one on a smooth surface to check. An M die would be a better way to do it.
    Hell, I was there!

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Anneal your brass and you will not have much if any spring back.
    If your brass is not annealed you will eventually have newer brass that is soft and old brass that is hard. They will not have the same spring back.
    So be prepared to buy a variety of plugs and experiment or anneal your brass or do both.
    You cannot cheat the system. You must get the brass prepared properly to get good ammo. You may not get to chose the cheap route.
    Eventually you will probably need a variety of plugs. Just use your best judgment to avoid buying them as long as possible.
    Ahh - I will anneal as you suggest and see if that makes a difference with my present sizing routine. Thanks for that suggestion.

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Swheeler,
    Could be, could be. A Lee tech suggested the 303B expander in an oversize die, but ???

    Lots to check out here. Thanks.
    Last edited by PBSmith; 08-03-2017 at 07:58 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Being concerned about crooked CB loads is important as this is crucial to consistency. It is too easy to assemble good looking cartridges that won't shoot worth a carp.

    Annealing, neck sizing, trimming, use of a M-die or equivalent and a good seater die help in getting straight cartridges and good shooting groups, IMHO.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master brassrat's Avatar
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    I can't do without em in my .303 and almost always use them on everything. It helps to get or make the right seating stems

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    When I first started reloading 30-30, I bought an M die and I use it all the time - am happy with it and the results for loading my cast. I had the Lee universal flaring die but, of me, I didn't care for it that much. IF I had it to do over, I would stick with the Lee universal flaring die and buy Swede's (NOE) expanding plugs int he sizes I need/use. In fact, it's on my "to do" list some time in the near future.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I use the M die on all bottleneck cartrages and an expanding powder funnel for all straitwall pistol cartrages..a 30-30 being a straitealled rifle cartrage i would opt for a expaning powder funnel...this is all for progressive loading.. for hand loading i would probably use the m die.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub MAGA's Avatar
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    I am asking myself this very question I like the lee is universal

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Lee is universal in that it flares. It does absolutely nothing to open up the ID of the case to seat soft cast boolits without damaging them.

    I use M dies that are custom. 0.0005-0.001" under boolit diameter and 0.003" over boolit diameter. I use these for rifle and revolver cartridges. I even have a couple that are boolit diameter and have ample neck tension for my applications. The springback of the brass allows actual boolit diameter expanders to work. The base of the boolit sits snugly in the expanded (larger step) portion of the neck and seats smoothly and straight without damage. I don't even have to remove the stepped expansion and crimp if I don't want to.

    People confuse a flaring die with an expander. Two completely different tools that accomplish different ends. Can you get by with a flaring tool/die? Yes, you won't shave lead, but it is likely your boolits are now undersize after using one. Anyway, whether the m die, NOE expander or other stepped expander, match it to boolit diameter and loading practice for improved seating and less runout/damage to boolits.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Another vote for the NOE expanders.

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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