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Thread: Flaring a case neck for cast boolits

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy jeff100's Avatar
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    Flaring a case neck for cast boolits

    I'm having trouble hand loading cast boolits for my 357 magnum. I'm using a Lee Pistol die set. In setting the case expander die deep enough to easily start my cast boolits the die seems to expand the entire case neck too much. There isn't much case neck tension left after seating the boolit. If I back off the expander die so there is proper neck tension I can't start a cast boolit.

    I see that Lee sells a universal neck expanding die made and sold for seating cast boolits. Will this die (or one by another manufacturer) flare the case mouth instead of expanding the case neck? I'm looking for a die that will flare out the mouth of the case. What do you all use to enlarge the case mouth enough to start the base of the boolit? JJ

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Yes, the Lee Universal Neck Expanding tool will work. If you decide you want better, NOE sells expander spuds that replaces the Lee Universals spud.
    A deplorable that votes!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    I like the versatility of the lee universal tool. I use it for every cal. i load for.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    The plug portion might be on the large side, (if the boolits aren't smallish) and can be lapped or fine papered .001".

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    Best money I ever spent.Bought one for 9mm problem child,now have them for every thing I load cast in,and that's everything I load!!! .At $6.50 ea. even my budget isn't impacted severely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yodogsandman View Post
    Yes, the Lee Universal Neck Expanding tool will work. If you decide you want better, NOE sells expander spuds that replaces the Lee Universals spud.
    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    I would use the lyman "M" die. I have those dies for all my bottleneck cases as well as 38/357, and 44 revolver cases. I do use the Lee universal expander when loading a little larger than normal boolits. I have not used the NOE, but from what I understand it is a lot like the "M" die and if so might be a little less expensive.
    Tony

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff100 View Post
    I see that Lee sells a universal neck expanding die made and sold for seating cast boolits. Will this die (or one by another manufacturer) flare the case mouth instead of expanding the case neck? I'm looking for a die that will flare out the mouth of the case. What do you all use to enlarge the case mouth enough to start the base of the boolit? JJ
    This is all the Lee die does. It's not an expanding die. It's another tool that Lee named improperly. If all you want to do is flair the case mouth then that's the die you want. If you want to expand the case properly buy NOE's inserts for the die. Only thing that would make that better is if the entire setup was powder through.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I use the Lyman "M" die on rifle cartridges but have never needed anything else when using my RCBS dies.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABJ View Post
    I would use the lyman "M" die. I have those dies for all my bottleneck cases as well as 38/357, and 44 revolver cases. I do use the Lee universal expander when loading a little larger than normal boolits. I have not used the NOE, but from what I understand it is a lot like the "M" die and if so might be a little less expensive.
    Tony
    This would be my solution. Another possibility is the RCBS "Cowboy" expander stem or just a standard RCBS expander. I've never had a problem with RCBS or Redding equipment and since I'm only going to buy it once, I'll spend the little extra money.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    they ought to call it the lee carrot die...because it's like shoving a carrot in the case to achieve a flare.

    it does nothing for the 98% of the rest of the bullet that has to be seated.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yodogsandman View Post
    Yes, the Lee Universal Neck Expanding tool will work. If you decide you want better, NOE sells expander spuds that replaces the Lee Universals spud.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is the Lee Expander die and the two expanders that come with it are in the top left two compartments.
    All the rest of the expanders are from NOE.
    So...I made a kit out of it, I expect to add more expanders in the future.

    When you go to the trouble of discovering what size cast you need to use in your weapon and then stuff it into a case that was expanded for a jacketed round it just swages that cast to some extent and all the work you have done thus far is negated.

    Generally the brass will shrink back from the expander mandrel by .002"...if you expand .001" over the cast sizing it will give you .001" of case retention/squeeze on the cast without trying to resize it. Then you add an appropriate firm crimp for good start pressure and/or to prevent magnum setback in the cylinder or in an auto to keep the round from changing OAL as it goes into battery from the magazine...then your good to go.

    It's always best to load a few dummy rounds and take them apart after 24 hours to measure the cast to determine just how much to size over the cast size...brass varies.

    This is about as simple, universal and easy as it gets if you are looking for some degree of precision.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    LEE all the way. I have TWO, one for each side of the room, LOL.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OS OK View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2904.jpg 
Views:	33 
Size:	54.7 KB 
ID:	207337

    This is the Lee Expander die and the two expanders that come with it are in the top left two compartments.
    All the rest of the expanders are from NOE.
    So...I made a kit out of it, I expect to add more expanders in the future.

    When you go to the trouble of discovering what size cast you need to use in your weapon and then stuff it into a case that was expanded for a jacketed round it just swages that cast to some extent and all the work you have done thus far is negated.

    Generally the brass will shrink back from the expander mandrel by .002"...if you expand .001" over the cast sizing it will give you .001" of case retention/squeeze on the cast without trying to resize it. Then you add an appropriate firm crimp for good start pressure and/or to prevent magnum setback in the cylinder or in an auto to keep the round from changing OAL as it goes into battery from the magazine...then your good to go.

    It's always best to load a few dummy rounds and take them apart after 24 hours to measure the cast to determine just how much to size over the cast size...brass varies.

    This is about as simple, universal and easy as it gets if you are looking for some degree of precision.
    You said the crucial words there about the cast bullet (especially soft non-gaschecked flatbase) getting swaged by the tight neck or the very sharp angled inner ledge left by the Lyman M die. If you are after the most accuracy you can get flaring is the best way to go.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    "the die seems to expand the entire case neck too much. There isn't much case neck tension left after seating the boolit".

    You don't really want a lot of tension on a cast bullet because it will swage them down many times. When that happens everything you've done for a perfect "fit" is lost. If you can't turn the bullet in the case after seating with your fingers it is probably tight enough. My guess is the sizer is over sizing the cases you have and it only appears the expander is expanding them too much.
    Larry Gibson

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    When you have a case with a short neck like the 300 Savage and the 7.65 Argentine for two examples, the Lyman M dies leaves a good portion of the mouth larger then the bullet (that you then have to size back or crimp) and bottom with the ledge I speak of not leaving much "real" tension on the bullet. That is critical depending on what type of cast bullet you are using where lube grooves may be inside the neck somewhere. Those have no tension what so ever.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    I load all my handgun on a 550 or 650. So I had a machinist friend regrind the Dillon Powder thru to an 'M' profile. Bullets seat perfectly straight.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vzerone View Post
    When you have a case with a short neck like the 300 Savage and the 7.65 Argentine for two examples, the Lyman M dies leaves a good portion of the mouth larger then the bullet (that you then have to size back or crimp) and bottom with the ledge I speak of not leaving much "real" tension on the bullet. That is critical depending on what type of cast bullet you are using where lube grooves may be inside the neck somewhere. Those have no tension what so ever.
    You can adjust the die so you don't hit the second step. When loading boat tail jacketed bullets you don't need to flair the mouth at all. Adjustment of the die is key. What makes the NOE inserts so. Ice is that they come in different diameters so you can find tune bullet tension. Before I bought them I used a M did to load cast in 300 Savage w/ no issues.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I use M die to load cast in 7.65 Arg with no issues, I am a fan of the Lyman M dies.
    Hell, I was there!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swheeler View Post
    I use M die to load cast in 7.65 Arg with no issues, I am a fan of the Lyman M dies.
    LOL swheeler, but are you getting the accuracy that the taper die guys are????

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    LOL?? Better I hope
    Hell, I was there!

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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