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Thread: Enlarging a Sizing Die

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy hockeynick39's Avatar
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    Enlarging a Sizing Die

    What is the best way to make a sizing die larger by .001" using an electric drill?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bdicki's Avatar
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    Split a dowel or a steel rod and insert emery cloth into split and wrap until you get the right size. You can add small pieces under the original piece to make it larger.

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    Boolit Grand Master

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    I use a dowel but don't split it. I also use a longer dowel longer than most do. I like to use a piece of paper 3-3 1/2" long and wide enough to make snug fit in the die when wound around.

    Here is how I do it.

    Cut an undersized dowel long enough to hold the paper and chuck in the drill, with an inch or so extra
    A piece of 1 1/2" masking tape down the side of the dowel on enter line and 1/2 wrap on the dowel.
    Cut a piece of paper to length and wide enough to make the snug fit, 600 grit to start is good
    Tuck edge under tape and wrap around dowel snug
    With low rpms and high feeds back and forth work it with some light oil on the paper
    Make a 1/2 dozen passes and check size by sizing a bullet.
    Final finish with polish on a piece of flannel or soft cotton cloth. SImichrome, Flitz, nufinish car polish, auto rubbing compounds', toothpaste

    You want to see the lines cross over in a figure 8 pattern. Check often paper can remove stock quicker than a lot think. If you want a slower removal start with 800 grit. For final finish a piece of tracing paper will ork if you don't have the polishes handy

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeynick39 View Post
    What is the best way to make a sizing die larger by .001" using an electric drill?
    I have found lapping to be much easier than "polishing", but I do polish a little after lapping to...well, polish the finish but not increase the size
    I will never accuse anyone of providing TOO MUCH information

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have lapped sizing dies with a true brass lap and it does work but if the die has lube holes and the leades in and out the lap "sharpens" these edges and can be a problem. the sand paper around a dowel followed by the cloth patch will have enough Give to lightly break these edges or round them slightly reducing shaving on the bullet. The brass lapp impregnated with compound is a harder surface and makes sharp corners and edges. For sizing dies with lube holes I have a brass ball on a small stem made up to deburr chamfer the holes when needed

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I'm just wondering how far out of round the sizing dies are when your finished. My solution is simple....sell the die and buy another the correct diameter you are needing. This way you have something that retains its internal hardening and will produce a round bullet. I have an example of someones handy work in the 44 cal sizing die. Sized a few bullets with it and found them to be out of round and threw the sizing die in my junk box and bought a new sizing die.

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    Boolit Master

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    Regards, Woody
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    Boolit Buddy hockeynick39's Avatar
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    Thank you!

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    Boolit Master

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    If you haven't done it already, go slow. It goes pretty fast for a thou or two and it's much easier to take off than to add to! Don't ask how I know!
    Regards, Woody
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If the lapping or a true honing is done correctly it will be as round or better than it was. Lapping with a brass, cast iron or lead lapp and compounds removes the high or tight spots first. Same with fine honing with a well dressed mandrel. The polish method with a dowel wrapped with sand paper isn't quite as accurate but done correctly it does very good. The first two processes are very precise forms of machining.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    my last lee sizer I bought was .4295 by .4305 rotated 90 degrees. I lapped it to .4324 I think it was. I just had a 1/4" steel rod in a drill. duct taped a strip of emery cloth on it and used paper under the emery to build the right size fit. do some lapping, then slightly squish a pure lead bullet top to bottom. confirm size increase, and then push it through the die every so often and mic it. I have 3 micron diamond paste from knife sharpening so I use that on paper to polish after. even my rigged method did a good job fixing roundness and get diameter to within my measuring accuracy.

    all the things you wrap around the rod, if you try to make the length of each piece slightly less than a full circumference or 2 ect. then the whole thing should end up pretty evenly round since it has an even number of layers almost everywhere. advanced redneck science

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    Will this work on Lee Factory Crimp Die. I purchased a few calibers years back, then learned they are resizing to small, I was happy with the crimp, would be nice to be able to use them.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    It can be done first you need to determine if yours have the carbide sizing ring in them as there are slight differences required for carbide and hardened steel. Here I would do a true lapp job on it with a brass mandrel. Reason is the mandrel needs to be shorter so you don't remove damage the crimp ring. DO it in a drill press for the alignment and to ease maintaining squareness.
    Turn up a brass lapp to fit snugly in die but can still be turned, you can drill and tap a small hole in the lapp end tap with a starting tap and split at 2-4 evenly spaced around end then use a set screw in the hole to act as an adjuster.

    With fine diamond compound impregnate the lapp. work back and forth turning by hand and raising the spindle up and down. work slowly and carefully checking progress often.

    A square vise or vee block to hold the die. Die can float for alignment but need to be blocked from spinning.

  14. #14
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    I've always used a split dowel with 1200+ grit sandpaper in a drill and followed it up with a shotgun swab and flitz to polish.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Well guys to me it makes a lot of sense to enlarge a die with a drill and a piece of dowel rod. If your going to do it why not do it correctly and use a lathe? Seen too many out of round holes caused by the back yard dooer in my time. Anyone addressed the fact the die might have been hardened? At least mine are. Common sense still tells me to simply buy two twelve pack less of beer at the grocery store and devote the money to just purchasing a sizing die the correct size.

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    Boolit Master bdicki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    Well guys to me it makes a lot of sense to enlarge a die with a drill and a piece of dowel rod. If your going to do it why not do it correctly and use a lathe? Seen too many out of round holes caused by the back yard dooer in my time. Anyone addressed the fact the die might have been hardened? At least mine are. Common sense still tells me to simply buy two twelve pack less of beer at the grocery store and devote the money to just purchasing a sizing die the correct size.
    Where to buy a Lee .460 die?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Contact lathesmith and see if he can make one.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I'm just wondering how far out of round the sizing dies are when your finished. My solution is simple....sell the die and buy another the correct diameter you are needing. This way you have something that retains its internal hardening and will produce a round bullet. I have an example of someones handy work in the 44 cal sizing die. Sized a few bullets with it and found them to be out of round and threw the sizing die in my junk box and bought a new sizing die.
    Keep the die and buy another of the size you need today... Why...Tomorrow you going need that die you sold..Happens every time . I have dies that size .355 , .356 , .357 , .358 and .359.
    I started out with a .357 but over a 50 years have had to use 4 additional sizes and used them all at one time or another... Keep It .
    Reloaders Rule #1 Never sell anything !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

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