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Thread: Which NOE expander plug help

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Which NOE expander plug help

    Looking to get a NOE expander plug for the LEE universal expander die. This will be used on 9mm cases for .357 and .358 TC 9mm powder coated or Hitek bullet. I have read many posts here on all the choices but still a little unsure. NOE seems to not make a few that were used in the past including the powder thru type and the size .360 x 356. Below are the sizes I am considering trying.
    358 x 354 (P) Exp
    .359 x 355 (P) Exp Auto Pistol
    .361 x 357 Exp
    .362 x 358 Exp
    The last two are considered rifle plugs but is there any reason they won’t work? Length etc. My alloy is a little on the soft side so want to size the plug on the larger end so not to get any swaging. Sort of leaning towards .361 x 357.

    Looking for recommendations Thx

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have All the noe expanders from exp .357 x .353 auto pistole to the .360x 356The largest I use is the .360x356 in my 38 wad cutter loads. For the 9 mm and cast I use noe .exp .358x .354 auto pistole and the next biggest size .359x.355


    they work great for cast. Check your sizes out On noe site. There different from the last time I ordered a month or two ago.
    Only reason I bought all the expanders sizes was I also have 38 special to load also but for the 9 mm you really only need the two sizes.the auto pistole .358x .354and the .359x.355
    Last edited by Jniedbalski; 11-24-2019 at 12:02 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Get the pistole ones the rifle ones are to long

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    If I am not mistaken , if the plugs are not shown on the NOE site, it means that they are out of them for the time being. I would suggest that you call them & ask if that is the case.

    Same with the "powder thru" ones. They may need to be "special ordered" by phone or email.

    Or., you could find someone to drill the the solid ones out to make them "powder thru" & clean up the rough edges, or DIY if ya like.

    G'Luck!


    ETA: P.S. - Just in case you were not aware.... The larger number is the "flare" or "step" size & the smaller number is the expander size that goes into the case. IIRC, you want the 2nd number to be at least .001" larger in diameter for the boolit you are going to use. That way the case gets expanded a little larger , then the brass "springs back" that .001"for tension on the boolit/bullet, but not enough to swage it smaller in diameter.

    I.E. - a 360x356 NOE Exp. Plug has a "step" to flare the case of .360, and the .356 plug that enters the case is for a .355 boolit diameter. Somewhere on the NOE site, IIRC, is the explanation that is likely better than how I just tried to describe it. If I find it, I will share it here.

    Here it is & it is in the description for each plug I looked at:
    Use a expander that is .001" over your bullet size for best fit.
    Last edited by JBinMN; 11-24-2019 at 12:45 AM.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Here is a quote from AL, the owner of NOE which explains the numbers, for any who might want to know:

    Starting with a sized case, neck or full length it doesn't matter.
    And using a bullets sized .356 and a .357 x .353 Expander plug
    the .353" end will enter the case first then the .357" step.
    This will give you a neck with .003" tension and a "shelf" with .001
    clearance to start the bullet in.
    Seat your bullet to the COL that you want.

    If .003 is to much tension for you change to a .358 x .354 Plug and get .002".
    It is a simple system and has worked for me quite well.
    Source: https://noebulletmolds.com/smf/index....html#msg22824 Post # 7
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    ~~ WWG1WGA ~~

    Restore the Republic!!!

    For the Fudds > "Those who appease a tiger, do so in the hope that the tiger will eat them last." -Winston Churchill.

    President Reagan tells it like it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6MwPgPK7WQ

    Phil Robertson explains the Wall: https://youtu.be/f9d1Wof7S4o

  6. #6
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    358 x 354 (P) Exp -- 358 = the flare size for the mouth of the case 354 is the expansion size for the neck of the case.

    when I load .3565 boolits I use the 360 x 356 plug the case usually springs back .001 below the plug size.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    For my .357 bullet it sounds like I may want the 360 x 356 so will have to see if I can still get get. Was that one a pistol plug? For a .358 bullet maybe one of the .361 x .357?
    Is it still possible to use the rifle plugs if you bell the case separately or shorten with a grinder? Is it that you loose the second step?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    You ask...
    For my .357 bullet it sounds like I may want the 360 x 356 so will have to see if I can still get get. Was that one a pistol plug?
    The 360x356(P) is a (P)/Pistol plug. If you use that plug for a .357 projectile, the tension should be about 0.001" tension on that projectile after using that expander plug.

    ( Note - the more tension you put on the projectile, the more it can "squeeze" the projectile. If you are using "soft" cast boolits, it can swage the boolit down if the case has too much tension & cause issues.
    ( Like leading from the chamber down the barrel, as well as, if using a plated or jacketed bullet, the possibility of "setback" with a harder projectile like plated or jacketed bullets is more likely with insufficient tension.
    If you are using a jacketed or even perhaps a plated bullet, then you can increase tension to up to .002" - .003" because there is less chance of swaging down the diameter of a harder bullet & it will also help prevent "set back".)

    You ask...
    For a .358 bullet maybe one of the .361 x .357?
    It will depend on what you want for tension after the "spring back" of the cartridge to what ever size bullet/boolit you are using. I prefer to have .001" - .002" spring back with a minimum of .001" for my cast boolits to prevent swaging them smaller by having too much tension. Others may prefer more tension. You want to have some tension to help prevent bullet/boolit "push back", which is allowing the projectile to push deeper into the case from recoil in both revolvers & pistols & from the actions of the projectile as it goes from magazine to chamber in pistols. If the projectile gets pushed back( or, "set back"), it can & likely will cause over pressure situations since the OAL has been shortened & a smaller space is inside the case when the cartridge is fired that will make for more pressure inside the case & that could cause some bad issues like "unintended catastrophic disassembly" for not only the firearm, but affecting the shooter & perhaps anyone close by.

    (Note - Pushing the nose of the projectile against something hard like the edge of your reloading bench/table then measuring it to check OAL will help ID any problems that might happen by projectile setback. This check is wise to do to try to prevent issues. If the projectile does move into the case further & is indicated by COL measurement, you need to investigate & re- evaluate just what ya want to do. Changing the "neck"/case mouth tension is one of those things to change to help prevent that "setback". Even just a little bit of "set back" can cause over pressure & particularly in smaller cases like the 9mm, .380 & smaller.)

    Next up...
    Is it still possible to use the rifle plugs if you bell the case separately or shorten with a grinder? Is it that you loose the second step?
    If I am not mistaken, most of the rifle plugs are longer with the expander part & would likely go too deep if you did not get the right setting on it & in most cartridge cases now a days, there is a bit of a taper to the inside of the case as it gets thicker towards the rim end. So, if you used a rifle one instead of the pistol one, you may be bulging or overworking the brass, perhaps causing issues later on. Yes, you would have to add in an extra step as well to put a flare/bell on the mouth then.

    The saying I would use for this is, "Don't step over a dollar to pick up a dime". Meaning, i would not suggest trying to save $ by getting rifle ones only & then have to add the second step of a flare if you are trying to save $$ by not having separate pistol & rifle plugs. They are fairly inexpensive & having the right ones keeps someone from having to add the extra flaring step which usually means adding a die to do that or having a separate press to do it, adding time to the reloading.

    Up to you though, it is your time & $$.


    And yes, you would lose the step because the rifle plug would be trying to go too deep into the pistol case & bulge the case if you did try it. Like said, making the added step to flare either before or after the use of the expander plug.

    G'Luck!


    P.S. - If you or anyone else already knows some of the above. Then , no worries, just move on. Perhaps there is someone who reads it & Doesn't know that stuff & it might help "them" out..
    Last edited by JBinMN; 11-24-2019 at 11:58 AM.
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    ~~ WWG1WGA ~~

    Restore the Republic!!!

    For the Fudds > "Those who appease a tiger, do so in the hope that the tiger will eat them last." -Winston Churchill.

    President Reagan tells it like it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6MwPgPK7WQ

    Phil Robertson explains the Wall: https://youtu.be/f9d1Wof7S4o

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    JBinMin, That all makes sense. The 360 x 356 sounds like the one I would like to try. Hope I can still get. My lead may tend to be on the soft side and just want to stay away from to much tension for a .357 bullet. If I can't get that then to plan B. 359 x 355 or Lyman m die

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by munch View Post
    JBinMin, That all makes sense. The 360 x 356 sounds like the one I would like to try. Hope I can still get. My lead may tend to be on the soft side and just want to stay away from to much tension for a .357 bullet. If I can't get that then to plan B. 359 x 355 or Lyman m die
    Like was mentioned before, I would recommend giving them a call.


    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    ~~ WWG1WGA ~~

    Restore the Republic!!!

    For the Fudds > "Those who appease a tiger, do so in the hope that the tiger will eat them last." -Winston Churchill.

    President Reagan tells it like it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6MwPgPK7WQ

    Phil Robertson explains the Wall: https://youtu.be/f9d1Wof7S4o

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy 44magLeo's Avatar
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    If your bullets are a bit soft, when you fire the gun the pressure from the burning charge will tend to shorten and widen the bullet. This will help seal the bullet to the bore.
    With a harder bullet this wont happen to the same amount. Harder bullets need to be bigger to start with.
    You may need to harden up your bullets. Mixing a harder alloy or tempering the ones you have,
    If your bullets are straight wheel weights they should work well. They can be hardened by dropping them from the mold into cold water.
    I have shot water dropped bullets in my 44 Mags to max loads with great accuracy and no leading.
    Leo

  12. #12
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    I use .002 neck tension and also put a small flare on the case when loading powder coated bullets. I'm a big fan of the Noe expanders but they do leave somewhat of a sharp edge on the case mouth. Just a kiss with the Lee case expander tooling rolls the mouth out to prevent scraping the powder coat. Gp

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by munch View Post
    JBinMin, That all makes sense. The 360 x 356 sounds like the one I would like to try. Hope I can still get. My lead may tend to be on the soft side and just want to stay away from to much tension for a .357 bullet. If I can't get that then to plan B. 359 x 355 or Lyman m die
    I've been actively casting 9mm for nearly four years now, and completely agree with all of the great information JBinMin has given.

    In one of my presses (where I have the extra station to use it), I use the NOE .360/.356 expander, and then I swap a Lee .38 S&W (NOT 38 Special/357 Mag) powder-through-expander die in and out of my other presses when I use them for 9mm.

    Honestly, I wish Al at NOE would make a .360/.357 pistol expander, as I still get pretty bad case swaging of my boolits in 9mm. I load a .358 diameter boolit, and when I pull them, I get .357. In fact, this loss of diameter is why I *do* use a .358... technically, a .357 boolit would work great in my barrels, but since I lose at least a thou in diameter due to case swaging, I have to go to an even bigger diameter boolit to account for it. Not to mention that the neck tension I get is rather extreme... I can't use a kinetic bullet puller to "pull" my 9mm boolits; they are gripped by the case so hard that they just simply will *not* budge. I have to load dummy rounds, then use a dremel with a cut off wheel to cut down the sides of the case to remove a boolit to measure the diameter. Collet pullers won't work, either, as they just simply cut into and smear the lead.

    One thing that really helps with the brass swaging your boolit diameter down is boolit hardness. If you're getting too much case swaging, try increasing your alloy hardness. I run ~16 BHN, and get about a thou's worth of swaging. At 14 BHN, it'll vary by brass head stamp, but I do see up to two thou worth of swaging. Going up to 18 BHN, I stopped having noticeable swaging, but started getting leading.

    If you don't have a spare station available on your press that you can dedicate to case expanding, then the Lee 38 S&W (again, NOT 38 Special/357 Magnum) powder-through-expander is a viable option over the non-powder-through NOE expander.
    Last edited by Phlier; 11-24-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I also use the lee case expander with the noe expander plug at times. The biggest 38 expander I found on his site was the .360x.356 I use it For my soft bullets in 38 special sized to .359 for wadcutter brass.i mostly use for my 9mm pistoles a star BM and a 9mm Bretta 92 fs bullets sized to .358 my high point doesn’t like them that big so I size them to .357. That’s what fits and shoots good out of my nines. All I use is the noe sizing die at .358x.354 and .359x.355 first I thought I might need the bigger sizer I tried it and not enuf tension. Believe it or not they didint size my bullets down with .003 tension. But I do use the bigger ones for my 38 special. I will go home tonight abd measure my expander plugs. Iam going on memery on there sizes but if I remember correctly I had problems using the .360x.356 on 9 mm brass.
    Last edited by Jniedbalski; 11-24-2019 at 03:33 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    Good Stuff!!, I have Hornady LnL and I have the extra station so will probably go with something there instead of powder thru for now. I size and deprime on single stage press.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I just looked at my noe expanders. The biggest one I have for 9mm ,38 is .360x .356. The problem I had with some brass with this expander is it bulged the thick wall cases . Only certain brands and only the thick ones. I had to put the loaded cases in my lee fcd to get them to chamber.
    The next two sizes down worked fine. I thought I needed the bigger one also but the other two sizes worked fine.
    Last edited by Jniedbalski; 11-24-2019 at 11:18 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    For the cost of the noe expanders, I usually buy 2 or 3 that I think I might need. The shipping is more than the expanders. That way you can experiment. I like .002 neck tension.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    Talked to Al at NOE. Like everyone else has commented " What a nice guy! " Like was stated before the 360 x 356 just wasn't listed on the web site since they were out. He changed the status so it shows in stock now and they will be making a new batch in a few days. I ordered that and a few smaller sizes to try out. Anxious to give them a try. Sure appreciate all the comments and help but I would not have expected any less from such a great forum and reloading community. My wife and I only got into this hobby 2 years ago and I have been blown away with the service of manufacturers to the kindness and help from the shooting community. Don't you wish most of the other businesses we deal with on a day to day business would conduct themselves like that. Our Second Ammendment is very much alive and worth fighting for.

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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