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Thread: Polishing LEE Die Expander Button?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimkim View Post
    It should look like this. EZ expander is a good description for all of mine. Necking brass up has never been as smooth with any other brand.



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    Not like that at all. Very short taper, cylinder about 3/4" long, and then short taper.

  2. #22
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    Time to go to the lee website for a new one

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomme boy View Post
    Are you wet tumbling with pins? I found that the case mouths NEED some kind of lube as the pins get them so clean you are galling the brass as it is sized.
    No, I am converting brand new 338 Win Mag brass to 43 Spanish. I cut off the belt with my lathe, trimmed them to length, then fire formed them. Then tried to use the resizing die with the expander/decapper in place. I am going to anneal them before trying to resize again. But after looking at the expander thought something was really wrong with it.

  4. #24
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    If you anneal and even give a light polish to the expander it should make a big difference .

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    Not like that at all. Very short taper, cylinder about 3/4" long, and then short taper.
    Wow! That sounds like the old one they quit using 20-30 years ago.

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  6. #26
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    Here's a pic.

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  7. #27
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    One part of the problem not mentioned yet I just thought of ( shame on me) is your reformed brass. It may be thicker in the neck than the die is meant to work with. This would mean the die is sizing the case to a smaller inside dia for the expander ball and the brass is stronger there. The expander only sizes up to ( actually a few ten thousandths under its actual size do to spring back ).
    Measure the wall thickness on your formed brass and see what it is Should be .010-.011 thicker could be part if the issue here. You may need to neck ream or turn case necks also

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimkim View Post
    Here's a pic.

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    Thats the one, exactly. Except for dimensions of course.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    One part of the problem not mentioned yet I just thought of ( shame on me) is your reformed brass. It may be thicker in the neck than the die is meant to work with. This would mean the die is sizing the case to a smaller inside dia for the expander ball and the brass is stronger there. The expander only sizes up to ( actually a few ten thousandths under its actual size do to spring back ).
    Measure the wall thickness on your formed brass and see what it is Should be .010-.011 thicker could be part if the issue here. You may need to neck ream or turn case necks also
    I could never get the case far enough into the die past the neck expander ball to actually resize the case.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimkim View Post
    Wow! That sounds like the old one they quit using 20-30 years ago.

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    Well, I bought this die at least 25 years ago after I bought the rifle. After my previous wife and before my current wife.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    I could never get the case far enough into the die past the neck expander ball to actually resize the case.
    This leads me to believe country gent hit on an important fact. If the neck wall is excessively thick, the sizing die would swage the case neck to an ID too small. Did you reload these cases before? Fire them in your gun previously?

    Sorry, but any ideas I can come up with are just speculation (aka W.A.G.). I haven't experienced any case reforming problems and prolly wouldn't recognize a 43 Spanish if I saw one...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  12. #32
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    Your down in where the thicker material starts inn the case and the original 338s body taper is still there making it a lot smaller hole. If you look at an expander made for necking up cases it has a entering taper and a much more gradual secondary taper ( working taper between the starting and dia of the expander. I would recommend setting that expander up in your lathe and cutting a simple 10*-15* secondary taper on it where the 45* meets the dia to ease opening up the case. polish this up nice and try. You will want it running as close to 0 on the dia as possible.

    The sharp shoulder combined with the smaller dia creates a lot of working force needed to open it up a more gradual lead in should reduce this and help to maintain a straight true case.

  13. #33
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    GONRA believes this MAY be another example of "you better get a small screw cutting metal lathe (hasa leadscrew!)" to enjoy yer reloading hobby.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GONRA View Post
    GONRA believes this MAY be another example of "you better get a small screw cutting metal lathe (hasa leadscrew!)" to enjoy yer reloading hobby.
    I have a metal cutting lathe. Thats how I cut the belt off of these 338 Win Mag cases initially. And then I fire-formed them, and trimmed them to length. Then I tried sizing the cases that were already formed to the rifle's chamber and couldn't get the neck expander into the case even before the case got far enough into the die to externally size it. The end of the case is actually part of the original neck of the 338 Win Mag case expanded from 0.338" up to 0.439", so I assumed that the brass in this neck area would be even thinner. And thats what had me baffled when I couldn't push the neck expander into the case.

  15. #35
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    At the beginning of the press stroke it does not have a lot of mechanical advantage and the large blunt angle on the expander does not slip into the case neck very easily.

    Take your old expander and turn off or file off some of the material so it resembles the double taper of the new Lee design. Leave a section of the expander full diameter and polish the turned part. It should easily expand your brass after modification.

    Another way to make it expand the brass easier is just back up the die. Put a case in the ram and raise the ram to the top of the stroke. Then turn down the die until the expander hits the case mouth. Then lower the ram and turn down the die another half inch or so. This puts the press at maximum leverage when the case mouth hits the expander. With this set up the case will either expand or crush or split.
    To insure it expands just turn or file a long taper on the start of your expander and polish. Your case mouths will expand easily with such a set up.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    I have a metal cutting lathe. Thats how I cut the belt off of these 338 Win Mag cases initially. And then I fire-formed them, and trimmed them to length. Then I tried sizing the cases that were already formed to the rifle's chamber and couldn't get the neck expander into the case even before the case got far enough into the die to externally size it. The end of the case is actually part of the original neck of the 338 Win Mag case expanded from 0.338" up to 0.439", so I assumed that the brass in this neck area would be even thinner. And thats what had me baffled when I couldn't push the neck expander into the case.
    EDG

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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