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Thread: Modifying (ie. increasing the diameter) a Lee Bullet Sizer die-anyone have experience

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Modifying (ie. increasing the diameter) a Lee Bullet Sizer die-anyone have experience

    Greetings All,

    Does anyone have experience in modifying one of the Lee Push Through Sizing dies to increase the diameter? I am looking at making a sizer for my 470 Nitro Express cast bullets that will be powder coated. I need to size them to 0.476 and was thinking I could use the Lee 0.452 sizer to enlarge the opening. I suspect the best way would be with a lathe but perhaps it could be opened from 0.452 to 0.476 or 0.024" with an appropriately sized mandrel and fine sandpaper or valve grinding compound on a drill press. I think the "push stem" might still work as supplied with the sizing kit but not sure until I try it.

    Anyone have any thoughts on customizing one of these dies.
    Thanks for any insight.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    frkelly74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    that is quite a bit of a change. i got a .243 enlarged to .268 by using a carbide drill bit and polishing the hole with emery cloth on a stick.. it was crude but it worked. i could not get any of my steel bits to cut the die but the solid carbide bit cut it pretty fast. probably cheaper and easier to get one made. There are some on here who can make a die I think .
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    That is a lot to remove with a mandrel and paper and still maintain roundness and center line. you are talking .012 on a side which will remove most of the sizing band lead in taper and relief on the back side. the added .012 in a side may allow fins and other issues with the original stem.

    I think this will be more work than making a new one will be. If you have access to a lathe.

    A 2"-4" allen head cap screw 7/8 14 makes a good start and saves hardening and threading.

    cut to length and drill to 7/16 thru. use a small boring bar for cutting internal threads. preferably cemented carbide.

    bore thru to .470, this leaves .002 to polish.

    bore lead in to .472 .473 3/8" deep

    cut the lead in angle around 5-10* leaving at least 1/8" straight section

    Move in to leave 1/4" band and bore relief out .475-.480 This way when the next bullet pushes it thru there is no force on the nose.

    Polish with a piece of flannel on a turned wood dowel to size and finish with diamond compound, this will finish and break sharp edges.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Mid atlantic area
    I bought a .476” lee sizer on ebay. I use it for my 480 ruger bullets. I don’t know if it was custom made, or they offered that size at one time. Have you tried to call lee? It might be worth a shot.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Cecilia, Kentucky
    If you have no other means then go for it. Chuck the die in your drill press via a mandril in the top end , and use sandpaper on a dowel while the die spins. This will keep it round and centered. Make the mandril from a bolt. Find one that will just barely not fit, cut the head off and use that end to tap in the die about half an inch. Spin it in the drill press and sand it with a taper until it's a snug slip fit beginning into the die. Remove it from the drill press and give it a whack with a wooden mallet to seat it in the top of die. Spin the die and do what's needed. When it's time to remove the mandril to check the bullet fit, invert it, support on both sides and use a brass rod to loosen the mandril. Be easiest if you have a sample of something a bit undersized to test with before you work up to final size so you don't have to remove it a dozen times.

    Where there's a will, there's a way.

  6. #6

    Minerat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Jefferson County, CO
    Check out the NOE, push thru's, there are 12 .476's in stock.


    Good luck.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Keep your eyes open for a .476" carbide hand reamer on eBay. I have found a lot of deals on reamers ...even carbide for cheap.

  8. #8
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    DougGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    just above Raleigh North Carolina
    .476" reamer won't work. Lee dies are sized about .0005" under the diameter they are marked, to allow for springback.

    Taking .024" out of it will definitely cut through the case hardened layer and you will be into relatively soft steel at that point.

    I use a Sunnen precision automotive hone to resize dies, but that one would need to go in the lathe and the time it would take to carefully hone that in the lathe and keep checking it, keeping it round, parallel to center, you could buy two Lee dies for the time in the machine shop.

    You would be a lot better off buying one, either a Lee or a NOE.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM-> http://castboolits.gunloads.com/priv...=newpm&u=29606 Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    NE Oklahoma
    Why not have Lee make the exact size you want?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Thank you everyone for the feedback, suggestions, and ideas. I followed up with Lee and their entire custom shop department is on hold due to a huge backlog of orders from the standard equipment. No custom sizing dies or factory crimp dies for the near future.

    I was not aware of the NOE solutions but those look like my best choice. Some upfront expense but I'm sure the quality of their dies is excellent. That is probably the solution I will go with rather than attempting to modify a Lee.

    I also did learn that the sizing dies are hardened so cutting that much material would remove the hardened section and accelerate wear as DougGuy suggests. I was willing to attempt the modification since they are relatively cheap but probably better to just buy the NOE dies.

    Great forum and Web site with a wealth of experience. Thank you all for the help.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    If you must open an existing sizer, use the closest die to the size you need, in your case at least .458 or larger. I have made a .377 from a .357 and it was lap and slug often. Regards Stephen

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