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Thread: Lyman M Die Measurements Needed

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    NVcurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Lyman M Die Measurements Needed

    I expand my rifle cast boolit cases with RCBS expander dies. They have been very satisfactory. RCBS expanders go from the equivalent of Lyman's long step into a funnel-shaped expander. So that I can make a comparison between the RCBS expanders and Lyman two-step M dies could somebody post the diameters of both steps of Lyman M dies in the following caibers: 7mm, .30, .32/8mm, and .35? TIA
    Eagles have talons, buzzards don't. The Second Amendment empowers us to be eagles. curmudgeon

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    NVcurmudgeon, I've found this table somewhere:
    (The proper formatting seems to "get lost". PM me with your addy for a Word doc)

    begin*********************************************

    M" Die dimensions from Lyman

    Diameters +.0000
    -.0005

    Rifle Plugs..First Step/Second Step..Bullet sizes

    22R .222 / .225 .222-.226
    24R .242 / .246 .243-.244
    25R .255 / .259 .256-.257
    26R .262 / .266 .263-.265
    27R .276 / .280 .277-.279
    28R .282 / .286 .283-.285
    30R .307 / .311 .308-.310
    31R .310 / .314 .311-.313
    31AR .318 / .322 .319-.321
    32R .320 / .324 .321-.323
    33R .337 / .341 .338-.340
    35R .357 / .361 .358-.360
    37R .374 / .378 .375-.377
    45R .455 / .459 .456-.458

    Pistol Plugs

    25AP .249 / .253 .251
    30P .307 / .311 .308-.310
    32AP .310 / .314 .311-.313
    32P .313 / .317 .314-.316
    38AP .353 / .357 .354-.356
    38P .356 / .360 .357-.359
    10mm .398 / .402 .399-.401
    41MP .408 / .412 .409-.411
    44MP .427 / .431 .428-.430
    45AP .450 / .454 .451-.453
    45P .453 / .457 .454-.456

    "M1" and "M2" Expander Bodies

    Rifle Caliber Use with

    M1 M2

    17 Rem X
    22 Hornet X
    22-250 Rem X
    .220 Swift X
    .222 Rem X
    .222 Rem Mag X
    .223 Rem X
    .243 Win X
    6mm Rem X
    .25-20 X
    .25-06 X
    .250 Sav X
    257 Roberts X
    6.5 x 55 X
    .270 Win X
    7mm-08 X
    7-30 Waters X
    7mm Rem Mag X
    7mm Weath. Mag X
    7mm x 57 X
    280 Rem X
    30 MI X
    30-30 Win X
    300 Sav X
    308 Win X
    30-06 X
    300 Win Mag X
    300 Weath Mag X
    7.62 x 39 X
    .32-20 X
    303 Brit X
    32 Win Spc X
    8mm x 57 X
    8mm Rem Mag X
    338 Win Mag X
    35 Rem X
    358 Win X
    35 Whelen X
    375 H & H X
    38-55 X
    444 Marlin X
    45-70 X


    How are these dimensions related to the 'steps' above?

    The main shaft of the expander portion is the "First Step". It
    is typically a few thousandths smaller than bullet diameter, as
    are conventional expander buttons.

    The "Second Step" puts a small step of increased radius in the
    case mouth about 1/16th inch deep (adjustable). This step is a
    few thousandths over bullet diameter to aid effortless starting.

    What are expander bodies?

    The die bodies that hold the expander plugs; directly analogous
    with conventional expander dies.

    See the Lyman catalog for a picture which is worth a thousand
    words.

    How much expansion or bell does the M plug put on the case mouth?

    Ideally, for lead bullets, the first step would be about .002"
    under bullet diameter. For jacketed bullets, the first step
    should be .003-.004" under bullet diameter. In either instance,
    the second step will be 2, 3, or 4 thousandths over bullet
    diameter.

    Usually the best lead bullet diameter is about .0005" less than
    the chamber's measured throat. Most of my .30 caliber rifles
    shoot .310" or .311" cast bullets best. I keep several plugs on
    hand and have a machinist friend turn them to my specs if I think
    it will help.

    It is also highly desirable, on a two diameter rifle bullet, for
    the nose of the bullet to be of bore riding diameter. To check
    this for a given bullet, push the bullet nose first into the
    rifle's muzzle. If it goes in without resistance, the bullet
    nose is too small and good accuracy is not as likely.

    Does the seating die crimp out the bell or do you just leave
    the cases expanded?

    Your choice. For my lever actions I sometimes crimp. For bolt
    actions, I do not.

    *********************************************end
    Last edited by utk; 01-09-2006 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Formatting problems

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    utk, thank you very much for your prompt and comprehensive answer. You have even answered the questions that I didn't know enough to ask! Now to get busy measuring my RCBS expanders and then probably pick up an M die in one caliber for testing. I'm always looking for ways to refine my better loads.
    Eagles have talons, buzzards don't. The Second Amendment empowers us to be eagles. curmudgeon

  4. #4
    Boolit Master versifier's Avatar
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    NVc, I have a .30 M die that I've been using for years and have no complaints with, but I think I'm going to go with the Lee Universal unit the next new caliber I move on to. Most of the reports on them I have read have been favorable.
    Born OK the first time.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVcurmudgeon
    utk, thank you very much for your prompt and comprehensive answer. You have even answered the questions that I didn't know enough to ask! Now to get busy measuring my RCBS expanders and then probably pick up an M die in one caliber for testing. I'm always looking for ways to refine my better loads.


    Glad to have been able to help you!
    How about posting the measurements of your RCBS expanders? I'm kind of interested in those, don't quite like the sharp step in Lyman's M expanders...

    Urban

  6. #6
    Boolit Master MGySgt's Avatar
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    For those that are interested - Lyman also sells special size M die plugs in certain calibers. Can't find them posted any where, but I calledthem awhile ago and bought one for Cast 45 rifle. It expands to .458 vice .455 for larger cast bullets. I was told when I called about it, we created it just for you guys that shoot Cast.

    FWIW

    Drew
    Big Bore = 45+

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I have measured my few RCBS expander die plugs and come up with these measurements:

    Nominal diameter Actual diameter
    .28 .2837
    .310 .3095
    .311 .3105
    .323 .3227
    .358 .3574

    The sizing part of the plug is .500" in length, with the exception of the .28 plug which is .400". The plug then tapers at 45 degrees until it reaches the diameter of the material the plug is made from. The .310, .311, .323, and .358 are made from a .500" piece of steel, and the .28 from .375".

    I looked at the RCBS web site and noticed that they offer only one expander plug in each caliber, and that the nominal diameters are the nominal diameters of jacketed bullets in that caliber. The only exception is .30 caliber, in which caliber RCBS lists .308, .309, .310, and .311 diameter. Looking at the actual difference between the nominal .310 and .311 sizes, I wonder why they bother!

    This has been an interesting study. If RCBS practice on my selection of expanding dies holds true for the rest of the sizes, the only apparent benefit from using them over the normal expander plugs found in their loading dies, is the 45 degree neck flare, which does prevent the case mouth from scraping the cast bullet while seating. Adjust these dies very slowly and carefully lest you produce a funnel-mouthed case that will not enter your seating die, or a full-length split neck.

    If your reason for for using RCBS expander dies is to prevent sizing your cast bullets down in the case necks, you may be spinning your wheels, except in .30 caliber.
    Last edited by NVcurmudgeon; 01-10-2006 at 05:16 PM.
    Eagles have talons, buzzards don't. The Second Amendment empowers us to be eagles. curmudgeon

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Four Fingers of Death's Avatar
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    Can you machine M dies?

    After several decades of reloading, I have ended up with a few M dies spare as i don't use them on pistol reloading (I use Lee powder measures virtually exclusively for charging pistol cases as it saves a step on my Rockchucker).

    I thought of machining some 357 M dies down to suit 303 and 30 cal lead boolit loads, but my mate (with the lathe) won't have a bar of it, reckons they are too hard. Is this the case?
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master MGySgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4fingermick
    I thought of machining some 357 M dies down to suit 303 and 30 cal lead boolit loads, but my mate (with the lathe) won't have a bar of it, reckons they are too hard. Is this the case?
    FWIW
    The die body is real hard - but the expander plug? I don't think it is. Try a draw file on one (that you are willing to sacrifice) and see how hard it is. I will bet that it isn't as hard as we figure it is.

    Drew
    Big Bore = 45+

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Four Fingers of Death's Avatar
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    Thats about what I thought. Funny though the new dimension Hornady ones seemed to be cast as a single piece. They would be hard as, but you couldnt get in to machine hem anyway.
    "I'll help you down the trail and proud to!" Rooster Cogburn.

    "Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let's go! We're burnin' daylight! " - Will Anderson (John Wayne) "The Cowboys."

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    Psycholigist to Sniper; 'What did you feel when you shot the felon Sargeant?'
    Sniper to Psycholigist; 'Recoil Ma'am.'

    From my Irish Ancestors: "You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was."

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I think Hornady's expander plugs are press-fitted into the body, perhaps with the help of Mr Loctite.
    You could probably drill a hole from the top and tap the plug out with a drift punch?
    The die body itself isn't too hard, I've shortened one in the lathe and also turned down the top end to make the threads "grippable" in the chuck.
    However, if the plug is a press-fit, that end is probably tapered so it could be difficult to get a hold on in the chuck anyway.

    Urban

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




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    Arrow

    I've tried the Lyman plugs with carbide cuter in the Lathe and the ones I have are Very Hard.
    God Bless America
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master MGySgt's Avatar
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    Thanks for that info Cherokee - I was thinking of polishing down a 45 Rifle to give more expansion in a 44 mag when I size to .432.

    You just saved me some real frustration!

    Drew
    Big Bore = 45+

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy MattOrgan's Avatar
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    Four Fingers of Death: If your friend has a lathe, just have him make the entire plug. I made one for my .416 Rigby 10 or 12 years ago out of mild steel. I've used it maybe 200 times with perfect success. I always clean the inside of the neck and lubed them slightly. If you want to get fancy use oil or water hardening drill rod. The Lyman parts are harder than woodpecker lips.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Reverend Recoil's Avatar
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    For the 9.3x57, 9.3x62, and 9.3x74R riflemen.

    Lyman 9.3mm M-die: 0.362" / 0.388"

  16. #16
    Boolit Master nanuk's Avatar
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    for my 9.3, I bought a .375 RCBS off ebay...

    gonna try to reduce it using sandpaper in a drill press.

    I had read in the past that the Mdie for the 9.3 was not cast friendly. but I have not found one yet anyway

    I do have some larger ones that I may get some rod lathed down. I was thinking Gr5 bolts with a long shank. I heard they are 9/16. can't remember the thread pitch.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Reverend Recoil's Avatar
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    Both Lyman and RCBS make a neck expanding die for 9.3mm cast bullets. Hornady and Redding may make one as well.

  18. #18
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    Just ordered a Lyman "M" 31L Die for my 7.62 x 54R. Should work O.K. if not I can change the plug. Just started shooting my Mosin with jacketed last week and am gearing up to go cast. Next step . . . a mold from Accurate!!!

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy 40Super's Avatar
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    If anyone wants some expanders I will make you one on my cnc ,can be for any die or caliber.I just need the make of the die and some general demensions ,but can make them to whatever size needed. More than one and I can make them cheaper. PM me with any requests

  20. #20
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    I turned one down with 400 emory on a flat plate and a drill motor, didn't take long for .002.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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