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Thread: Larger Press for Resizing Boolits?

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy

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    Hi, this won’t fix your problem. But when sizing the PC bullets, they make a lube:

    https://hi-performancebulletcoatings...0-concentrate/

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA sez: OWS Rock Crusher (or modern CH4D version!)
    CORBIN Largest Hand Press (CSP-2) verk Just Fine.

  3. #23
    Boolit Mold
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    I had a similar problem with a Lee .430 sizing kit. When sizing non gas checked bullets, the only lube I needed was a light fogging of WD40 or liquid Alox. When sizing gas checked bullets, the bullets were sticking in the sizing die to the point of seizing. I found that a heavier lubricant was required. I now use STP oil treatment and the gas checked bullets push through the sizing die easily. Are you sizing gas checked bullets?

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    I have to ask, “How much are you sizing these bullets?” If you are “sizing” them more than 2-3 thousandths, you are swaging, not sizing. You also will have to consider smearing your grease rings closed too. Just a thought.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    Get some HITEK Aqualube sizing lube.
    reduces the effort by 50% or more.
    Hooroo.
    Regards, Trevor.
    Australia

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy gumbo333's Avatar
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    I have one of the first "black" Lyman orange crushers from many years ago. I have never tried sizing boolits with it but it would take a very big gorilla to break this press. And to the guys who have tried depriving or resizing their thumbs, if they are standing up, I sure hope they keep their zippers up, lube or no lube!
    Never trade luck for skill.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master 358429's Avatar
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    Haha gumbo333 I almost spit soup when I read that



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  8. #28
    Boolit Master


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    Heck, I'm using one of those tiny Lee bench presses. Spritz a little "Pam" on the bullets and roll back and forth in an old hand towel.
    I HATE auto-correct


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  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
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    "the mixed alloy is 8.19% Tin, 7.24% Antimony, 0.47% Copper, 84.1% Lead"

    Just a thought, but you could cut that alloy 50/50 with pure lead and it would still be harder than COWW. More than 4% tin in a bullet alloy is just a waste of tin. Think about it: if the ratios were 4.1% tin, 3.6% antimony, 0.23% copper, and 92% lead you'd have a better pistol alloy that's easier to size, and would still be heat treatable. I think the main problem the OP's having isn't his press or sizing dies, I think he's using an alloy that's too hard. Get some pure lead and use the alloy that you already have to sweeten the alloy. Then if you need a higher BHN quench the boolits. This is a win/win because it will give you a broader range of hardness to work with, while at the same time doubling the amount of alloy that you have on hand.

    1. Try this in a small batch to see if it works well before committing your whole stash.
    2. Try to size & add gas checks on heat-treated boolits soon after doing the casting - don't wait weeks, then try to size, because the boolits will age harden.
    3. If you need to lube boolits for sizing in a push through sizer, I've found that putting a small amount of dish washing liquid on a folded paper towel and using this as a lube pad works really well - and after sizing the "lube" washes right off with water.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    I've never understood the need of a massive press to size cast bullets of any alloy.

    I started casting in '65 using a Lyman 45 lub/sizer with straight lynotype metal; that stuff is HARD! NO ONE would rightly claim that the ol' 45 was a heavy duty device but I've never had a problem sizing anything from .243" to .458" in it.

    I can't see how a steel bullet sizing die in any common reloading press and with any boolit of lead based alloy could be very difficult. I do like the idea of a spritz of WD-40 before pushing the lever down, but what's going to break?

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Agreed! I use a 2A for stout projects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    For such chores, I used a 1960 all steel RCBS A2. It is only slightly larger than a Rockchucker but a bunch stronger. It was designed for jacketed bullet swaging. Out of print and expensive on the used market, but well worth the price.
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  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy Sig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daekar View Post
    That's a good question. They are cast out of scrap I've gotten from a scrap yard and analyzed with an XRF gun, so I know approximately the composition. According to my spreadsheet, the mixed alloy is 8.19% Tin, 7.24% Antimony, 0.47% Copper, 84.1% Lead, for an estimated hardness of 17.6. I would prefer them to be softer, but that's what I've got to work with.

    :
    Are you water quenching these? If so they are probably harder than your 17.6 brinel estimate.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    I suspect the die. On my Rockchucker I regularly size .358 jacketed bullets down to .355 and .323 jacketed bullets down to .318 without difficulty
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  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by labradigger1 View Post
    Agreed! I use a 2A for stout projects.
    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    For such chores, I used a 1960 all steel RCBS A2. It is only slightly larger than a Rockchucker but a bunch stronger. It was designed for jacketed bullet swaging. Out of print and expensive on the used market, but well worth the price.
    I surely do wish my A2 would accommodate the Lee push through studs. That tiny lip shown in the first pic is all that supports the the base of the stud once it is slid in place and allows the stud to wobble fore and aft, even though it is a tight fit sliding it in. I am trying to come up with a better ram extension and have also ordered one of the Hornady Universal Shellholder Extensions.

    edit: if you click on the photos they will be upright vs sideways.
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    Last edited by oley55; 09-12-2021 at 12:21 PM.
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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 405grain View Post
    "the mixed alloy is 8.19% Tin, 7.24% Antimony, 0.47% Copper, 84.1% Lead"

    Just a thought, but you could cut that alloy 50/50 with pure lead and it would still be harder than COWW. More than 4% tin in a bullet alloy is just a waste of tin. Think about it: if the ratios were 4.1% tin, 3.6% antimony, 0.23% copper, and 92% lead you'd have a better pistol alloy that's easier to size, and would still be heat treatable. I think the main problem the OP's having isn't his press or sizing dies, I think he's using an alloy that's too hard. Get some pure lead and use the alloy that you already have to sweeten the alloy. Then if you need a higher BHN quench the boolits. This is a win/win because it will give you a broader range of hardness to work with, while at the same time doubling the amount of alloy that you have on hand.

    1. Try this in a small batch to see if it works well before committing your whole stash.
    2. Try to size & add gas checks on heat-treated boolits soon after doing the casting - don't wait weeks, then try to size, because the boolits will age harden.
    3. If you need to lube boolits for sizing in a push through sizer, I've found that putting a small amount of dish washing liquid on a folded paper towel and using this as a lube pad works really well - and after sizing the "lube" washes right off with water.
    That is something I have been considering for a while, but believe it or not that alloy IS cut with pure lead by 50%... if I had more pure lead, I would cut it more! Half of the scrap I got was around 15% Sb and Sn each, and the price was cheap for everything in aggregate. I've got another order in for scrap lead which will probably be collected in a few weeks, and we'll see what the next delivery looks like on the XRF gun. I hate the idea of buying pure lead for more than I'm buying the other stuff, but maybe that's something I need to resign myself to.

    No gas checks on any of my boolits, I haven't found them necessary since I'm PCing. Maybe in the future I'll buy a GC mold for a rifle cartridge I want to push on, but it's not in the cards right now.

    I am totally stealing your idea to use dish soap, that's great! As long as they are washed thoroughly afterwards, I can't imagine it would inhibit PC coating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig View Post
    Are you water quenching these? If so they are probably harder than your 17.6 brinel estimate.
    I am not heat-treating or water-dropping these because the Sn/Sb is so high... I made the assumption that with such an alloy that kind of treatment would be counter-productive!
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  16. #36
    Oley55, I made some studs for sizing in the press, I put a threaded step just above the top of the ram that squares the stud and holds it securely with a nut screwed on top.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ground Floor View Post
    Oley55, I made some studs for sizing in the press, I put a threaded step just above the top of the ram that squares the stud and holds it securely with a nut screwed on top.
    my tooling equipment consists of a 40+ year old Taiwan drill press so I have limitations. I bought a ram for a Lee hand press. It does not have the primer seater slot down the front. I managed to cut it to length and drill the ram removal hole squarely, so I’ll be working on the tapered retention pin hole tomorrow. Hoping to have a reasonably stout ram for routine heavier work by this time tomorrow. I don’t expect it to be strong enough for most bullet swaging however.

    edit: gotter done. My cross drilling and tapered ream job wasn't perfect, but it is tight with no vertical slop. The Lee hand press ram is .0015" skinnier than the original RCBS, so I used a spring loaded center punch in a few evenly space locations to tighten it up and I am more than satisfied.
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    Last edited by oley55; 09-13-2021 at 11:36 PM.
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  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    I have never had a problem sizing boolits. But the hardest alloy I use is Lyman #2 on gas checked .30 cal boolits. My revolver boolits are 10 - 12 bhn and run through my lubri sizer easily. I just batched up 80# of ingots that are 2% tin, 1% antimony and 97% lead for a bhn of 10. I have a couple hundred pounds of wheel weight ingots that I can add to pot batches to up the hardness for hotter loads. I am also only sizing down a couple thousandths at most.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master

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    In my dim past, I've read that an alloy in which Sn % exceeds Sb % causes problems. I don't remember what the problems were so maybe discount this info. Probably doesn't affect sizing.
    John
    W.TN

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by alamogunr View Post
    In my dim past, I've read that an alloy in which Sn % exceeds Sb % causes problems. I don't remember what the problems were so maybe discount this info. Probably doesn't affect sizing.
    That information isn't necessarily wrong, but it's not the whole picture. Ideally, your Sn:Sb ratio would be 1:1 because they form a sort of sub-alloy within your melt which helps them both remain soluble in the lead and moderates some of the undesirable characteristics of Sb in particular. I think that's it, anyway, there is a sticky here with some great metallurgical information which lays it out far better than I could.

    FWIW, I would rather have too much tin than antimony... it's not nearly as brittle.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

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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