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Thread: Lyman M die vs. Lee universal expander: Seeking comparisons

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Fredericksburg, virginia
    I love the Lee Universal Expander Die BODIES, but not the guts. I make my own neck sizer bushings, seater parts, compression plugs and 2-step expander plugs like this one. I probably have 20 of these Lee dies, each set up for a specific use. TOTW and NOE fill the needs for many, but there are times when making your own is the only option.
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    JAX, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by El Bibliotecario View Post
    As one of the latheless I appreciate the many useful comparisons of the off the shelf dies.
    ^^^what he said. Latheless, I like that.
    “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.” Ronald Reagan

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

    BigAlofPa.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Shamokin/Coal twp Pa.
    I use my lee expander to fix out of round case openings.
    One round at a time.
    Member of the NRA,GOA and FAOC. Gun clubs Zerby rod and gun club. Keystone Fish and Game Association.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

    GregLaROCHE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Southern France by way of Interior Bush Alaska
    NOE makes expanders that fit in the Lee body. They work great and are offered in a number of sizes and not very expensive. You will have to size the case first.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master trapper9260's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    Guys, the Lyman M body die comes in two sizes, long and short. You can use the same expander in both - thus the 30-06 expander can be put in the short body die and used for the carbine or for .30 pistol cases as well.

    Yes, there is no comparasion between the Lyman and the Lee dies - they are two separate ideas accomplished in two separate ways to solve a single problem. Lyman does it much better.
    I was going to post about the 2 size of Lyman , till I seen your post. I had got the long one and I use it for all my 30 cal.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  6. #26
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    I have both and switch back and forth frequently, especially in quarter bore. 25-20 and 25 Krag AI that I'm feeding.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  7. #27
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    apples and oranges

    I have both - over the years, the Lee has been used for certain things but it flairs - not like the M die. I spent a bit of money on M-dies - especially for rifle cartridges - all I shooy is cast. A few months ago, I purchased a good selection on the NOE expanding plugs that work in the Lee Universal Expander die - they work great. IMHO - that is the way to go.

    I'm not being critical of the Lee die - it's nice to have when you need it - for want of a better description - it taper flairs so I kind of compare it to a shoehorn.

  8. #28
    RogerDat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    I buy a Lee Expander and NOE insert for most calibers I load. The consistency I feel on seating die station tells me the difference getting consistent neck tension makes. I would say I see it on target but that would require shall we say facts not in evidence, better ammo don't make me a better shot but I will say the larger mold and sizing die and neck sizing adds up to more consistent accuracy than store bought.

    I have a few turrets set up with "special" dies. Universal decapper AND a Lee Universal expander are two dies on those special turrets. When I remove primers for cleaning and have a mouth that is a little distorted a quick twist of the turret to the expander allows me to bump the mouth and confirm the case can be given a round mouth again. Avoids issues when I'm feeding the brass to a form die later.

    The Lee "expander" prevents lead shaving, nothing more, nothing less. Should provide the least amount of flaring needed to accomplish that. Well maybe it makes it a bit easier to get the bullet positioned upright when seating in addition to preventing lead shaving. I adjust so the die does very little working of the mouth of the case.

    The NOE is providing consistent neck tension matched to the bullet. Makes things more consistent and as others have pointed out avoids squeezing your carefully sized lead projectile down to some default case neck diameter. My first was for 303 British cast at .314 for a reason, wasn't going to be leaving the case mouth at .314 if not for the neck expander because .312 is "normal" bullet the case sizing die is made for.
    Last edited by RogerDat; 10-15-2021 at 07:44 PM.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow so we added an "S".
    Feedback page I do trade a bit from time to time.

  9. #29
    After digesting the above useful information...

    RE the NOE expander plugs and their descriptions: If one is loading .309 bullets, does one order the .309 x .305 plug, or must one
    calculate the clearance factor and order the .310 x .306 plug?
    (I am assuming the second figures (.305; .306 are the length of the actual plug??)

    Am I correct assume all I will need is a Lee Expander (actually flaring) die and the NOE plug of the appropriate size, which will drop into the Lee die and work without needing anything else?

  10. #30
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Switzerland of Ohio
    For .309 cast bullet select .312x308. But that one is out of stock so maybe get .313x309?

    Yes, all you would need is the Lee die and the NOE expander plug.

    The larger number is the upper part of the plug which opens the first few thousandths of the case mouth oversize to guide the bullet as you seat it. Same as the Lyman plug does.
    Last edited by uscra112; Today at 06:33 AM.

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    For .309 cast bullet select .312x308. But that one is out of stock so maybe get .313x309?

    Yes, all you would need is the Lee die and the NOE expander plug.

    The larger number is the upper part of the plug which opens the first few thousandths of the case mount oversize to guide the bullet as you seat it. Same as the Lyman plug does.
    Thanks for this tidbit of information, I’ve always wondered what their numbers meant but keep forgetting to call and ask. So basically the first number is the ‘flare’ diameter and the second number would be the number needed for whatever bullet diameter you need.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    North Central
    I started out using the Lee universal die for my 308 and 30-30 loads. It made a rather crude bell on the case mouths but did not promote concentric boolit seating. I then switched to the Noe expanders ( you use these with the Lee die body) and they worked much better.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Northern California
    I must be doing something wrong. I use Lee expander dies in all of my rifle loads and I have yet to seat a bullet crooked.

    I'll try again today, I am loading 75 rounds of 308.

  14. #34
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Deep South Texas
    RCBS makes a 30 cal neck expander that also bells the mouth a smidge. They offer a variety of spuds that screw into the die to give a wide variety of inside neck diameters that will cover all cast bullet needs.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Since 2010 RCBS pistol expanders have been "M" type? So i read. True or false? My new 2021 9mm Luger has the M expander.

    For the 30-06 the Lyman M die is the one i used
    Last edited by 243winxb; Today at 11:38 AM.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2013
    I have 3, the lee universal, the Lyman universal and m dies, for most calibers I end up using the m dies.
    they will all work once set up properly

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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