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Thread: Lee Universal Case Expanding Die

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Can be done without a lathe, too.

    I prefer the M die bodies over the Lee die bodies, because I don't have a lathe. I can only chuck up to 1/2" round into my drill, and the Lee explander plugs are bigger than that. A precision rotary tool with a cutting disc does the cutting, just free hand, and measuring frequently. I have turned down stock M die plugs, just chucking the threaded part into my drill. I've made my own plugs from round stock, turning down the end and threading it with a die. From memory, I believe M die plug threads are 8-32.

    Don't try it with a common cordless drill though. The runout on even name brand lithium ion $200 cordless drills is typically awful.

  2. #22
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Like ndnchf I've used the bodies for creating neck sizers using drill bushings, a seater for the .25 Stevens reloadable rimfires, a seater/crimper for .32 Long Colt, a die set for the .28-30-120, and a swager to uniform and/or hollowpoint .22 rimfire ammo. All you need is imagination and a small lathe. When my stock of unused bodies gets below 2, I buy more.

    BTW I haven't made expander plugs in a while because NOE's are so good and so inexpensive. Exception was the .28-30, which required a very long tapered lead-in to keep that skinny case properly centered.

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  3. #23
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    I bought one of these years ago and absolutely loved it. Though, somehow it became lost. Going through some die sets I had on the shelf the other day I found it in a box with some Redding .223 Dies I hadn't used in years. And then remembered just how handy this little die is.

    As for NOE plugs, I've never used them. But I've heard good things about them.
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  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy Gobeyond's Avatar
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    I used a ch-d expander ball to try to expand the whole neck. Putting a paper patched bullet into an antique 6.5x 53r Dutch. It didn’t work but flared it until it split. The case moth was 264 but the pp bullet was 268 to fit the grooves and the paper kept coming off. I needed the whole neck expanded. I couldnt do it and the project stopped there. Trial and error could have fixed had I the money to throw.

  5. #25
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    ^If you need to expand a case, try a push thru expander plug, e.g. NOE or Lyman M die.

    The pull thru expander balls are very limited in what they can do before they stretch and distort necks or completely destroy cases.

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy Gobeyond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gloob View Post
    ^If you need to expand a case, try a push thru expander plug, e.g. NOE or Lyman M die.

    The pull thru expander balls are very limited in what they can do before they stretch and distort necks or completely destroy cases.
    Will that work for four whole thousandths w/o crushing something? It sounds worth a try but would have to buy custom. Probably need a whole new die set. Ch4-d doesn’t lake that type of expander plug for lee dies.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    4 thousandths should be cake. Use lube or you can seize the expander in the neck. It'll go in fine, but you won't get it back out without some tools.

    If you try it with a pull thru ball, you'll seize it even if you use lube! BTDT converting 308 into 7mm-08. Must have been more than a few thous of bulge in the neck/shoulder, after sizing.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gobeyond View Post
    I used a ch-d expander ball to try to expand the whole neck. Putting a paper patched bullet into an antique 6.5x 53r Dutch. It didnít work but flared it until it split. The case moth was 264 but the pp bullet was 268 to fit the grooves and the paper kept coming off. I needed the whole neck expanded. I couldnt do it and the project stopped there. Trial and error could have fixed had I the money to throw.
    I'll have to look up what I use for the 6.5x53R and the 6.5x54. I think it it's a NOE plug. Never tried paper patching.

    Never had a problem with necks splitting. Did you anneal the necks?

    I have loaded the Lee cruise missile as cast with Lee Liquid Lube it cast fat, never split a case.

    C-H will sell you an M style to your specification. I've had them do several for me.
    Last edited by 15meter; 02-26-2023 at 07:38 PM.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master deces's Avatar
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    I have been reading that Lee will soon be offering M style powder drop dies. I wonder if they will be for pistol boolits only.
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.ph...#post-12578667
    Last edited by deces; 04-14-2023 at 02:19 AM.
    These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is not new. It is not order.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by deces View Post
    I have been reading that Lee will soon be offering M style powder drop dies. I wonder if they will be for pistol boolits only.
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.ph...#post-12578667
    Interesting. While it seems the NOE inserts are an upgrade, I use my stock Lee "expander" for my cast bullets a lot. Key is not to over do it.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master deces's Avatar
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    I might build a few with NOE inserts, until Lee figures out what they are doing.
    https://noebulletmolds.com/site/prod...ugh-expanders/
    These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is not new. It is not order.

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy paul edward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrumbag View Post
    I need a lathe...
    Get one. Even a small lathe is one of those tools that, once you have one, is hard to live without. Quick story:

    About 25 years ago I bought a Harbor Freight 7 by 10 mini lathe for a kid who had designed a hybrid fuel rocket motor and wanted to build one to see if the idea would work. It did. Since then there has been a small lathe next to my reloading bench. If you think a drill press is useful, wait till you have a lathe at hand.

  13. #33
    Boolit Buddy braddock's Avatar
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    I stopped using the lee expander die when I bought the lee powder through die, it's so much better than the lyman M being easier to set up and, as you drop the powder through with the lee pro auto disc measure speeds up reloading pdq.
    I use it in 357 mag with a second for 38 sp, the 30/30 can use the 30 M1 carbine one and I recommended them to a friend who uses them for 30/30, 357, 44 mag and 45/70.
    FWIW, the 30 m1 takes a little more setting up for the 30/30 than the others but once it's done, it's done.
    One added benefit, the last time I looked here in the UK I could get 3 of the lee powder through expansion dies for the cost of one Lyman M die.
    I use the powder through for my 308 and 223 also but they don't have the expansion feature but are needed to trigger the auto disc powder measure and I keep all my die sets in the 4 hole turrets all set up ready to rock and roll in my turret press. The turrets are so cheap even here to make it a sin not to do so. I even have 4 lee bullet sizing dies in a turret for when I'm sizing cast boolits, for 225, 309, 310 and 358 diameter boolits.
    Last edited by braddock; 11-13-2023 at 08:25 AM.

  14. #34
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    Scrumbag - GONRA sez make SURE yer shiney new Metal Lathe is the Real Thing -
    "Screw Cutting Metal Lathe" - with a LEAD SCREW.
    (MANY "Hobby Lathes" DON'T! !!)

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by braddock View Post
    One added benefit, the last time I looked here in the UK I could get 3 of the lee powder through expansion dies for the cost of one Lyman M die.
    Truly. The main reason you might prefer M dies is for the depth of the expander. M dies are still too small for cast bullets in most calibers, but they at least go to the full bullet seating depth in most cases. Lee expander plugs only open the case a tiny fraction of an inch past the mouth flare. For most calibers, there's no functional difference. It's only when your bullets are softish and the cases are thick and undersized you get an issue.

    I take it that if Lee is planning to offer M die style plugs, they are going to be longer.

    Once you have some M die bodies, you can often buy random plugs for them. Or make them. I don't even have a lathe, and I can make an M die plug with a drill and run the shank through a die to thread it.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master deces's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gloob View Post
    Truly. The main reason you might prefer M dies is for the depth of the expander. M dies are still too small for cast bullets in most calibers, but they at least go to the full bullet seating depth in most cases. Lee expander plugs only open the case a tiny fraction of an inch past the mouth flare. For most calibers, there's no functional difference. It's only when your bullets are softish and the cases are thick and undersized you get an issue.

    I take it that if Lee is planning to offer M die style plugs, they are going to be longer.

    Once you have some M die bodies, you can often buy random plugs for them. Or make them. I don't even have a lathe, and I can make an M die plug with a drill and run the shank through a die to thread it.
    They are already available from Lee. The new "M" type plugs are quietly being introduced.
    These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is not new. It is not order.

  17. #37
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by braddock View Post
    I stopped using the lee expander die when I bought the lee powder through die, it's so much better than the lyman M being easier to set up and, as you drop the powder through with the lee pro auto disc measure speeds up reloading pdq.
    I use it in 357 mag with a second for 38 sp, the 30/30 can use the 30 M1 carbine one and I recommended them to a friend who uses them for 30/30, 357, 44 mag and 45/70.
    FWIW, the 30 m1 takes a little more setting up for the 30/30 than the others but once it's done, it's done.
    One added benefit, the last time I looked here in the UK I could get 3 of the lee powder through expansion dies for the cost of one Lyman M die.
    I use the powder through for my 308 and 223 also but they don't have the expansion feature but are needed to trigger the auto disc powder measure and I keep all my die sets in the 4 hole turrets all set up ready to rock and roll in my turret press. The turrets are so cheap even here to make it a sin not to do so. I even have 4 lee bullet sizing dies in a turret for when I'm sizing cast boolits, for 225, 309, 310 and 358 diameter boolits.
    Yep, turrets are very helpful

  18. #38
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrumbag View Post
    I need a lathe...
    I have a lathe I just need to learn how to use it!!!!!!!

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