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Thread: powder-through dies that are like Lyman 'M' die

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy
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    https://lousgunwork.com/M-Neck-Expan...wder-Dies.html

    Im using these in my square deal B , both 357 and 45 auto

    Cheers

  2. #22
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    Someone (maybe you) brought those to my attention a few weeks ago. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for, but I don't think he has any sizes that would work for .356.

  3. #23
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    oley55: For .356 diameter bullets, the Photo Escape die works only if you run it down far enough to flare the case slightly. This is tricky since I don't think the die is really made with flaring in mind, but it can be done. As you have probably discovered, you really need the "stage 2" diameter to be .359 to be able to seat .356 bullets without shaving (unless you flare).

    I now have a toolhead set up with a Lee Auto Drum and the NOE (solid) expander die that I will use for small runs of bunny-fart ammo, just so I don't have to mess with my Dillon powder measure. I haven't decided yet whether to use the Photo Escape die with the Dillon powder measure or just keep using the Mr. Bullet Feeder die. The difference in accuracy is not a huge deal to me since I load jacketed bullets for my match ammo. By the way, the most accurate bullet I've found is the Precision Delta 124 gr. JHP (V1). I get an average group size of 1.6" at 25 yards (benched) with those bullets. I doubt that coated bullets can ever match that kind of accuracy, especially if they have beveled bases.

  4. #24
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    CORRECTION: It is easy to flare the case with the Photo Escape die. I was thinking of the NOE dies when I wrote that.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    Lous 357 expander is 356x360. That's exactly perfect for 356 bullets, IMO. No need to go 1 thous smaller.

    I use NOE 358x362 for my 358 bullets. NOE 452x456 for my 452 bullets. Custom 401x404 for my 401 bullets. Any smaller doesn't increase neck tension. Any bigger starts to decrease neck tension, but it's not significant until you get more than 1 thous over. I have loaded jacketed bullets that are 1 thous smaller than my expander plug without any issue. 2 thous over, and you have no tension at all.

    The only reason I've experienced poor neck tension is from brass that is so thin at the mouth that the sizing die doesn't size it enough. And no matter how small your expander plug is (or if you don't expand at all), you still get the same poor neck tension. Unless some of your boolits randomly come out undersize, I don't see any safety issue of using an expander same size as the bullet, plus or minus half a thous.
    Last edited by gloob; 02-10-2024 at 09:05 PM.

  6. #26
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    Interesting! I have never tried to find the limit in order to preserve neck tension, but apparently there's more wiggle room than I thought.

    Here's a question for you. In terms of doing a press-check to test for setback, have you ever noticed a difference if you wait a while before checking? I recently did a test run of about ten rounds using Blazer brass, which I've always found to be very soft/malleable. I press-checked a few rounds immediately afterwards and found that I could easily cause setback by pressing them into the bench with my thumb. I came back the next day and tried again, wondering if maybe I had just used too much force the first time. What I found was that I couldn't cause setback on ANY of the rounds, including the ones I had checked the day before, even when I put as much pressure as I could with my thumb. Surely the brass didn't continue to shrink around the bullets, right? Maybe some sort of chemical bond formed overnight. Weird. I use Hornady One Shot on my brass, in case that's significant.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    Hadn't noticed that. I suppose that's one reason to seat bullets a little deeper before you try to pull them. I did my setback testing right away.

    I also lightly lube brass on the inside if it's brand new or super clean. I have loaded 180 grain cast bullets into a brand new 10mm case expanded with my 401/404 expander, and it would not come back out with a kinetic puller. 10mm and 40SW have a lot of seating area on heavy bullets, to produce neck tension. I've had a tough time trying to pull 55 grain 223 bullets, but these relatively heavy bullets would simply not budge, at all.

    Seating deeper didn't help. Couldn't pull them with a collet, either. I ended up drilling a hole in the nose of the bullets and inserting a wood screw, then pulled them in the press.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master hc18flyer's Avatar
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    I am looking at the Photo Escape .358 PTE die and spacer for my Dillon SDB press. I am mostly loading .358 rnfp(no lube groove) and swc in .38 Special. I also load some button nose wad cutters, not flush, but to the crimp groove. Deciding which expander to get? Thanks, hc18flyer

  9. #29
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    I've been using a lousgunwork die for 357mag for a couple of years on my 650. I was curious as to the material used and finish. His reply was "12L14 steel then hard chromed". Took a little to get adjusted correctly, but very happy since then.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Screenshot 2024-02-11 160943.png  

  10. #30
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    gloob: Just to follow up on what I said earlier, I tried another experiment. I have an NOE expander that is .360 x .356 (same dimensions as the Lou's funnel you recommended), and I tried loading up some dummy rounds using .356 diameter coated bullets and Blazer brass. As I said above, Blazer seems to be the softest brass out there, so it was ideal for my experiment. I was easily able to seat the bullets by pushing into my bench the way I would do a press check. I seated them to different lengths, though, ranging from about 1.080 to about 1.120. I feel confident that I could have pushed every single one of them much deeper without any problem. Anyway, I left them on my bench overnight, and when I came back this morning and did press checks, I couldn't get them to budge even a little bit using my thumb. Even when I pushed with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand in addition to my right thumb, there was no movement. I still don't know how to explain this, but it's definitely a fact. The upshot is that I will probably buy one of those funnels from Lou's. Thanks for the tip!

  11. #31
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    well I ordered some photoescape powder thru dies and expect them in the next few days. Looking forward to seeing how they will work for me.

    jmac2112, reference Blazer Brass, I don't know whether they are softer or not. They do however have consistently thinner walls than most anything else out there. In fact last month Everglades was selling sorted 9mm and it was Blazer so I bought 4k. I see today their sorted 9mm is now Winchester.
    “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


  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmac2112 View Post
    gloob: Just to follow up on what I said earlier, I tried another experiment. I have an NOE expander that is .360 x .356 (same dimensions as the Lou's funnel you recommended), and I tried loading up some dummy rounds using .356 diameter coated bullets and Blazer brass. As I said above, Blazer seems to be the softest brass out there, so it was ideal for my experiment. I was easily able to seat the bullets by pushing into my bench the way I would do a press check. I seated them to different lengths, though, ranging from about 1.080 to about 1.120. I feel confident that I could have pushed every single one of them much deeper without any problem. Anyway, I left them on my bench overnight, and when I came back this morning and did press checks, I couldn't get them to budge even a little bit using my thumb. Even when I pushed with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand in addition to my right thumb, there was no movement. I still don't know how to explain this, but it's definitely a fact. The upshot is that I will probably buy one of those funnels from Lou's. Thanks for the tip!
    Interesting. I wonder if you loaded cast or jacketed? The easier seating is expected. The case doesn't undergo any permanent deformation, because it's already the right size. So you don't need that extra force to seat. But the "bonding over time" is a little weird.

    If there's bullet lube between the bullet and the case, there could be a little bit that is left between some parts of the bullet and the case. But after sitting for awhile, that micro amount of lube migrates out (out the front of the case mouth, out the back into the case, or into low spots like the air pockets in the lube grooves or into crimp groove). Kinda like when you epoxy two large and flat surfaces together and stick a weight on top. It might take several minutes or hours before the excess finishes oozing out the edges.

    This gives me something to experiment with in the future. I would guess a TL'd bullet in a hard drying LLA might be the most dramatic in the way.

    Maybe next time you have time to waste at the bench, you will try seating a bullet that is 1 thous smaller than your plug. I've done that in two calibers, and I was perfectly satisfied with the neck tension. I wouldn't load a large amount like this, simply because I like doing things right and can make or buy a new expander, but most of the change in neck tension seems to occur right at the end, where it drops off a cliff, between 1.5 and 2 thous.
    Last edited by gloob; 02-12-2024 at 06:21 PM.

  13. #33
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    oley55: I think you are right about the thinness of the brass. It's probably not any softer than most, but definitely thinner.

    gloob: I did try the experiment you suggested, again using Blazer brass (because I know if it works with Blazer it will work with anything). I was able to seat the bullets using my thumb and index finger, and I let them sit overnight. I tested them today and they had no more tension than before. As a matter of fact, when I was checking their OAL with calipers prior to doing a press check, I found that I could press the bullets deeper just with the pressure from the calipers. So, with Blazer brass at least, I will need an expander no larger than the bullet size. Now I've got some Turkish brass (Turan) that would almost certainly work just fine using an expander .001 oversize! That's some tough stuff. Works great with jacketed bullets, but I don't usually use it much for lead. I'll have to do that experiment with some "regular" brass and see what happens (headstamps like Winchester, Federal, PMC, Speer all seem to be about the same).

  14. #34
    Boolit Master hc18flyer's Avatar
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    Today I ordered the Photo Escape .358 HTC powder thru expander for my Dillon SDB. I have been loading a NOE .358 no lube groove rnfp bullet in .38 Special. I noticed that it took more pressure to seat and considerable effort to remove the bullet with my kinetic puller, and I wasn't using much crimp. I did find out my inexpensive vernier caliper really isn't accurate enough for measuring bullets. I borrowed a micrometer to verify my Lee push-thru sizing. Caliper read .361, micrometer, just under .358! I will be acquiring a micrometer in the near future. Thanks to this thread, I think I have a better understanding of what is going on with neck tension on my SDB. hc18flyer

  15. #35
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    I bought this micrometer for $25 and have been pleased with it:

    https://www.amazon.com/Anytime-Tools...23&sr=8-2&th=1

    Anytime Tools is supposedly an American company, for what that's worth. I was surprised to see that, especially since "Anytime Tools" sounds like a typical Chinese name for a company (sort of like "Whatever Tools").

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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