lee expanding die


April 22, 2007, 09:20 PM
I bought the 4 die set of lee dies for 45 acp. Im using a lyman turret press. My problem is when I use the expanding die the brass gets stuck. the instructions say that it should come to an abrupt stop at extraction. I cant get the bass out at this point. I using plenty of lubracant so I know thats not the problem. when taking the dies apart I noticed that the piece that goes inside the brass had a really thin ring of brass on it I took this of but no change

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April 22, 2007, 10:10 PM
The expanding should be done in the powder die. You want to set it so that about 1/8" of the bullet will fit into the case. That should be just enough to hold the bullet until in can make it into the seating die. You don't need to use lube with straight wall pistol cases if you are using carbide dies.

April 23, 2007, 11:45 AM
You may want to champher the inside case mouth.


April 23, 2007, 12:29 PM
I've noticed mine is sticky too. Are you using a single stage press? I put my hand on top of the die to offset the leverage, the push up on the press handle rather sharply. Take the insert out of the die and smooth it with extra fine sandpaper, clean it throughly and lube it very ligthly with case lube, I found that helps. Don't use petroleum oil as there is a chance you could contaminate the inside of the case and de-activate part of the powder charge or primer.

April 23, 2007, 12:57 PM
I'm using the Lee 4 die carbide set for .45acp on my Redding turret press (no oil). I notice pulling cases from the expander die is 'sticky' to put it mildly.

Mine has a rough surface that is probably causing it. I don't see the harm in lightly polishing the expander cone.

April 23, 2007, 03:34 PM
Similar story on my .38 spl/.357 mg. four die set...

the finish on the expanding cone left something to be desired and when I get around to it, I'm going to bring it into work, chuck it on a lathe and smooth it up with emery clothe or a very fine file.

I was expanding the neck more than needed (die was only "sticky" when I did this).

I've since learned to set the expanding die to match my bullets and though it hasn't felt "sticky", it does shave off a fair amount of brass filings by the time you finish your second box.

April 23, 2007, 03:55 PM
I have been told that the reason the powder-through expander die grabs a little, or is "sticky", is that the vibration helps settle powder in the charging hopper. It also causes some positive vibrations for primer feeds like the Auto Prime.

On a single stage press that would probably be annoying.

It also depends upon how much case flare you are making--if you flare a good deal it will catch on the rim of the die when it comes down. That is actually an indicator of too much flare.

April 27, 2007, 12:09 AM
Are these to deep, I had to cut it off because it was stuck. If I decrease the depth the bullets get shaved when pressed in

April 27, 2007, 02:22 AM
Im also having problems understanding, after expanding should the 45 bullets fit in the brass because mine doesnt, the reason Im asking this because I saw someone mention that it should go in 1/8 inch.
when I measure the width of the bullets they measure .452 the rainer web site says .451

April 27, 2007, 10:49 AM

You'll need to adjust the die down until the case is expanded enough to accept the bulllets you're using. I wouldn't worry about the diameter of the bullet. .452 is a pretty typical measurement for .45ACP lead bullets and should work well in your pistol.

As far as it sticking, I would polish the expander a bit if it's got a rough surface. Use very fine sandpaper, so you don't take off much and be consistent in how you "polish" it.

If you're not comfortable, call Lee and get them to handle the rough expander for you.

BTW, this is assuming the expander is rough and is causing the sticking. From your pictures you may have it set too deep. Hard to say without being there in person.



April 27, 2007, 07:56 PM
should the bullet fit in 1/8 inch or should it sit on top?

what doyou do with the shaved bullets?

April 27, 2007, 07:59 PM
It should just fit inside the mouth of the case--not sit on top.

If a little lead gets shaved I just go ahead and load 'em anyway.

April 27, 2007, 09:32 PM
All of my handgun dies are Lee Deluxe 4-Die sets, and I use a Lyman T-Mag Turret Press. I follow the included directions and when I raise the handle on the second die (expander/powder thru) all I get is a hard "click" at the end as the case is released from the die. I set it so I get a very minimal flare that is sometimes easier to feel than to see. It isn't even close to being tightened down all the way.

If raising your handle locks everything up there is something wrong. Either the adjusting hex nut needs backed out and re-adjusted, or there is a manufacturing defect that Lee will help fix.

I don't have my powder measure set on the die so perhaps that is something to investigate. Remove the powder measure (if you are using one on the second die) and see if you can get good flares by toying with the top hex insert (the hollow part). Mine has the O-ring in contact with the base die but is not tight.

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