45 ACP/Berry's/Expanting Die Problem


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ArchAngelCD
April 24, 2014, 01:55 AM
I won a box of Berry's 185gr RNHB .451" bullets at an auction and I'm trying to load them with little success.

I can not bell the mouth of the case enough to start the bullet by hand. Of course with the very thin plating if the bullet is slightly cocked the plating ends up on the outside of the case on the opposite side the bullet is leaning. In the past 9 years I have had no problems with these dies when loading lead bullets or jacketed bullets. The ones I do get started straight are surprisingly accurate when shot from my 1911. What can I do to load these bullets?

1. I'm using a set of Lee Carbide dies with a Powder Through Expanding Die.
2. I do not want to buy new dies just to load a little over 200 bullets.
3. Please do not jump on the bash Lee bandwagon unless you are completely sure it's a known problem with the Lee Expanding Die.
4. Is there something I can do I didn't mention?

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bds
April 24, 2014, 05:23 AM
I am using Lee dies also. After the cases are resized, they measure around .467" and I flare the case mouth to about .472" which allows the Berry's 185 gr HBRN to just sit on the case mouth without tilting. I taper crimp to .470"-.471".

If you are shaving the bullet or tilting the bullet while seating, especially from once fired cases with sharp case mouths, try chamfering the inside of the case. I use the Lee chamfer tool and a light twist on the case mouth does the job for me.

tightgroup tiger
April 24, 2014, 06:28 AM
try chamfering the inside of the case. I use the Lee chamfer tool and a light twist on the case mouth does the job for me.

That's my suggestion also. You have a wire edge inside your cases that is adding to the problem. Get rid of it and your problem should go away. I chamfer all my cases before loading them, but you should only have to chamfer them once. The second time you load they should be good to go.

I was ripping the plating in my 357mags and chamfering took care of that.
There is nothing wrong with you Lee dies. I've been using a set for over 20years, they have and always will work well.

steve4102
April 24, 2014, 08:14 AM
Is you Lee Expander die set as deep as it can go? Are you bottomed out with adjustments? If so, can you put the lock ring on the underside and screw the die in further?

I use Lee dies with an RCBS Turret press. I can screw the expander in so far that the mouth looks like a mushroom.

243winxb
April 24, 2014, 08:42 AM
http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/139/0/powder-through-expander-die-adjustment Powder through expander die adjustment
Posted by on 20 October 2011 06:52 AM
The quickest and most accurate way to set this die is to put the shell holder or shell plate at the top of the stroke and turn the die in until the bottom of it touches the shell holder or shell plate. At that point, back it out a half turn which should set the die to begin giving you the proper flare to the case mouth.

It is important that when attaching a powder measure to the die, that it be tightened so that the expander plug cannot move up into the die defeating the purpose of setting it in this fashion.

The seating stem needs to fit the bullet nose/ogive. Custom Bullet Seating Plug
Posted by Purchasing @ Lee Precision on 18 October 2011 01:16 PM
The Bullet Seater plug that comes with the die set is as close to generic as we can make it. If you find that the bullet seater plug deforms the nose of the bullet you are trying to seat, we can make a custom bullet seater plug to fit your bullet. For this we would need a sample bullet, payment of $8 plus shipping. Current lead time is 4 to 6 weeks.

This applies to Rifles > Many times, you can fix this yourself through the use of a drill press. Secure the seater plug under a 3/32" bit and drill further into it. The distance should never be increased by more than 1/4". If this does not solve the issue, we recommend sending it to us.

A custom bullet seating plug can be ordered online.

Send the sample bullet to our address:

Lee Precision, Inc.
4275 Highway "U"
Hartford, WI 53027

bainter1212
April 24, 2014, 08:52 AM
I load these bullets and I have to set my expander die to its max setting, meaning I have to bell the case mouth quite a bit. I also chamfer the case mouth.

Still, you just have enough clearance so that the bullet will rest on the case mouth. Get it reasonably straight and the seating die should straighten the bullet out the rest of the way.

ReloaderFred
April 24, 2014, 10:37 AM
Expand the case mouth more (bell), and the problem will go away. The Berry's 185 gr. HBRN bullet is one of my favorites for the .45 acp, if I'm not shooting lead through them. I've loaded and shot roughly 20,000 of them since they first brought them out a number of years ago. It's a very accurate bullet in all my .45 acp pistols.

Hope this helps.

Fred

horseman1
April 24, 2014, 11:00 AM
I load those same bullets with the same dies you are using and I havent had any trouble.

Do you suppose the shell holder is keeping the expander die from going down far enough? I believe I'm using the Lee shell holder. The only other thing I can think of is the length of the brass might be shorter than mine. Is the brass Hornady that was used in one of their XTP loads and is a little short?

I'm rather new at this, but I have loaded a lot of those bullets and am using the same dies as you are. I am using a Redding Boss press, but that would seem to be unlikely to be important.

edit: I remember one other difference in our setups.. I have replaced the Lee lock rings with Hornady lock rings.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

ArchAngelCD
April 24, 2014, 04:32 PM
I am using Lee dies also. After the cases are resized, they measure around .467" and I flare the case mouth to about .472" which allows the Berry's 185 gr HBRN to just sit on the case mouth without tilting. I taper crimp to .470"-.471".

If you are shaving the bullet or tilting the bullet while seating, especially from once fired cases with sharp case mouths, try chamfering the inside of the case. I use the Lee chamfer tool and a light twist on the case mouth does the job for me.
I'm shaving the bullet because it tilts after going into the die. I just can't get it to sit straight every time and more shave than don't.

I'm going to try chamfering the case mouth, sounds like a good and simple cure.

ArchAngelCD
April 24, 2014, 04:34 PM
Is you Lee Expander die set as deep as it can go? Are you bottomed out with adjustments? If so, can you put the lock ring on the underside and screw the die in further?

I use Lee dies with an RCBS Turret press. I can screw the expander in so far that the mouth looks like a mushroom.
Yeah, it's all the way down, much further than I would use on any other bullet. I'm loading on a Lee Classic Turret press and have had no problems with any other loading including the 45 Auto with all other bullets.

joustin
April 24, 2014, 06:00 PM
Some bullets are a pain to seat, I use the Hornady seating die for 223 because the sleeve makes it easier. If they have a pistol caliber die that does that I would grab one. I had similar issues with my 45ACP Lee dies, it took a lot of tinkering but I gave up after the first 500 of the Zero cast bullets and bought bevel based bullets after that to alleviate the problem.

Walkalong
April 24, 2014, 06:20 PM
I have loaded these and like them as well. They shoot very well in my 1911 and my 1955 Target just loves them.

They are kind of rounded at the base and you have to bell a little more than it looks like at first. At least that was the mistake I made when I first tried them.

I know you'll figure it out. :)

dickttx
April 25, 2014, 05:34 PM
I would first try chamfering the case mouth as others have mentioned.
When screwing the die down into the turret more, be sure that you don't mess up your PAD, as screwing the die in or out is also how you adjust the disk hole to be directly over the hole in the base, so that all the powder drops.

GLOOB
April 25, 2014, 08:57 PM
Some bullets are a pain to seat, I use the Hornady seating die for 223 because the sleeve makes it easier. If they have a pistol caliber die that does that I would grab one. I had similar issues with my 45ACP Lee dies, it took a lot of tinkering but I gave up after the first 500 of the Zero cast bullets and bought bevel based bullets after that to alleviate the problem.
I also bought a Hornady 223 seating die with the drop down sleeve, and it sure works....

But I found something that works even better. It's a Lyman M die. And you can get that for pistol cartridges, too. When you expand/flare with a Lyman M die, the bullet sits straight and seats straight every time with no scraping, no excessive belling. Also, no swaging down of soft bullets by thick, underexpanded cases.

geim druth
April 25, 2014, 11:24 PM
I had a similar problem using Lee carbide dies with Berry's 230 grain RN bullets. It required quite a bit of force to run a case through the expander die and some bullets would not seat properly. I started applying a tiny bit of Imperial Dry Neck Lube to the case mouth before running the case through the expander die. After seating the bullet, I put a slight taper crimp on the cartridge.

At first I was afraid that the neck lube would cause a problem with the tension holding the bullet in the case, but I've fired a couple of hundred of these reloads without any problem. After taper crimping. I clean the cartridge with a wet rag to remove any lube residue.

Of course, the two extra steps in the reloading process are a pain.

ArchAngelCD
April 26, 2014, 12:03 AM
Thanks everyone. I will try chamfering the case mouth first as soon as i get a chance to load more ammo and give a report...

stubbicatt
April 26, 2014, 08:17 AM
Another option which I have found beneficial is a RCBS or a Lyman expander die with the longer, stepped, plug. I like it especially for the cast bullets, as I feel that if I use the Lee expander, it only flares the case mouth to accept the bullet, but the "neck tension" seems too much for cast bullets.

To OP, it seems perhaps you haven't threaded the powder thru expander die into the press far enough.

ArchAngelCD
April 27, 2014, 12:14 AM
To OP, it seems perhaps you haven't threaded the powder thru expander die into the press far enough.
As I said in Post #10 the die is all the way down, much further down that I would with any other bullet. As I also said, I have been using these same dies for ~9 years and MANY thousands of rounds without a problem. The problem showed up when trying to seat the Berry's bullets.

blarby
April 27, 2014, 01:24 AM
Arch, if you need to borrow my universal case expander to get these done, lemme know.

Its what I use on a lot of my lead bullets, and it bells a 45 nicely to accepted even the crankiest plated bullets.

ArchAngelCD
April 27, 2014, 12:44 PM
Arch, if you need to borrow my universal case expander to get these done, lemme know.

Its what I use on a lot of my lead bullets, and it bells a 45 nicely to accepted even the crankiest plated bullets.
That is a very generous offer and I really do appreciate it! I'm a little embarrassed to say I have a universal case expander but didn't think to give it a try. :o Now that you suggested it I will give that a try too. Thank you Sir, great idea!

blarby
April 27, 2014, 01:10 PM
Any time !

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