Anybody use the Lee Powder Thru Die?


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AbitNutz
May 11, 2014, 05:57 PM
I have a use for an thru powder expander on a turret press. I have a couple of questions I hope some folks can answer.

Can I use a powder measure other than a Lee? Like an RCBS Uniflow?

How much control do you have over how much it bells the case mouth?

Also, they have separate dies listed for 9mm, 380, 357 and 38 super. Realistically, wouldn't just one do them all?

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quaid
May 11, 2014, 06:21 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=748105

38/380 dies do have a different measurement for the belling section.

It might work.

rchery59
May 11, 2014, 06:24 PM
I use it with 380 and 357/38. If you have a turret press, why not buy die sets and separate turrets for each caliber ? 9mm and 380 38 super are all different die sets. 38 sp/357 use the same dies. Trying to use one bell die sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

FROGO207
May 11, 2014, 11:08 PM
They are at least two sizes as stated. Also if you insist on only one die get the one for the SHORTEST case, then all the others will work as far as length with them. For example I got a set of 32 S&W dies and use it to reload 32 S&W long, 32 H&R MAG, and 327 FED as well. If I had purchased one for 327 only I could never expand or roll crimp the shorter rounds with it. I only use mine to expand the case mouths in a large batch and then I charge the cases and add a bullet at a later time. I do not use a powder measure hooked to the die.

noylj
May 11, 2014, 11:25 PM
The main job of an expander die is to expand the case ID, over most of the distance the bullet will be seated, to 0.001-0.002" under bullet diameter. Then, you add in the various case lengths.
Many folks like to have specific dies already adjusted for a specific cartridge with adjustments retained with lock rings, die bushings, or tool heads. If you have a Lee turret, the tool heads are dirt cheap, so why spend time adjusting one die for multiple cartridges

Buck13
May 12, 2014, 02:42 AM
I only have Lee dies (in .32-20, .38/.357, 10 mm, and .44 Mag), so can't say how they compare to other makers' dies. They will give a range of flare, depending on how far up you bring the case over the expander.

When loading jacketed or plated, I use barely any flare, so the base of the bullet fits into the mouth hardly at all (except in .32-20 which I always flare enough to easily start the bullet inside the flare, since that brass is thin and can't take as much force from the ram without crumpling). Hardly any crimp is then needed for the 10 mm or light loads in the revolver cartridges, since the case mouth is already tight around the jacket, although the .357s feed better in my lever gun if I crimp them a little to smooth down the junction between the bullet and case. The expander doesn't go in very far at that setting (3 to 4 mm, or so; I don't measure this so could be misremembering), judging by the marks it makes inside the case. I'd guess the base of the bullet is expanding the case over the rest of the seating depth. I never thought to measure that area before and after seating to check, or to pull a bullet to see if it was swaged down at all.

For lead bullets, I screw the die in more to get a flare with an I.D. that is clearly wider than the bullet to avoid shaving any lead. The expander marks are something like a couple of mm deeper into the case. Since the flare is still visible after seating, these always get some attention from a crimp die.

ArchAngelCD
May 12, 2014, 03:19 AM
Also, they have separate dies listed for 9mm, 380, 357 and 38 super. Realistically, wouldn't just one do them all?

In reality even though the 9mm Parabellum (9X19mm) and the 380 ACP (9X17mm) use the same diameter bullet the case length, neck diameter and base diameter are different enough to require different dies. Both were developed independently unlike the 38/357. The .357 Magnum was made by merely lengthening the case 1/8". As for the 38 Super, again the same diameter bullet as the 9mm Luger but the case is nothing like the 9mm Luger.

stubbicatt
May 12, 2014, 07:55 AM
To OP, I'm pretty sure the powder thru expander die is designed to be used with the Autodisc powder measure. I have not checked the threads at the top of the die, but it comes with a funnel inserted into it, which once removed, exposes threads to accept the Autodisc powder measure. I suppose one could throw a charge from a separate powder dispenser into a scale pan or the like, and then tip it into the funnel to go into the case while it is in the expander die.

larryh1108
May 12, 2014, 08:23 AM
I use a single stage. I use a funnel to load each round with the powder thru die. I only have the 9mm from Lee, the rest are RCBS. I loved the powder thru for ease of charging the cases that I went to the Lee site and ordered the powder thru for each of my die sets. I even have a .25ACP and a .32 ACP powder thru die because charging those small cases was quite a feat with my large paws. Now, I just pour it into the funnel and the casing is charged. It cut my reloading time in half and I am very pleased with these dies.

Arkansas Paul
May 12, 2014, 10:03 AM
To OP, I'm pretty sure the powder thru expander die is designed to be used with the Autodisc powder measure. I have not checked the threads at the top of the die, but it comes with a funnel inserted into it, which once removed, exposes threads to accept the Autodisc powder measure. I suppose one could throw a charge from a separate powder dispenser into a scale pan or the like, and then tip it into the funnel to go into the case while it is in the expander die.

This is correct.
I use the die both ways.

For 9mm, .40 and .38 Spcl I load on the Lee turret with the Pro Auto Disk measure.
For .45 Colt, I load them single stage and throw each charge, then charge the case via a funnel.

Works fine either way.

As for the OP, as reasonably priced as Lee dies are, just get a die set for each caliber. One for .38/.357, one for 9mm, one for .38 Super and one for .380.
You'll be much better off.

il.bill
May 12, 2014, 05:04 PM
I use a single stage. I use a funnel to load each round with the powder thru die. I only have the 9mm from Lee, the rest are RCBS. I loved the powder thru for ease of charging the cases that I went to the Lee site and ordered the powder thru for each of my die sets. I even have a .25ACP and a .32 ACP powder thru die because charging those small cases was quite a feat with my large paws. Now, I just pour it into the funnel and the casing is charged. It cut my reloading time in half and I am very pleased with these dies.

What he said +1

mackg
May 13, 2014, 04:36 PM
Can I use a powder measure other than a Lee? Like an RCBS Uniflow?
The thread will probably not be compatible. The most important is that you will loose the automated functions. Checking visually each case for powder load is one thing, working the damn measure up and down by hand an other one...:)
Note that the "Perfect" PM won't actuate on a Turret, since the turret rotates; the "Pro" Auto Disk is expensive but the way to go.

How much control do you have over how much it bells the case mouth?
As much as on a regular die. The most recent version allows you to adjust die and measure's heights separately, so that the measure and other dies don't interfer.

Also, they have separate dies listed for 9mm, 380, 357 and 38 super. Realistically, wouldn't just one do them all?
Yes and no.
a) Diameters will vary say, for 44-40 and 44Sp/Mag since nominal bullet diameters vary; I haven't compared 9 and 38's or don't remember the results.
b) The plug's length will vary, as you don't need as much seating depth for a 9 as for a 357 (note that the one for 44-40 is shorter than a 'Spl" one and I use it in Magnum for better neck tension). In an autoloader, it helps a lot to have you bullet "bottom" rather than being set back in the case during feeding.
c) The neutral part of the plug, a cylinder of fixed diameter, will vary in length; you don't need a long one to reach a magnum case, but you do to reach a 380 or a 9mm.
So if a die for a short round will work for longer cases (I do it on purpose), you will have to reajust it for height and flaring. This is a major pita...

So it's better to have a die preset for each caliber, the specific die you will use might be intended for a different caliber (Luger/Super for 357, ACP for LC etc...).

If I wasn't clear on anything, please just ask.

http://leeprecision.com/reloading-dies/hand-gun-dies/4-die-set-pistol/
http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcategorydimensionid=15469
Here you can compare a 9mm and a 38 Sp plugs, and why it can matter:
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?124464-38-357-Lee-powder-through-expander-in-9mm-die-mod

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