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40 S&W Sizing Problems...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Air-Wolf, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Air-Wolf

    Air-Wolf Member

    Hi All!
    I have a Dillon 550 press with Dillon Pistol Dies in 40 S&W. I am having problems with the sizing die not sizing the first 1/16 of an inch of the primer end. When I look closely at the die I can see it is bevelled a bit and therefore the brass does not get sized right to the end. When I guage check my ammunition I am getting quite a few that the primer end does not fit because they have expanded a bit.

    Is there a way to properly size the entire brass cartridge? I saw the casepro roll sizer on the web but it is really expensive...Is there others?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Python357

    Python357 New Member

    From my personal experience, most sizing dies don't go all the way down the case. The bottom part of the case is usually wider in auto pistol calibers (cases usually have a small taper, wider at bottom, narrower at case mouth). That's probably why the die manufacturers don't have the dies size all the way down. BTW it's the same for straight walled cases with the dies I own.
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Welcome to THR Air-Wolf

    You can get an undersized die. They size a little tighter and a little further down. They are not necessary most of the time. What you describe sounds normal.:)
  4. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    Dillon dies are bevelled more than most other dies to facilitate loading on a progressive press. Most sizing dies are bevelled to a certain degree, some more than others. I've found that Lee sizing dies generally aren't as bevelled as some of the others and will size down further on the case. I'm not a big Lee fan, but they do make some good things at reasonable prices.

    Magma makes the Casemaster Jr., which will push a rimless case all the way through a carbide sizing die and sizes the entire case, including the rim. I have one, and the dies, for 9mm, 10mm and .45 acp size cases. The 9mm die will size 9x19, 9x21 and 9x23 cases. The 10mm die will fully size .40 S&W, 357 Sig (except for the neck of course), 9x25 Dillon and 10mm cases. The .45 die will do .45 acp, .45 Magnum and .400 Cor-Bon (again except for the neck). The cost of this tool, with one die set-up is $230.00 USD, plus shipping. It's done on an arbor press and is quite heavy. Here is the link: http://www.magmaengineering.com/item.php?id=3

    You may be able to save yourself some time, money and grief by "chamber checking" your loaded rounds, instead of using the case gauge. Take the barrel out of your pistol and see if the loaded rounds will drop freely into the chamber. If they will, then put the case gauge in a drawer and forget about it and go shoot your ammunition. If they won't, then you may want to try the Lee sizing die before you spend a lot of money on something bigger.

    Hope this helps.


    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    The U-die Walkalong linked is a good one, and helps tremendously with the problems you are having.

    Fred makes a good suggestion with chamber checking the ammo, but be aware that you will need to spin the round in the chamber to see a burr on the case rim. If you don't the round might fall right in the chamber but when shooting a burr could be oriented to the hood or extractor and jam the gun. I have seen that time and again. A case gauge takes this out of question, it either falls in and out or it doesn't.
  6. CZ57

    CZ57 member

    Be very aware that cartridges that won't fit into your Max. Cartridge Gauge can still fit in your pistols chamber. NOT GOOD. Malfunctions will most likely be the end result. Ka-booms are not isolated to Glock .40s either. That's kinda' the reason for owning a max cartridge gauge to begin with. It's telling you that the casehead has expanded larger than spec. The recommendations for a sizer die that will get you closer to the case rim are good and it is also true that few resizing dies will get you as low on the case as you'd like. Another good idea in the mean time is to run empty cases, after they're resized, into the max. cartridge gauge. If they don't fit, don't load them. Set them aside until you get a die that will size them so that they will. Checking case dimensions in a max cartridge gauge is superior to doing a drop test that really tells you nothing more than that the cartridge goes in and out of the barrel's chamber and quick gauging OACL and acceptable case length.

    Air-Wolf, you didn't mention any load data, but I can tell you that the .40 S&W case is a bit more likely to be troublesome in this case if you are using a fast burning propellant. Casehead expansion is an indicator. The .40 S&W is a naturally fast pressure peaking cartridge, so whatever burn rate speed you judge your powder to be at, presume that it is a faster burner in a .40 S&W case. Maybe think about moving to a slightly slower powder as well.;)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep, use medium to medium slow powders in the .40 for best accuracy and safety. I like Universal Clays in the .40 myself.:)
  8. Babalouie

    Babalouie Well-Known Member

    I loaded over 8k 40S&W last year...my son and I shoot uspsa Limited. I use a Lee sizing die that sizes further down, HOWEVER I still get at least a few cases that won't go through our case gauge. The problem is that we pick up brass thats been shot from Glocks which do not fully support the case when fired. The result is a bulge that doesn't get resized all the way down. We would have to get a case roller that sizes the whole case. But, rollers cost like 400 bucks and I figure it would take me a thousand years of throwing away the occasional bullet before I'm losing money. I can't stress enough the need to case gauge every round you make. Clearing a jammed oversized bullet is difficult and dangerous.
  9. gandog56

    gandog56 Well-Known Member

    I've noticed the bulge down towards the primer end using my Lee sizer die, too. But I have not had any problem shooting the reloads with either a Ruger KP944DC or a Sig Sauer P229. But they will not pass my case gage, so who knows?
  10. CZ57

    CZ57 member

    Babalouie: good advice! I don't want to flare up a bunch of Glock guys, but when I pick up cases, any with a Glock primer indention go into the scrap bin. Even if you rolled them back into spec, the area where the bulge occurred has been pre-stressed and most likely is weaker than the other areas of the casehead. I use ONE max cartridge gauge in all of the handgun cartridges I load: .40 S&W.

    gandog: one of the reasons it took SIG until 1994 to put a .40 S&W chambered pistol on the market, was because they were one of the, if not the very first company to understand the significance of adequate chamber support for this round. I shoot mine in a CZ 75 B that has very good casehead support. Ruger tends to look at what SIG does when it comes to pistol barrels. It should be adequately supported, but you can confirm this with Ruger. There are several cases where Ka-Booms have occurred in pistols that were supposed to provide adequate chamber support. My personal belief is that the cases would not have fit in a max. cartridge gauge and were loaded with a fast burning propellant.

    I think the recommendation for Universal is a good one and I wouldn't use anything faster burning, but base that on how powder burn rates appear in your loading manual. Sometimes they are in descending order, but really all you need to do is look at the max charges and the chargeweights for them. The slower it burns, the higher chargeweight is likely to be.

    I use two powders almost exclusively now, but I have used a fair number in the past. I like Ramshot True Blue very much because of the accuracy I get in my CZ 75 B with both jacketed and hard cast bullets. Ramshot Silhouette is very good also, but for me, True Blue has been better with cast bullets.;)
  11. Air-Wolf

    Air-Wolf Member


    Wow Thanks Everyone!!!!
    Lots of great advice. I ordered that undersized die and hopefully that will solve my problems. I looked at the Roll Crimpers but at this time I can not afford the cost; but they sure look great!!!
    I was talking to a professional reloader (does this for a business) and he indicated the same thing...I am most likely picking up Glock Brass and that is why the bulge. He said he knows a lot of people who have taken their die to a machine shop and have had the flare at the bottom taken out so that it sizes more clostly to the end. He also indicated I might want to try a bit of case lube.

    Thanks all!

  12. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Well-Known Member

    Dumb thought just occured to me. Has anyone tried milling down a Lee shell-holder to get the sizing die down further? I'm talking about the ones used on the single-stage presses. It seems like there's quite a bit of material on there, and with a smooth stroke, the stresses on the thinner part shouldn't be too bad. That would certainly get the sizing die down the rest of the way. BTW, using my Lee dies, I've had no trouble with glocked brass. I wouldn't trust them for more than a few loads, but with low-pressure loads, I haven't seen any indication of danger.
  13. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    I've ground down shellholders to get the proper sizing on several 357 Sig shellholders, since the factory ones wouldn't set the shoulder back far enough. It would take a carbide mill to cut them down, since they're hardened steel. At least the Redding and RCBS shellholders are that I took down. I used a drill press vise and a grinding wheel in the drill press. I used it like a milling machine to get them flat and took off about .010".

    Hope this helps.


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