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Lee’s expanding & taper crimp dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jski, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. jski

    jski Member

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    I just got my first Lee die set ... in this case for the 30 Carbine. All my other die sets have been Lyman, RCBS, and Dillon. The case mouth flaring die has a peculiar property: on the downstroke of the lever, that die really insists on holding onto the case wall. It takes a bit of force to separate case and die and it does so suddenly.

    Mind you, it does the job very well. No problem there. But the final jerk on separation is “unusual”.

    Is this typical of Lee’s expanding dies?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  2. JPIMBO

    JPIMBO Member

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    Yep.
     
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  3. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Polish it or replace it with another brand.
     
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  5. Micha2u

    Micha2u Member

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    It's designed to do that for use on a progressive reloader. The expander die instructions for my 9mm read:

    "In use, the expander plug travels approximately 3/8” within the die and comes to an abrupt stop at extraction. This helps to shake the powder through."
     
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  6. jski

    jski Member

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    I have a new Redding T-7 turret press. Is this something that would/could cause turret flex?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  7. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  8. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    It happens more with new brass, that has a squeaky clean interior. Fired brass doesn't "stick" as much, after it has a light layer of carbon inside the necks.
     
  9. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    +1 I polish all of mine. Works well after that.
     
  10. jski

    jski Member

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    Not a fan of Lee Precision? My man FortuneCookie45 (a.k.a., Steve) really likes Lee’s dies. Especially their factory crimp die.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  11. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    Been working on this issue with my Lee .357 expander.. Just fixed it. I first tried turning the expander plug in my lathe and polishing with 400 grit SIC paper. Did not help or maybe made it worse. I could actually see trails of brass on the expander after using it some. So I tried hand holding the plug and polishing on my 8" buffing with the compound I use for tool sharpening. Polished the front of the expander to almost a mirror finish. It seems to work fine now. Going to load 50 later today as a test. Thanks to those who said to polish it. This sticking may only be a problem with new brass. I never really noticed much of an issue until I started on my batch of new Starline brass.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  12. jski

    jski Member

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    Well right now guys, advantage Lee over Redding (believe it or not)! I have 2 brand spanking new taper crimp dies, 1 from Lee and 1 from Redding. I couldn’t screw the Redding crimp die far enough into the turret to even touch the brass. I tried mightily to hand screw the die far enough down to reach the brass but I reached a point where it simply wouldn’t go any further. I will not use a wrench!

    The Lee die went all the way thru the threaded hole, engaged the brass, and crimped perfectly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  13. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    jski, The expander in the Lee dies is designed as a Through the Die Powder Charging with either the old Auto Disk measure or the new Auto Drum measure. It is that way to help dump all the powder from the measure and thru the die before the die is completely removed from the case. I do believe Lee explains this in there documentation.

    Also bras cleane in a tumbler with SS Pins will also cause this sticking as already mentioned.
     
  14. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    I have never bothered to polish any of my Lee dies. I do clean them when they're new and after about every so often. The sudden stop has never been bothersome. It smooths out after a little while, but never disappears completely. Sort of a break-in period.
     
  15. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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  16. LOLBELL

    LOLBELL Member

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    Why would you want to alter it or replace it when it is doing exactly what it was designed to do ?
     
  17. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    There is a simple fix to eliminate that force and it involves removing the design flaw in the expander plug.
     
  18. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Guess you didn't read the Lee instructions. There is no Flaw it was designed that way.
     
  19. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    You’d guess wrong, then. Lee’s instructions and Tech Tip don’t correct the problem and they aren’t a very good band-aide either.

    It was designed that way, which is why I called the problem a design flaw.
     
  20. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Still cannot understand a flaw tat was designed to be there. Maybe the flaw is only in your perception.
     
  21. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Designers don’t usually intentionally design in flaws, but it happens unintentionally. Ships have sea trials. Airplanes have test flights.

    Sometimes flaws are intentionally designed in to limit product life. Equipment firmware as an example.

    I believe for the Lee expander plug, it was unintentional.
     
  22. jski

    jski Member

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    Right now guys, having loaded 200 30 Carbine rounds using the Lee dies, I’m giving Lee 3 thumbs up !!!

    JOB WELL DONE LEE !

    Redding, you’ll be hearing from me Monday!
    Redding, I’ve been a VERY good customer for you!
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  23. Targa

    Targa Member

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    Nice!!! I have Lee dies for 450 Bushmaster, 45/454, 44, 38, 45-70, 475, 30-30 all are outstanding.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I have always thought that was slick advertising for a roughly machined expander, YMMV. I have polished all of them I have had, not sure any are still in use though, there are simply better expanders out there.
     
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  25. jski

    jski Member

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    Well, no one addressed whether that final tug from the Lee expander die could do any damage to my Redding turret press? I’m thinking about turret flex.
     
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