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Lee Expander Powder-Through tough to use?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by strat81, Jan 16, 2007.

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  1. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    When loading my first batch (ever) last night, the shell would always move smoothly into and out of each die except for the expander/powder-through die. I'd raise the ram and charge the case but while lowering the ram, I feel resistance. I'm not sure how much it is, but it is much more than the other 3 dies, and it almost feels like there's a notch or bump I need to pass, almost like driving over a wheel chock with your car. This happened with Winchester and Hornday brass, both 1x fired. Is this normal, or am I killing the die?
     
  2. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    you may be overexpanding the brass. it should be adjusted so the case mouth is opened just barely enough to allow you to seat a bullet.
     
  3. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Check for a small amount of belling of the case mouth. The resistence you are feeling is the case mouth being pulled from the expander plug and is normal. Just make sure you aren't expanding the case mouth more then is necessary to introduce the bullet.
     
  4. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    What they said. Some resistance is normal though.
     
  5. JesseL

    JesseL Member

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    I seem to recall the manual for my Lee 500S&W dies mentioning that that little catch was supposed to bump loose any powder that might get stuck when pouring powder through the die.
     
  6. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    The bullet will go into the cartridge okay, but you have to have a steady hand for it. Should I try backing the die out a bit?
     
  7. nitesite

    nitesite Member

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    You want just enough bell to allow the bullet to slide in without shaving off any of the bullet wall. You should barely be able to see it but easily feel it.

    The click you feel is to keep shaking the powder in your measure, which helps ensure more consistent powder drops. In other words, what you feel is there on purpose.
     
  8. Rod B

    Rod B Member

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    As the expander part of the die becomes polished with use, the roughness will diminish.

    Lee claims that a little roughness is desirable, it creates a vibration which ensures a complete drop of the powder through the die.

    Rod.:)
     
  9. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    The Lee reloading manual talks up how great Lee instructions are. Bullhoggery, methinks! The instructions and FAQs on the web kinda stink. Luckily, I have THR at my disposal. (And dispose of it I will!)
     
  10. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    The instructions for setting up the powder measure are basically in the die set. I've found if you follow those instructions, you get good results. Of course, I've only gotten a couple calibers in now, but my buddy, who has a ton of Lee die sets, gets the same results. Check the die set instructions, read them carefully and see how it goes from there.
     
  11. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    Have been using them in several calibers for years. Turn it in until you touch the shellplate or carrier, then back it out a half turn. It's set perfectly to flair enough to get the bullet on, but not excessivly. Works for all calibers.
     
  12. wheelgun43

    wheelgun43 Member

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    What Rod B said:) . Or you can take the expander plug out of the die and polish it with some very fine emery cloth, this will eliminate the grabbing feeling you are experiencing. Some of the plugs in my die sets came polished very smooth and some had circular lines around the tapored end, some polishing fixed them right up. It's an easy fix.:D
     
  13. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    One of the problems with the Lee instructions is that they are kind of scattered all over the place. Some parts are in the die instructions, other parts in the press instructions, some pieces in with the powder measure.

    I have found they are adequate, but like most instruction manuals, it is always easier to have someone that has already done it explain it to you.
     
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