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rough finish.....

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by SSN Vet, Feb 8, 2007.

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  1. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    I loaded up my first test rounds of .38 special target loads last week.....then I popped the bullets to see what the FCD was doing to the plated Berry's DEWC.

    I was surprised that the just 1/2 turn in on the FCD (light crimp) basically created quite a distinct groove in the bullet. So I guess these swaged cores are pretty soft. When the bullet was popped in the little hammer gadget, however, it did not strip any of the plating off.

    So last night I finally managed to steal away (geeking out as my wife calls it) and loaded up a couple boxes. I started with the cases that I had popped the bullets from. Having not been fired and not wanting to pop the primers (or pull the primer pin from the sizing die), I figured I'd just hit them with the powder through expanding die (PTED) and go from there. I was surprised to feel a very rough and chattery stroke, but attributed this to the case mouth having been crimped.

    After taking a peek at the PTED I saw that I had never cleaned the residual oil off when I first set it up. So, I decided to re-check all the dies and adjust them from scratch figuring it would be good practice. When I disassembled the PTED, I was surprised that the finish on the "bull nose" was quite rough.

    Did I damage it by using it on the crimped cases? ( I don't believe this die is carbide plated on the interior).

    Should I be concerned by the rough finish?

    It seemed to do just fine on newly re-sized brass, so I continued to reload my batch and backed of the FCD to a~1/4 turn in. This gave just a perceptable roll on the top edge of the mouth.
  2. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    NE Georgia
    If the rough finish bothers your or causes the press to run rough, polish it a bit, but all you're supposed to do with the case expander is just open the mouth of the brass up just enough you can get your bullet in and stay it while it is being seated. I wouldn't worry about it if it's clean and it's working well with resized brass. Something you've run through a post sizer/crimp isn't going to run as smooth through there for certain.

    I'm no expert on .38/.357 crimps but it sounds like you were over crimping a bit. The best thing I've found to do that works with most any pistol cartridge I've loaded is get a factory loaded cartridge and adjust your crimp until it "looks" like the factory cartridge. I realize there's no measurement involved, but you'll be suprised at how well the cartridge works when it's about the size of a factory cartridge, which is what the Lee FCD is supposed to converting your cartridge to.


  3. griz

    griz Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Eastern Virginia
    I don't think you hurt the die in any way. You could probably destroy the case with it and do no damage.

    And a second to the polishing trick. I smoothed out the expander on an RCBS 223 die and was shocked at the ease with which it pulled through the neck after that.
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