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What is wrong with my Lee expanding die?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bbooker, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. bbooker

    bbooker Member

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    When the case is coming down from the expanding die it is very rough and feels like it is hanging or grabbing on something. It is a Lee 9mm die. Nothing seems to be wrong with the case or case mouth when it comes out, but man it is rough. Shakes the table and causes small amounts of powder to fall. Any advice appreciated.
     
  2. cberge8

    cberge8 Member

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    Lee powder through dies do this intentionally.

    It makes sure that no powder is left in the die body if you are using it to charge cases.
     
  3. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Member

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    YOU gotta be kidding us, right ??
     
  4. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    That's how they work.
    But if it's hanging on so much it shakes everything, polish it some.
     
  5. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    From Lee Precision: 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. However,
    we recommend you check to be sure all the powder has
    cleared the funnel and expander plug.
    -----------------------------

    Yes, the tug you feel while lifting is supposed to be there.
     
  6. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    And you got your press mounted tight to a good solid bench too, right?
     
  7. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I lube the expander up slightly from time to time with case lube when it gets particularly jerky
     
  8. Josh45

    Josh45 Member

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    Well, This explains why our Lee 9mm expanding die does the exact same thing. I have to hold onto the case sometimes in order for it to not do that. Then I just learn to bell the case just enough to accept the bullet and has been easier to remove the case since then.
     
  9. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I've polished mine to have just a light click. But yes, that is what the powder thru die is intended to do.
     
  10. bbooker

    bbooker Member

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    Thanks for the answers. Makes sense but is a pain.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Polish the snot out of it with a drill and fine emery paper..

    There is no good reason it has bolt thread lathe tracks on it from the factory except it is cheaper to make it that way.

    rc
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, polish them. They can be rough as a cob.

    The old, it makes the powder fall out, is still humorous after all these years. The proper angle and smooth insides will cure sticking powder every time, unless you are trying to meter 800X through a .32 expander of course. :rolleyes:
     
  13. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    Get out your calipers and measure how much of a 'bell' you are putting on the case..005" is all there should be.
     
  14. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Look at the inside of the case necks for vertical scratches.

    I have 6 different Lee pistol die sets. The quality on the expander finish is quite hit or miss. At least 3 or 4 were super rough, including the 9mm, especially.

    I bet what you'll find is a rough expander, with lots of galled brass imbedded in it.

    Just sand it down to remove the galling and smooth out the ridges. You don't need any lube, but you may need to repeat the process every blue moon if the expander picks up a bit of galling, again. Steel and brass are somewhat sticky to each other. Galling can occur at some point, especially if you clean the inside of your cases squeaky clean.
     
  15. mike.h

    mike.h Member

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    My 9mm expanding die works pretty good. It requires a little more pressure then what I'm used to when doing .45acp. However I add polish to my media and tumble the brass until shiny.

    So my question to the OP, do you tumble your brass with a decent polish?

    MIke
     
  16. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    That isn't what the statement from Lee says. It says the expanded floats. I bet your over flearing & the die is ironing them back out.

    I have 5 & none have ever been polished. They quit jurking when I learned to adjust them.
     
  17. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    The die body squeezes the outside of the mouth of an overflared case just a bit on the way back down. But if you wanna see the die really catch, you need to get it stuck on the inside of the mouth. It can take more force to get a badly galled expander out of the case than it does to size the brass.
     
  18. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    The expander die body ID is .400+. A flared case off my Lee expander is .380 OD. That's a lot of belling to get to .400. I'm not buying that one. The case never gets close to it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  19. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    It does on my .380 if just slightly over flared. It be done on the 9mm also but It does take a lot of flare. If it is jerking that hard then my bet is it is over flared.

    Sorry for the typo earlier I was half asleep. Glad you figured out what I was saying.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    It will grab worse the more flare there is, that's for sure. Polish it, double check the amount of flare, and all will be well.
     
  21. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    What is the condition of your brass? I get the same effect when using brand-new brass, but not on subsequent loadings.
     
  22. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    No, he wasn't kidding. Richard Lee said that was part of the design to make sure all of the powder clears the die. Kinda like the same function as a knocker on the Lyman drum measure.
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Kinda like Mr. Lee doesn't want to spend the money to make the expander stop shaving brass and jerking too.

    Old manufacturing rule:
    Screw machine lathes produce more parts rougher cheaper the faster you run the cross feed on them.

    Old sales rule:
    Tell the customer it's an added feature and some of them will believe you.
    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    rc
     
  24. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Or you can pretend to know more about an engineers own design so that people on a public forum think you are just really smart. :D If the engineer tells me that it is an added precaution to help guard against squib loads in one case and an overcharge in another, and if it makes sense then i believe him.
     
  25. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, I can do that too.

    Thank you!

    It seems in the last 50 years of reloading, I sometimes do seem to know more then the engineers that were not reloaders who designed something for reloading.

    At least I learned a smooth expander rod is better the a rough expander rod because it doen't wear brass shavings out of my cases every time I reload them.

    rc
     
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