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.223 case mouth overall change during sizing

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Uberdillo, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Uberdillo

    Uberdillo Oregon Active Member

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    New to rifle reloading after having experimented with a few thousand rounds of .45 acp on a 550b.

    1. The expander on my sizing die is broke, yes? Lyman .223 FL die: the expander slides up and down the stem. When the stem is turned all the way down (die touching baseplate of course) the expander limits out and flares the case mouth. That doesn't seem right at all.

    2. How much movement/work do you expect to do to your case mouth with a standard FL die in .223 (especially Lee if you happen to know)? I sized a handful of PMC and Lake City 85-87. The brass thickness seems pretty similar, can't find any extra thin or extra thick ( ~0.012" with calipers). Without the expander working, the difference between fired and resized is like O vs o. The average OD went down from 0.255" to 0.235", that's 0.020" reduction. The average ID is now 0.208". Considering that it needs be expanded and worked again, that seems like a heck of a lot smaller than necessary when the end goal is -0.003" or is that just par for the course?

    All this makes a Lee collet die and redding body die look ideal, even for an autoloader, just to have the precision and control. I could even get a friend to make some different diameter mandrels for the collet die if I run into some extra thin or thick brass. Either way, this die bothers me and I'm sitting here thinking I'll be more pleased with a Lee pacesetter set just to get going.
     
  2. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Huh? after resizing and then expanding the edge of the neck just enough to get a bullet to sit in place before seating and crimping it. Does it hold the bullet? If so its most likely working properly.

    99 times out of 100 if the die or expander or something isn't working correctly you have something misadjusted.


    been reloading for 44 years so far. Never had an expander break or not work as it should.
     
  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The way it looks from your post, you are getting about .016" of Neck Tension. This much reduction in ID of he Case Mouth forces the bullet to do more work when you seat it. Essentially, it becomes the expander leaving you with the same amount of "neck tension" as if you'd started out with only about .003" (Bullet Diameter minus case neck ID after sizing).

    If you're shooting in an autoloader you could go the route of collet die plus body die but it would be far simpler to just get a lee F/L sizing die and do it all in one step. The de-priming pin and expander in a Lee .223 die is more mandrel like than in other die sets. Gives a nice straight case with minimal effort. Also doesn't break pins as easily when running into a crimped primer in the case.

    If you're looking for a die set for a bolt gun in .223, the collet die is the way to go.
     
  4. Uberdillo

    Uberdillo Oregon Active Member

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    Something indeed might be wrong which is why I come to a public forum seeking some relevant experience on the matter. The more I look at it though, I think it's trash. The reason I asked is because I've not seen any examples of sliding or moving expanders or stems besides collet style dies in the realm of rifle reloading. I also have yet to come across anyone or anything that mentions case mouth belling for bottleneck rifle rounds. Crimping is a whole other story which I thought was evaluated on a case-by-case basis depending on recoil, magazine style, and accuracy demands for rifle rounds. I'm obviously not there yet.

    Here's the expander for posterity's sake: expand.jpg

    With the 0.016" neck tension, doesn't that seem excessive when we're going for 0.003"? I tried to seat a bullet and sure, it seated, however the bullet lost a few thousandths of jacket all around.
    shave.jpg

    Of course I could chamfer but I shouldn't need to with untrimmed cases. They loaded in the factory fine the first (and for some, the second) time. I don't think a flat base would even make the trip up the seater. For what it's worth the bullet expanded the neck out to 0.245", when loaded factory they're 0.247" and the difference is easily the amount of jacket shaved away.

    Thanks for the info on the Lee die. Time to see what deals are out there on the intertubes.

    expand.jpg

    shave.jpg
     
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    It sure looks like you have a "Non Servicable" expander there. One option might be to go on the die manufacturer's website and order a new de-priming rod/expander ball assembly.

    FWIW, this could well be an example of what happens when there is insufficient lube in the case neck. Causes the expander ball to work loose on the rod.

    Just remember, if shooting in an autoloader, make sure the Lee die is a F/L die.

    Right now, Factory Sales which is the "Lee Master Distributor" is selling this set for $13.50, F/L die and Seater Die. Add shipping and it will run you around $20. Get the RGB set (R eally G ood B uy). The bullet seater is great for .223 also. Just don't use it for crimping. The Factory Crimp Die does a far better job.
     
  6. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    That die looks like crap! Was it designed that way or did someone try to engineer it for a different purpose?
     
  7. Uberdillo

    Uberdillo Oregon Active Member

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    Thanks for the sanity check! It wasn't designed that way. If I remember right, it was a used die from a gunshow. I will be getting a Lee FL die and I'll probably pick up a new expander rod and button from Lyman just to have the die set functional. Back to .45 for now.
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Ahah! Now you know why it was such a good deal:laugh::laugh:

    Just a note on the Lee Die. If you ever get a case stuck in it, just remove the depriming rod locking nut/collet from the top. Then use the rod as a punch to remove the case from the die by tapping (firmly) with a brass hammer/mallet. It has a built in stuck case remover.