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Old 11-23-2014, 04:02 PM
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I recently started reloading .45acp, with a set of Lee dies on a Rockchucker single stage press. I was using Penn cast bullets, 200 gr. SWC. I noticed a bulge in the cases where the bullets were seating, and I was peeling off a little ring of lead when I seated and crimped the bullets. There is a slight bevel at the base of these bullets, which allowed me to seat them. I measured the lead bullets, and they measured right at .452, where they are supposed to. So then I measured the inside diameter of two recently fired cases from this first batch of reloads, at the case mouth, and got .455 and .457. Seems OK. Then I took two (work in process) cases from the batch I have been working with, which had been sized and decapped in the Lee full length sizing die, run through the expander die, and been primed. I measured those right at the edge of the case mouth, and also with the calipres inserted about half an inch inside the casing. On the first one, I got .451 at the mouth and .446 inserted deeper, the second one showed .449 and .440 respectively. Less than the diameter of the bullet.

It also occurred to me that maybe a thorough cleaning of the sizing die might make a difference. The cases I am working with, I tumble cleaned several years ago, and then put Dillon case lube on them with a pump spray dispenser, putting them in a sealed plastic food container, shaking them around a bit, and then letting them sit all this time. I mention this because the case lube feels fairly thick and somewhat sticky as I handle the casings. I wondered if I might have crudded up the interior of the die, effectively reducing the inside diameter. So I cleaned the inside of the sizing die with Ballistoil and pipe cleaners, and ran five casings through it. They all measured between .444 and .446 inside diameter at the case mouth, too small.

I am not a highly experienced reloader, am I doing something wrong? The problem seems to be with my sizing die. I am not aware of any way to adjust it, is the answer to go out and buy another die set, maybe a different brand?
Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:13 PM
arjay arjay is offline
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I just measured four cases and they are .442-.446. The bulge is typical with a lead bullet in my loads that Ive been making for years.You might try belling the case a bit more so the lead doesn't shave.As long as they feed properly they should be fine.
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:14 PM
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I think the problem is not the resizing die but the expander die. It is not opening the case enough to accept the bullet without a shave. Try flaring the case mouth just a little more. This probably won't remove the bulge but should stop the shaving. Some cases have thicker walls than others so sometimes the bulge will show more than others.

Last edited by GB; 11-23-2014 at 04:16 PM. Reason: can't spell for beans!
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:20 PM
jepp2 jepp2 is offline
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Quote:
I noticed a bulge in the cases where the bullets were seating, and I was peeling off a little ring of lead when I seated and crimped the bullets.
Seeing where the bullets ends is normal. The bullet expands the case wall creating neck tension. Shaving lead however normally means you aren't flaring the case mouth sufficiently. You need more than the bevel base of the bullet on lead bullets. The case mouth needs to be larger than the bullet OD after you flare them. So from your measurements, you aren't flaring them enough.

I would suggest you remove the old lube. It shouldn't make a dimension difference, but it can create other problems.

I included a picture of some 357 Mags I loaded so you can see the bullet base as it expands the brass case.

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Old 11-23-2014, 04:53 PM
MichiganScott MichiganScott is offline
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FWIW, you can't use calipers to measure the inside diameter of anything accurately because of the width of the flats on the blade.

As already mentioned, the bulge is normal, particularly so with lead bullets because the expanders are usually set up for jacketed. The advice to bell more is correct.
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:57 PM
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I have had some of my .357 cases bulge with a seated bullet either lead or Jacketed in some of my loads.
It looks ugly..... but they shoot great.

It is just the way the case is and the diameter of the bullet.
If it fits ok in the cylinder, there should be no real problems.
I had some old Speer 158gr SJSP that really looked ugly when loaded.



Jepp2;
You still have some W540 !! Sweet.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:29 AM
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Rather than try to measure the ID of the expanded cases, disassemble your Lee expander die & measure the plug's OD. Mine measures .448". (You can check your sizing die's ID too with a caliper but a pin gage is better). Do you have a 3 or 4 die set? I think seating & crimping are best done separately, especially with lead bullets.

I bought some Lyman "M" expander dies to use. They seem better when loading lead bullets as they expander deeper into the case & they have the stepped expander (I found out RCBS uses that style now too, but I like Lyman's quality better). It's size is .4485" (bottom) with the stepped ridge (top) at .4535". The stepped ridge gives the bullet a larger opening to start seating in.

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Old 11-24-2014, 12:49 PM
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OP, I seat and crimp in one action. Try chamfering the inside of the case mouth just enough to remove the sharp inner edge. Increase the amount of flare slightly, 1/8 - 1/4 turn on the flaring stem. DO NOT overcrimp. That should take care of the shaving.

As others have said, the case bulge at the base of the bullet is normal. You're swedgeing the case to a smaller size and then stuffing a larger bullet into it.

I know I'll irritate some folks, but you could have done better than Lee dies.
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Old 11-24-2014, 02:23 PM
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For a newer reloader, I suggest removing all possible/potential problems such as crimping and seating in one operation, separate into two steps. Better to take a bit more time to insure problem free reloading than trying for "efficiency" and quick reloading and getting bad ammo. Anytime bullets are "shaved", it is an indication of insufficient flare of the case mouth. Now is not the time to be concerned with case life so use as much flare on the case mouth to successfully start/seat a bullet without shaving lead. It's better to have good shootable, accurate ammo now, and worry about case life later (if it is an issue. brass is readily available and how much can you increase case life by barely flaring a case? Mebbe 5 reloadings?).
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