Sure, the Lee bullet sizing die will work in your RCBS RS3 press. It has 7/8"x14TPI threads as does the Lee sizing die, just like other standard reloading dies.
You shouldn't encounter any problems sizing the bullets down, as the Lee die has a gentle, tapered lead going into the sizing chamber of the die, thus you won't shave lead from the bullet. The press will give plenty of leverage for sizing even the hardest of bullets down, however, you'll probably (depending upon bullet hardness) experience some significant residual memory of the bullet, meaning that typically, if you're sizing a bullet of BHN 21-22 and sized at .457" down through the .425" Lee die, that the resultant diameter after sizing will most likely be .453"-.4537"! My guess would be, that if you desire a finished diameter of .452" from these pills that you'll need a .451" sizing die, and perhaps even a .450" (available special order from Lee) to reach your desired end result.
Keep in mind that sizing a bullet this much can result in a significant amount of distortion to the bullet, and a certain amount of "work-softening" of the alloy, meaning that the surface hardness of the bullets bearing surfaces may have a lower BHN hardness than when in it's original form. Most times this isn't an issue, at least at handgun velocities. However, if the bullet doesn't feed precisely straight into the sizing die, you can create a bullet sized slightly off-square. One help to prevent this is to put a dab of bullet lube or beeswax on the flat portion of the Lee punch where the bullet sits. This will allow the bullet base to shift on the top of the punch as the ram is being raised, and as the bullet enters the tapered lead into the sizing chamber of the die, the bullet base can shift around on top of the punch as needed to self-align with the lubricity of the bullet lube on the face of the punch. It doesn't take much, and don't overdue a good thing.
JTT- One little point I'd like to make here. If you're going to radically size cast bullets, do it with all the lube grooves full. Sizing bullets doesn't remove any bullet material, it just sort of redistributes it. Lube grooves can collapse under radical resizing because the displaced metal has to go somewhere, the grooves are a likely location. As it is, you can expect the bullets length to grow slightly too, but probably not enough for it to be a significant factor.
Pure lead will not give much springback, if any (and certainly will be a lot less effort than hard cast). Don't have to worry about work-softening them either! Sounds like you have about ideal circumstances to try this.
If those bullets are truly pure lead, they'll only have a BHN of around 5, being awfully soft! You won't be able to push them very hard at all without some problems! You might consider bumping up the hardness just a little for best performance. You mention handgun velocities... are those heavy handgun velocities, or more along the lines of a .38 Spcl.?
Thanks guys, I'm using recycled plumming lead from old shower pans. I don't know if it is 100% but I haven't added anything to it. As for the velocity I plan on pushing them around 600 to 700 fps. I've been using Lee Liquid Alox should I lube before sizing or after? Would it hurt to lube before and after?Thanks again, JTT IN NC
No, it won't hurt to use the Liquid Alox before and after. I have done this with .30 caliber rifle bullets when sizing with the Lee die. I rolled them very lightly before sizing, then after sizing I dipped each bullet down to the crimping groove, of course letting the Alox dry between procedures. I got good results, although further testing has shown that for my applications the second dip wasn't really necessary. Experiment and have fun! ID
I've been sizing .459 325gr using WW air cooled cast down to .453 for use in my 45 colt for some time.I'm using the Lee sizer and RCBS Rockchucker press.
I panlube so theres plenty of lube in the grooves,and makes the bullet go through with less effort, I've never had to relube after sizing, the grease groves get a little smaller than cast but never had any leading problems.
I'm experimenting now with a .458 405 gr RFN both PB and HB bullets for my 45 Colt Ruger. Preleminary tests look promising.
Good luck in your project. and have "loads" of fun.
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