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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Marshall and I have been discussing offering some custom "M" expanders and such.  I've got a lathe and time on my hands, he's got this great web site and people who like to reload.  Some of you may have seen the tech note "M-Proving Lyman's M-die" (or whatever the title was), which I wrote.  Anyway, I knocked out an M-type expander in .338 just for a fun project and it works great.

I've seen several posts in the past where people were looking for .416 "M" expanders and other oddball diameters that aren't offered by Lyman.  Also, one or two inquiries where someone had a cartridge case that would not fit into a standard "M" die body (which are about 0.520").

So.... if anyone is interested in custom diameters, send me a private message, or feel free to post right here.  We are trying to gage the level of interest in such an offering.  I should also be able to turn out an "M" die body with a larger internal diameter, or, bore out one of the Lyman die bodies.

Any other 'goodies' that people are interested in, speak up, who knows what we might be able to come up with.  No intention to compete with the mass products (some of which are very good), just put custom work in the reach of ordinary reloaders like yourselves.

Your thoughts....?
 

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Hi, Mike:
   Lyman's 30L body isn't big enough for a .50-90 Sharps or a 50-110 Winchester and they list M-Dies for the Sharps and the .50-70 Gov't.  They also list the .300 RUM with the 30L body, but I can't get a 7mm RUM into my 1994  30L.  So they're either boring out the bodies more than they used to or have a "wide body" for the .50s or both.  You might save time if you can get a "wide body" to start with.  All of the .404 (RUMs & Dakotas)and .50-110  based cartridges ( .348 & Alaskans & WSMs) need one.

Bye
Jack
 

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Jack mentioned that the "m" die is abscent for the.348wcf and others. Just wanted to say that i would be interested in one for the .348
Scott in Vermont
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Mike:
How hard do you suppose it would be to make an  "M" type Dillon powder funnel?
Mark
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #6
Mcassil,

You took the words right out of my mouth... next project is going to be setting up a powder funnel for my Dillon 450 that has the "M" configuration.  If this works.... you'll all hear about it.  Too bad Dillon doesn't offer this, I know that's what I'd prefer.

Jack, regarding turning down the plug on another caliber, yes that can be done, but it would be more difficult than you think without a lathe.  The expander buttons are really hard.  A file won't even scratch them.  I've tried just sanding them down (like you'd do if all you had was a drill press), but find that it's tough to take off the same amount of material all the way up and down the expander, even when it's only 0.010".  Guess the next route would be to anneal the expander button, sand it down, then re-temper.  It certainly is possible to do at home.

One question that comes to mind, are the 'stems' (part that adjusts up and down in the die body that the expander button screws to) for the .50-70, .50-110, etc., (large calibers) the same as the smaller die sizes?  If anyone has both a large die body and a small one, I would be grateful if you would measure a couple of things and check.  The small die bodies are bored straight through at about 0.520", and the top third or so is threaded 9/16"x18 t.p.i (9/16" outside diameter on the threaded part, 18 threads per inch).  Question is, what is the inside diameter of the large die body (on both ends), and how is the stem threaded?

Scott... would be glad to see what I can do.  Shouldn't be too hard.  I will send you a private message so we can work out the details.  Right now everything is pretty much in the experimental stage, I know how to make the parts but am trying to figure out what is going to be the best process and what makes sense for the customer.  No sense in duplicating pieces that can be purchased over the counter for a reasonable price.

Thanks, guys, for your comments.  It looks like there is some interest.
 

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Hi, Mike:
   The thread's the same.  I've got the 30L and a .45 ACP with an extra .35 plug.  The 30L has a long body and a short top screw (1.75").  The .45 ACP has a short body and a long top screw (2.625"). Neither work for a .35 Remington since the case length is intermediate, so I swap top screws. Either long body - long top screw or short body - short top screw works.  Inside diameter is about .515" at the mouth and looks like it's straight through to the threads. Anyhow, a .475 Linebaugh load drops in.  However, the new ones have to be a bit larger to do a RUM or a .50-90.

  I should have said "turn it down with a lathe".  

   What it boils down to it that you only need a short pistol die and a long rifle die and an assortment of expander plugs and your're set, unless the .50s take a larger diameter top screw.  

Bye
Jack
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Jack, that makes sense.  I guess I'll have to find a .50 die body and see what it measures.

What I've come up with for odd diameters so far is this:

- .416 (Remington/Rigby/Hoffman - not sure if a Weatherby case would fit the standard die body, probably not)
- .404 Jeffrey
- .348 Winchester
- .38-55 (as a number of people are shooting .379"-.380" bullets, and I doubt that Lyman's 37 cal expander goes this big)
- .480 Ruger/.475 Linebaugh, if Lyman isn't already offering this (isn't in my Midway catalog).

Ray (Contender) had a good suggestion, which is modifying the Lee expanders for pistol dies into an M configuration.  I just took apart a friend's Lee 9mm die set and the expander is a sleeve that fits down in the die that drops out when you remove the top piece.

It would be simple to chuck the sleeve in a 4-jaw, and turn the tapered part of the expander into an M configuration.  Just a couple of minute's work.

Or I can make one from scratch pretty easily.

So if anyone would like to go that route, drop me a line here or through messenger.  We'll turn a Lee into a Lyman!
 

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Hi, Mike:
    You and Scott should get together and order a .50-90 M-Die and a .35 expander plug and make up a .348 die.  I'm a little concerned about base dimensions.  The .404 - RUMs have a .546" base and the .348 in my collection measures .546", but Barne's COTW and Hornady specify .553".  A phone call to Lyman might be in order, given all the possible setups.

  The base diameter of my .50-90 is .565", which agrees with Lyman #46.

   The .416 Rigby's base is .589, and the big Weatherby's belt is .603". These could need a lot of reaming.

   Lyman lists dies for the .475 Wildey and .50 AE in the 2001 catalogue, plus the .50-70 and .50-90, so they're equipped to make dies for the .475 Linebaugh & .480 Ruger.

    Jon Vidas at http://missoula.bigsky.net/western/index.htm has a good stock of M-Dies.

Bye
Jack
 

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Jack,
Thanks for the advice on the 50/90 body.(you saved me some footwork)I received an e-mail from Mike G about making an expander plug. I'll be coming up with some measurements soon. In the mean time i'll see if i can scrounge up a die body.
Scott
 

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The Lee Decapping die is bored out to .550" inside diameter to a depth of about 2.9".

It would probably be a simple matter to turn down stems to fit the collet on top and to whatever diameter needed on the bottom of the stem.

They could be made in a tapered expander configuration or an M-type stepped design.

Only problem you would have is the length of this die would be too long for the shorter cartridges but you could get around that by making a longer stem to carry to the bottom of the die further.

A decapping pin won't be needed either.

Only other real drawback would be a wrench is needed to remove the collet holder so it wouldn't be as fast as the threaded type stems in the Lyman die.

The stock Lyman hardened expander plugs could be stoned down to proper diameter with a coarse sharpening stone. Like a honing operation. Then polished with a fine paper. Slow but may be worthwhile if you didn't have that much to remove.

Regards
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #12
Good suggestion Ray.  I do have one of the Lee decapping dies and will check it also.

Jack, thanks for the measurements - that probably saved us a few steps.

I think that if someone needs a die body that's larger than what Lyman offers, best alternative would be to run a 5/8" drill bit into the die body.  The Lyman die bodies aren't hardened.  This would open it up to about 0.625" - which sounds like it would be enough for nearly anything.

Anything else... fire away.  Good comments all.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #13
Gents.... here's the latest creation:  What I believe to be the world's most versatile "M" die for the .38-55 / .375 Win.

I know that some .38/55 rifles are said to have bores as large as 0.379"-0.380".  Beartooth has bullets up to 0.378", I believe.  Standard jacketed for the caliber is 0.375"... clearly one expander can't cover all of this range... or can it?????

I cut an expander today, kind of thinking through the problem (and also making some assumptions which may or may not turn out to be true).  First, I'd like a pilot on the expander that would just fit in the neck of a resized case... which I'm guessing would measure about 0.368", depending on brass thickness.  Then, I'd like the expander for 0.375" jacketed bullets to run about 0.373", with a small step to about 0.377".  With brass springback this should leave the neck about 0.371" before the bullet goes in the case and a little step of about 0.375" to help the bullet start straight.

For cast, I'd like the majority of the neck to be expanded to 0.375" or so, assuming use of 0.376" and larger bullets.  So, counting for brass springback, that expander is going to have to measure about 0.377".  Those cast bullets need, no let's say REQUIRE, an additional step on the neck which ensures that the bullet base won't be damaged.  Let's say to cover all the bases, the last step in the expander should measure a whopping 0.3825" or so, as someone might load all the way up to 0.380".

Well... your comments please!  This gem is threaded 9/16" / 18tpi to fit the standard Lyman M die body.  The nut was a half-inch by 13tpi which I bored out and re-threaded.  I also faced off one side of the nut while it was in the lathe so it would be square to the top of the die.
 

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I was getting ready to order a few Lyman M-dies, but if I can get by with one long body and one short body and buy additional expanders, I will go that route.  Can anyone tell me where I can order some standard diameter expanders and how much they cost?  Thanks, James.
 

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I am posting this again, because somehow my first post ended up under the image in the previous post.  Anyway, I was getting ready to order some Lyman M-dies, but if I can get by with ordering 1 Long die and 1 short die, and then buying additional expanders, I will go that route.  Can someone tell me where I can order additional standard diameter expanders, and how much they cost?  Thanks, James.
 

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Hi, James:
    Lyman's catalogue is a bit confusing, since some like the 30L are listed for all 30s as long as the .308 Winchester and longer, while there are a few calibre specific one like the .30 carbine. However, they just list catalogue numbers for the pistol dies, but there's considerable overlap, so one does everything from the .45 ACP to the .454 Casull.  Best you reply with the two you want to start with and I'll check the catalogue.

   I got a .35 expander from Jon Vidas. There's a link in one of my posts on the first page. Can't remember for sure, but I think it was $5-6 US.

   Bet you're using Netscape. This new board software and Netscape 4.7 don't agree on picture handling.

Bye
Jack
 

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Jack, I was going to get a rifle die for 30-06 and add an expander for 303 British and 35 remington.  I was also going to get a pistol die for 44 magnum and add an expander for 357 magnum and 7.62 x25 Tokarev.  Thanks, James.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #18
James,

You might check with your local gunshop, if there is one convenient to you.  One of the shops in my area is willing sell the dies by the individual parts, and I've basically done what you want to do.  It does save a little money, at the expense of some setup time.

I'm guessing that it will probably be more difficult to do this the mail order route, as Midway et al may not have it product broken down to this level.

Hopefully Jack can find a source for you.
 

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Hi, James:
   That 7.62x25 Tok complicates things, because the .30 plug is almost an inch long, for the Krag, I suppose.  I think it will bottom out in the Tok case, but you could grind it back enough for the Tok and still do a .30-06. (Into the cartridge collection) Looks like it might make it in the Tok, but you could take off a 1/4" and still do an `06.

  The rest is clear sailing. A .35 expander does the .357 & .35 Remington, and you'll need a .31 expander for the .303.  So get a 30L, p/n 7349002 for the `06 and a 7340820 for the .44 Mag.  If you can't get them locally, check with Jon at Western Bullet via the link in my earlier post. He specializes in M-Dies. Or you can order directly from Lyman, 1-800-22-LYMAN.

  I'm constantly switching between .38 Special & .45 ACP, with some .357 to boot. Measure the distance from the stem locknut to the top of the stem. Draw a clock hand on top of the stem and note the position. Write both on a card and you can adjust to the different calibre in less than a minute. For example, .45 ACP, .560 at 2 o'clock and .38 Special , .800 at 7 o'clock.

  As I mentioned earlier, you'll have to swap stems to do the .35 Remington.

  If your dealer has a .38 Special  die or  a 31L .303 die, they'll do too. A 7.62 Tok die should work, but that's not likely a stocked item most places.
.38 Special/.357Mag&Max - p/n 7341801
.31L .303 - p/n 7349005
7.62 Tok - p/n 7342105

Bye
Jack
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #20
Even faster setup -

Leave the die ring locked on the die body (which it sounds like Jack is doing).

Then, use the 'depth' function of your caliper to measure from the 'nose' of the expander plug to the bottom of the die body.  Once you have the die set up for a caliber, just record this measurement on a piece of paper and keep in the die box.

With this method, I can even go between different presses - example, there is a difference of about 0.080" between my RCBS and Dillon.
 
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