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40 expander die questions


slodsm
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I’ll preface this by saying I’ve been reloading about 14 years, I’m far from an expert but I’m pretty experienced with 9mm, 223, 308, 6.5cm, and shotgun. Tens of thousands of rounds each and I’ve never had an issue until I decided I was going to start reloading 40. 
 

I’m using range pick up brass from elite reloading, Hornady lnl ap, Hornady dies and shell plate. I can run 9mm through this thing non stop without issue only stopping to refill primers. 
 

I can NOT achieve the same thing with 40. My issue is the expander die, I can’t figure out how much bell to put in the case. The bullets I use are Brazos precision 180’s, they’re coated lead. If I put 9mm size bell in the case, it scrapes the coating off the base of the bullet and it ends up on the outside of the case and fails the hell out of the plunk test. 
 

If I tighten down in the expander die a bit, I lose the shaving issue BUT the bell is big enough it seems less than ideal (over working the brass) and leaves a bit of a lip even after going through the seating/crimp die. 
 

I’m at a loss, the lead bullets aren’t the issue I don’t think, I use them in 9mm and they’re pretty high quality. Can anyone maybe run a 40 through their expander and take a picture and post it? I'm just trying to get a visual reference for this caliber before I either shave all of my bullets or flare all my brass too much lol.  Thanks for any help guys. 

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your problem is your seater/crimp die.. reason most of us seat in one die, crimp in another.
Flare enough you can stick the bullet in and it stays straight.
On your seat/crimp back the crimp portion all the way out.. Get your OAL correct.  Then adjust crimp portion. Sounds like your die is starting to crimp before the bullet is all the way seated.

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15 minutes ago, Joe4d said:

your problem is your seater/crimp die.. reason most of us seat in one die, crimp in another.
Flare enough you can stick the bullet in and it stays straight.
On your seat/crimp back the crimp portion all the way out.. Get your OAL correct.  Then adjust crimp portion. Sounds like your die is starting to crimp before the bullet is all the way seated.


 

I did a crap ton of reading for several hours and I came to that conclusion too, thanks for reinforcing that. I ordered a separate crimp die already so hopefully that will take care of the issue. I just wasn’t expecting this or I would have bought a Redding 4 die set instead of a Hornady 3 die set like I’ve been using on 9mm forever with no issue. 
 

15 minutes ago, dansedgli said:

It sounds like you are using a 9mm expanding die. Is that right? 

 

No sir, 40/10mm expanding die. Sorry for the confusion. I was throwing the 9mm part in there to explain I’m using the same procedure for 40 and I have used for many many thousands of rounds with 9mm and failing miserably so I tried expanding more with the 40 expander and then just made the situation worse in a different way haha. 
 

I just came off 14 days of nights and in an attempt to readjust my schedule, I had been awake for close to 28 hours when I wrote that post so a few bits may have been dream typed making it difficult to understand. 
 

Thanks for the tips guys. Hopefully a separate crimp die to remove the flare/bell will solve my issue. 
 

Also looks like I’ll be shooting factory ammo this weekend at Steel Challenge instead of doing load development today lol. 

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Congrads on getting into 40S&W.  I've been doing it for about 6 years so far (also on a LnL) and have learned a few things.  One is that separate seating and crimping is very desirable as you've already been told.  That is why I went with Dillon dies for my 40S&W.  Makes life much easier and repeatable. 

 

You will also probably soon realize that putting your brass through a push-thru die before reloading is often needed.  This is because many barrels don't fully support the brass all the way to the web and some slight bulging may occur there.  And few, if any, resizing dies will go down far enough to take it out.  If left unaddressed, you may start to see feeding issues in your pistols.  I'm pretty careful to pick up only my own brass now and rarely have an issue since my barrels do a pretty good job but I still run all my brass thru a push-thru die as a first step just to eliminate any possible issues.

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Doug thanks for that info. I’ll look into a push through die as that’s something I’m not familiar with at all. 
 

Since my sleep schedule is still a disaster for at least another day or two, I went out to the garage at 530 and started all over again from scratch with the expander and seater/crimp die that I have now just so I can do some load development. Oddly enough, the absolute bare minimum flare on the case produced the best results for now. I had no issues plunking both directions in the barrel and maybe 1 in 20 would have a mild shaving I could flick off with my thumb nail so I went ahead and loaded up 4 different charge weights at 1.130 to shoot some 25 yard groups and chrono and see what will get me right around 168-170 pf. It’s cold today and tomorrow so if they pass in this they’ll be fine in any weather. 
 

Thanks for the tips and helping me figure out where to troubleshoot and what to add to the press to make it easier/better. 

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s, forget the push through die.  Your Hornady sizing die does an excellent job.  If you want the cat's meow go to seating only with the Hornady die and crimping with the Lee Factory Carbide Crimp Die.  That sizes the case while crimping the bullet and removes all traces of a Glock bulge.

 

You should swap out your expander plug for a Mr. Bulletfeeder expander/funnel and set it for only a microscopic bell.  The expander has two steps.  The lower expands just like conventional, but the upper step expands the very top of the case to just over bullet diameter.  So the bullets sit in the case vertically, and don't shift or fall over when the shell plate indexes.   Just be sure to specify it is for a Hornady when ordering, otherwise you'll get one for a Dillon.

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The pattent for the Lyman type "M" expander expired and Redding pistol dies now have the type "M" expander. The expander is Titanium Nitride coated and slicker than snot on a door knob.

Qeoxsd7.jpg

 

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Example below a .223 Lyman type "M" expander, normally with a jacketed bullet you just bump the case mouth onto the .226 section of the expander. This only opens the case mouth slightly larger than bullet diameter and also aids in straight inline seating.

 

ohIUcpd.png

 

 

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This has been an expensive day hahaha. I’ve bought about 150 bucks worth of individual dies, some combination of these recommendations will work out and over the course of 2-3 years I’ll break even 😄  

 

But seriously I really appreciate all of the advice and tips. Sometime in the middle of next week, the brown truck of happiness will show up and I’ll start piecing this together based off this thread and dammit, I will get a good running 49 round hahaha. 

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Ok USPS finally showed up with my collection of random dies hahaha. 
 

I ended up using the Hornady sizing/depriming die, Redding expander m-type, Hornady seat/crimp adjusted to seat only, and a lee FCD which seriously is adjusted to touch the top as best. 
 

loaded up 90 rounds really quick, not a trace of lead shaving, every single shell measure .422 at the mouth which is the same as the factory ammo I checked, and all 90 will plunk in either direction with ease. 
 

Thanks for the tips and suggestions, perfectly happy with this quality now. 

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Those are low quality bullets that lead up barrels. You shouldn't  have to flare very much at all if the coating is tough enough. I would start with a higher quality bullet for one. And you need a push through case sizing die. Your spent range brass being kaput doesn't help without proper re-sizing.

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You’ve probably got your issues worked out, but here’s what works for me with 40 SW.

Mixed range brass. 

ACME 180grain and Blue 180 grain, no scraping of coating and basically 0 failures to gauge. 
 

Lee sizing die, sizes further down case.

Mr. Bullet feeder powder funnel, expander. 
Dillon seating and taper crimp dies. 

Seated at 1.15. 
 

I have a set of Hornady dies and found the above combo worked better. The Hornady crimp was not as smooth and a bit closer to a roll than a taper. 
 

Hope all worked well for you. 

 

 

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