Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
BCM
Member Login

Posted: 10/15/2013 9:53:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/25/2013 6:28:46 AM EDT by CBR900]
Backstory:  I bent the expander on my 223 die when a piece of Berdan brass got mixed into my brass.  Its bent and I need a replacement.

Q. anyone ever try just skipping the expander all together?  I am not going for ultimate accuracy here.  I am making practice ammo for use against steel targets at a max distance of 50 yards. Gun is a 16" AR with a Wylde chamber (designed to take both 556 and 223).  

I crimp at the cannalure using the Lee Factory Crimp die (the collet closes about 1/2 way).  Bullets are the Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BT with the cannalure.  I am using .mil pull-down powder (WC-844T - it was all they had in stock).

Came up with the idea of skipping the expander after seeing a suggestion to do that on an M-1A forum.  Wondering if anyone's ever tried it with 1X or 2X fired 223 brass ??

My brass is all either 1x fired LC or it has come from Black Hills "blue box" remanufactured ammo - which is made from 1x fired military LC brass.  
And yes, I am aware:  "I should just wait until the new expander arrives."  - that is not my question though.   Anyone?

UPDATE:  It works  (sort of).  

First:  I checked my unsized brass using the Hornady 55 grn bullets I load.  The first piece did just what it was supposed to do:  the bullet fell right into the case and right back out when I turned the case over.

The second case had a dent in the case mouth.  This is the "sort of" part I added above:  an expander ball would have cured that.  As is, I "fixed" the dent with a Stanley brand center punch that has a tapered shank.  Dent gone, I sprayed the cases and resized.

Without the expander.

I trimmed with a Possum Hollow trimmer (yeah, I know the new WTF trimmer is probably better but it was not around 5 years ago and the Possum Hollow still works fine).  To give the bullets a fighting chance, I chamfered the case mouth after trimming.  

Just loaded the Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BTs to the cannalure over 23 grns of WC-844T.  No "bullet shaving" noted at all.  Brass tested was:

2x LC
1x PMC
1x Fioccii

The neck tension seems good - even better than normal.

Once I get a new expander, I;ll go back to using that to correct any dents (they are common).  But its good to know I am not dependant on that expander for loading functional 223 ammo.

Update 2:  I made about 200 rounds without the expander at all.   I did not experience "shaving" issues, but the bullets were Boat tail - Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BT to be exact.  And I usually chamfer the case mouth slightly after trimming (Possum Hollow trimmer).  

They worked fine with no apparent pressure issues (primers looked fine; they functioned in an AR).

I will add that I tend to load on the lighter side (no where close to 5.56 specs) in order to get more life out of the brass - plus I have no need to load hot.  As long as it works in my ARs and carbines, and is accurate - I'm good.  But I doubt that pressures went up much.-  if at all.

In other news, I got a RCBS die back from a friend and it has the expander (a carbide one) - so the plan will be to go back to using that.   YMMV.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 10:20:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 10:23:01 AM EDT by Trollslayer]
I have resized brass using a FL die without the expander ball.  I was appalled at how small the neck was down-sized by the die.  This exercise is where I learned the cause of case neck splits - huge down-sizing followed by re-expansion by the ball.  The neck was so small I could not get a bullet in without shaving jacket material off the bullet.



P.S. - It's worth doing a few pieces to learn this lesson for yourself.  My dies are not your dies.  I was using 308 or 30-06, not 223.  Your result may differ from mine.  Try it and see.


P.P.S. - This is exercise is also why I use neck bushing dies whenever I can.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 10:27:42 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
I have resized brass using a FL die without the expander ball.  I was appalled at how small the neck was down-sized by the die.  This exercise is where I learned the cause of case neck splits - huge down-sizing followed by re-expansion by the ball.  The neck was so small I could not get a bullet in without shaving jacket material off the bullet.



P.S. - It's worth doing a few pieces to learn this lesson for yourself.  My dies are not your dies.  I was using 308 or 30-06, not 223.  Your result may differ from mine.  Try it and see.
View Quote



Awesome - that is exactly what I was looking for: someone who actually tried it.  Thanks - and I WILL give it a try tonight & report back in this thread.  

The die is a Lee FL 223 and I use the Dillon spray lube (it is just Lanolin and alcohol).  In light of your experience, I'll keep an eye out for shaved jacket material.  Sounds like I'll probably have the same experience you did (if not worse).
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 10:38:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 2:53:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 3:00:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 3:04:40 PM EDT by snoog37]
I am betting that your neck id will be too small to seat a bullet without  crumpling the shoulder, bending the neck, and generally messing up the case. Or, minimally shaving the pill, as mentioned above. Definitely try ONE, including seating before running a batch. Also, if you do get a pill seated, you will likely have increased neck tension a good bit, enough to impact load performance and maybe poi some.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 3:21:16 PM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By snoog37:


I am betting that your neck id will be too small to seat a bullet without  crumpling the shoulder, bending the neck, and generally messing up the case. Or, minimally shaving the pill, as mentioned above. Definitely try ONE, including seating before running a batch. Also, if you do get a pill seated, you will likely have increased neck tension a good bit, enough to impact load performance and maybe poi some.
View Quote


I sort of do that normally.  While I use an expander ball when I decap and resize, I then put my brass through my Dillon trimmer which squeezes back down the neck while trimming it.  I've never had a problem with, "... crumpling the shoulder, bending the neck, and generally messing up the case." in the 10s of thousands of .223, .308, and 30-06 brass I've processed this way.  Further, I don't inside chamfer my brass and I load both boat tail and flat based bullets without any issues at all.  Finally, I use this process on my 68grn Hornady .223 loads with TAC powder that produce 100yd ?" sized groups in my son's Savage bolt gun.  So much for concern about expander balls.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 3:45:14 PM EDT
When I tried it, I did not damage the case during bullet seating.  I did shave the jacket just a little.  Mostly, it caused some concern for me about case neck life.  Since I switched to bushing dies, I case neck splits have become a rarity.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 4:04:44 PM EDT


Listen to Dryflash – the answer is NO!







What you have to understand is regular dies undersize the neck way too much and the only way to get it back up to reasonable internal diameter is to run the expander ball back through it. If you don’t, you will have way too small internal neck diameter and so too much neck tension and on top of this the internal diameter of your neck will be uneven because any irregularity of the neck diameter will be transferred internally.



You can in fact size without the ball if you first turn the necks to make their thickness even and then size with bushing die but that is NOT your situation.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 5:02:44 PM EDT
I disagree.

I've loaded 223/556 without the expander ball.  

Just use boat tail bullets, and they seat just fine.

If you load a few, pls get back and let us know how it goes.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 5:44:32 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AeroE:
Yes.

If the necks are round, then an expander ball is not needed.

My .30 Carbine dies do not use an expander ball, and I think I might have a set of pistol dies that do not.

View Quote

What brand of dies don't have an expander for 30 carbine?
I have an RCBS set, and it has an expander, just not on the size die.( 3 die set)
'Borg
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 6:09:47 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By We-rBorg:

What brand of dies don't have an expander for 30 carbine?
I have an RCBS set, and it has an expander, just not on the size die.( 3 die set)
'Borg
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By We-rBorg:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
Yes.

If the necks are round, then an expander ball is not needed.

My .30 Carbine dies do not use an expander ball, and I think I might have a set of pistol dies that do not.


What brand of dies don't have an expander for 30 carbine?
I have an RCBS set, and it has an expander, just not on the size die.( 3 die set)
'Borg



Wouldn't these all be without a "expander ball" anyway? That wouldnt be anything like a bottle neck case.
Link Posted: 10/15/2013 8:01:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 8:04:16 PM EDT by Ronnie_B]
Neck tension is indicated by how much the neck OD changes after a bullet is seated. Many consider a change of .003 inches to be about right.

I experimented a while back with some once-fired LC 223 brass. I sized the brass in the Dillon sizer/trim die which has no expander ball, cleaned lube off, and put reference marks on the neck. I measured the neck outside diameter, seated a boat-tail 55 gr bullet, then measured the neck diameter again. The neck outside was .005 larger in diameter.

So, some would say I now have too much neck tension. But what effect would stretching have?

I pulled the bullet, and the neck did not decrease by .005- It decreased by.003, which is about right.

My theory is that the excess neck sizing is stretched out by the bullet itself, and the brass does not know, nor care, that it wasn't an expander ball.

One thing I also noted on the assembled round was that there is a slight narrowing of the neck below where the bullet is seated, which may also help prevent bullet setback.

Link Posted: 10/15/2013 9:03:20 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By COSteve:

I sort of do that normally.  While I use an expander ball when I decap and resize, I then put my brass through my Dillon trimmer which squeezes back down the neck while trimming it.  I've never had a problem with, "... crumpling the shoulder, bending the neck, and generally messing up the case." in the 10s of thousands of .223, .308, and 30-06 brass I've processed this way.  Further, I don't inside chamfer my brass and I load both boat tail and flat based bullets without any issues at all.  Finally, I use this process on my 68grn Hornady .223 loads with TAC powder that produce 100yd ?" sized groups in my son's Savage bolt gun.  So much for concern about expander balls.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By COSteve:
Originally Posted By snoog37:
I am betting that your neck id will be too small to seat a bullet without  crumpling the shoulder, bending the neck, and generally messing up the case. Or, minimally shaving the pill, as mentioned above. Definitely try ONE, including seating before running a batch. Also, if you do get a pill seated, you will likely have increased neck tension a good bit, enough to impact load performance and maybe poi some.

I sort of do that normally.  While I use an expander ball when I decap and resize, I then put my brass through my Dillon trimmer which squeezes back down the neck while trimming it.  I've never had a problem with, "... crumpling the shoulder, bending the neck, and generally messing up the case." in the 10s of thousands of .223, .308, and 30-06 brass I've processed this way.  Further, I don't inside chamfer my brass and I load both boat tail and flat based bullets without any issues at all.  Finally, I use this process on my 68grn Hornady .223 loads with TAC powder that produce 100yd ?" sized groups in my son's Savage bolt gun.  So much for concern about expander balls.


So, it sounds like the trimmer die doesn't bring the neck down to the same id as a normal sizer die. But the op didn't have the advantage of a normal fl sizer, with expander, like your loads, as you do use an expander according to your post. Sounds like apples and oranges.
Link Posted: 10/16/2013 12:20:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/16/2013 4:22:38 PM EDT by fundummy]
Originally Posted By CBR900:

UPDATE:  It works  (sort of).  

Just loaded the Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BTs to the cannalure over 23 grns of WC-844T.  No "bullet shaving" noted at all.  Brass tested was:

2x LC
1x PMC
1x Fioccii

The neck tension seems good - even better than normal.

Once I get a new expander, I;ll go back to using that to correct any dents (they are common).  But its good to know I am not dependant on that expander for loading functional 223 ammo.
View Quote




you may find that the neck dents correct themselves with the sizing die.

Eta:  A small piece of Velcro ( fuzzy side ) on the rifle case deflector will prevent most neck dents. If it's a little too fuzzy, you can adjust the fuzz height it with a small flame...
Link Posted: 10/16/2013 6:25:24 PM EDT
Standard dies constrict the neck too much IMO. You can follow up with an Epandiron or Sinclair neck expander mandrel you get a different tension than standard. It adds another step which doesn't appeal too me. You can order custom sizes if the two standard sizes don't fill the bill.

I have had Forster custom hone my .223 dies made by them to .2445" and it works fine. Remember any case neck inconsistencies are moved to the interior of the neck until you seat the bullet. The bullet then acts as an expander ball when it's being seated. You can ream the neck interiors to .221" for .003" of tension which is a lot or you can ream at .222" which I consider minimum neck tension difference for use in a semi-auto (.002"). Forster makes the tools and charges only $12.00 or so plus round trip shipping to modify their dies. Remember bullet diameter is .224" provided you aren't measuring to tenths.

A .221" will reamer remove high spots on the interior of the case neck and any donut that has formed at the neck shoulder junction. A .222" neck reamer will remove metal the entire lenght when using a custom die with it's neck honed to .2445" and no expander ball.
Link Posted: 10/25/2013 9:09:42 AM EDT
Update 2: I made about 200 rounds without the expander at all. I did not experience "shaving" issues, but the bullets were Boat tail - Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BT to be exact. And I usually chamfer the case mouth slightly after trimming (Possum Hollow trimmer).

They worked fine with no apparent pressure issues (primers looked fine; they functioned in an AR).

I will add that I tend to load on the lighter side (no where close to 5.56 specs) in order to get more life out of the brass - plus I have no need to load hot. As long as it works in my ARs and carbines, and is accurate - I'm good. But I doubt that pressures went up much.- if at all.

In other news, I got a RCBS die back from a friend and it has the expander (a carbide one) - so the plan will be to go back to using that.

NOTE:  I did this strictly as a test (and also, because I am an impatient person & wanted ammo to shoot at a range day).  Do I advocate this?  No.  Am I claiming this is the best way? No.  I simply posted it to show it works in my gun with my load.   Try it at your own risk.  YMMV.
Link Posted: 10/25/2013 11:10:41 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By borderpatrol:
Standard dies constrict the neck too much IMO. You can follow up with an Epandiron or Sinclair neck expander mandrel you get a different tension than standard. It adds another step which doesn't appeal too me. You can order custom sizes if the two standard sizes don't fill the bill.

I have had Forster custom hone my .223 dies made by them to .2445" and it works fine. Remember any case neck inconsistencies are moved to the interior of the neck until you seat the bullet. The bullet then acts as an expander ball when it's being seated. You can ream the neck interiors to .221" for .003" of tension which is a lot or you can ream at .222" which I consider minimum neck tension difference for use in a semi-auto (.002"). Forster makes the tools and charges only $12.00 or so plus round trip shipping to modify their dies. Remember bullet diameter is .224" provided you aren't measuring to tenths.

A .221" will reamer remove high spots on the interior of the case neck and any donut that has formed at the neck shoulder junction. A .222" neck reamer will remove metal the entire lenght when using a custom die with it's neck honed to .2445" and no expander ball.
View Quote


So on my Lee .223 FL die, can/should I have the expander turned down to .221" to ensure there

will be minimum 0.003" neck tension on a .224" bullet? How do you factor in 'spring back' of

the brass?
Link Posted: 10/25/2013 4:57:42 PM EDT
Spring back is a nominal .001" unless the brass is old or has been reloaded many times.
Link Posted: 10/25/2013 5:05:32 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By CBR900:
Update 2: I made about 200 rounds without the expander at all. I did not experience "shaving" issues, but the bullets were Boat tail - Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BT to be exact. And I usually chamfer the case mouth slightly after trimming (Possum Hollow trimmer).

They worked fine with no apparent pressure issues (primers looked fine; they functioned in an AR).

I will add that I tend to load on the lighter side (no where close to 5.56 specs) in order to get more life out of the brass - plus I have no need to load hot. As long as it works in my ARs and carbines, and is accurate - I'm good. But I doubt that pressures went up much.- if at all.

In other news, I got a RCBS die back from a friend and it has the expander (a carbide one) - so the plan will be to go back to using that.

NOTE:  I did this strictly as a test (and also, because I am an impatient person & wanted ammo to shoot at a range day).  Do I advocate this?  No.  Am I claiming this is the best way? No.  I simply posted it to show it works in my gun with my load.   Try it at your own risk.  YMMV.
View Quote


Glad to hear it works just fine.
Did you put a piece of fuzzy Velcro on the rifle ( case deflector ) ?
Link Posted: 10/25/2013 7:42:18 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By fundummy:


Glad to hear it works just fine.
Did you put a piece of fuzzy Velcro on the rifle ( case deflector ) ?
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By fundummy:
Originally Posted By CBR900:
Update 2: I made about 200 rounds without the expander at all. I did not experience "shaving" issues, but the bullets were Boat tail - Hornady 55 grn FMJ-BT to be exact. And I usually chamfer the case mouth slightly after trimming (Possum Hollow trimmer).

They worked fine with no apparent pressure issues (primers looked fine; they functioned in an AR).

I will add that I tend to load on the lighter side (no where close to 5.56 specs) in order to get more life out of the brass - plus I have no need to load hot. As long as it works in my ARs and carbines, and is accurate - I'm good. But I doubt that pressures went up much.- if at all.

In other news, I got a RCBS die back from a friend and it has the expander (a carbide one) - so the plan will be to go back to using that.

NOTE:  I did this strictly as a test (and also, because I am an impatient person & wanted ammo to shoot at a range day).  Do I advocate this?  No.  Am I claiming this is the best way? No.  I simply posted it to show it works in my gun with my load.   Try it at your own risk.  YMMV.


Glad to hear it works just fine.
Did you put a piece of fuzzy Velcro on the rifle ( case deflector ) ?


No fuzzy velcro.  But my load does not seem to dent up the case mouths much.
Top Top