How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

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How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by Sa-tevp on 8/1/2015, 8:39 am

First topic message reminder :

I'm a new reloader finishing up my last box of cast 200gr 45 bullets and am planning to load swaged bullets, and found when I pulled a dummy round that the .452" swaged bullet has been swaged by the brass to .450". The cast bullets stay at .452" after crimping. My expander die opens the brass to .449" ID with a .453" ID bell, which has worked great for getting cast bullets to sit well during loading and seat straight.

Any suggestions for changing my equipment or process? Is this a common problem with swaged bullets?
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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 3/18/2018, 1:34 pm

I’m using the Lee Universal and NOE and getting great results.
I did start on a single stage and will eventually migrate to the progressive.  Very happy.  Zero swaging on the .357 diameter bullets I started testing with.  When I buy proper .358 I’ll post up the results. 

Very little bell



Seats bullets very straight



Finger pressure can seat to 90% just like Jerry recommended.  Factory on the right, finger pressure seated 158gr LSWC on the left.
Important to have at the correct NOE plug ~ .001” greater than the bullet diameter 




End result.  Bullets aren’t the best, but that’s why I used them Wink
I’ll be setting up a tool head with a decamping die and the Lee/Noe to prep brass next.

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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by SmokinNJokin on 3/18/2018, 2:47 pm

Sa-tevp wrote:I'm a new reloader finishing up my last box of cast 200gr 45 bullets and am planning to load swaged bullets, and found when I pulled a dummy round that the .452" swaged bullet has been swaged by the brass to .450". The cast bullets stay at .452" after crimping. My expander die opens the brass to .449" ID with a .453" ID bell, which has worked great for getting cast bullets to sit well during loading and seat straight.

Any suggestions for changing my equipment or process? Is this a common problem with swaged bullets?

There is a super simple, cheap solution for you! Use the hornady brand .452 (45 colt) PTX die, and get rid of your separate expander station. This die is EXACTLY perfect for swaged or cast lead .45 bullets. It works so well, you can even eliminate the case mouth flare to help preserve your brass life. I have loaded thousands upon thousands of lead rounds sized to different diameters, swaged, powdercoated, etc. with nary a lead sliver.

FYI, the hornady .452 ptx die is not just slightly larger than the .451 version, it is a totally different profile, a copy of the m-type expander. And it costs a whopping $10. Ditch the custom expander and never look back. No need to change your crimp or anything else.

Station 1- size/deprime
Station 2- .452 PTX
Station 3- Bullet feeder die
Station 4- Seating die
Station 5- crimp die

Good luck!

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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 3/18/2018, 7:40 pm

Sa-tevp wrote:I ran across this Dillon powder funnel replacement made by Double Alpha Academy in a discussion on another forum:

I would recommend one with a less abrupt angle that gives more expansion within the case.
Steve Bathje (RPPMI) makes a great expander for the Dillon/RCBS press, see below.  You have to check with him on the ammo plant.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/rrpmi/m.html?isRefine=true&_mwBanner=1&rmvSB=true
sbathje@yahoo.com



SmokinNJokin wrote:
Sa-tevp wrote:I'm a new reloader finishing up my last box of cast 200gr 45 bullets and am planning to load swaged bullets, and found when I pulled a dummy round that the .452" swaged bullet has been swaged by the brass to .450". The cast bullets stay at .452" after crimping. My expander die opens the brass to .449" ID with a .453" ID bell, which has worked great for getting cast bullets to sit well during loading and seat straight.

Any suggestions for changing my equipment or process? Is this a common problem with swaged bullets?

There is a super simple, cheap solution for you! Use the hornady brand .452 (45 colt) PTX die, and get rid of your separate expander station. This die is EXACTLY perfect for swaged or cast lead .45 bullets. It works so well, you can even eliminate the case mouth flare to help preserve your brass life. I have loaded thousands upon thousands of lead rounds sized to different diameters, swaged, powdercoated, etc. with nary a lead sliver.

FYI, the hornady .452 ptx die is not just slightly larger than the .451 version, it is a totally different profile, a copy of the m-type expander. And it costs a whopping $10. Ditch the custom expander and never look back. No need to change your crimp or anything else.

Station 1- size/deprime
Station 2- .452 PTX
Station 3- Bullet feeder die
Station 4- Seating die
Station 5- crimp die
Good luck!

I wonder if something like the Hornady setup would work on a Dillon, but I'm assuming (probably wrong) that you would need the Hornady powder system.
If it doesn't work with a Dillon, IMO a custom expander IMO would be easier on the 550/650. The other potential problem is swaging.  If the bullet is .452 you would want a .453 expander to avoid compression and not sure if the PTX offers that, just not familiar enough.

The NOE (for me) is usually a single stage solution for long line ammo, with soft lead bullets, I got mine for long line, soft, swaged 38 HBWCs. 
I'm going to use Steve's expander for 45 ACP LSWCs and 38 special LRN/LSWC.  When I have both on hand I'll compare and post results.

Photo from another forum to show NOE plug.

https://leeprecision.com/universal-case-expanding-die.html
http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/index.php?cPath=89&osCsid=vfjqneovfe10nm38id7kssiup2



Here's my current setup for long line 45 ACP/38 special LSWC on a Dillon progressive:

Station 1 - Size only (NOE) (deprime on a single stage or seperate run on the progressive)
Station 2 - Powder/Flare - No flare or expansion, just dump powder by backing the expander out (station 1 took care of this)
Station 3 - Powder Check
Station 4 - Seat
Station 5 - Crimp

Here's my tentative setup (waiting for Steve's expander) for short line 45 ACP LSWC or jacketed bullets on a Dillon progressive:

Station 1 - Sizing/decapping
Station 2 - Powder Measure - Use Steve Bathje expander
Station 3 - Powder Check
Station 4 - Bullet Seating
Station 5 - Crimp

Note: I really wish Dillon would add another station Sad


Last edited by JayhawkNavy02 on 3/19/2018, 12:06 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by SmokinNJokin on 3/18/2018, 7:50 pm

Maybe I misread, i thought OP was loading on hornady LNL ap press, not a Dillon. I just ordered one on Steve B’s expanders for my Dillon (38 spl wc)

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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 3/18/2018, 7:52 pm

SmokinNJokin wrote:Maybe I misread, i thought OP was loading on hornady LNL ap press, not a Dillon. I just ordered one on Steve B’s expanders for my Dillon (38 spl wc)

He is, you're absolutely right.
My post just wasn't clear, I was wondering if you could use the LNL Powder measure.  I've heard good things about it.
(edited above to avoid inducing any more confusion)

Also, if you're shopping with Steve, his seating insert for Dillon and RCBS is the bees knees
Steve's on the left from stainless and the Dillon on the right.
I've asked him for one for JHPs



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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by kashaV on 3/20/2018, 3:31 pm

Found this thread on the NOE forum. It seems pertinent to the subject.
http://noebulletmolds.com/smf/index.php/topic,1763.0.html

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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by Aufidius on 3/23/2018, 6:23 pm

A friend of mine sent his off to Starline, apparently they will touch up your expander so you don't have that new brass stick problem- no idea what the dimensions are, though.


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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 3/23/2018, 6:58 pm

I’ve done it.  It doesn’t stick but may still swage certain bullets, and/or over bell the case mouth if inserted to deeply for bullets like the 148gr HBWC.  Starline  is a great little modification, because it doesn’t stick, but it doesn’t address root cause.  Which is the expander is a little too short and for some bullets too small in diameter.  For jacketed bullets and most led bullets the Dillon expander is terrific.

Custom on top vs Dillon on bottom 



Last edited by JayhawkNavy02 on 3/24/2018, 5:46 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by Aufidius on 3/23/2018, 7:03 pm

I thought you backed out the powder drop die to reduce the bell? Anyway, neat info, thanks.

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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by oldsalt444 on 3/24/2018, 5:41 pm

I wouldn't worry about swaged bullets being .002" smaller.  The nice thing about swaged bullets is that they're softer and will obturate easier in your barrel.  The obturation fills the bore nicely and will still be as accurate as cast bullets, sometimes better.  I've been using swaged for a while and they give up  nothing accuracy-wise to cast. I even use a Lee Factory Crimp Die which has a carbide sizing ring to ensure the case is sized to specs after loading. Probably squeezes the bullet down a bit more, but I can't tell the difference on the target. Driven to target velocities, there's no leading either.  There's no need to go all super-technical with machinist made expanders and such. You're fine. Reload, shoot, repeat.
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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by LenV on 3/24/2018, 7:53 pm

kwixdraw wrote:I would imagine that they would give you the info you want if you give them a call. Generally they have been helpful folks. .452 bullets for the .460?  It sounds like they are talking the .458 rifle diameter bullets doesn't it? I've never had an interest in those hand cannons so I never checked on it.
The .460 is just a long (really long) 45 Colt. It will shoot 45 Colt, 454 Casul and the .460. Like calling something a 38 Special when its really .357.
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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/25/2018, 10:52 am

I thought I would add where I ended up after starting this topic.

For lead 45 ACP I load on a Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press.

Station 1 is a Hornady 454 Casull sizing die (Hornady and RCBS are supposed to make the smaller 454 Casull sizers per the 454 users)
Station 2 is a NOE .456/.452 expander plug in a Lee Universal expander (.457/.453 was not in the catalog when I was setting up)
Station 3 is a Hornady powder drop with a .451/.452 45 Auto PTX (used for activating the powder drop)
Station 4 is a Redding Competition 45 ACP seater die
Station 5 is a Reading Competition 45 ACP crimp die (a regular Redding crimp die would work just as well)

For swaged 38 Special HBWC I load on a Dillon Square Deal B progressive press.

Brass is deprimed and sized on the Hornady LNL with a Lee Carbide 38 Super sizing die. (This sizes lower on the case than the Dillon and smooths out the bulge that I get when firing 38 Spl in S&W chambers)

Station 1 is a Dillon 38 Super sizing die
Station 2 is a custom made expander .357" for the full length of a HBWC (a lot of case lube needed)
Station 3 is a Dillon seating die with a turned down OD for seating HBWC flush or under case length so I don't catch the lip of the brass
Station 4 is a Dillon crimp die

Both presses are set up for good visibility into the cases for checking powder loads before a bullet is set in. The SDB was tricky as I had to grind a groove into the press body to peer into the tall 38 Special cases for powder drop confirmation.

The 45 loads shoot great. I was seeing some leading with 38 Spl HBWC in S&W barrels but then started Ziebarting* the bullets and those bullets shot very clean. Since my coach can shoot ten ring size groups at 50 yards with my pistols and ammo I only have to work on my shot process.

The idea of using larger sizing dies is to reduce the amount of spring-back after expanding. I am also curious about the dies dimensions used in Star Universal presses and my understanding is that these were intended for loading lead bullets.


* Tumble lubed in Lee Liquid Alox or 45-45-10.
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Re: How do I keep my swaged bullets from getting swaged during reloading?

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