Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

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Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Wed May 09, 2018 11:48 pm

I was following the thread on 'Correct diameter expander for 45 acp lead'.  A lot of good advice in that thread so I thought I would give it a try.
 
I reload Zero swaged 185 grain SWC-HP.  I purchased the NOE 456/452 expander.  I use a Dillon 550B.  I use Starline brass. 
 
I am able to set it up so that I can push, with very little effort, most of the bullet into the case, as can be seen in the top photo.  However, regardless if I use new brass, many times fired brass, brass with little carbon buildup on the inside, brass with carbon buildup on the inside, make the expansion shallower; the plug is shredding the brass, as seen in the bottom photo.  I tried lubricating the inside of the brass, no difference.  I hear the shredding as soon as the plug enters the case.  The buildup on the plug was from expanding less than 25 cases.
 
Any advice on solving this issue will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.




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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by Aprilian on Thu May 10, 2018 9:13 am

IMO;
1) you are going in too far into the case, I set mine to only go half way up the step
2) you appear not to be lubing your cases enough, There is a lot of brass embedded in the plug for just 25 pulls.  I clean my plug regularly with 2000 grit to remove the surface brass before lubing it with Lee case lube (in the tube).

I'd look at your case mouths, if they have a burr on them you might want to try a light chamfer on 25, clean the insert and try again.  You could also try a few cases that are not resized to see if the same thing happens.

Tooling gets old, your insert seems to be rougher than my 3.  You can try polishing down the high points.  If it made chatter from day one, contact Noe and check with them for ideas.
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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by Chris Miceli on Thu May 10, 2018 9:38 am

What does your sizing die size brass to ? colt 45 long sizing die and wet tumbled for  only 60 mins  might
Help

Since your using a 550 get ahold of rrpmi on eBay Steve Bathje. He made mine
I never ran case lube.



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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by fc60 on Thu May 10, 2018 11:37 am

Greetings,

The photo of the expander fouled with brass suggests you are either using brand new brass or your fired cases are too clean.

The brass is welding itself to the expander plug. Try putting the plug in a hand drill and cleaning it with a piece of fine steel wool or ScotchBrite.

To prevent this from happening, spray some case lube on the brass to offer some lubrication.

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Thu May 10, 2018 6:39 pm

Aprilian, if I remember correctly from the 'Correct diameter expander for 45 acp lead' post, the case should be expanded enough so that 90% of the bullet base can be hand fitted.  I think the concept is we don't want the diameter of a lead bullet reduced when being seated.  Regarding lube, I will try to use dry lube on the inside of my cases next time as I am not a big fan of using web lube inside a case.  I checked the case mouths, they seem ok.  I did try recently-fired-not-yet-cleaned brass and got the same issue.  I think the issue is the transition from the curved end of the plug to the straight wall of the plug.  I think the angle is too aggressive and is causing the plug to shave the brass instead of gently pushing it into shape, but this is the first time I have used the NOE expander plugs so more likely I am not using it correctly.  Since the expander plugs are new, I will contact Noe as you suggest.
 
Chris, the resizing die sizes the cases to ~0.467".  I do wet tumble, so I will try reducing the amount of time they tumble as you suggest.
 
fc60, the brass is many times fired but I do a pretty through job of cleaning the fired cases.  I first suspected the brass was too clean so I took recently-fired-not-yet-cleaned brass and got the same results.  What case lube do you use inside your cases  I have the dry lubricant used by bottle necked cases reloaders that I thought I would try.
 
All, I was thinking the transition angle from the curved end of the plug to the straight wall of the plug is too aggressive and is causing the plug to shave the brass instead of gently pushing it into shape.  So I tried an experiment.  I took my second Lee Universal Expander die and set it up in my single stage press.  I then used one of the Lee 'belling' plugs that came with the die and flared the case mouths just enough (~0.473") so that the straight walled part of the plug just barely hand fits into the case mouth.  I then ran the case through the NOE expander plug.  I did 100 cases like this.  While the shredding was greatly reduced, it still was cutting into the brass.  So I still have a ways to go to learn how to properly use the NOE plugs.  The good news is those 100 cartridges case gauged better than my previous lead reloads and there was zero lube/lead residue build up in the seating and crimping dies.  And I went to the range and fired some test shots.  My previous reloads did not seal the chamber as well as I wanted when fired because they left burn marks half way down the case (bottom case in photo).  But the reloads using the NOE expander plug did a much better job of sealing the chamber as the burn marks were significantly reduced (top case in photo).  I assume this is due to several factors, such as the case mouth had no lube/lead residue and therefore, had a more solid fitting head space.


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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by fc60 on Thu May 10, 2018 8:18 pm

Greetings,

I use Pure Lanolin diluted with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol placed in a spritzer bottle.

(Similar to Dillon Case Lube.)

I put my cases in a square plastic food storage box and spray the top surface of the brass. With a second storage box placed on top, I now shake the contents to spread the lube around.

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by fc60 on Thu May 10, 2018 8:19 pm

Greetings,

Out of curiosity, what does the loaded round measure?

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by Aprilian on Thu May 10, 2018 8:38 pm

Jerry’s 90% depth was only possible with a custom plug of a longer first section.  Noe only gets me 50%.  You need to consider that the purpose of the plug’s step to the 2nd diameter is solely to allow you to set the bullet square into the case. 

I’m glad you are making progress, considering how many different dies, settings and presses are in use, you only have to find a process which works for you.
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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Thu May 10, 2018 9:20 pm

fc60, I was taught/learned that the OAL for a SWC is not that important due to the different nose profiles and the fact that the nose never engages the rifling.  But having said that, the OAL is around 1.217".  The length I am interested in for a SWC is what I call the shoulder length.  It is the left most red arrow in the picture.  This length is around 0.923".  The shoulder of the bullet sits about 0.028" above the case mouth.  The crimp is 0.468".
 
I have modified my seating stem so the stem does not touch the nose of the SWC at all.  It only touches the bullet shoulder.  Therefore, the bullet is pushed into the case by its shoulders.  In this way, the nose profile (of a SWC) is not a factor in controlling seating depth.  (p.s. I use a different seating stem when seating JHP.)


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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by Virgil Kane on Fri May 11, 2018 8:17 am

I have a Steve Bathje expanding die in my 650.  Had the same problem as you with brass shaving and brass embedded in the Bathje expander plug.  As I recieved it the expander plug was a bit rough so I just polished the expander plug and I give a quick squirt of Hornady One Shot to cases as they are standing up-------problem solved!

I can see from your picture that your expander plug is a bit on the rough side also with tooling marks.  If you polish them out I'm betting your problems go away.  I used some Tripoli on a rag wheel mounted on a bench lathe. You could do the same with a hand drill and felt or rag wheel.  

Virgil

BTW I have had loaded rounds that I have used One Shot on that have sat for over a year and I have never had any problem with the One Shot contaminating the powder or primer. Same with some cheapy case lube crap from Cabela's in a pump spray bottle.  Just have to let them sit for a few minutes before reloading the lubed cases.

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Fri May 11, 2018 9:33 am

Thanks Virgil.  I will add polishing to my list of potential fixes.

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by ruger15151 on Sat May 12, 2018 9:40 am

Joy2shoot.. your loads look great!

I too wet tumble my cases. They come out of the tumbler looking like brand new Starline brass with no carbon inside or out.

I have several NOE expanders as well as Lyman M Style and Redding expanders with the same stepped design in all my pistol calibers. All of these dies are extremely smooth yet I was noticing those same small shavings and residue on the expander plugs. I do use a small amount of Hornady One-Shot case lube just because it makes the loading process much smoother even with carbide dies.

However, when I showed the plugs to an old time reloader he said that it was likely caused by the very small burr usually on the inside of the case mouth. That explanation made a lot of sense to me because I wasn't really seeing any "machine marks" on the inside of the cases after expanding that would point to the expander plug actually removing brass from the inside of the cases.

I lightly de-burred the inside of about 100 cases before reloading them and the shavings were virtually gone. Now that I am confident that I am only seeing the traces left of the burr from the inside of the case, I no longer worry about the brass on the expander plug.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Sat May 12, 2018 6:35 pm

Thanks ruger15151.  I will add deburring to my list of things to try.....even though I was hoping not to add any more steps to my reloading process.  Now, where did I put that deburr tool?

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by lablover on Sat May 12, 2018 6:45 pm

I’ve noticed that little burr on the inside as well.  I wonder where it comes from?  The crimp maybe?  I’m watching this thread as well because I’m having the same isssue but not as bad.  Debur th case mouth sounds like a plan....yuk

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by Aufidius on Sat May 12, 2018 8:45 pm

Yo!

I've used Dillon and Hornady case lube without any malfunctions of any kind- and I even have sprayed both into primed cases just to see if it would come across the chrono or squib or whatever. No issues- the lanolin stuff is gtg.

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Sat May 12, 2018 10:13 pm

So, here is the list of things I am going to try next.....when I am not getting ready for a match.
 
* Do not clean the cases as thoroughly as before.
* Polish the NOE expander plug
* Clean the NOE expander plug regularly
* Deburr the cases
* Lube the inside of the cases

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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

Post by joy2shoot on Tue May 29, 2018 6:34 pm

And the gold star goes to those who recommended polishing the plug.  While shortening the cleaning time did help, polishing the plug made the biggest improvement.  The photo of the plug with the original post was after reloading less than 25 cases.  The photo below is after reloading well over 100 cases.  Changing how I lubricate the brass or what I lubricate with did not help that much.  And in my situation, deburring did not help that much either.

I had never polished metal before so I consulted the experts (YouTube) and purchased a polishing compound sample set that included a compound specifically for stainless steel.  I then purchased polishing pads for my Dremel.  It took me two tries to get it right.  The second time I used the tip of a toothpick and ran it over the surface of the plug to find the 'rough' spots because I could not feel them with my finger.

Again, thanks to all who offered suggestions.


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Re: Problem with using NOE expander plug for 45 ACP

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