case flaring thoughts

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  • Last Post 03 April 2017
Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 27 March 2017

while checking out DARDAS cast bullet supply,  ( dardascastbullets ) i noticed an interesting comment and warning not to simply * flare * your case necks for loading cast bullets .... but to use the lyman M die type expand/flare tool .  he thinks the bullet base will be distorted and shaved by the radius of the simple flare .

i can see his reasoning ... but since some of us are thinking about using the lee flare kit for adding a sizer insert .... i  wonder if anybody out there has seriously tested both methods to a probable conclusion ??

i have been thinking that the lee flare body serving a dual purpose would be cool, ... but if it actually causes shaving problems, then either we just go back to a lathe turned  threaded sizer body or alternately we could make M type inserts for the lee body ; cost is about the same , if only one sizer is to be made .   ( the idea of the lee body is that further sizer inserts will be simpler thus cheaper ) .

so to be perfectly clear ( g ) ... does the lee flaring tool really shave your bullets ?  when i flare i use the M type tools, so i don't have input .

i know the above is a bit of wandering in the weeds, so thanks for your patience and any thoughts .

ken

 

 

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GP Idaho posted this 27 March 2017

Ken:  I use the NOE inserts in the Lee flairing  tool I also have several Lyman M-dies. I like the NOE system the best of the two. As you know many of my bullets are powder coated and both M-die and insert expanded cases will shave the coating if the sharp edge of the case mouth isn't addressed.. For this, I take the extra step of very slightly rounding out the case mouth with the standard Lee frairing insert. Now I'm out in the weeds with you and in response, I don't think a case properly flaired with the Lee tool will shave lead but since it only flairs and not expands bullets over nominal size will most likely be swaged down in size Gp

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papertrl posted this 27 March 2017

I've pulled quite a few bullets from cases that were flared with the Lee tool. I've never noticed any actual lead shavings. I've never scrutinized the bases, though, to check for distortion. rs

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45 2.1 posted this 27 March 2017

 .... i  wonder if anybody out there has seriously tested both methods to a probable conclusion ??

ken

Having done this pretty early in my cast bullet career, I'll try to relate what I found.

1) Lyman M dies: The plugs in the standard dies are supposedly for jacketed bullets.... Lyman said they had special order plugs for lead bullets, but I have not tried those. I tried the plugs as they came in the standard dies. Those plugs would slightly round (partially on some of the base) a plain base 12 BHN bullet or softer if they did not start really straight. Not really a problem until you could load and shoot benchrest type groups...... a real problem on soft handgun bullets.

That caused me to try the RCBS tapered expanders meant for cast bullets.

2) RCBS expander dies and plugs: These solved the rounded base problem, provided the expander part of the plug was mated to the diameter you were using. Better groups and excellent uniformity. Well pleased with most of the offerings from them.

3) Flaring tools: Used with partially neck sized cases, this works fine. None of these were used with stiff thick necks, usually 30-30 or 45-70 soft necked brass. Works very well for them with no distortion of very soft bullet bases.

All of these trials were with pure lead to 12 BHN wheel weight alloy with plain base bullets.

 

 

 

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onondaga posted this 27 March 2017

Ken, It is simply a matter of observation and measuring regardless of what DARDAS says. Bullets aren't scraped when the flare is larger than the bullet diameter. I ensure that by setting the flare tool to flare .004” larger than the sized case mouth. This works every time for me and if it doesn't for someone, they measured and set the die wrong.

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RicinYakima posted this 27 March 2017

Not an issue, Ken. Like the guy that tried to sell sandpaper for “squaring” bullet bases, no real improvement. p.s. I make my own “M” dies, so not an issue with me.

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John Alexander posted this 27 March 2017

I agree with Gary that if the mouth of the case is at least .004” inch larger than the bullet base there shouldn't be any shaving, but maybe other kinds of distortion if the flare angle is too steep or the ID below the taper is too small.

I never flare with either the Lee tool or M die.  I ream a gentle taper into the case mouth with a cheap low angle (9 degrees included) reamer.   The $5 reamer eliminates a bucket of M dies. The more expensive but still cheap Lyman VLD reamer would probably also do. Ream once and you are done with flaring for the life of the case instead of fiddling with a M die each reload.

Getting exactly the ID of the case mouth I want below the reamed part of the neck is easily achieved with the Lee Collet die. Those with lots of money can use bushing dies for the same thing.

I don't understand why anybody is still messing with M dies but then I have never owned one.

See more complete description in TFS #218, July/August 2012 p. 6.

John

 

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 27 March 2017

I am on board with Gary & John. For years I have used both methods without damage to CBs, flaring for handgun rounds and chamfering for rifle. I have found that in the time it takes to set up a flaring die, I can chamfer 20 pieces of rifle brass. I still use the Lee chamfering tool I bought in 1977 for less than $2. Many times I've said I would replace it with a fancier (more expensive one), but just haven't pulled the trigger yet. 

Also the Lee Collet Die is the best thing since god gave us old Elmer who made us say “huh, hmm and wow". It works as advertised and is not too expensive. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
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RicinYakima posted this 28 March 2017

It is amazing, I must be the dumbest guy in the world. I could never get the things to make the right sized neck, they were wrinkled and crooked from the rest of the case. Got tired of sending money for “custom” sized decapping pins from Lee. They didn't work either. But I can make an “M” die on my lathe in about 10 minutes exactly the diameter, length and taper I want. Like my old Daddy said, “Every man has to kill snakes in his own way."

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R. Dupraz posted this 28 March 2017

YOU ARE WRONG RICK!

That title belongs to me. After trying all manner of expanding, seating tools and methods including the lee etc.etc,etc. years ago, I have found success by just turning different expanding inserts with a flaring step for the M-die in the exact dimensions that I want. 

Not only that,...... are you ready for this?...... horror of horrors! .....And, I wouldn't be without my FL sizer bushing and dedicated Wilson st. line seater dies neither.

 

So there!

    

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Duke M posted this 30 March 2017

I like all the toys. If I find a situation where I simply want a flare, I use the Lee, if I want an exact amount of bullet tension I use a custom ordered NOE insert for the Lee, if I am working on a bunch of mil-surp 06 brass like the trove I just picked up at a show, I start with a Lee Universal de-capper, (gets those pesky crimped primers out). Then I wet/pin tumble, dry, and full length size with no de-capper/expander button in the FL die. Before I can trim those cases I need to use the Lyman M die to expand them so they will fit the spud of the case trimmer. Then chamfer/de-burr, then anneal, and after that they are ready for regular use and the Lee Collet sizer die for subsequent reloads. I have been lucky enough that the brass will interchange in 4 Springfields with collet neck sizing. 

See, the Gov't used to be able to do something right.

Duke

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R. Dupraz posted this 30 March 2017

One can never have too many tools!

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 30 March 2017

hi duke ... hey what do you do with the swage on military cases ?  i am leaning swage .    i may be needing to get into my collection of ” historical ” 30-06 brass .  this should be good, maybe i should toss those older than 1930 ?? ... upcoming 30 cal bunny shoot ya know ...

no body at our local range leaves their 30-06 behind .

ken

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Duke M posted this 31 March 2017

I use the press mounted RCBS primer pocket swager. Not ideal but it does the job. The worst part is the up stroke tends to tip over all the debris piled on my bench. I've only been reloading since I was 12, I promise to get organized and clean up the bench.

After all, I'm a man, I can change, if I have to, I guess. (Red Green)

Duke

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GP Idaho posted this 31 March 2017

Ken: I use the same steps as Duke when working over brass with the crimped in primers. For two or three years a Dillon 600 swager has been on my needs list. As I already have the RCBS pocket swager    it always gets put off for the need of a new mould or other tool. It does make the RCBS tool work a little smoother if I use a very small touch of Imperial size wax every ten cases or so.  Gp

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Duke M posted this 01 April 2017

Oh absolutely, a touch of Imperial.

 

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BigMan54 posted this 02 April 2017

Oh GREAT!!!!  Fifty+ years I've been doing something else wrong  I cut out the primer crimp with an old pocket knife.   

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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RicinYakima posted this 02 April 2017

After full length resizing in a Wilson full length press-in die, I cut them out with the Wilson primer cutter in the case trimmer. Then I cut the base square to the sides.

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John Alexander posted this 02 April 2017

Oh GREAT!!!!  Fifty+ years I've been doing something else wrong  I cut out the primer crimp with an old pocket knife.   

 

I have been doing it that way for even longer and it always seemed to work fine. Too bad it’s wrong.

John

 

 

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RicinYakima posted this 02 April 2017

Not wrong, just different! If the new primer goes in, and doesn't fall out when you shoot it, it was successful.

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BigMan54 posted this 03 April 2017

I bought one of the LYMAN case-prep machines. Combined with a LYMAN electric case trimmer you can process a lot of cases fast. Great for plinking ammo. But I will still sit in front of the TV with a pocket knife & a box of old G.I. brass cutting out the primer crimp by hand. I think it helps the arthritis in my hands.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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