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Old November 4, 2019, 12:25 PM   #1
Join Date: October 27, 2019
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Expanding 40 cal.

I'm new to reloading 40 cal. I just want to ask
When expanding the case do I just real quick lift it up into the die? Because if I go all the way the bullet drops in the case.
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Old November 4, 2019, 01:03 PM   #2
T. O'Heir
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Sounds like you have not set up the expander die correctly. You do it with a .40 S&W exactly the same way as any other case. The flare on the case mouth needs to be just enough to be able to sit the bullet in and have it stay there prior to seating.
You set up the die so the shell holder just kisses the bottom of the die with the ram all the way up. (Just like you do with the sizer die.) Then adjust the expander button to give the wee bit of flare required.
If you haven't read the how-to chapter in your manual, you should. Read the reference chapters too.
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Old November 4, 2019, 01:35 PM   #3
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The die body should be flush with your shell holder or loading plates on a forester co-ax, the expander stem should have a separate adjustment. You only want to expand the mouth slightly so usually what I do on a new die is unscrew the stem entirely and then get the die body fully lowered. Then I put a piece of brass into my press and pull the ram arm on the empty die body. With the shell holder raised fully, I then screw the expander stem in until I feel resistance. Then I lower my shell plate and acrew the expander stem a bit further and run the press to see how I did. You only want to expand the mouth far enough to let a bullet sit in the mouth. If you expand all the way to the web you will get results like you're experiencing- just bell the mouth slightly.
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Old November 4, 2019, 01:57 PM   #4
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You aren't really giving us enough information.

What's your equipment?
What components are you using?
New brass, once fired, range brass? What head-stamp?
What projectiles are you using - make? materials? castings, plated, manufacturer?
Have you taken calipers to your brass and to the projectiles?

When I have this issue - it's usually on a piece of brass that's been thru my bench 5 times or more and is ready to be retired to the scrap bucket. OR - a cast round that's below the required dimension.

.40 S&W brass is straight sidewall on the outside but has a very slight inward taper on the inside of the case. So a bullet shouldn't simply slide all the way into the case unless the brass or the projectile is out of spec.
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Old November 4, 2019, 02:31 PM   #5
Join Date: October 27, 2019
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I'm reloading with Lee dies. Thanks for the info.
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Old November 4, 2019, 02:35 PM   #6
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You probably have the die screwed in way too deep.
The speed you work it shouldn't matter if you have it set properly.
You should have it set so that when you raise the ram fully, you get just a little flare on the case moth.
Google 'case mouth flare' to see pics of the right and wrong way to do it.
I would highly recommend a good reloading manual like the Lyman #50.
You really shouldn't be loading without reading a good manual. Internet advice is great, but details can get left out.
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Old November 5, 2019, 07:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
You probably have the die screwed in way too deep.
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Old November 6, 2019, 02:35 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum.

If you look at this Lee illustration, on the right side cutaway view, you see the flared mouth on the expanded case. That is normal. The bullet should drop into the flare, but not below it. If it drops below that point, the case has not been resized to a narrow enough diameter. If the case has been reloaded and resized a number of times, it can become springy from work hardening and fail to resize enough to hold a bullet. Very thin-walled brass, especially, is prone to this. I used to toss R-P headstamp 45 Auto brass because it would develop that symptom in just two or three reloadings when I used my Lyman carbide sizing die on it, while other brands just kept on working. Later, when I got a Dillon Square Deal, that R-P problem stopped. The Dillon sizing die was tighter and took the diameter of the brass down narrower, like a small base die, and all brands then worked, even if they were getting worked a little harder.

If you are using R-P brass, try another brand or get a Dillon sizing die.
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