Re: Does anyone here ever resize without an expanderball?
I guess I'll be the lone voice of dissent here...
Almost anything I have a Redding Type 'S' F/L bushing die for - which is nearly every caliber I make 'accuracy' loads for - has an expander ball go through the case neck.
I don't use the standard factory expander plug - I agree, those suck. What I do use is the carbide expander ball available separately from Redding. Most of the sins attributed to expander balls - they can be off center, they have a long bearing surface that may not be all that smooth, etc. and as a result, pull the necks off center, or pull on the neck/shoulder area and mess up your headspace, etc. - can be eliminated or greatly minimized by using the carbide balls. They float around the shaft, so they self-align. They are round balls, not cylinders, so the bearing surface is extremely small. They are made of polished carbide, which is noticeably harder/smoother than any factory expander.
The other half of the equation is I don't use the neck bushings to set my neck tension normally. I simply pick one that is 2-3 thou smaller than my desired loaded round diameter, and that way the neck doesn't get squeezed down to far and over worked like it would in a regular F/L die. The ball just 'kisses' the inside of the neck on the way out - not the full-contact 'drag' that you feel with a regular expander. Just enough to take care of any slight dents or dings that might have occurred in the case mouth - I shoot gas guns, and even my bolt guns with ejectors get operated pretty briskly... the mouths don't always stay perfectly round, what else can I say?
With the proper bushing and the floating carbide ball doing their respective jobs, the only thing I'm missing is to be able to set the neck tension to some particular value, as the ball is going to set the ID of the case neck, period, unless you start mucking w/ the bushings a lot. If you make 'em too small, the neck will end up 'springing back' to a somewhat smaller dimension than the expander ball - but you end up getting back into the drag issue again. If you use too big of a ball, you get lighter neck tension but the ball isn't really doing its job any more. With it set just the way I described, you get about 0.002" neck tension - which seems to work pretty darned well for most anything I've attempted to load thus far. I don't have to fuss with digging out a mandrel for my neck turner when I dent a case mouth (notice I said 'when', not 'if'), and I don't have to sit there wondering when (again, notice the 'when', not 'if') a Lee Collet die is going to eat another one of my cases out of the blue.
YMMV, but it works for me.