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RCBS expander ball

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Old 01-08-2010, 06:43 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2
RCBS expander ball


I have just bought an RCBS neck sizer die for my .17 Rem Fireball and I must admit that I am disappointed by the finish on the expander ball as it is not the polished, ball-bearing like, button that I was expecting.

The RCBS ball appears to be machined from the same material as the rod and has machining marks running around the face.

I don't know whether this normal and if it will make any difference when reloading for a factory rifle ?

Last edited by Fireball Guy; 01-08-2010 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:39 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sedalia, MO
Posts: 1,253
Re: RCBS expander ball

Hey Fireball,

Unfortunately, yeah, that seems to be pretty normal. I've always looked at expander balls as necessary evils, at best. I prefer to use mandrels (like the Sinclair) whenever possible, with a carbide expander ball as a next best alternative. A polished carbon steel expander ball (like yours, after you've polished it) is the thrid choice, with an unpolished expander ball coming in dead last and a nearly unacceptable final option.

If you can't replace the ball with a carbide part, then it needs to be polished, at the very least. Very fine crocus cloth, 320-400 grit or so, is the stuff to use. remeber, you're not trying to alter the dimensions any more than you absolutely have to. You just want to "shine" it up a bit to make for easier passage or less drag during its passage through the sized neck.

Hope this helps, but if there's any questions, there's plenty of help right here on the boards.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:33 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2
Re: RCBS expander ball

Thanks for that.

I've checked the RCBS site and can't find a carbide expander for the RFB.

So, I'll try giving it a polish.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:53 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Camp Casey, Korea
Posts: 9
Re: RCBS expander ball

Hornady makes carbide expanders for RCBS dies, and I use one in my .223 dies. Unfortunately, .224" is the smallest one they make. I routinely polish all expander plugs whenever I buy a set of dies; almost all of them, from all manufacturers, need it.

Sic Semper Tyrannis! Molon Labe!

My Blog: http://nicholst55.bravejournal.com/
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:13 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,538
Re: RCBS expander ball

Alot of RCBS items are now being made in china.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 1,077
Re: RCBS expander ball

I agree with Kevin. Just polish the ball, do not reduce the diameter

Expander balls are no longer needed with bushing dies now on the market. An expander ball can pull the shoulder forward and it can force the neck to one side losing concentricity. Ain't worth it for my money, to buy anything except bushing dies.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:59 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 937
Re: RCBS expander ball

Now you know what RCBS stands for : REALLY CRAPPY BS !
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