Re: Sizeing without expander ball
Sizing without the expander has a couple of major benefits: less runout, no lube in the neck.
IMO the best way to get rid of the expander is to use a Lee Collet Neck Sizer. That die has a floating mandrel that is .001" to .002" below caliber and it floats to center in your case neck and then you squeeze the collets onto the neck brass and size the brass to the mandrel. No lube necessary. In conjunction with a Redding Body Die to push the shoulder back and size the case body when necessary you will load very straight ammo and the Lee Collet are cheap.
Another way to get rid of the expander is with the various bushing type dies and pull out and discard the expander assembly that comes with them. If you are going to use the expander that comes with the bushing die then you might as well buy a FL die. The thing is that the bushing sizes the outside of the neck to a specific diameter. When it sizes the neck it will push all the variances in neck thickness to the inside of the neck. Typically brass will vary .002" or so, more in some cases and less in others. That .002" variance when transferred to the inside of the neck will push the bullet one way or the other and effect bullet release and create runout on the bullet. The way to get rid of this problem is to neck turn to a consistant neck thickness then the bushing dies will do very well and not create runout.
The last way I know of to get rid of the expander is to just take it out of your FL die. Most of the time this will create a little more bullet grip than you want. The amount of bullet grip will depend as much upon how thick your brass neck thickness is as it will depend upon the interior dimension of your die. Again if you neck turn then you can turn your necks to a specific thickness so that your FL die without the expander will size the neck to give exactly .002" to .003" bullet grip. However this may or may not be necessary. The only way to know is to:
1. Remove the expander
2. Size a neck
3. Measure the outside diameter (example on a 308 it might be .302" which means you have .308"-.302"=.006" bullet grip)
4. Seat a bullet
5. Measure the outside diameter again (in the 308 example it might be .336")
6. Subtract the loaded outside diameter from the caliber (.336"-.308"=.028")
7. Divide that number by 2 to get your neck thickness (.028"/2=.014")
8. Decide what bullet grip you want, let's say .002", then you need to turn the necks down a total of .004" or .002" each side, so turn the necks to .012"
Then with those cases with .012" necks all you have to do is shoot and size with the FL die sans expander and you will get .002" bullet grip.
If you don't want to neck turn then just get a Lee Collet and learn to use it and you will be happy.
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