Expander ball questions

The Oregonian

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Searched and got some info but wanted to ask these specific questions.

I don’t turn necks and use a FL bushing die. For 28N it is custom Whidden and for 280AI and 6.5cr it is Redding Type S.

Do you recommend expander balls?
If so, what size? Whidden is ..003 below bullet diameter and my neck bushing is for .002 neck tension. I can buy diff size balls for Whidden.
Is a better alternative to use an expander die? And if so, to get .002, should I use a .003 bushing and expand to .002? Or both at .002? I anneal after every firing.

Thx
 

Remmy700

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I started running expander die little while back and I love it. I jerk all the guts out of my die and just run a bushing that is .003-.004 under loaded bullet dia. Last step is running my mandrel through the neck to set a .002 NT. I can tell a huge difference on seating, never get that one that is like **** that was a little harder to seat lol.
 

dok7mm

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Remmy is telling it right. I haven't used an expander ball to size necks in over 10 years. Seating is smooth with consistent neck tension. I anneal every firing on the majority of my case lots and always lube necks with Imperial Dry prior to running the mandrel, as the last step before priming & charging.
 

bigedp51

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Thx...I ordered slightly smaller neck bushings (.003) and got the Sinclair turning mandrels, which are .002.
Redding recommends if the necks are not turned to size the necks .004 smaller than a loaded round and use their expander. This pushes any neck irregularities to the outside of the neck.

Redding also states if the case necks are not turned and have .002 or less neck thickness variations the expander is not needed.

They also now recommend with turned necks to use a bushing .002 smaller than a loaded round.

Also at the Whidden website they tell you that non-bushing full length dies will produce the most concentric cases.

I use Forster full length dies with their high mounted floating expanders that work as well as using a expander die.
 

Remmy700

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I do agree. Have been using bushing dies and still do a little but have since starting switching to Forster BR FL die sets. And as mentioned above I pull all the guts out of the die so it’s basically its
Redding recommends if the necks are not turned to size the necks .004 smaller than a loaded round and use their expander. This pushes any neck irregularities to the outside of the neck.

Redding also states if the case necks are not turned and have .002 or less neck thickness variations the expander is not needed.

They also now recommend with turned necks to use a bushing .002 smaller than a loaded round.

Also at the Whidden website they tell you that non-bushing full length dies will produce the most concentric cases.

I use Forster full length dies with their high mounted floating expanders that work as well as using a expander die.
a die body just to simply size. Then last step is running mandrel and I have the best groups/SDs I have consistently achieved yet.
 

cervus

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Remmy is telling it right. I haven't used an expander ball to size necks in over 10 years. Seating is smooth with consistent neck tension. I anneal every firing on the majority of my case lots and always lube necks with Imperial Dry prior to running the mandrel, as the last step before priming & charging.
So the lube thats on the inside case neck after using mandrel,,, do you leave it there or remove it???
 

dok7mm

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So the lube thats on the inside case neck after using mandrel,,, do you leave it there or remove it???
I only use the Dry Imperial Lube and it is inert, but I just tap the case to get any excess out. I run the mandrel prior to priming, so as to not get residue on the primer, though I doubt it would effect it.
 

bob4

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my neck bushing is for .002 neck tension.

Thx
I just learned today that that my not be enough. I have Norma cases and had a few that were way to loose due to neck thickness difference. Haven't graduated to neck turning yet. I mean I was able to push some them back in by hand.others were as tight as can be. I went another .002 mostly because that's the bushing I had. Pressing against the bench hard I can't move them now. This also was first time using graphite. So maybe that contributed.
 

ar10ar15man

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its not the .002 bushing, its the variation in neck hardness.
to the op, no i do not use factory expander balls/buttons, but i do use expander mandrels to set neck tension
 

dok7mm

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I just learned today that that my not be enough. I have Norma cases and had a few that were way to loose due to neck thickness difference. Haven't graduated to neck turning yet. I mean I was able to push some them back in by hand.others were as tight as can be. I went another .002 mostly because that's the bushing I had. Pressing against the bench hard I can't move them now. This also was first time using graphite. So maybe that contributed.
Using a bushing die alone can really give a lot of tension variance IF you have big difference in neck thickness OR if you have brass, with different firings, mixed together.

Bushing dies work well for unturned brass if you use a bushing that will reduce the *ID* to .003 under caliber and then open the neck up with a .002" under caliber mandrel.

When using only a bushing to size the neck, the springback will be away from the bullet. Using a mandrel to expand the neck, springback is towards the bullet. The more firings your brass has, if not annealed, the more springback you have.

Both, the expander ball and the mandrel, will leave a concentric ID in your neck for seating your bullet, but it is easier to adjust tension with a mandrel, be it with a bushing die or a FL die with the stem removed. Also, a mandrel will not induce runout if in a properly adjusted die. As stated above, the FL Forester die, with the ball & stem removed, will size body and size neck ID down about .003". You don't need a bushing with it, just the right mandrel to adjust tension.
 

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