Neck expander

bstomper

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Sep 20, 2011
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Saskatchewan Canada
I just got the L.E.Wison neck expander die and mandrel. The mandrel is .002' larger than the expander ball on my FL resizing die so I am assuming that it will be fine to leave the expander ball in my FL die....Correct, or would it be better to remove it all together. If it has to be removed how do I remove it from hornady and rcbs dies
 

Kmccord

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Nov 30, 2016
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Reilly Springs, TX
This is just my opinion, because I am looking at getting a Sinclair Gen II for my 6.5 Creed. My expander ball sizes the case mouth down to .260, the expander mandrel for Gen II is .263, I would think using the FL sizer to de-prime with the expander ball would be fine since I will be opening up to .263. However I want to hear from experienced reloaders that use mandrels to setup neck tension.
 

ShtrRdy

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High Plains
I guess it would be okay but since it will be doing some of the expanding after resizing it might introduce some runout. Runout is something we are trying to reduce by using a separate expander.

I don't know about Hornady dies but on the RCBS, can't you just unscrew the expander ball off of the shaft? (I might be thinking of a Forster die)
 

Kmccord

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Nov 30, 2016
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I know on the Redding die you can unscrew the expander ball out, however the de-prime pin is loose, what do you guys do to de-prime a case before using a Mandrel?
 

Welderboy250

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Apr 19, 2013
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PA
Depriming could be done as a prep stage before resizing. A universal deprime die is handy. If that is unavailable the stem may be able to be adjusted low enough in the size die to punch the primer before the neck contacts, then removed for the sizing operation.

Another workaround is to use a smaller expander to hold the pin. Or the current expander can be easily ground undersize. Precision in that instance is not very important as long as it is left small enough to not contact the brass at all on the way out of the case.
 

Idaholandho

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Mar 23, 2017
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This is a benefit to Whidden bushing dies they use a pin retainer if you prefer not to use an expander ball in a bushing die. The expander ball is replaced with a pin retainer and provides no sizing at all just protects the die.
 

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QuietTexan

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Nov 16, 2020
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Texas
Hornady elliptical expanders unscrew from the stem, their bushing dies ship with an expander and an undersize pin retainer that holds the decapping pin if the expander is removed. The universal decapping die comes with the smaller decapping pin retainer.

I have several of the Wilson mandrels, but only use them on new brass, not for expanding or turning. I recall them being 0.0015" under caliber? But it's been a long time since I looked/measured.

Are you planning on FL sizing in a Hornady die, then expanding on the Wilson mandrel?
 
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Welderboy11972

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Jul 26, 2015
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Athens, Ohio
Welders minds think alike...lol

This is my Redding 300 rum die. I used a extra ball expander from a Redding 25-06 die set. I don't remember what I used for the longer pin. It's long enough that the neck of the case doesn't contact the neck sizing part of the die. I use this to deprime cases. This is my first step when I reload.
 

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kmarsh1966

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Dec 8, 2020
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Frisco Texas
I run Redding Dies. They have a separate expander ball, and non expander ball for the sizing die. I see zero value in running the expander in the sizing option if your going to run a Mandrel after the fact. I am using the Sinclair to expand everything I am currently loading. 22, 6.5 CM, 6 BR, 7 SAUM.
 

Chesterrose79

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Jan 25, 2020
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Alberta
The reason you use an expanding mandrel to size your necks is to eliminate run out. It is found that pushing an expander into the neck instead of pulling it out will produce more consistent necks because a case neck has more strength if you push against it compared to pulling on the neck from the other way.

That being said I would take the expander ball off because if you leave it on it’ll defeat the purpose of trying to achieve less runout by not using the expander ball.
 

iflyskyhigh

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Mar 31, 2013
Messages
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Scottsdale, AZ
Remove the expander ball if you’re going to open the neck with any type of mandrel.

One of the main places runout is introduced is the expander ball.

The problem with most FL dies is they “squeeze” the neck down much too far. And even though there is “spring back”, you still end up working against yourself. When you pull that ball back through that much too tight neck, it has the strong possibility of pulling it out of alignment. And often does.

Opening the neck back up with a concentric mandrel will greatly reduce and hopefully eliminate that.

I deprime with universal deprimer. Anneal. Bump shoulder with Redding Body Die. Then add correct neck tension with Lee Collet Neck Die.

“This is the way”. Not that it’s the only way, but these steps have really refined process. This is giving me the most accurate, consistent ammo I have made to date.

I can really tell the difference in the force required to seat the bullet. It’s always the same now and it doesn’t take much. This is a function of neck tension. Too much neck tension when seating the bullet and again you induce runout and error creating inconsistent rounds. Inconsistent neck tension can also lead to more ES and SD. When seating now, any little difference can be felt.

The reason I went with my current setup is that even when using a standard full length die with the expander removed, and then using an expander mandrel I found that I still had to much neck tension which then led to too much force to seat the bullets and the inconsistency noted above. Even with a properly sized mandrel the necks have been undersized too much and I ended up with too much neck tension. It’s a balancing act too be sure. It was better than using the expander ball alone, or using both the expander ball and mandrel, but still wasn’t giving me the desired outcome. Oh, and you don’t have to turn necks. I just wasn’t interested in that kind of time or effort commitment.

I have no issues with setback and if I need a little more neck tension I will kiss it with the Lee Factory Crimp Die. I have a little experimenting with this and have found no difference in the consistency or accuracy of the final product.

As far as specific FL dies go, the Forster are some of the best I have found if you’re going to use the expander ball. This is due to their placement of the expander ball much higher up in the die body so that when the ball is pulled back through the neck the neck is more supported inside the die. It’s a slick design. I have one in almost every rifle caliber I load. I also find the Forester dies tend to not undersize the neck quite so much. And if you want you can have Forster custom grind the neck to your specific dimensions. And they are reasonably priced. If you can find them in stock.

Lastly, I’m not saying this is the only way, or even the best way to get the desired results. Just giving you my observations.
 

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