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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are the expanders different in different brands of dies?I have Lyman and I wish the expander were larger then .375.Are RCBS neck expanders bigger?
 

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I think they are all around .375ish unless you get the Cowboy dies. I can not swear those are fatter.

One side note not brought up, Lee .38-55 seating die is a bit skinny and will latch on to a fat cast bullet and pull it back out of the case. I need to dowl with sand paper mine to open that part up a bit.
 

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The RCBS cowboy dies expand the brass to larger diameter. My Hornady dies are the standard .375, and I think my cowboy dies are .378. DP
 

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Sounds like you need a Lyman "M" die.
 

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In my experience RCBS is best for 38-55 larger than .375. M Die is good but RCBS is better. You can also order expanders from the Track of the Wolf ready made for Lee dies. I have the over sized for 45-70 and such up to .460 and it works nicely.
 

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My 45-70 RCBS expander got replaced by an "M" die because it wouldn't work on lead bullets. Perhaps the cowboy would work better but I like the stepped "M" die just fine. Also got one for 25-20 that works great. Will buy one for 30-30, 308, 30-06 etc when available, until then will continue to use a sharpened bolt to bell by hand, a trick learned from a drunk Mexican in India.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
jimone said:
Sounds like you need a Lyman "M" die.

I have a used Lyman die set I got cheap with the M die.It's not big enough for .380 bullets.I have other M dies that work well but the 38/55 one isn't big enough.So I ordered the RCBS Cowboy die set this morning.I can hardly wait to wack the silhouette targets with my new to me 2002 38/55 cowboy and 10 grs of Unique under a 240 gr cast bullet.
 

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The R.C.B.S. expander dies,of which there are two, in my C.A.S. set are .376" and .379" so you can choose what you want. I find that with the .379" expander it works really well with Lee's 250 grain bullet which falls from my Lee mould at between .380" and .381". I size them to .379" and there is ample neck tension to hold the bullet sized thus to .379". Because of the large ogive on this bullet I have to seat it to cover the first driving band to just keep the nose off the lands, and then I just lightly flatten the bell against the bullet nose with a little roll crimp.
 
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The nice thing about the Lee expanders is that they're relatively cheap and easy to make. I had to modify a .460" expander to have a gradual taper at the top in order to seat PP bullets w/o tearing the paper. A mini lathe can be a wonderful addition to the loading shop.
 

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Buffalo Arms sells a wide variety of custom expander plugs that will work with RCBS dies. I have a pile of different sizes for my various .45 cal single shots. I expect I'll pick up a few different sizes for the .38-55 that I haven't quite bought yet ;D

Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got some RCBS cowboy dies with the .379 expander that work much better then the lyman set.Slugged the bore,got .3795.The accuracy with .380 bullets is nothing to write home about.Tried H4198 and RE 7 and Unique.
 

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Hey there dgslr -- Welcome to "The Journey". The biggest accuracy issues I've faced were always related to a leaded throat/bore. Initially consider a speed range of about 1300 feet per second. I'm still trying to get heavy bullets to go where I want them most of the time!! 38-55 is fun, but can be aggravating as well. Best regards. Wind
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I got some lead out when I cleaned it at the range.Tonight I got more than I could have put in there.Put the outers foulout in a while ago How much Unique have you used in your gun? The old 1961 Lyman book I have says 10.6 grs. of unique with a 250 gr. cast bullet.The reformulated stuff dosen't seam to have as much zip as the old,at least to me from shooting it in the 44 mag and 444.Going to try 10 grs. again after the leads all gone.
 

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Hey again dgslr -- Ten grains of Unique has played pretty well for me with bullets ranging from 240 to 265 grains. I've used them with gas checks and without. Hard cast and not so hard cast. I've had good results with the 250 grain Lee and the 240 grain Missouri Bullet Co bullet as well. I'm into the Laser-Cast 240 grainers sized to .380" now and still going. Feel alittle like the Energizer Bunny. Truth be told, it's not a hardship pulling the trigger alot!! Best regards. Wind
 
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