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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have just started loading for my new Marlin 45-70 Cowboy (currently serving a 10 day sentence in a CA FFL jail). I am using Lee dies. I resolved an issue with a sizing die that was leaving dents (replaced by Amazon). Another problem has cropped up with the expander die. Since the 45-70 expander die also works on a 458 win mag, the expander plug is quite short. The end result is the die bottoms out before it reaches max shell mouth expansion; something I find necessary when loading cast bullets. I had the same issue with the 45 Colt expander die on 45 Schofield cases. While Lee does sell a 45 Schofield dies, the only real difference is the expander plug and I actually found just the plug. I did try the 45 Colt expander plug, but it doesn't expand the case mouth enough. Currently I am using the die with a 45 ACP bullet over the expander plug. I'm thinking the Lee expander die for the 45-60 would work better. Has anyone experienced a similar issue? If so, do other make dies work better? Or did you find some tweak (like a spacer above the plug) that fixed the problem.
 

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I'm not experiencing your problem with my Lee expander die. The note I keep with the die set tells me I need to adjust the expander die out 1/2 turn from the shell holder to get the expansion I want for my cases, my press, and my bullets. I've only used jacketed bullets though. If you can't make it work look at the Lyman M die for cast bullets.
 

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Something does not sound right about bottoming out before expanded properly? My 4570 dies are rcbs and I have never experienced what you are saying. I use a lee universal expander when I load rounds for cast bullets of any flavor. If there is someone locally that can help get you sorted out with the reloading process it might be very valuable. sometimes it is easier to show you than to write it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I'm not experiencing your problem with my Lee expander die. The note I keep with the die set tells me I need to adjust the expander die out 1/2 turn from the shell holder to get the expansion I want for my cases, my press, and my bullets. I've only used jacketed bullets though. If you can't make it work look at the Lyman M die for cast bullets.
That is how I set the die also. The die would likely expand the case enough for jacked bullets, but since cast bullets are softer than the case, the case needs to be expanded to the point that the bullet does not contact the edge mouth of the case or it will shave the cast bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Something does not sound right about bottoming out before expanded properly? My 4570 dies are rcbs and I have never experienced what you are saying. I use a lee universal expander when I load rounds for cast bullets of any flavor. If there is someone locally that can help get you sorted out with the reloading process it might be very valuable. sometimes it is easier to show you than to write it up.
While I am new to reloading 45-70, I have been reloading for decades so I know how to set up an expanding die. Interestingly I have to set up the Lee expanding die to maximum, to get enough expansion, so there is literally no way to over expand the case mouth. I was going to look into the lee universal expander. Since you find it works well with expanding 45-70 cases, I will probably by one. Thanks.
 

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Onespeed,

That doesn't sound like an expanding problem, that sounds like a case mouth flaring problem.

I am seating .460 cast bullets in my Starline 45/70 brass with zero issues using the Hornady expanding/flaring die from a standard 3 die set.

On my .44 mag handgun/rifle loads I am seating .432 cast bullets using a standard expanding/flaring die from that 3 die set of RCBS dies.

I use something like the Lyman "M" die or RCBS/Sinclair case expanding/flaring dies for cases such as 30/06 when loading cast bullets, but for the 45/70, the extra die is simply NOT needed when using Hornady or RCBS dies.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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I put a brass spacer above the expander in my Lee die. I used a brass fitting from my extras collection and drilled it out. Now the die expands perfectly,and can still be used with the 'powder thru' feature.



Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Onespeed,

That doesn't sound like an expanding problem, that sounds like a case mouth flaring problem.

I am seating .460 cast bullets in my Starline 45/70 brass with zero issues using the Hornady expanding/flaring die from a standard 3 die set.

On my .44 mag handgun/rifle loads I am seating .432 cast bullets using a standard expanding/flaring die from that 3 die set of RCBS dies.

I use something like the Lyman "M" die or RCBS/Sinclair case expanding/flaring dies for cases such as 30/06 when loading cast bullets, but for the 45/70, the extra die is simply NOT needed when using Hornady or RCBS dies.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
I am also using Starline cases also (brand new). I really don't understand having a flaring issue not connected to the die. The Lee expander die is unlike any other make die. It is designed so you can charge the case through the expander die. This means the sizer plug is not solid. Further, the plug is not static; it moves inside the die. When you drop the die over the case, it pushes the plug a 1/4" or so until is hits the the adjuster stop. After the case has been flared, the plug sticks inside the die until it hits the ledge inside the die than contains the plug. You then have to force the case off the plug. This is accomplished by either using momentum by quickly pulling up the press handle from the bottom of the stroke, or pushing the handle up until it hits the ledge, and then muscle case off the die plug; this the quieter method, as using the momentum method creates a loud "bang!". As I said the Lee 45-70 die has the same expander plug and die body as for 458 Win case which is 1/5" longer, which reduces the travel to adjust the die for 45-70..
 

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My two cents would be to buy the proper plug from NOE and be done with it.

You can put a regular Lee adjustment knob on top if you choose...they're $0.50, if I recall.

If you need the powder through feature, you can put the same plug in a Lee universal expanding die.

Going this way, you've essentially created a Lyman "M" die copy.
 
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I am also using Starline cases also (brand new). I really don't understand having a flaring issue not connected to the die. The Lee expander die is unlike any other make die. It is designed so you can charge the case through the expander die. This means the sizer plug is not solid. Further, the plug is not static; it moves inside the die. When you drop the die over the case, it pushes the plug a 1/4" or so until is hits the the adjuster stop. After the case has been flared, the plug sticks inside the die until it hits the ledge inside the die than contains the plug. You then have to force the case off the plug. This is accomplished by either using momentum by quickly pulling up the press handle from the bottom of the stroke, or pushing the handle up until it hits the ledge, and then muscle case off the die plug; this the quieter method, as using the momentum method creates a loud "bang!". As I said the Lee 45-70 die has the same expander plug and die body as for 458 Win case which is 1/5" longer, which reduces the travel to adjust the die for 45-70..
something you said right there leads me to believe you have the wrong die. I am not aware that LEE sells a flow through seater die for the 4570, I don't know everything but have never seen one before for 45-70.
 

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The "flaring issue" is connected to the die. It is a matter of proper die adjustment with typical dies. lee dies, I don't go there, so can't say.

I still say that it sounds like a lack of flaring if your shaving metal when the bullet is seated.

The flare on standard dies, - I don't know about lee dies - is adjusted by the depth the expander is pushed into the case mouth. With an RCBS die, that is adjusted by the depth the expander plug/flaring stem is adjusted in to the die along with how deep the die is seated into the press. With the Hornady expander/flaring die, the center stem is not movable/adjustable so the flare is adjusted by the depth of the die in the press.

With both dies, you can expand without flaring by simply decreasing the depth to which the center stem is screwed into the die (RCBS) and how far the die is screwed into the press (Hornady).

Therefore, flaring is not accomplished UNLESS and Until the center stem (RCBS) is screwed down to the proper depth of the die is screwed deep enough into the press (Hornady).

For that reason with typical three die sets, if there is not enough flare, you will likely get alloy shaved off the bullet as it is seated.

I batch process all my cases, meaning I preform the same task on all brass in process before going on to the next step/die. For that reason I have no reason or need for a expanding/flaring die that allows the case to be charged with powder at that point. Powder charging is a separate step, and not one done when the case mouth is expanded/flared.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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I have just started loading for my new Marlin 45-70 Cowboy (currently serving a 10 day sentence in a CA FFL jail). I am using Lee dies. I resolved an issue with a sizing die that was leaving dents (replaced by Amazon). Another problem has cropped up with the expander die. Since the 45-70 expander die also works on a 458 win mag, the expander plug is quite short. The end result is the die bottoms out before it reaches max shell mouth expansion; something I find necessary when loading cast bullets. I had the same issue with the 45 Colt expander die on 45 Schofield cases. While Lee does sell a 45 Schofield dies, the only real difference is the expander plug and I actually found just the plug. I did try the 45 Colt expander plug, but it doesn't expand the case mouth enough. Currently I am using the die with a 45 ACP bullet over the expander plug. I'm thinking the Lee expander die for the 45-60 would work better. Has anyone experienced a similar issue? If so, do other make dies work better? Or did you find some tweak (like a spacer above the plug) that fixed the problem.

I use Lee dies for my 45/70 and I have no issues with case mouth expansion for cast bullets. I use Lee, RCBS and Redding dies with great results.

Seems I've read on here about the RCBS cowboy dies being very good for the 45/70.
 

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Crusty Dreary: Normally the Lee expander die is adjusted by adjusting the die body in the press. If the OP has the correct die then the only other explanation I can imagine is that he is using the Hornady short cases for the FTX bullet and that those cases are too short. I can't look at his post while typing this.
 

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Youper, You just may have nailed it!

The Hornady dies will adjust down far enough for the stupidly non- standard FTX brass. Have been there and done that with a friend's brass

But I didn't think of that, and it does sound like a solid possibility.

Except for - just remembered this - the fact that OneSpeed said he was using Starline brass in an earlier post.

CDOC
 

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It's the movable powder-thru expander causing the problem. It goes up too far,and the case can't go upward far enough to get the flare needed because the die hits the shell holder. In my last post I explained it. Put a spacer above the expander,and it will be held low enough to get all the flaring you need.
 
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Santa Cruz one speed

I suggest picking up a single RCBS or Lynam 45-70 expander die from one of the following.

Natchezss, Midway, or MidSouth. With shipping costs, look around for a few other reloading supplies to spread out the overall cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I put a brass spacer above the expander in my Lee die. I used a brass fitting from my extras collection and drilled it out. Now the die expands perfectly,and can still be used with the 'powder thru' feature.
Rob
Actually I don't use the "powder thru" feature, so I can jury rig the expander die by placing a FMJ 240g 45 ACP bullet above the expander plug, and it works fairly well, but my OCD makes me want to find a more elegant solution..Your brass spacer may just be that solution. Thanks
 
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