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Reloading 38 short colt help


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I have the lee 3 piece die set for 38 short colt. The problem I’m having is with the powder expander die. The die that came in the set is stamped 38s&w. The piece that expands the case mouth extends below the bottom of the die. The shell engages the bell expander first before it goes inside the die. If the brass is not lined up exactly it will crush the side of the case. Of the dozen or so calibers I load for this is the only die that is set up this way? 
Any one else have this issue, use a different die manufacturer?  Thinking a 9mm expander die would probably work? 
Thanks, LF. 

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I have the same set for .38 Short Colt.   You have set the die to deep in the socket.    Back it out of the press and then put your case in the press and run it all the way up.   Then, screw the die down until it just touches the case.   Lower the shell and then start move the die into the press about 1/8th of a turn at a time until you get the amount of "bell" you want.

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2 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

I have the same set for .38 Short Colt.   You have set the die to deep in the socket.    Back it out of the press and then put your case in the press and run it all the way up.   Then, screw the die down until it just touches the case.   Lower the shell and then start move the die into the press about 1/8th of a turn at a time until you get the amount of "bell" you want.

Maybe but I don’t think so, I’m barely getting any bell now. I think I load for 15+ calibers haven’t had an issue adjusting dies until this one. Doesn’t mean I don’t have it set right but not sure what I’m missing? 
im not home so I can’t verify but shouldn’t the “floating plug” that bells the case mouth be up inside the die. This one hangs out the bottom about a 1/4 inch. I believe all the other powder dies have the expander floating up inside the die. The case should enter the bottom of the die before it engages the expander. 
Thanks, LF. 

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This is the die that came in the set, 38s&w-D6. Picture shows the expander outside of the die. Either the inside shoulder of the die is cut to deep or the nose of the expander is to long. Guess I’ll call it a bad die, I will try to contact lee and see what they have to say. 
Had an extra 9mm die, gives me just enough bell on the case and still operates the powder drop. 
Thanks for everyone’s help, LFB54165C3-E5E6-4F0E-9872-32F4E1BAD375.thumb.jpeg.9e86f1602684d17f1bc98c8c84e6cefd.jpeg

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I have a Lee 38 S/L Colt die set bought about 2 months ago. The flaring plug does extend beyond the bottom of the die, however it moves freely up into the die body. It works perfectly fine set up for use in my Hornady AmmoPlant. 

7F949865-E603-4AFE-9697-04528A7AA015.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Bingo Montana said:

I have a Lee 38 S/L Colt die set bought about 2 months ago. The flaring plug does extend beyond the bottom of the die, however it moves freely up into the die body. It works perfectly fine set up for use in my Hornady AmmoPlant. 

7F949865-E603-4AFE-9697-04528A7AA015.jpeg

Mine moves freely also until you attach the powder drop. That’s the problem, the expander is now under tension sticking out the bottom. The case engages the expander before it enters the die. If not lined up perfectly it will crush the edge of the case. 

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8 minutes ago, Long Fingers, SASS#56813 said:

Mine moves freely also until you attach the powder drop. That’s the problem, the expander is now under tension sticking out the bottom. The case engages the expander before it enters the die. If not lined up perfectly it will crush the edge of the case. 

Here is a picture of the die components.  Is it possible one is not correct for the die set?  Also, with the die body being aluminum is there some defect in the die body not allowing the powder through expander plug to move freely up into the die body?  With the die set up, powder adaptor, the expander plug move up into the die body about a 1/4" before it hits the powder adapter.  If the die and clean and the expander plug is under tension, as others have suggested the die is most likely defective.  Lee should replace it without any trouble. 

B92639F1-ED3F-4F68-BB98-D3BD7FDEA481.jpeg

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Just spoke with a tech at lee, that design is correct. The expander will stick out the bottom. He also said they are aware of the issue I’m having with crushed cases. He said because of the short case it had to be designed that way and just take my time lining up the case.  So I asked why my 380 dies, 9mm had a different design. 9mm is almost identical in length.  Didn’t have an answer for the question. 9mm die is working for me, so that solves my problem for now. 
LF. 
yes my die has the same pieces you have in the above picture. It will float with the aluminum plug, but under tension with the powder drop. All Lee components. 

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67211280-73A8-405C-9538-47BCBBD96689.thumb.jpeg.ab37f91ff3b7c90c5d6fa058fc23fa0a.jpegI wasn’t happy with the answer from Lee that it had to be designed that way for it to work with short cases. I had nothing to loose so I turned the expander nose down(shorter) and polished. Now it’s sits just inside the die mouth, same as 9mm. Loaded a few, seems to have eliminated any problems. 
LF. 

 

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Buy a Track of the Wolf 38 caliber compression plug with the Lee die.  Bevel the nose slightly less than .379 to easily slide into the case.  Adjust the die so the plug goes down to the base of the bullet and flares the mouth your desired width. Not much is needed just so 1/2 of the bullet base sits in the case. You have your 38 Colt expander die that does not bugger the case mouth. https://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categories/PartDetail.aspx/225/1/DIE-38-COMPRESS

$18.00 investment

Other option is buy the Lee Universal Expander die set

I gave up long ago using the die set expander die for expanding cases, especially with thin 44-40 brass

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