.45 Long Colt sizing dies

tvfinak

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I pulled out my standard steel (no carbide sizer) .45 LC die set yesterday to load up some rounds for my New Frontier .45. My set was by RCBS and dated 1977. Somewhere along the line I had picked up a Lee carbide sizing die to make life easier - I'm not sure how old the Lee die is.

I sized my cases with the Lee die and found that the cases were too large to grip a .451 bullet - they would slide in the cases with almost no interference. I checked the expander plug and it was .447 - obviously not the problem. OD of the cartridges sized in the Lee die were around .473 and cylinderical as expected from a carbide die.

I then tried sizing the cases with the orginal RCBS sizer die. The RCBS sized the mouth of cases down to approx. 467 with a slightly visible bottleneck for the last 1/4" or so - the diameter below the neck was around .473 like the Lee Sizer cases.

I didn't have time to size some more bullets to .4515 or .452 but I suspect the Lee sized cases will still be too large. I have a set of .454 and .460 dies but haven't tried sizing any cases in them yet.

Anyone else have similar experiences with the Lee or the "bottleneck" RCBS sizing die? I've used a lot of RCBS steel pistol dies in the past and continue to do so; perhaps I just didn't notice the bottlenecking?
 

ADfields

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I have a set of 357 dies form RCBS made about 1980 that are way too small. When adjusted right they make a round that the bullet swages open the neck so the loaded round looks hour glass shaped, sunk in between the bullet base and the head. I been meaning to open the die up more with a hone for about 30 years now but never have got to it. On the Lee I wonder if you are getting deep enough or you just have a bad over size die like my undersize UCBS die? Lee will ship you a new one for a phone call I bet.
 

gunbugs

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If you have a box of old 60's or 70's vintage 45 Colt ammo, you will notice that the cases are "bottlenecked" to a degree. In the 80's I believe they went to actual "straight wall" configuration. I would just use the RCBS dies, I'm sure they are just fine.
 

tvfinak

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Bad dies

Bad dies

I'll give Lee a call and see what they say. I don't know how old the die is but it still lots like new. It is certainly not been worn out thru use!

Likewise you can return the dies to RCBS and they will make them good. A few years ago I shipped back a set of 6.5 Jap dies from the 60s that were warped and they replaced them with a new set along with a note that sometime the dies warped from the heat treating.


I have a set of 357 dies form RCBS made about 1980 that are way too small. When adjusted right they make a round that the bullet swages open the neck so the loaded round looks hour glass shaped, sunk in between the bullet base and the head. I been meaning to open the die up more with a hone for about 30 years now but never have got to it. On the Lee I wonder if you are getting deep enough or you just have a bad over size die like my undersize UCBS die? Lee will ship you a new one for a phone call I bet.
 

ADfields

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I know RCBS will fix it (love their service) but I could hone this one out about as easy as sending it back. No rush though since I have 357 dies galore and I always think I may find some special use for this one someday.
 

tvfinak

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I looked at my Lee sizing die and it is dated "86" - I've apparently had it for a while! I didn't realize it had been so long since I had loaded for the .45 LC.!

My RCBS steel die works fine as well as the .460 carbide die. I'll probably just keep the Lee die around just in case I ever want to load for a pre-war gun that uses .454 bullets - it should work fine for that diameter bullet.

I know RCBS will fix it (love their service) but I could hone this one out about as easy as sending it back. No rush though since I have 357 dies galore and I always think I may find some special use for this one someday.
 

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