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Thread: Is this normal when sizing a Smith bullet?

  1. #1
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    Is this normal when sizing a Smith bullet?

    My sizing die came in from Lodgewood today. It is actually from Northeast Trading Co. It is a push-through sizer.

    While the instructions say it has a gentle lead-in for the bullet, looking down the bore it has a rather abrupt chamfer from the lead-in bore to the sizing bore.

    The bullets require a considerable amount of force to get through. My pure lead Smith bullets drop at .518, and I am sizing to .515. I pretty much have to "plunge" them through to get them to go - I can't slowly press them through.

    And when they go through, they extrude a wing on the tail of each bullet, which I will now have to cut off, thus altering the bullet weights.




    Full-size pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/HEGU2OY

    With 1:20 Tin:Lead bullets, I can't get them to go through the die at all. They jam in the sizer and I have to tap them back out from the top.

    I'm using a Lee single stage press.

    Should I be having this much trouble with this sizing die? My Lyman Lubrsizer knocks .578 bullets down to .576 without any problems at all.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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  2. #2
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    Also, I slugged the bore again with a sized pure lead bullet. The maximum diameter reading I'm getting off of the slugged bullet is .508.

    So is .515 a good size to size to? Or should I be sizing even smaller? .512?

    Steve
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  3. #3
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello, Steve:

    If GROOVE OD is .508", you are sizing too much.

    With both Dewald's and Star/Magma sizers, trying to size over .002" creates issues.
    The old Star instructions suggested hand lubing the first couple and then the lube pressed into the grooves by the sizer sufficed.

    Since I dip AFTER SIZING, I lightly pre-lube before sizing with either bullet lube for minies or Imperial Die Sizing WAX for alloy bullets. Lubing reduces lever effort.

    A drag-back fin shows over-sizing. Lube reduces the fin if not sizing too much.

    Moulds should drop an unsized bullet at .001" over the SIZED diameter, IF want to size for shift or parting line.
    I prefer BORED mould blocks with insignificant shift/parting lines that drop bullets at the GROOVE plus .xxx" diameter. If you get the mould's base cavity ID right, that ID can allow casting after shrink in an alloy that produces the desired OD.

    One issue with sizing is the pushing punch OD vs. die ID. Minimal clearance of .0005" to no more than .001" helps prevent fins.

    Getting the bullet base FLAT so the base sits SQUARELY on the punch tip prevents the bullet tilting slightly as it enters the die constriction. With minies that always seem to have a micro fin, I either burnish the base on a 1" thick plate or gently drag the slightly irregular base across 600 grit, ONE short amount. This does not remove metal in a material amount and has made no accuracy difference. It merely helps the bullet sit flat on the punch.

    Regards, Kevin
    Last edited by Kevin Tinny; 03-29-2020 at 11:12 AM.

  4. #4
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    If GROOVE OD is .508", you are sizing too much.
    The maximum reading I'm getting off of the slugged bullet is .508". That should be the groove diameter, yes?

    So .515 is too small? What would recommend I size to? The bullet cast .518" in pure lead, and .522 in Tin:Lead alloy.

    Since I dip AFTER SIZING, I lightly pre-lube before sizing with either bullet lube for minies or Imperial Die Sizing WAX for alloy bullets. Lubing reduces lever effort.
    These were lubed before sizing. I also lubricated the punch with oil prior to starting. It helped, but not much. 1:20 bullets will not go through the sizer no matter what.

    I guess the big question is what diameter bullet should I use in a .508" bore? I thought a couple thousand's over, so, .51 or so?

    Thanks,
    Steve
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  5. #5
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Steve:
    With .508" GROOVE plus .0015" = around .5095" - .5100" sized OD:

    Not sure we are clear ---
    If YOUR BORE's max GROOVE is .508", then max sized OD would be .510", which is way less than the other dim's you questioned.

    I haven't found .0005" matters, much less can be easily maintained.
    So anywhere from .001" to .002" "over" has worked in my original Smith regardless of alloy.

    All that presumes your bore is ok.

    VR/Kevin
    .

  6. #6
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    If YOUR BORE's max GROOVE is .508", then max sized OD would be .510", which is way less than the other dim's you questioned.
    So you're saying I should be using a .510" bullet?

    I can get a Lyman .512 sizer as they are in stock. Maybe I should try that.

    Steve
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  7. #7
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    I just went and re-spun the bullet in the calipers. The max diameter I'm getting is .510.

    So is .512 a good bullet dimension?

    Steve
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  8. #8
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Thanks, Steve:

    .500" across lands IN your barrel, plus .005" deep grooves IN barrel = .500" +2X .005" =
    .510" groove depth IN barrel. The reverse applies to bullet:

    Your bullet max OD across "high" spot, which is the LAND OD, is .510" plus the .002" "OVER" = .512" as-cast OD.

    Try the Lyman .512" sizer, BUT if you are trying to reach .512" with a bullet much OVER .514", there will still be extra sizing effort.

    Ideally, no pun, an as-cast OD of .513" would be best and require sizing only .001" to achieve .512".
    Might require a custom bored set of blocks, so try the best available diameter.

    Lyman 515141 shortened one grease groove by John Bly might work. Get w him. He might have one on hand.
    My Bly shortened 515's are out on loan for fit testing in two other rifles so I cannot get them to you.
    Both cast .5155" for my ORIGINAL Smith bore in 30:1, lead:tin, so would cast approx .001" smaller in pure.

    I would be happy to pull some .5155", 30:1's from my S&S ctg's and send to you.
    Might save fussing time.

    Lemme know. Tx.

    VR/Kevin
    Last edited by Kevin Tinny; 03-29-2020 at 01:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    OK, the problem is the sizing die.

    I borrowed Mark Hubb's .512 Lee push-through sizer.

    Even with unsized, .518 pure lead, they can be pushed through, though it does require some effort. The 1:20 tin:lead cannot be pushed down the small in one go.

    So I will likely have to do a two-step sizing to push these down from .518 to .512.

    But the North East Trading Co. die just isn't very good, in my opinion. It has a very harsh chamfer that provides the change in diameter from the entry bore to the sizing bore. So it is much more unforgiving to an over-sized bullet.

    The Lee sizer has a much gentler transition cone. Since they are about the same money, I'd go with the Lee.

    I took all the pure lead bullets I had pushed through the NETO die and shaved their tails off. This took about .5 grains off of each bullet. I then pushed them through the lee .512 die. So, now I have some bullets I can shoot.

    I believe I will get a Lee .515 and .512 push-through sizers. I can then two-stage size these bullets.

    Steve
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  10. #10
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    .500" across lands IN your barrel, plus .005" deep grooves IN barrel = .500" +2X .005" =
    .510" groove depth IN barrel. The reverse applies to bullet:

    Your bullet max OD across "high" spot, which is the LAND OD, is .510" plus the .002" "OVER" = .512" as-cast OD.
    Well, as-sized, right? I should be shooting a .512" diameter bullet in a .510" groove diameter bore.

    Right?

    Steve
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