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Thread: Review: Tom Crone sizing die vs. North East Trade Company

  1. #1
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    Review: Tom Crone sizing die vs. North East Trade Company

    I used to be a big fan of Lee custom sizing dies. They were inexpensive, made to whatever diameter you wanted, and well made. They were threaded for 7/8" to fit standard reloading presses. They also came with a nice plastic container that caught the bullets as they exited the die.

    Unfortunately, Lee has quit making this style of die, and their new dies max out at .515". Thus they have pretty much abandoned the market for anything bigger than 50 caliber.

    I wanted a sizer for my Smith, .515" in diameter. The bullet I'm using is the Eras Gone Smith, which is an accurate copy of a historical Smith bullet. It drops at .522" with pure lead. So I'm sizing it down .007". I purchased a NETCO sizer. It ruined the bullets. The die has a very abrupt transition from the opening bore to the sizing bore, with a sharp "chamfer" transition between the two. In addition, there are obvious concentric machine marks in the bore. The result is it takes a lot of force to get a bullet to go through the die, and when it does, it ruins the bullet. the sides of the bullet are scuffed horribly, and the bullet actually extrudes around the plunger, creating a "skirt" around the base of the bullet.

    Now some say that .007" is too aggressive to size in one pass. But I was able to get a Lee .515" sizer, and it pushed the Smith bullets through with no trouble at all.

    Next I needed a sizer for my Sharps. Again I'm using the Eras Gone Richmond Sharps, which is an accurate copy of the Sharps bullet produced by the Richmond Arsenal during the war. It drops at .550". I wanted to size it to .542 (.008" down). I had heard that some of the NETCO dies were made bad, so I thought maybe I had a fluke so I bought a .542" sizer from them. Same deal - obvious machine marks in the bore, and a very abrupt chamfer between the opening bore and the sizing bore. As with the Smith, it ruined bullets.

    I could no longer get Lee sizers, so on recommendations from here, I called Tom Crone (301-473-5699). Tom makes a threaded sizing die the same in principle as the NETCO die. It's a threaded rod with a nut and a plunger. After that, the similarities stop. Tom's sizing die has a very gentle transition from opening bore to sizing bore. When looking at it by eye, you cannot even tell the difference in diameter. In fact it is hard to tell by eye which end is the entry - you have to test fit the plunger to see which is the bigger bore. In addition, the bore is polished smooth.

    The first 5 or so bullets took a bit of force to get them to go through, but after that it was smooth as butter. The bullets come through swaged down to size perfectly.

    Delivery was about 2 weeks. They send you the die before you even send payment! Where do you find that in the world anymore?

    The only problem I had was that the plunger would not fit in the shell holder of my Lee Single Stage press. I called Tom and he said he deliberately leaves the shank large so that it gives a tight fit in the shell holder. Mine was a bit too tight.

    Tom suggested chucking it up in my drill press and filing the shank a bit until it fit. Unfortunately my drill press is only a 1/2" press so the plunger won't fit in the chuck.

    But, since I already had a .542" plunger from the NETCO die set, I just used the NETCO plunger in the Crone die. Works fine. Tom offered to rework the plunger for me but since the NETCO plunger works I probably won't bother.

    So, I highly recommend Tom Crone's sizing dies. Great craftsmanship and great, speedy service.

    Sadly Tom doesn't have any electronic presence, so it's phone call only.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  2. #2
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    I'll second that. Very good work and very friendly folks.

  3. #3
    MR. GADGET's Avatar
    MR. GADGET is offline Moderator
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    Everything Tom and his wife have done for me has been better than I ever though could be done.
    They have made several custom items and always really nice to deal with.

    You will not find better people anyplace.
    MR. GADGET
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    Just remember!
    When a pot needs stirring, someone needs to do it...

  4. #4
    EPPS1919 is offline
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    Tom makes nice stuff. I got cleaning rods and nipple wrench?s from him


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  5. #5
    ms3635v's Avatar
    ms3635v is offline
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    Tom's sizing dies are excellent quality. Tom ships quickly.
    Mike Santarelli 03635V, Adjutant
    Member since 1979
    Co. B, 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, #229
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  6. #6
    fullertc is offline
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    Tom Crone

    Ditto. When I need something, I'll call his wife (she answers the phone, he's busy).
    Tom Fuller, 5036V,
    29th Wisconsin Inf.

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