Lee Bulge Buster Kit

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Trinidad Bill
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Lee Bulge Buster Kit

Postby Trinidad Bill » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:15 am

I was reading through the instructions for my new Bulge Buster Kit preparing to load up some .45 ACP shot through my Glocks. Some where through my Lone Barrel others through the Glock barrel. So I may or may not have a bulge.

The last instruction says:

“Now slide a resized or loaded cartridge into the base of the Factory Crimp die and raise the ram to push the case completely through the die.”

1. Does the case really need to be resized first?
2. A loaded cartridge? Is this a safe operation?

at_liberty
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:36 am

Re: Lee Bulge Buster Kit

Postby at_liberty » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:34 pm

Trinidad Bill wrote:I was reading through the instructions for my new Bulge Buster Kit preparing to load up some .45 ACP shot through my Glocks. Some where through my Lone Barrel others through the Glock barrel. So I may or may not have a bulge.

The last instruction says:

“Now slide a resized or loaded cartridge into the base of the Factory Crimp die and raise the ram to push the case completely through the die.”

1. Does the case really need to be resized first?
2. A loaded cartridge? Is this a safe operation?


Yes, the cases should be resized first. Otherwise, the resistance will ruin the case that follows and is supposed to push the upper case through. Ask me how I know. I missed taking note of that paragraph in the instructions.

Yes, it definitely works with loaded cartridges, whereas my Redding G-Rx does not. I just did a batch this morning culled with a gauge from some rough quality reloads I bought. I salvaged every round. I will routinely use the Redding, but if I ever need to do loaded ammo the Lee will still be handy.

The difference is that the Lee ram has a pocket cut out for the primer.

Note that for just cases they go into the die head first, pushed through by following cases. For loaded cartridges, the rounds go in bullet first and are free once past the resizing ring in the front. If sitting there ahead of the next round, it will offer no resistance and will just rise until it can be grabbed or fall into a catch bottle.

I did keep my face away from the die opening, but you should not be too concerned about it.

Here's a tip for you. My .40 S&W cases kept jamming on the edge of the catcher opening. I cut a piece of case feeder tubing for an insert to allow the cases to stay aligned and had no more problems. You may have no problems with the .45. Cutting the tubing is not trivial but I have a shop with lots of tools and machines. If patient, a sharp pocket knife will work. I used a small band saw.

Trinidad Bill
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Postby Trinidad Bill » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:43 pm

Just out of curiosity did the COL of the loaded cartridge change when you pushed it through the Bulge Buster? It would seem to me that it would lengthen the round. I have done this with a sizing die (minus the deprimer) and it always seems to squeeze the bullet up some increasing the COL.

at_liberty
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:36 am

Postby at_liberty » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:47 pm

Trinidad Bill wrote:Just out of curiosity did the COL of the loaded cartridge change when you pushed it through the Bulge Buster? It would seem to me that it would lengthen the round. I have done this with a sizing die (minus the deprimer) and it always seems to squeeze the bullet up some increasing the COL.


No, it isn't how pretty the numbers come out but whether the round will chamber, as opposed to scrapping it. I used a Lyman standard chamber gauge, which is a tough test and on some rounds required some finesse in reworking the rounds' dimensions at the case mouth and head, to include extractor dings and other burrs as well as imperfections around the mouth. Some rounds required another pass at crimping on the FCD. Like I said, this ammo was rough quality. The plated bullets didn't help either.

I did end with a couple that wouldn't gauge so I finally conceded taking a gun apart and using the barrel's chamber. The rounds dropped right in, the actual chamber not as strict as the gauge. While the gun was assembled, I cycled a few rounds that were still pretty tight in the gauge. With that recoil spring incentive, the rounds went in fine. These were the same rounds that had been FTF in the same gun, now working fine at least without firing some. I will be happier once back to the range to verify whether the ammo is good.

Trinidad Bill
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:35 pm

Postby Trinidad Bill » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:44 am

at_liberty...

Thanks for the info. Especially the heads up on the casing placement. I would have put it in the opposite way as their picture is not very clear. Lee should make a quick video of its usage.

I did about 50+ range pieces with my turret last night to get a feel for it. Boy, I really had to crank on some of those to get the casing head through the die. I think I tossed out about 12 pieces of brass that I mushed the case mouth by not having the head enter the die just right.
Some of the cases went through quite easily other were quite tough.

However... every piece of brass that I finished gauged properly with my Dillon case gauge and Lone Wolf barrel.

Not a fast process but it worked. The plastic case catcher worked great.

I was really concerned initially with the amount of pressure I had to apply to some of the case to get the case head through. I am not quite sure what is happening to the brass as you press it through the die.

The next step is to load them up and see if they cycle correctly through my Glock with the LW barrel.

at_liberty
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:36 am

Postby at_liberty » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:06 am

Trinidad Bill wrote:I was really concerned initially with the amount of pressure I had to apply to some of the case to get the case head through. I am not quite sure what is happening to the brass as you press it through the die.


I have had some second thoughts about sending the cases in head first, but need more deformed ammo to test. I will have to get my unloading machine going at the range tomorrow night. Try it both ways and suit yourself. The design certainly suggests that the case fits over the ram and would not otherwise maintain alignment except manually and risking finger pinching. Loaded ammo is longer and easier to manipulate. The sleeve used on the Redding leaves little doubt about intended direction and will seriously jam at the ram with case mouth down, but actually neither company confirms in their instructions how the design is intended to work.

The problem is that the case head is beveled and the base of the ram is beveled, both acting to flare the case mouth, inviting the next round to jam into the preceding case and probably ruin it, not to mention create a jam the die. Yes, there were some case casualties from the process.

I had some 3/8 aluminum rod so cut off a 3" length, tapered the end to match the inside of the .40 SW case, and used it to push a single case all the way through. This was for the head first option. The mouth-first method would be with the tapered end of my makeshift tool in the primer pocket and the larger end presented to the case head. This worked well, and that improvised poke tool became handy for lots of case handling and gauging in all my calibers.

I think this tool would work better with a much longer ram, working very much like the Redding G-Rx.
Last edited by at_liberty on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

zuke

Postby zuke » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:45 am

A longer ram or a narrower/thinner one.

at_liberty
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Postby at_liberty » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:14 am

zuke wrote:A longer ram or a narrower/thinner one.


"Ram" was probably an unfortunate choice of terms. I refer to the shellholder or post that mounts on the ram end of the press and pushes the case (or complete cartridge) into the die. I see no reason for that part to be smaller in cylindrical size, just longer in length by quite a lot. I think it needs to be at least long enough to push a case past the sizing ring in the die so that a flared case mouth is not presented to the following case nor is a beveled head presented to an open, unconstrained case mouth to follow, when there is still resistance and the possibility of two cases jamming together.
Last edited by at_liberty on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Trinidad Bill
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Postby Trinidad Bill » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:13 am

I worked up about 15 45 ACP rounds after running it through the Bulge Buster. They all loaded and cycled perfectly in my Glock with the Lone Wolf barrel.

In fact, they felt better loading and cycling than any of my other reloads through that barrel! The Bulge Buster may be a good thing for my after market barrel!

I did send a quick e-mail off yesterday to Lee asking them which direction the case head should be oriented for use in the Bulge Buster. I have yet to receive a response.

Trinidad Bill
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Postby Trinidad Bill » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:27 pm

Well, according to Lee the case should enter the die case mouth first.

The following came from Lee Precision:

You would insert the case, case mouth first into the die. You would want to push the bottom of the case into the die so it exits the die with the bullet or the case mouth first. You can use the Bulge Buster with either loaded or unloaded rounds. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

Thank You
Lee Precision


At 10:14 AM 8/9/2010, you wrote:

I recently purchase the �Bulge Buster� for my .45 acp. My question is:

Which way do you orient the case when pushing it through the die? Case head first or cast mouth first?

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:56 am

In discussing the "BulgeBuster" kit on another forum, it was pointed out that for .45 Auto (.45 ACP), the rim diameter is larger than the diameter of the case at its base. That would mean the FCD is being asked to not only resize the case to original dimension, but also to REDUCE the diameter of the case rim. This does not seem like a great idea.

Here's a sketch of the .45 Auto case (borrowed from Steve's pages)
Image

This clearly shows that the rim is .004" larger than the case. For those using the BulgeBuster for .45 Auto -- has this been a problem? Has anyone measured the I.D. of the carbide sizing ring in the FCD to see what its clear dimension really is?

I was very enthusiastic about the BulgeBuster kit until I was apprised of this problem. Now, I'm not at all certain it's a good tool.

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glock40sw
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Location: Australia

Postby glock40sw » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:32 am

G'day All.
I have been doing this with 40S&W cases for the last 12 months. I pass them through the FCD head first.

I use the punch pin that came with a Lee 356 cast bullet sizer kit.

After all the 40 cases have been done, they then get resized to 357Sig. Yes the neck is shorter but it doesn't make any difference to the rounds.

I have processed 5000 cases so far.

All the best
Regards, Trevor.
Australia

at_liberty
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Postby at_liberty » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:27 am

Hawkmoon wrote:In discussing the "BulgeBuster" kit on another forum, it was pointed out that for .45 Auto (.45 ACP), the rim diameter is larger than the diameter of the case at its base. That would mean the FCD is being asked to not only resize the case to original dimension, but also to REDUCE the diameter of the case rim. This does not seem like a great idea.

Here's a sketch of the .45 Auto case (borrowed from Steve's pages)
Image

This clearly shows that the rim is .004" larger than the case. For those using the BulgeBuster for .45 Auto -- has this been a problem? Has anyone measured the I.D. of the carbide sizing ring in the FCD to see what its clear dimension really is?

I was very enthusiastic about the BulgeBuster kit until I was apprised of this problem. Now, I'm not at all certain it's a good tool.


It is only available for .40 SW. The FCD component being sold separately may give the impression that caliber can be variable.

I have had an exchange with Redding about doing something for 9 mm, requiring a 10mm opening, and was advised that they looked at the problem and decided not to address it.

I was not aware that 45 was a problem with high pressure bulges near the flash hole.

I have both the Redding G-Rx and the Lee Bulge Buster for 40. I prefer the G-Rx, but the Lee is the one that will work on loaded ammo and is quite a lot cheaper. The ram has a primer pocket.

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:55 am

.45 Auto cases fired in Glock pistols typically have a significant bulge, and it means having to inspect all brass scrounged from range pick-ups carefully and tossing any that appear to have been Glock fodder.

I didn't realize the Lee kit was only for .40 S&W. Guess I'll have to look at their web site more closely.

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Hawkmoon
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Postby Hawkmoon » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:58 am

The Lee web site offers the Bulge Buster Kit for .380 ACP, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .45 Win Mag, 10mm, .41 AE, and .45 GAP.

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog ... uster.html


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