The first die of 3, usually just re-sizes (old style) the case back to original size specs. (New style de-caps in first die) The second die will de-cap (remove the primer) from the case and "bell" or open the case mouth up just slightly. You control how much opening occurs by how deep you insert the case into the die. This is adjusted by how deep the die is screwed into the press and the lockring on the die is set to the depth you prefer. This is the step where you put the new primer into the case.
The last of the three dies is for bullet seating and closing the mouth of the case even or even crimping
the case mouth on the bullet. Lead bullets usually either have a crimp ring or can be inserted just deep
enough to get past the largest part of the bullet to put a slight crimp on the case. Be warned, the more
crimp you put on the case, the sooner these cases will begin to split at the mouth and will have to be
discarded. For this reason, many re-loaders will not crimp at all if the bullet is going to be used in the
clip magazine. In Tubular magazines, the pressure on the bullets and recoil shock will often dislodge a
bullet that has not been crimped. Again, the amount of crimp is adjusted by how deep the case is
inserted into the die (and set by the lock ring on the die). THEN, the depth of the bullet seating is
adjusted by the rod in the center of the die (and locked in place with a lock ring) so that the crimp
occurs exactly when the bullet is seated to proper depth in the case.
2. Two versus Three Die Sets (2 die sets)
The second die in the 2 die set is for bullet seating and crimping if you desire to do it. The same rules apply for crimping with the 2 die set as with all others. If the bullet, like a 30-30 is going to be in a tubular magazine, it may be wise to get bullets with a crimp ring and put a small amount of crimp on it. Just a side note, when using tubular magazine, it's not wise to use spire pointed bullets that will put all the pressure on the primer of the bullet on top of it. It could cause an explosion. Best to use FLAT nose or gentle rounded nose bullets in tubular magazines.
3. Quality of Dies and Steel
One of the most important factors that I have found critical in dies is the hardness of the
steel and the polish of the inside (particularly the re-sizing die). The best dies are made of
Tungsten Carbide and are not supposed to need lubricant. I would use it anyway.
The re-sizing die gets a LOT of
hard work. Sometimes, even a case you have cleaned and lubricated, will still have a speck of
sand or dirt on it. In the resizing die, it can scratch the die and then, every case sized after that
will have a scratch put on it. Buy high quality dies. The extra cost up front will be well worth it
in the years to come. Of course, you still should take special care to have cases clean and free of
dirt, sand and grit.
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