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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
These Plugs are the cat's meow! I thought I would demonstrate just how well they work and the best way to do that is with a "worst case scenario"; something like I encounter while loading cast bullets for my Taurus PT745 Millennium Pro chambered in 45 ACP.

While in the bullet mold business, I avoided semi-autos as I felt they where very over done and that it would be difficult to introduce yet another design and sell it. My desire to find a replacement for my Glock 36 (45 ACP single stack) lead me to the Taurus PT745 Millennium Pro and that lead me to an unfilled need that I addressed with a number of designs.

Taurus uses fat bore and grooves on all their semi autos. Any guess as to why is speculation on my part but I can assure you they do. Here is my PT745 and these dimensions are the same as my PT945 and the half
dozen PT1911s I slugged and made chamber impressions for.



I have a near complete lineup of the Millennium Pros; a 32 ACP, 380 Auto, 9mm, and 45 ACP. The only chambering I do not have is a 40 S&W. Each of these have a unique need for a fatter than normal cast bullet. In the case of the 45 ACPs, they use a .454" bore and .457" groove. If you are not shooting at least a .457" bullet, the odds of "ragged hole" groups are slim.

Designing the bullet is easy, the hard part is loading such an over sized bullet. I've been successful but it takes a huge amount of flare at the case mouth and it is very easy to displace the longitudinal axis of the bullet with that of the case, the result being an unacceptable amount of runout.

Al Nelson at NOE came up with a super idea of using Lyman "M" type of plugs in the Lee Powder Through Expander Die. He also added a lineup of plugs for the Lee Universal Case Expander. All of these are caliber specific and size the case to the needed diameter rather than flaring the case mouth out.

The example below demonstrates how the "M" type die works. the "flare" of both examples is exaggerated but you can see the sizing that takes place with the "M" type plug. Mouth flare can be controlled to nothing by a plug of the appropriate diameter. This is what NOE is doing that is different than the stock plugs offered through Lyman.



I chose the NOE PT45PEXP based on my needs. The cartridge in the photo below was finished with the referenced NOE plug. You can see how the case was form sized to accept the .457" bullet body.

Notice the Lee plug is a single diameter with a sharp step that forms the case mouth flare. The NOE Plug has steps that bring it to the maximum diameter of the plug. The plugs that are for the Lee Powder Through Expander die are an open ended barrel that allows powder to pass through them.



This case was flared with the Lee plug. It has an significant amount of "roll out" at the case mouth in order to accpet the oversized bullet.



The cartridge below has been formed with the NOE plug. The case walls are uniform and the square base bullet has no problem resting on the sized case.



I've used a picture focused down through the cavity of the Auto Disk to demonstrate that they NOE plug has actuated the powder dispenser as designed. The Powder Through Expander Die setup is no different than that offered in the Lee instructions. Raise the ram, thread the die in until is touches the shell holder, and then turn it out one complete turn. From there you use fine adjustments to get the diameter you need. In the case of my PT45PEXP plug and in that .457 is the maximum diameter of the plug, I simply adjust the die to a point that is short of flaring the case mouth.



The .457 bullet has been started down into the 45 ACP case. The loose case was expanded using the Lee plug and the mouth flare is quite obvious. As a note, the Lee flared case cannot be forced into the 45 ACP sizing die without damaging the case. This is how significant the flare is.



The completed cartridge chambers without issue in my Taurus PT745.



I do not crimp the case as a semi-auto headspaces off the case mouth. The bullet is being held in place by the uniform, on diameter seating, and it takes quite an effort with a kinetic puller to loosen the bullet. The bullet has not been "post" sized while seating in the case, it is still at .457".



I no longer arbitrarily reject the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die based on it's reputation of post sizing the bullet as the cartridge passes the carbide ring. I personal have come to like the die because it does a great job of controlling measured cartridge runout. I simply check each application as needed and have started using them in most of my cast bullet applications.

In the case of my TL457, the die is unfortunately not going to work. I checked three bullets that passed through the die and all were post sized to .454". I would use the die with a normal 45 ACP cast bullet application without hesitation.



This has been a bit of an extreme example for the need of the NOE PTE Plugs but even a normal need can benefit from their use. With the cost of brass or the possibility that it simply might not be replaceable when you need, I'm now taking all kinds of steps to care for an utilize each case fully. The PTEP is just one why of adding life to the case while making a better loaded cartridge!
 

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Thanks for the info.
 

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Great read! Thanks for the info...What appeals to me is how such a small difference, and scientific research, can make such a big difference in performance.





"Lightening does the work, thunder takes the credit."
Idaho Cowboy wisdom
 

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I bought a set of these, one for every caliber I own, but I can't get them to work with the Auto Disk powder measure. The ID of the NOE plug is smaller than the original Lee plug. The drop tube from the Auto Disk slides inside the Lee plug, but just butts up against the end of the NOE plug.

If I drop the NOE plug in the die and try to mount the measure, the drop tube hits the end of the plug before the threads on the measure engage the die.

The original 9mm Lee plug on left, NOE 38AP plug on right.

What am i overlooking here?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The original 9mm Lee plug on left, NOE 38AP plug on right.

What am i overlooking here?
My initial guess is that it is the 38APEXP which is for the Universal Case Expanding Die vs. the PT38APEXP which is for the Powder Through Expander Die. Both are identified as 38AP on their respective pages. The first, the 38APEXP, is under Expander Plug - Pistol and sells for $6.50 and the second, the PT38APEXP, is under Powder Thru Expander Plug and sells for $9.50. I have not ordered the basic Expander Plugs yet as I wanted to talk to Al Nelson about some special orders so I don't know if these plugs for the Universal Expanding Dies are a hollow barrel or not. The wall thickness on the Expander Plugs would need to be thick to match the adjustment screw.

The base designation, like 38AP is a little confusing in that it is listed under both plug categories and it would be easy to miss the actual product number. If you caught this before ordering, may be they didn't. Here are my Powder Through Expander plugs and the PT38APEXP specifically.





Hopefully this info will help but either way you are going to need to talk with NOE it looks like.
 

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My initial guess is that it is the 38APEXP which is for the Universal Case Expanding Die vs. the PT38APEXP which is for the Powder Through Expander Die. Both are identified as 38AP on their respective pages. The first, the 38APEXP, is under Expander Plug - Pistol and sells for $6.50 and the second, the PT38APEXP, is under Powder Thru Expander Plug and sells for $9.50. I have not ordered the basic Expander Plugs yet as I wanted to talk to Al Nelson about some special orders so I don't know if these plugs for the Universal Expanding Dies are a hollow barrel or not. The wall thickness on the Expander Plugs would need to be thick to match the adjustment screw.

The base designation, like 38AP is a little confusing in that it is listed under both plug categories and it would be easy to miss the actual product number. If you caught this before ordering, may be they didn't. Here are my Powder Through Expander plugs and the PT38APEXP specifically.





Hopefully this info will help but either way you are going to need to talk with NOE it looks like.
I sent NOE an email. The expander plugs all look shorter though so I'm not getting it. Mine is the same length as the Lee. Thanks for your help.
 

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Good idea; it is doing what the Lyman "M" die does but I think it may be a little better engineered and should be a little cheaper. Like it!!
 
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OK mine are off to NOE. I think their website is clear as mud on which is which. I'm still confused, but NOE responded to my email quickly and assured me they'd take care of it.
 

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Good idea; it is doing what the Lyman "M" die does but I think it may be a little better engineered and should be a little cheaper. Like it!!
They are nice and polished up, and given you get the right product should work very well.
 

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Great post!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Does any body know if the Taurus PT-1911 have a similar 'Fat' (oversized) bore and groves?
I slugged the barrels and made chamber impressions of the PT745, PT845, PT945 (2), OSS, and PT1911 (3). All were identical. This was about four years ago and all the pistols were of fairly new manufacture.

This over bore/groove is carried forward with the other pistols that I have done the same work with: 25PLY/PT25, 732/PT132Pro, 738/PT138Pro, and PT111Pro. What is strange is all of the Taurus revolvers that I have done the work on are right on the SAAMI spec, not fat.

Not sure why they do it, only the designers down in Brazil would know. My guess is that it is to relieve pressure as quick as possible. I've pressed jacketed bullets through all of these, pick any one, here is what it looks like with a SAAMI spec diameter bullet.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Please also understand that I'm not complaining, just a fellow that noticed something and addressed it. You or anyone else could not buy my PT745 off of me, no Sir, especially in that I have a bullet to feed it.

 

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Great write up and thank you for the time and knowledge you have shared here. I do not believe anyone would think you are complaining here Ranch Dog. Your insight is always appreciated.
 

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Question....

With your overbore 9mm bullets, do you use the NOE expander plug for 9mm, or the one meant for .38 revolvers?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Question....

With your overbore 9mm bullets, do you use the NOE expander plug for 9mm, or the one meant for .38 revolvers?
Not real sure at this point as I haven't done any loading with the 9mm yet. There is not a 9mm specific Power Thru Expander Plug, just those labeled as 38X.



I have all of these and for the 9mm Luger will use either the 38AP or 38P, which ever works best. My bullet is .357".

My 738B and PT138Pro concern me the most and I will probably start with them. I shoot a .358" bullet in them and the short plug will probably not have enough diameter. I might need to see if NOE will address this need, that of a fat 380 Auto plug. I will look at this in the next couple of days.

The barrel stock of both the 9mm Luger and 380 Auto, as used by Taurus, is the same; a .351" bore and a .358" groove. As far as performance, I can get away with my .357" bullet in the 9mm Luger because it is gas checked but I'm using a .358" plain base in the two 380 Autos. I went with a gas checked bullet with the 9mm Luger PT111Pro because the cartridge is a high pressure cartridge and I could not get a .358" bullet to work in the tapered 9mm Luger case. a .358" bullet slides right in the straight walled 380 Auto case.
 

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Not real sure at this point as I haven't done any loading with the 9mm yet. There is not a 9mm specific Power Thru Expander Plug, just those labeled as 38X.



I have all of these and for the 9mm Luger will use either the 38AP or 38P, which ever works best. My bullet is .357".

My 738B and PT138Pro concern me the most and I will probably start with them. I shoot a .358" bullet in them and the short plug will probably not have enough diameter. I might need to see if NOE will address this need, that of a fat 380 Auto plug. I will look at this in the next couple of days.

The barrel stock of both the 9mm Luger and 380 Auto, as used by Taurus, is the same; a .351" bore and a .358" groove. As far as performance, I can get away with my .357" bullet in the 9mm Luger because it is gas checked but I'm using a .358" plain base in the two 380 Autos. I went with a gas checked bullet with the 9mm Luger PT111Pro because the cartridge is a high pressure cartridge and I could not get a .358" bullet to work in the tapered 9mm Luger case. a .358" bullet slides right in the straight walled 380 Auto case.
After reading your work I made my own observations and have switched to a .357 diameter bullet also. I have everything to cast except the time, so for the moment I'm just ordering them at .357, as my source allows that.

I sort of interpreted the "AP" in 38AP meant "Auto Pistol". From the specs I sort of assumed it was meant for the 9mm. But with the .357 bullets I'm not sure. Guess I'll be trying them both.
 

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I love informative posts like these. Thank you for taking the time to post it. Great post!
 
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