Question: issues with Carcano 6.5x52 FL die expander (undersized)

I am writing this as I yelled screw it and left second stuck case, stuck, in my Carcano 6.5x52 die. That said, I am an expert at stuck case removal by now, but, not at 10:30PM. Better things to do.

I wanted to make a couple of dummy/template cartridges for Carcano (6.5x52) and here’s where I hit some snags.

FL sized. Case was lubed inside and out. However, I felt a little more resistance that I think I should have felt on the way up (ram moving down).

I tried seating a bullet and the neck on FL size cases was too tight. I am using original milsurp carcano bullet, 0.268" diameter. Something was off.

All suspicions point to undersized expander, I don;t see any other possibilities with excessive neck tension other than undersized expander.

I can’t measure it right now, because I have a case stuck in the die, I will do that tomorrow. However, I strongly suspect that the expander in the 6.5x52 Carcano FL die is undersized.

Little bit of digging and I am almost certain that expander is designed for commercially available projectiles - 6.5. Not 0.268" which is about 6.81mm. That 0.31mm difference is huge when it comes to seating.

So I suspect that expander, some research got me here:

Lee 6.5 Carcano Limited Production 2-Die Set includes a Full Length Sizing Die (for .264" bullets), Bullet Seating Die, Universal Shell Holder, Powder Dipper and Instructions/Load Data. The original .268" bullet supply is limited, and requires a custom oversize easy x expander.

Really, Lee! Really!?!?!? Selling dies for a rifle with an assumption that someone will be using wrong bullets? How about you assume someone will be using correct bullets! Bah! I could be wrong, but this is where I am right now.

Anyway, so I navigated to the custom expander page…

It’s asking me “How many thousandths would you like the Expander oversized?”. Of course I don’t speak stupid imperial number system, this ‘thou’ business means nothing to me. Doing back and forth conversions, I assume that it’s a 6.5mm expander, I need a 6.81mm (0.268") expander. That’s like 0.31mm, converting back to stupid is: 0.012".

According to that website ( I need a 6.5 Carcano expander oversized by 0.012.

Can anyone confirm this? Please? Help! Anyone? :crazy_face:

@no1mk3 @Jim_Fleming

That is strange as all of the 6.5 that I could see in the Hornady list is .264 except the Carcano which day’s that it is .267.

Not sure why it is different to the other 6.5’s, I think you might be right about the expander being undersized. I guess your options are to get an oversized expander or a new die.

Can’t help you with why your cases are getting stuck other than either a dirty die or not enough lube.

Yeah, the question is not about cases being stuck, that’s more of a rant.

Focusing on neck tension here. Carcano bullet diameter is 0.268", 6.81mm. Not 0.267. Just opened a ticket with Lee, see what they say.

Actually it is .2675 so half way lol.
Was just pointing out that Hornady was .267 :grinning:

Interesting. Sources? Because everything I am seeing is 0.268". But double interesting! Hornady is 0.267" (actually went and had a look at the box, just now).


“.268 cal, actually 0.2675 inches”

Both from Wikipedia.

I hate everyone.

Do you need a cuddle from @GUN-DMC or @AusTac?

Let’s keep this thread on topic, please, but maybe.

1 Like

can’t help with the expander, but im wondering why your so used to having cases get stuck in your dies?
I have only every had one case stuck and it was caused by me having a random 223 in with my .222 brass.

Yeah, I want to know that too. Only happens with Highlander PPU Carcano brass, using that undersized expander. Dies are clean, I don’t skimp on lube, both external and graphite for inside the neck.

Will wait for different expander. Will make for a nice write-up. Maybe benefit with annealing too, but I doubt that.

G’day juststarting,
Loading the Carcano can be n exercise in frustration, owing to a general misunderstanding of the military ammo, design parameters, production tolerances etc. Firstly, take Wiki with a grain of salt. The original M91 Carcano projectile was always .265 (6.73), with the later SMI etc projectile being .266 (6.756) diameter, but was OPEN BASED! It was intended to obturate into the rifling, with the firearm having a nominal bore of .257 (6.53) to .259 (6.58) and a groove diameter of .2677 (6.8) to .269 (6.84). In production groove diameter had an upper limit of .272 (6.91) but I have measured 2 larger then this in otherwise good looking bores. The 1950’s Winchester ammo was made to the same specs as the SMI military projectile, open based, and it was one of these that killed Kennedy. The current Hornady projectile, despite what is written on the box and anywhere else, is .267 (6.78), so if your current expander ball is .264, then to get .001 “grip” you should get a .266 (6.76) or .002 (.051) oversize expander for Hornady projectiles. As you are using ex-mil, I would suggest you keep the Lee expander you currently have. Cheers

Interesting. I don’t think keeping the original expander for milsurp bullets will work. I’ll order a couple oversized expanders and see how we go. Will need to measure the original one first to confirm size.

Suggest you stop using “dickheady-pedia” as a reference source.

I actually used the Forgotten Weapons as a reference and Wikipedia as a confirmation. When it comes to these things, I don’t start anything until I get three different confirmations. :slight_smile:

So Lee has confirmed that the expander is in fact .264 diameter. Well! That explains a lot.

Well that seems stupid

Unless they are using the Hornady dies which though still wrong are closer than the Lee dies.