LEE COLLET DIES

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  • Last Post 11 October 2015
joeb33050 posted this 08 October 2015

While I've not been able to neck size acceptably in the Lee Collet Dies, I've been using them for crimping and working on neck sizing. The collet can be squozen only until the collet leaves touch each other, so that the decapper rod isn't needed to regulate neck diameter after sizing. Collet squeezing and thus neck sizing or crimping is max when the collet leaves touch = when the collet can't be pushed up by the shell holder any more. I take the decapping rod out. On my 223 and 308 lee collet dies, from where the case holder just touches the collet to collet fully compressed is just one turn of the die body. The body nut has 6 sides, so turning the body one flat = 60 degrees = 1/6 of the total movement of the die-and is easily set.

My crimping cbs with the LCD is easy and fast.

Anyone neck sizing with the decapper out?

joe b.  

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billglaze posted this 08 October 2015

Joe, I'm having the same problem with my Lee in .30-'06, but am living with it until I can get the proper “M” die for a more conventional setup. I haven't been loading for the '06 for quite a while, so have kinda neglected getting the proper setup--working too hard with the .308, .220 Swift, and 6mm Rem., but I have noticed that I have to have the collet completely screwed in and in firm contact with the press head, to get any effect from the die. Not good.

No solution here for you, but a confirmation that you're not alone.

Bill

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. My fate is not entirely in Gods hands, if I have a weapon in mine.

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gpidaho posted this 08 October 2015

The Lee collet neck sizing dies are my favorite reloading tool and I would love to have one for each caliber I load. Most of the time I use them as per instructions, mandrel in place and follow with a Lyman M-Die. This seems to give ME the most consistent results with brass that hasn't been neck turned. However as Joe points out, these dies lend themselves well to fine adjustments mandrel out and can be used very successfully on neck turned brass without the extra pass through a Lyman M-Die. Gp

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John Alexander posted this 08 October 2015

      I don't have a clue why people sometimes have trouble neck sizing with the Lee Collet die. Maybe some defective ones get out.  I have been using them exclusively for the eight calibers I have loaded that Lee makes a LCD for since Lee put them on the market. Soon after I started using the LCDs I had a case with turned necks that the collet die wouldn't reduce as much as needed because of the mandrel size.  I reduced the size of all my mandrels so they now never touch the inside of the neck but I leave them in to deprime. So to answer your second question about sizing with the decapper out. I do the equivalent by reducing the size of the mandrel but leaving it in to deprime and have no problems.  I just now tried the die with the mandrel out and it works just the same as with the reduced diameter mandrel.

  I have been doing this for over 25 years and it works great.  The neck OD is very uniform from one case to another (very seldom over .001” variation) and that means that the ID is also uniform IF the necks have uniform thickness (either as new or turned) as GP just pointed out.  If the neck thickness varies so will the ID. However, I know of no decent experiments that show that such small ID variations make any difference.   Joe is right that the collet will only close until its leaves touch. Lee has idiot proofed the die by sizing the mandrel to prevent damaging the die by trying to over close the collet. So if you are going use the die with the mandrel reduced or removed you have to use some common sense and avoid trying to mash a closed collet.   Someone will probably point out that using the LCD without the mandrel isn't following Lee's instructions.  That is true, so if you believe all manufacturer's instructions should be slavishly followed you shouldn't do either what I or Joe are doing. But if you like to think for yourself, it works like a charm. Remember instructions are written to also avoid liability or returns.  John

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onondaga posted this 08 October 2015

The rejection of Lee instructions for novel applications is similar to a chemical abortion of human babies.

The common misunderstandings about these dies are very well covered in the Lee literature and Lee videos.

Removing the de-cap/mandrel and using the die without the mandrel damages the die.

Reading the basic instructions and setup /adjustment for this die is important for satisfaction with the product.

The misunderstandings of these dies is caused by creative wandering minds that habitually disregard instructions and favor creative invention that ruins these dies.

Correct solutions are from Lee and here are some very relevant ones for instructionally challenged people:

Using collet dies on Rockchucker and other toggle over design presses http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/116/73/collet-dies-on-rockchucker-press>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/116/73/collet-dies-on-rockchucker-press

Video, repairing the collet

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Adjusting the die on Toggle over center presses

?v=6zK5KV192mk>
?v=6zK5KV192mk

Mandrel design size definition  http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/117/73/collet-mandrel>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/117/73/collet-mandrel

Collet die pressure exertion http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/118/73/collet-die-pressure-exertion>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/118/73/collet-die-pressure-exertion

Partial neck sizing with the collet die http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/137/73/partial-neck-sizing-with-collet-die>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/137/73/partial-neck-sizing-with-collet-die

Cant close bolt on rifle http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/141/73/cant-close-bolt-on-rifle>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/141/73/cant-close-bolt-on-rifle

Video, collet neck sizing die adjustment on single stage press http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/399/73/collet-necksizing-die-adjustment-in-single-stage-press>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/399/73/collet-necksizing-die-adjustment-in-single-stage-press

more specific tips from Lee

http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/482/73/easy-x-expander-in-collet-necksizing-die>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/482/73/easy-x-expander-in-collet-necksizing-die

http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/706/73/factory-crimp-die-coming-apart>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/706/73/factory-crimp-die-coming-apart

http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/693/73/stripped-collet-die-cap>http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/693/73/stripped-collet-die-cap

Realistically, if you didn't know all this stuff about these dies already, you are not sufficiently prepared and informed how to use these dies.

I repeat, if you didn't know all this stuff about these dies already, you are not sufficiently prepared and informed how to use these dies. The design of these dies is not ill planned or ill executed. Follow instructions and the dies will do as they are designed to do. If your results vary and you cannot get these dies to work as designed, you have not followed instructions and have already damaged the die. If you can't be bothered to read each of these links and figure out what you have done wrong, don't blame the die and it's design, it is you that has failed and damaged your die.

Gary

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John Alexander posted this 08 October 2015

Ah, right on schedule as predicted.

Gary,  I don't know how abortion got into this thread but let's not.

If you think there is always only one way to do things, I have no problem with you having that opinion, but I wish you wouldn't persist in trying to tell others that there is only one way -- and it's yours.  You are obviously wrong about that in general and wrong in this instance as well.

You say using the LCD without the mandrel damages the die. I have used one die to size about 50,000 cases over the last 25 years with the mandrel turned down so it doesn't touch the case mouth and it is still working as new. That isn't just my opinion. I  take the product of that sizing to matches so a lot of other people know the die seems to be still working fine as well.

I always read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them at first.  Sometimes I can see advantage in varying them a bit. I l think other open minded people sometimes do the same. I am a fan of Lee and almost always buy Lee gear and not just for the good prices.  They are the most innovative maker of loading equipment and have done more to encourage reloading than any of their competitors. However their instruction or other's instructions haven't come down off a mountain on clay tablets and nothing says that folks should make something similar to a religion out of them. 

By the way some of us think “creative wandering minds” that “favor creative invention” are a good thing.  What if the Wright brothers had stuck to bicycles?

I would like to AGAIN request that you respect other people's opinions when you disagree, argue as hard as you want but don't act like the other person is inferior. When you have a different opinion from another member of this forum please refrain for denigrating the other person by saying that they “don't understand", “don't want to learn", “don't shoot as well as I do” and other such put-downs similar to the one in your last paragraph.  I won't speculate on what makes you say such things, but they make you sound overbearing and more importantly are not allowed on this forum.

John

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John Carlson posted this 08 October 2015

I've only been using the LCD since last spring when I started shooting cast in an 0-6. I have also used bushing dies with turned necks in a 223 target rifle. My objective in both cases is to achieve uniform inside diameter of the case necks resulting in uniform neck tension. While I can't speak to the 0-6 since I haven't tried it any other way, the 223 does seem to like it consistent. I do use the mandrel, just polished it a bit.

While all that makes for great speculation may someday result in my setting up a neat research project, I find that just the simplicity and speed offered by the LCD is reason enough for me to stick with it.

Holding public office should be viewed as an obligation to serve, not an opportunity to rule.

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LWesthoff posted this 08 October 2015

I've been using Lee Collet Dies for both '06 and .300 W for quite some time, now. While I'm not too impressed with some of Lee's tools, I think that collet die is the best idea Lee ever had. I too have polished the mandrel a very wee bit. One thing I haven't gotten around to is following the suggestion Bob Sears published in the Jan,-Feb. 2006 Fouling Shot (Issue 179). Essentially, it amounts to taking 0.03 in. off the end of the collet. Makes belling the case mouth after neck sizing unnecessary and saves a step in loading. Sears has detailed instructions in his article.

On that same page, incidentally, there are some great suggestions for taking care of lube leakage from both the Lyman 450 and the RCBS lubrisizer.

Wes

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 09 October 2015

I've used them. Had a little problem that a little bit of lube on the tapered surfaces fixed. Not bad.

BUT what I do now is to resize MINIMALLY and made my own 2 or 3 diameter expanders to provide the consistency of I.D. dimension regardless of neck-wall thickness.

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Wineman posted this 10 October 2015

After having my kitchen counter covered with water from the dishwasher air-gap, I know the value of reading the instructions completely (knock out the plug for the dishwasher drain from the new garbage disposal).

I have found that with the Collet dies in 30-06, less is more. I set the die to just touch the shell holder without any compression. I then slowly screw the die in and get just enough sizing to use fatter cast bullets, sometimes as fat as 0.314". If the brass is fairly uniform and not too hard from age etc. it is easy to feel when enough is enough.

Using the die to crimp is more analogous to hitting a nail with the side of a hammer. How such a politically and morally charged subject was used as a comparison seems to be out of place in a hobbyist website. Gary I usually side with you but please let's not go there again.

Dave

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JeffinNZ posted this 11 October 2015

If you shoot .303 British you NEED a collet die by Lee. Awesome device. I have one for my .223 also. Love them.

Worth mentioning however that whilst I pursue premium accuracy I am not a benchrester.

Cheers from New Zealand

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joeb33050 posted this 11 October 2015

Among the several things that Walter Deane taught me, about 40 years ago, was that crimping rifle cast bullets almost always decreased accuracy. A few experiments over the years strengthened my agreement with Walter's teaching. Now the 223, and my thinking that MAYBE the bullets are being seated deeper in some cases than in others. My RCBS SB 223 dies were hard to control while crimping, either a serious crimp and attendant bulge, or no crimp-this in carefully trimmed cases. The Lee Collet die sans decapper/mandrel is easily adjusted to nicely crimp the bullet, and it works in 308 also. Maybe I'll be able to shoot today, and see if the smaller 223 groups will repeat. As the middle man in three generations of carpenters, I'll say that now and then a nail is best hit with the side of the hammer. That's why hammers have sides, else the sides would be left off.

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delmarskid1 posted this 11 October 2015

LWesthoff wrote: I've been using Lee Collet Dies for both '06 and .300 W for quite some time, now. While I'm not too impressed with some of Lee's tools, I think that collet die is the best idea Lee ever had. I too have polished the mandrel a very wee bit. One thing I haven't gotten around to is following the suggestion Bob Sears published in the Jan,-Feb. 2006 Fouling Shot (Issue 179). Essentially, it amounts to taking 0.03 in. off the end of the collet. Makes belling the case mouth after neck sizing unnecessary and saves a step in loading. Sears has detailed instructions in his article.

On that same page, incidentally, there are some great suggestions for taking care of lube leakage from both the Lyman 450 and the RCBS lubrisizer.

WesI ground off the top of the mandrel for the 22 hornet die and it works well to leave a flare at the case mouth. I also drilled out the inside shoulder to make it work for my 218 bee.  

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gpidaho posted this 11 October 2015

It's encouraging to see so many of you serious marksmen share this plinker's opinion of the Lee collet dies. I've added a few Lee die sets to my usual favorite Redding and it's the rifle collet factory crimp die that made the sale. While I'm not wandering off to Lee's town Guyana to drink red tea with Dick, I do admire what he did to make reloading affordable. These collet dies, both neck sizing and crimping, are by far Lee's best idea. Gp

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