ME AND LEE COLLET DIES

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  • Last Post 06 November 2015
joeb33050 posted this 06 November 2015

After failing since 2003 I've got a 223 Lee Collet die working. Neck sizing The decapper pin/mandrel is out of the die-decap first, no mandrel. The die is screwn down until the collet touches the raised shell holder, the collet is the item hanging out of the die body. The lock nut-not the die- is turned so a flat is facing me square on. The die with lock nut is turned down 4 and a half flats, four flats then so the next point on the nut faces me. With 14 tpi and 6 flats this is 3/4 of a turn or ~ .054". The die is taped in place with masking tape so it won't rotate while sizing. Cases are neck sized, the press handles go over-center and click to a stop. I know the necks are sized ~ the same because when they go through the Lyman M die, next step, they all have about the same resistance dragging over the M die expander/flarer thing.

Crimping case mouths Mandrel/decapper still out of the die. The die is screwn in maybe 2-3 turns after the collet touches the raised shell holder. Way beyond where the press could ever go over center. Loaded case in, raise ram, squeeze twice quick, turn 1/4 turn, squeeze twice again, next loaded case. Very fast, little work required.

I know it's crimping because the crimped case neck/mouth measures .003"-.005” less after crimping.

Works for me.

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John Alexander posted this 06 November 2015

Joe, Ah, another convert to successfully using the Lee collet die not according to instructions. I have been doing essentially the same thing for as long as there have been Lee Collet Dies. The only difference is I leave the mandrel in to punch out spent primers but reduce the size of the mandrel so it doesn't touch the inside of the neck. 

I don't tape the die in place because I try different neck tensions to make sure I am getting enough neck tension to avoid the bullet being pushed back in the neck upon chambering. (Used this way the collet die replaces an infinite number of (or at least a few) sizing bushings for the Redding S type die.) I measure neck OD a lot (on turned necks) if I am trying for a particular OD and almost never find a neck that is as much as .0005” smaller or larger.  The current cases I am using have been reloaded 43 - 45 times and never annealed so all are at about the same stage of work hardening - thus the excellent uniformity.

You might consider going the next step and eliminating the M die. I ream a low angle taper into the neck mouth to achieve a “flare".  As you note, the uniformity in diameter is already produced by the collet die. Turning off a bit of the end of the collet so the case mouth is automatically flared as described by Bob Sears in his TFS article is an even better idea.  You only have to do either of these once instead of using the M die every time. Of course if neck thickness varies a lot it might be a good idea to keep using the M die.

John

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gpidaho posted this 06 November 2015

2003? That's persistent Joe, Glad you got them working for you. The collet dies are by far the best idea Lee ever came up with. Gp

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