Lee collet neck sizing die for 30-40 Krag

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  • Last Post 27 November 2015
45ACPete posted this 18 November 2015

As many Krag owners may already know, Lee does not catalog a collet neck sizing die for the 30-40 Krag.  I called and asked for technical support, thinking that I could order an additional mandrel for my .303 British die in a diameter appropriate for the Krag.  I was informed that they would make a custom collet die set for the Krag at a cost of $70.  When I again stated that I only wanted a mandrel I was cut off.  In all fairness, I should say that I was using my cell phone, so possibly I wasn't actually hung up on.  Anyway, I went back to the bench and looked at the mandrels for my 30-06 and 7.5 X 55 collet dies.  They only differed from the .303 mandrel in diameter, measuring .306 and .305 respectably.  So, it seems I already have mandrels to neck size my Krag brass.  Maybe I just reached a Lee tech who was having a bad day but I thought that Lee's vaunted customer service was quite lacking in this instance.

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Notlwonk posted this 18 November 2015

I modified a 30-06 collet die by shortening the collet detail. It doesn't size the full length of the neck but I'm happy with the results. I did consider using a 303 die but the 06 works. I've delt with Lee before and am surprised they would hang up. You can order some of the parts on line.

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onondaga posted this 18 November 2015

http://castbulletassoc.org/view_user.php?id=5733>45ACPete

You can order a custom size mandrel in any size you wish from Lee. Getting it delivered does not guarantee it will work with your 30-06 and 7.5 X 55 collet dies for collet neck sizing 30-40 Krag brass.

You will have to gamble on that and fit it yourself. If you want the guarantee of a custom Collet Die from Lee, that is what you have to order, not just a mandrel that you will have to fit and try to  make work.

The mandrels in custom sizes from Lee are inexpensive but they are not universal solutions that are guaranteed when used in a Lee Collet Die for an incorrect caliber substitution.

You may be very happy or very disappointed trying a custom mandrel in an incorrect die for 30-40 Krag. Don't blame Lee! You have to choose and be responsible for your choice.

I recommend you order the Custom Collet Die set in 30-40 Krag and get the Lee guarantee with it.

Gary

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45ACPete posted this 19 November 2015

I thought I was clear that I was going to use my .303 British collet die with a smaller mandrel to neck size 30-40 brass

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onondaga posted this 19 November 2015

http://castbulletassoc.org/view_user.php?id=5733>45ACPete

 I'd like to know how that is working for you.

Did you have to vary from the Lee die setting instructions to get the job done?

Did the setup of the die hold setting consistently?

What bullet diameter do you use and how is bullet tension in your 30-40 K?

Did you have to modify the die body, collet or shellholder?

Anybody wanting to try what you are doing would benefit from your particulars of the procedure.

Gary

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GBertolet posted this 19 November 2015

I use the Lee .303 collet sizer for my Krag 30-40's. It works well for me. I turned the mandrel down about .001, using a drill press with emery cloth. I probably didn't need to, as I ultimately use .311 bullets (.303 size ) now anyway. No other die or shell holder mods necessiary. With charges of 18 gr 4759 & 311291 bullet, I can load many times without FL sizing. It is such a time saver to run the cases through the collet sizer, without having to lube them. The .303 die sizes about 80% of the 30-40 neck length, which is more than good enough.

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Wineman posted this 20 November 2015

I was thinking the same thing. Why not use the 303 die as is and go with a fatter bullet. Lee mandrels seem to be undersized anyway. I have found that with a 30-06, I can feel when the die has squeezed the neck down (partial stroke) enough and I get a very consistent neck tension for 0.312 or 0.314 gas checked bullets.

Dave

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45ACPete posted this 21 November 2015

Substituting the mandrel from the 30-06 die (.306 dia.) in the .303 Brit. die resulted in very little to no sizing--I suppose because the collet was closing as far as it could without squeezing the brass. Using the regular .303 mandrel (Lee spec. is .3085 dia.) there is a slight bit of sizing--a .311 bullet is held in place but would be shoved back into the case if you tried to engage the rifling. So, I ordered a new .3085 mandrel from Lee and plan to reduce it slightly--It may only have to measure .308 to allow for enough neck tension. Will report on the results when it arrives.

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John Alexander posted this 21 November 2015

I was wondering if you wouldn't reach the minimum diameter the collet would close by simply changing mandrels. 

Seem like the next step is to order just the collet for a 30 caliber if Lee will sell it alone. John

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Wineman posted this 21 November 2015

The longer Krag neck might be an issue. I have found that you can go shorter but not longer when mixing and matching. Try putting a washer over the cartridge so it does not go into the die quite as far. The washer should push up on the collet. I used to do this with 7.62x54R with a 308 Win Collet die.

Dave

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Rich/WIS posted this 26 November 2015

Unless you have a love affair with the Lee dies just get a 308 Win sizing die and adjust it to just size the necks of your 30/40 brass.

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 26 November 2015

Rich/WIS wrote: Unless you have a love affair with the Lee dies just get a 308 Win sizing die and adjust it to just size the necks of your 30/40 brass. Not a bad idea.  .308 dies are plentiful and cheap.  One could be opened up a whisker to the exact size desired for cast bullets and/or brand of brass.

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Goatwhiskers posted this 27 November 2015

FWIW, when I was developing loads for my 30/40AI I bought a set of RCBS FL dies then decided I wanted to neck size only. Just got out my old Herter's .300Sav neck die and been happy since. GW

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45ACPete posted this 27 November 2015

I had been using my RCBS FL 30-40 sizing die--backed out about 1/4"--but thought that the Lee collet die would give better concentricity and work the brass less.

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Wineman posted this 27 November 2015

I never put much stock in overworking my brass. If I get 10 reloads (full power) I always figure I got my money's worth especially since I probably picked it up at the range anyway. I have one set of LC62 Match 30-06 brass that has 20 NS loads with cast, and still looks brand new. Depending on my mood, I run it through the Collet die, but not too firmly. If I think I was too aggressive, I use a Lyman 31R die to open the neck back up.

Dave

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