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Got my Lee Collet die today

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/29/2012 at 20:34
Gil P. View Drop Down
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Any tips on how to use it? For starters, the instructions dont say to take everything apart and degrease it like it does on my Redding dies, is it good to go out of the box? Or should I still degrease everything?
Are there any parts in particular that need to be lubricated?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/30/2012 at 23:06
sakomato View Drop Down
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I never modify or grease anything.  It would be beneficial to take it apart and see how it works
The cap is aluminum and if you put too much stress on it, you will strip the threads (don't ask me how I know Whatever).  That is a safety feature to keep from breaking something else like your press
 
 
When you remove the cap you will notice the top of the mandrel that runs down through the die
 
 
When you tighten back the cap onto the top of the mandrel and install in the press you can reach up under the die and toggle the decapping pin on the mandrel around (it floats) even thought the cap is tight.
 
Looking from the bottom of the die you will see the collets that are an integral part of the long part that bears on the shell holder. 
 
 
When the bottom of the collet shaft hits the shell holder, it will raise the collet shaft up onto the interior of the die forcing cone and squeezes the collets onto the neck brass which is squeezed onto the mandrel.
 
It only takes minimal force to squeeze the neck brass under the collets onto the mandrel.  That is why the instructions say to only use 25# or so of weight on the lever.  You will not feel the sizing taking place.  If you are concerned, take a bullet and insert into the neck before and after using the die and you will see that it drops in before but won't go in after.
 
Now the most important part;  the instructions say to raise the ram and insert the die until it hits the shell holder, lower the ram and thread the die down an additional 2 turns.  This will set the die so that it does NOT cam over.  Then you size by putting approx 25# weight on the lever.
 
To facilitate this on each of my collet dies I start by adjusting the lock ring all the way to the top
 
 
This will put the lever of the press at the most horizontal position
 
 
and make it easier to gauge the amount of force or weight you are applying.
 
If you think about it, once you put enough force to size the neck brass onto the mandrel, any additional force will not size it more.  You will not compress the steel material of the mandrel and you will not compress the brass material of the neck any.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/31/2012 at 01:04
Gil P. View Drop Down
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Thanks Sakomato, that is about what I have been doing, so far I havent damaged the aluminum cap so I dont think im putting too much pressure on it.

Ill be sure to post my results to see if using the lee collet and redding body die combo work better than FL resizing.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/03/2012 at 15:13
Clark View Drop Down
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For a couple years I would post on forums that to make them smoother, but no more concentric, I was:
Polishing the Lee collet dies:
a) collet
b) collar
c) mandrel/ decapping pin

This year the Lee Collet neck dies being shipped seem to already have those parts polished.
So forget that.


Now all I have to say is that if a case gets crushed by a Lee Collet Neck die, take the collet out and pry the tines apart with a screwdriver. Put the collet back in the die body and verify the neck of an uncrushed case will readily enter the collet neck.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/03/2012 at 22:27
Gil P. View Drop Down
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So those things on the collet can stick together and crush cases? I put some high temp grease on that area to try and prevent that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/03/2012 at 23:39
Clark View Drop Down
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They don't stick together, they are springy and they take a set inward.

The problem is more pronounced with  necks that are a little thicker, like 308 necked down to 260.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/06/2012 at 23:45
Stevey Ducks View Drop Down
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I use Lee collet dies for .204 R, .22-250, .243, 6.5-.308 (.260), .280, .308, .30-06, ,300 WSM. No lube is needed.
 
I turn down necks for most of these except the .204 & .22-250 - neck turning is the bare minimum except for the 6.5-.308 where I reform brass from .308 using full length dies, turn necks then fire forming.
 
The photos above speak more than words how these dies work. I very carefully screw the die in until the desired amount of neck tension is acheived. I use a RCBS Rock Chucker press that could easily smash the aluminum die cap if cammed over with the die screwed far down.
 
When working with new bulk unprimed brass I use a conventional full length die to round out neck mouths and make uniform any excess dimensions in shoulder to base length and near base diameter.
 
Collet die finished cases will have enough neck tension to hold bullets except when excessive amounts of neck walls have been turned off. If this happens I full length resize with dies that reduce neck diameters more than the collet dies do.
 
Periodically cases must be resized. I have body dies for that. I use a .25 Souper die with the decapping pin removed for the .243 and 7mm 08 dies with the decapping pin removed for the 6.5-.308.
 
The Lee bullet seater is also a quality piece of work and I think it will seat bullets with equal or less run out than most other much more expensive dies.
 
Lee offered to make a custom set of 6.5-06 collet dies for me but I have not done this yet.
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