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paul.222
01-16-2008, 03:52 PM
Hi, newbie here with a question on neck tension. Last night while I was loading some .222 trial loads I accidently seated a bullet into the .222 case as I was placing it in the shellholder. Now I've been reloading for many years, but I'm fairly new to this neck size only bench rest stuff. I can't imagine that this is helping my accuracy. I've tried the dies in both my lee O press and an old RCBS 4X4 and both produce the same results no matter how I adjust the collet die. I followed the directions, and lightly sanded the mandrel and still I can seat a bullet by hand with light to very moderate finger pressure. The brass is new once fired Winchester, the bullets are 40 gr. Nosler Bal. Tip. .224 of course, and my 52 gr. Sierra HPBT's that I use in my 22-250 will seat just as easily! Many thanks for any help!

Paul

glp
01-16-2008, 04:05 PM
ask over on the general forum as most benchrest shooters do not use Lee dies.

I have a few sets and find them just marginal. Ok for hunting, rec shooting loads but not for much more. I have a 43 Spanish FL Lee die that has a way too big expander button...it crushes cases. You gets what you pays for.

Dick Grosbier
01-16-2008, 04:15 PM
Paul,
I am not certain I really understand what you are asking. But if you are asking if a bullet can be moved by hand in brass that has been resized is the brass being resized to little I would say yes.
However I will say I have known some really good shooters who only want enough tension to hold bullet in place in other words just barely more than you can move using your fingers alone.

John Kielly
01-16-2008, 04:54 PM
Paul,

I've use the Lee collet die on .308 W brass for maybe 5 years now & always achieved consistent results with it. I can't envisage a circumstance where the standard mandrel is not small enough to achieve a reasonable degree of neck tension on usable brass. As I see it, there may be a number of possibilities:


The brass for whatever reason might be subject to more than normal spring back.

There are incorrect components fitted in the die. I would mike the diameter of the mandrel to verify that it is some thousanth below the diameter of your projectiles & check the collet unit slips over the case neck without excessive freeplay.

The die is for the correct calibre (.222, .223 & .222 magnum?)

The collet has crud beteen the fingers that is causing it to lock up short of proper closure. Incidentally, I recommend that you lightly grease the cone on the collet & the bottom piece with good moly grease to facilitate operation & stop galling.

The die is for the correct calibre (.222, .223 & .222 magnum?)

However, I believe that the most likely possibility is that you have misinterpreted the poorly written setup instructions for the die & you aren't actually closing the collet onto the case neck. Try adjusting the die deeper into the press, but by very small increments. I peined over the bottom of my first die by setting it too deep into the press.

Mel Budgen
01-16-2008, 05:08 PM
The mandrel/primer pin that the neck is sqeesed down to is way to large. I have found the mandrels for 224 cal dies must be about .218 inch dia for the neck tension to be correct. You will still have to play with adjustment to get it right. These cheap dies will suprise you with minimal run out for hunting purposes. Regards Mel

virg
01-16-2008, 07:00 PM
Have to agree with John Kiely. Something is wrong with your setup. I have used the Lee Collet dies for years with excellent results. In my experience, I have less run out with the collet die than several of my custom dies. I use these dies for Hunter Benchrest. Make sure the die is properly lubricated and set up per instructions. Tighter neck tension can be achieved by turning down the die from initial setup by about a half turn. Any more than that you will have to turn the mandrel down with emery cloth. Best done with a power drill. The max you can turn it is .001. After that, if there is still not enough neck tension for you, I suggest sending three of your cases to Lee for a custom collet die ($50) or choosing another die brand.

"Get what you pay for?"...sometimes and sometimes not. Many of the Lee products are excellent for ANY shooting discipline.

Hope this helps....virg

mysticplayer
01-16-2008, 10:09 PM
The Lee collet die is a mechanical die. If you do not have enough neck tension, you aren't pushing hard enough on the press lever. Think 20 to 25lbs depending on the state of the brass.

I like to set my die down so my shellholder hits the die about 2/3 down on the press lever. I just lean on the lever a bit and the brass is sized.

To say that BR shooters don't use Lee dies is a pity. With my collet dies I get no measureable runout and very consistent neck tension. Plus, you never get the dreaded breaded donut as the die will not press brass into the neck/shoulder area. Does happen with bushing dies.

Jerry

John Kielly
01-16-2008, 10:11 PM
To say that BR shooters don't use Lee dies is a pity. With my collet dies I get no measureable runout and very consistent neck tension. Plus, you never get the dreaded breaded donut as the die will not press brass into the neck/shoulder area. Does happen with bushing dies.
Jerry,

You might have left that our little secret. :p

mysticplayer
01-16-2008, 10:20 PM
That's ok cause they aren't listening :p:D

Let me really get them worked up by saying that I also use the Lee seating die and load ammo within a couple of thou runout.
Jerry

Dusty Stevens
01-17-2008, 09:22 AM
a couple of thou is okay for the hunting crowd.

ReedG
01-17-2008, 09:39 AM
Paul:

I'm a longtime user and advocate of Lee Collet Dies. I've got all the fancy custom BR dies with bushings and they work fine if you need to bump the shoulder back when you resize, but they are no more accurate than the Collet Die and probably less concentric.

I have never had the problem you have when the die is properly adjusted. I have .223, .22-250, .243, .308 Collet Dies and love them. What I prefer to do is to adjust the die so it is just short of bottoming out the sliding collet when the ram is at full top extension. With this set-up you cannot cam-over if you have a Rockchucker-type press, but when the case goes into the case and meets resistance, just give it about 20-25 lbs. of force and most of the time you can actually feel the "give" when the neck sizes.

Be advised that the threaded plug that holds the collet in is constructed from very soft white metal so that if too much force is applied to the collet, it will simple strip the threads and pop out the top. Lots of guys with Rockchuckers have learned this.

I can't believe that your once- or twice-fired brass is too hard to size. My .223 Collet Die leaves the inside neck diameter at about .2215 to .222", which should give about .002 of neck tension, more than you can seat by finger pressure.

As to neck-sizing helping accuracy, it almost always does due to the fact that the cases have been expanded to fit the chamber and thereby is centered in the chamber. I did a number of tests years ago in .223 with full-length sized, neck-sized and partial neck-sized cases in factory chambers. The neck-sized clearly showed improvement in group size and there was little or no difference between full neck and partial neck sizing.

Let us know how you do.

abintx
01-17-2008, 10:15 AM
I tried the Lee Collet Neck Sizing Die about two months ago after reading somewhere that it was supposed to be good for neck sizing. Even called the Tech guys at Lee when I wasn't getting the results I wanted. In the end, I returned it.

I then purchased a Redding Type S Neck Bushing Die with 2 different size bushings and have been extremely pleased with the results. Part of this game is finding the tools you have confidence in.

paul.222
01-17-2008, 08:18 PM
Many, many, thanks fellas, I'm happy to report I got it. I took you guys advice and chucked the decapping pin in a drill press and took it down with emery cloth and compound from 221.5 to 220 and it works fine. I also cleaned it up and very lightly lubed it and now I can't even begin to seat a bullet in a resized case with my fingers. Let me say also that I'm just a hunter/ shooter who sometimes likes to punch a little paper. Not a benchrest pro trying out for the olympics or whatever! I just figured you guys would be the ones to ask, and I was right. If it's a problem to ask questions about my inferior equipment I'll quietly go away! But I'd like to keep asking, trying to shrink my .222 rem. groups down to what my .22-250 will do. Again many thanks.
Paul

virg
01-18-2008, 12:55 PM
Many, many, thanks fellas, I'm happy to report I got it. I took you guys advice and chucked the decapping pin in a drill press and took it down with emery cloth and compound from 221.5 to 220 and it works fine. I also cleaned it up and very lightly lubed it and now I can't even begin to seat a bullet in a resized case with my fingers. Let me say also that I'm just a hunter/ shooter who sometimes likes to punch a little paper. Not a benchrest pro trying out for the olympics or whatever! I just figured you guys would be the ones to ask, and I was right. If it's a problem to ask questions about my inferior equipment I'll quietly go away! But I'd like to keep asking, trying to shrink my .222 rem. groups down to what my .22-250 will do. Again many thanks.
Paul

Glad you were successful. By-the-way, I also have a Redding "S" type die. However, I've found in my particular case, that removing the bushing and decapping pin assembly and just using it as a shoulder set back die along with the Lee Collet die for neck sizing, gives me the least runout ammo for my benchrest needs.;)

brickeyee
01-18-2008, 02:40 PM
"To say that BR shooters don't use Lee dies is a pity. With my collet dies I get no measureable runout and very consistent neck tension. Plus, you never get the dreaded breaded donut as the die will not press brass into the neck/shoulder area. Does happen with bushing dies."

Neck tensionis only ONE part of the accuracy game.
How many rifles of BR accuracy have you compared accuracy for using Lee dies and regular BR loading methods?

J. Valentine
01-18-2008, 03:39 PM
Hi, newbie here with a question on neck tension. Last night while I was loading some .222 trial loads I accidently seated a bullet into the .222 case as I was placing it in the shellholder. Now I've been reloading for many years, but I'm fairly new to this neck size only bench rest stuff. I can't imagine that this is helping my accuracy. I've tried the dies in both my lee O press and an old RCBS 4X4 and both produce the same results no matter how I adjust the collet die. I followed the directions, and lightly sanded the mandrel and still I can seat a bullet by hand with light to very moderate finger pressure. The brass is new once fired Winchester, the bullets are 40 gr. Nosler Bal. Tip. .224 of course, and my 52 gr. Sierra HPBT's that I use in my 22-250 will seat just as easily! Many thanks for any help!

Paul

Using The Lee Collet Die.
I started using Lee collet dies when they first came on the market and have found that they are very good for the purposes for which they were designed .
I have found that there is a lack of understanding of how to use the die properly and as a result people fail to see the advantages that the die can deliver over standard neck sizing dies.
This is not the fault of the product , it is just a lack of understanding of how the die works and what it will feel like when you operate the press correctly.
Standard dies use a neck expanding ball on the decapping rod and size by extruding the neck through a hole and then drag the expander ball back through the inside neck.
The collet die achieves neck sizing by using a split collet to squeeze the outside of the case neck onto a central mandrel which has the decapping pin in it’s base .
One advantage is that there is no stretching or drawing action on the brass.
The inside neck diameter is controlled by the diameter of the mandrel and to some extent by the amount of adjustment of the die and the pressure applied to the press .
This results in less misalignment than can occur in standard dies because of any uneven neck wall thickness in the cases .
Cases will last longer in the neck area and require less trimming. If cases have very uneven neck wall thickness then this can cause problems for the collet die they definitely work smoother and more accurately with neck turned cases but it is not essential.
When you first receive the die unscrew the top cap and pull it apart check that everything is there also that the splits in the collet have nothing stuck in them then inspect the tapered surface on the top end of the collet and the internal taper of the insert to make sure there are no metal burs that might cause it to jamb.
Next get some good quality high pressure grease and put a smear onto the tapered surface of the collet .
Put it back together and screw it into the press just a few threads for now . The best type of press for this die is a press of moderate compound leverage that travels over centre .
Over centre means that when the ram reaches its full travel up it will stop and come back down a tiny amount even though the movement on the handle is continued through to the stop .
eg. is an RCBS Rockchucker.
This arrangement gives the best feel for a collet die sizing operation.
Place the shell holder in the ram and bring the ram up to full height then screw the die down until the collet skirt just touches on the shell holder , then lower the ram .
Take a case to be sized that has a clean neck inside and out and the mouth chamfered and place it in the shell holder.
Raise the ram gently feeling for resistance if none , lower the ram.
Screw the die down a bit at a time .
If you get lock up ( ram stops before going over centre) before the correct position is found then back it off and make sure the collet is loose and not jammed up in the die before continuing then raise the ram feeling for any resistance , keep repeating this until you feel the press handle resist against the case neck just at the top of the stroke as the press goes over centre and the handle kinder locks in place .
This takes much less force than a standard die and most people don’t believe any sizing has taken place .
Take the case out and try a projectile of the correct caliber to see how much sizing has taken place.
If it’s still too loose adjust the die down one eighth of a turn lock it finger tight only and try again .
Once the die is near the correct sizing position it takes very little movement of the die to achieve changes in neck seating tension .
This is where most people come undone , they move the die up and down too much and it either locks up or doesn’t size at all .
It will still size a case locking it up but you have no control over how much pressure is applied and some people lean on the press handle to the point of damaging the die. A press like the RCBS Rockchucker , that goes over centre each time gives you a definite stopping point for the ram and the pressure that you apply .
There is a small sweet spot for correct collet die adjustment and you must find it , once found , how sweet it is ! Advantages : With a press that travels over centre it is possible to adjust the neck seating tension within a very limited zone. No lubricant is normally required on the case necks during sizing .

If you still cant get enough neck tension to hold the bullet properly for a particular purpose then you will have to polish down the mandrel.
Be careful poilishing the mandrel down and only do it a bit at a time as a few thou can be removed pretty quickly if you overdo it.
You can't get extra neck tension by just applying more force. The amount of adjustment around the sweet spot is very limited and almost not noticable without carrying out tests.
For example , to go from a .001 neck tension to a .002 or .003 neck tension you would be talking about polishing down the mandrel.

There are some other advantages but I will leave you the pleasure of discovering them .
One disadvantage that I have found with the collet die is that it needs good vertical alignment of the case as it enters the die or case damage may result so go slowly.
This is not a problem once you learn how to use them.
The harder the brass is the more spring back it will have so very hard brass will exhibit less sizing than soft brass because it will spring away from the mandrel more. If this is happening to excess then use new cases or anneal the necks.
Freshly annealed brass can drag on the mandrel a bit in certain cases because it will spring back less and result in a tighter size diameter.
I have experienced it. I always use some dry lube on the inside and outside if I get any draging effect . Normally you dont need lube.
I make up a special batch 1/3 Fine Moly powder. 1/3 Pure graphite. 1/3 Aluminiumised lock graphite. Rub your fingers around the neck and It sticks very well to the necks by just dipping it in and out and tapping it to clear the inside neck . After a few cases it coats up the mandrel .
Other dry lubricants would work also.
Use the same process for normal neck sizing also.

I noticed a definite improvement in the accuracy of my 22-250Rem. as soon as I started using a Lee collet die instead of my original standard neck die.
Readers are encouraged to utilise the benefits of responsible reloading at all times. Although the author has taken care in the writing of these articles no responsibility can be taken by the author or publisher as a result of the use of this information.
John Valentine. 21/01/2002.
*****

J. Valentine
01-18-2008, 04:00 PM
BR shooters don't use lee collet dies because there is better systems to suit the smaller 6mm PPC and other Br cases. However some 1000 Br shooters do and from memory the world record was broken a few years back using a Lee collet neck die. At least that was the report in PS so I am only going on that.
I think the group was sub 4 inch. @ 1000 but don't quote me.