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Thread: Lee Collet Die Adjustment

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ballwin Mo. Just outside of St. Louis
    Posts
    19

    Thumbs up Collet Die Use

    I have been using collet dies for about 2 years and always wondered
    how much pressure was enough to apply. After reading Mr. Valentine's article,
    and making the advised adjustments, sizing necks has been a breeze.
    Thanks for a great article!

    T. Bear (Ted)

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    Quote Originally Posted by Swifty View Post
    Speaking of which, where can a guy buy a few replacement locking die rings. I don't need anything fancy, heck an RCBS type locking die ring would work, but like you said the o-ring deal on the lee dies doesnt really fit my fancy. I like to be able to lock them so I can just screw it in the press or unscrew it and put it away whenever I want.
    I like Hornardy locking rings. The style that are cut and an allen head locking screw clamps them for a positive lockup, but is very easy to unlock.
    Nothing goes in against the 7/8 x 14 thread except the thread of the lock nut.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Winterman View Post
    I have been using collet dies for about 2 years and always wondered
    how much pressure was enough to apply. After reading Mr. Valentine's article,
    and making the advised adjustments, sizing necks has been a breeze.
    Thanks for a great article!

    T. Bear (Ted)
    Thankyou Ted , You are most welcome.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I am living in a small village, named Berg en Terblijt, in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Posts
    8

    Changing decapping pin in a Lee collet die?

    I came around this forum when Googling Lee collet die, and have learned a lot about the adjustment of them, thank you!
    I only do not know, how to change the decapping pin in the mandrel in case it breaks or bends- looks to me, I need a new mandrel then.
    I bouht 2 sets of Lee collet dies, one in .222Rem., and one in .308W and use them in my Forster press.
    First thing I did was discarding the locking rings and put on Forster rings.
    After taking the die apart I totally cleaned it, removed some burrs and added a high grade Teflon grease at the inside of the forcing cone and on the lower sliding part of the collet unit.
    I also worked my way up to sufficient neck tension by gradually lowering the die, seating a bullet and removing it with a kynetic bullet puller.
    Within these attempts the play of the mandrel in the hole of the forcing cone already made the decap pin almost break down on the bottom of the case, and I cured this by taking the mandrel out and slipping an O-ring over it which forces the flat end of the mandrel against the top-cap, thus semi-locked but still movable due to the elasticity of the O-ring.
    I really like the concept of these dies, just a pity, the finishing of the parts is not what it could be!
    Regards,
    Paul T.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    I know what you are saying Paul , the decapping pin in Lee Colet die is a tad short. I have had the same trouble with some old brands of .308 cases that had a thicker base than newer brass some time back .
    This could explain how dies get damaged to the point of stripping the top cap as one poster has explained.
    I have not broken one yet " touch wood ".
    You have raised a very good point . I had forgotten about this potential problem because I have not had a problem with it for some years.
    Another way around the problem of a case with a too thick base is drop a thin washer over the case and onto the shell holder then size on that . It will reduce the length of neck sized and give more room for the mandrel to miss the case internal base .
    The pin appears to be pressed in or crimped someway.
    The only way I can see to repair a broken pin would be , drill the broken pin out and press in a new one or buy a new mandrel.
    Last edited by J. Valentine; 03-14-2008 at 03:50 AM.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I am living in a small village, named Berg en Terblijt, in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Posts
    8
    About coming off the top-cap; I heard sometimes talking about this, but some folks seemed to try to fine-adjust the die by unscrewing this cap, which should not be done,because the allumin cannot take to much force at the tread, thus screwing the cap as tight as muscle-power applied with bare hands can bring is the thing to do and adjusting only can be done by screwing the die downward/upward in the press.
    I had no trouble yet with the decap pin being too short, always use Lapua brass for my .308W.,which is really good brass, and R-P in my .222Rem. which is OK too.
    If it happens a decap pin breaks, I will buy a new mandrel, because drilling the old pin out will be difficult because everything has to be concentric afterwards.
    The only thing I can imagine is making a mandrel in a lathe, drilling the pin hole and drilling another hole from the side, threading it and put in a maggot screw to keep the pin locked in its place, and if this hole is located half-way at the end of the decap-pin hole, there is an opportunity to push the decap pin out in case it broke just at the junction mandrel/decap-pin, which leaves nothing to be gripped with a pair of pliers, or, even simpler, decap with an universal decapping die as an exta stage is an option to consider too.
    In the .308 this can be done easily, but with the smaller .22 mandrels there might be not enough material left to accomodate a maggot screw.
    If the mandrel is kept concentric in the die, however, and some care is taken in placing the case in the shell-holder and during the upward stroke of the press, the decap pin should almost last forever.
    Greetings from a rainy Holland,
    Paul.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I am living in a small village, named Berg en Terblijt, in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Winterman View Post
    I have been using collet dies for about 2 years and always wondered
    how much pressure was enough to apply. After reading Mr. Valentine's article,
    and making the advised adjustments, sizing necks has been a breeze.
    Thanks for a great article!

    T. Bear (Ted)
    You are right!
    I can perform the act with 2 fingers on my Forster press!
    Regards,
    Paul.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    2,338
    I decap separately these days, because I was convinced that I could save wear & tear on my good press by not dropping all those abrasive residues over it. While I use a separate die mounted in one of those kiddy Lee pot metal minipresses, it wouldn't take much to make up a simple lever to activate one of those base & pin style travelling decappers.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I am living in a small village, named Berg en Terblijt, in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by John Kielly View Post
    I decap separately these days, because I was convinced that I could save wear & tear on my good press by not dropping all those abrasive residues over it. While I use a separate die mounted in one of those kiddy Lee pot metal minipresses, it wouldn't take much to make up a simple lever to activate one of those base & pin style travelling decappers.
    Hi John,
    My Forster press does not get fouled by decapping, everything is dropped down a metal tube and collected in a small plastic container, should have bought this press 25 years agoo, wanted too, but could not afford it-raising children isn't cheap.Things are changed now-children are on their own, my daughter is preparing to make me a grandpapa, ha ha!
    An extra press on my bench is nice, but I already have the Forster, a Dillon 650 and a Redding turret installed.
    I could however decap with the old steel built Lyman 310 tool I have with complete dies in several calibers, but there is no need for me.
    Good to hear, these pot-metal presses can be used anyway!
    I think, a press should be made of steel, if one wants to perform other things on it than neck-sizing/seating bullets.
    Regards,
    Paul.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Texas... of course
    Posts
    68

    Die adjustment

    With all of this good information on setting up the Lee Collet die, it would be good (perhaps) if a copy of some of this thread be sent to Lee. I'm sure they are looking for better ways to explain setting of their products.

    Just a thot,
    Dew

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    Done that! Wrote a letter years ago ! No reply .

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I am living in a small village, named Berg en Terblijt, in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by J. Valentine View Post
    Done that! Wrote a letter years ago ! No reply .
    I think, they read the postings in this and other forums, an easy way to get reasonable accurate user feedback, Other brands do the same.
    Regards,
    Paul.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    You are most likley correct Paul.
    I only wrote one letter so who knows it could have got chewed up in the mail or lost or I might have miss addressed it. Just because I wrote a letter does not mean they actually received it .
    There are plenty of manufactures who have less than perfect instructions .

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I am living in a small village, named Berg en Terblijt, in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Posts
    8
    I just put the .222Rem die together after having very carefully reworked every part of it exept the body in my lathe,it is a real improvement. just a pity, I cannot cut the thread for a brass or steel cap on this lathe; it is just a very basic one.
    I otherwise was thinking of a cap which could acomodate a spring tension for the mandrel and making some mandrels to my requirements but with a taper underneath the mandrel head to have it centered by the spring load by a ball pushing on top of it.

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Posts
    15
    J Valentine,

    Thanks!! I use an older RCBS RS2 press, that, like the Rockchucker, toggles over. Using your instructions, I can size cases with barely more force than the weight of the press handle.

    I have a question for the peanut gallery; is .004 neck tension too much?

    Keith

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