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Thread: Lee Collet Die Adjustment

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    Quote Originally Posted by keithcatfish View Post
    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
    For what cartridge and weight of bullet in what kind of gun ?

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    472
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Tummers View Post
    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.
    The thing with the mandrel is that they are a sloppy fit on purpose so they go with the collet when it closes and dont add any sideways thrust against the closing action of the collet .

  3. #48
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Posts
    15
    J. Valentine,

    RE: neck tension

    Its for a 223 Savage VLP and a rebarrelled Mauser 308. With Winchester brass, the collet die provides .004 tension for the 223 and .002 for the 308. Federal brass for the 308 has .004 tension. I use 50-69 g bullets in the 223 and 125-178 g in the 308.

    Both guns shoot well, the 223 a bit less than 1/2 MOA with several loads, the 308 a bit more than 1/2 with its pet loads. I'm primarily a paper puncher but I do a bit of feral hog and groundhog hunting too.

    Thanks again, I sized a bunch more brass last night. WOW its easy!

    Keith

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    Look if they are shooting well then leave as is.
    With the Mauser just make sure that any ammo feeds through the magazine without loosing concentricity of the seated projectile.

  5. #50
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ballwin Mo. Just outside of St. Louis
    Posts
    19
    With regards to the de-capping pin, I just cut them off with a DREMMEL
    cut-off disk and use other ways to de-cap primers.

    Tbear

  6. #51
    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
    Was thinking about that too, at the other hand does the decap pin contribute to centering the mandrel , and everything that helps...
    Regards,
    Paul.

  7. #52
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    Every thing is centered by the two tapers as they engage and the body of the collet as it slides in the die body , one taper on the collet head and the internal taper bush.
    Once the mandrel is in the case with or without a decapping pin it just goes along for the ride.

  8. #53
    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
    Every thing is centered by the two tapers as they engage and the body of the collet as it slides in the die body , one taper on the collet head and the internal taper bush.
    Once the mandrel is in the case with or without a decapping pin it just goes along for the ride.
    .
    I agree, but try to save the decapping possibility by centering the mandrel, sounds unbelievable, but I already had almost the decap pin broken or bend because it was not in line with the flash-hole, and of course the mandrel was in the case mouth at that point, had none of these trouble after I attached the O-ring.
    Paul T.

  9. #54
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    NW North Dakota
    Posts
    34
    This post is WAAAAY late, but I haven't been on this site for quite some time. Anyway, I'm not at home so I don't have a link to my photos except where I have them stored on PhotoBucket, so I'll insert the photos when I get home in a half hour or so. Have patience. The first one will be a photo of the guts of one of my Lee collet dies with a little explanation on how to improve the functionality of this fine die.

    First photo in the post below

    I use the same grease on the nose and collar of the collet die as I use on the lugs on the bolts for my rifles. Use it sparingly.

    I hope none of you have had the collet fingers lock into the beveled collar when you have been running you ram up against the bottom of the die. I would NEVER recommend running the ram up on the bottom of a collet die and putting 20 to 25 ft. lbs. of pressure on the press handle unless you have a casing in the shell holder. Why? You might wind up locking the collet fingers closed and then when you run a casing up into the collet die here's some examples of what your casings will look like:

    Second photo in the post below

    Those were brand new WW 22-250 casings and, YES, it took me about three casings to decided I needed to disassemble the die to find out what was wrong. As mentioned above, the collet fingers were stuck. After figuring that out, I used some fine emery cloth to sand between the fingers, and smooth out the nose a tiny bit. Then, a thin coat of gun grease on the collet nose and the squeeze collar and I reassembled it. I have never had a problems with the fingers sticking since I did this. I do take the die apart periodically and clean it and reapply grease to the appropriate spots.\

    I think Lee recommends about 25 ft. lbs. of force on your press handle to properly size the necks. Personally, I DO NOT set my collet dies so the press cams over though. I try to gauge the pressure by guess and by golly.
    Last edited by Silverfox; 03-18-2008 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Placed the photos in the post.

  10. #55
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    NW North Dakota
    Posts
    34
    Here's the two photos I mentioned in my post above. I couldn't figure out how to add them when I tried to edit that post.

    I hope these photos are of some help.
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  11. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    472
    The only reason Lee does not recommend the " over center method " is because their press will not do that.
    Also if a really bad operator uses a stupid amount of force to make a press go over center it will damage the die from the high leverage.
    If you have a press that will go over center then that is the best way to do it in my opinion as it only takes a slight ammount of force on the handle and you have a definate stopping point for the force applied. I have been doing it that way since the first Lee collet die appeared on the market. It is common for me to reload 400 rounds at a time for .223 and with Lee's method at 25lbs of presure each stroke for 400 resizes it is pure murder on your arm.
    Going over center I can size with one finger on the press handle in a Rockchucker.
    When a compound leverage press goes over center it is at its highest leverage point . When you use the constant pressure method you have to stay below the highest leverage point so it is way harder on your arm to apply the same pressure.
    For a very short distance at the top of the stroke the leverage is multiplied many times and a collet die only needs a very short stroke to do its work.
    Lee has an instruction that suits their press but does not help anyone with other types .
    You got the collet stuck because you followed Lee's instructions.
    Last edited by J. Valentine; 03-18-2008 at 06:37 PM.

  12. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1

    Thumbs up Lee Collet Die with Lee Classic Cast Press

    I use a very similar method to what has been described when using a toggle over press. I use the Lee Classic Cast Press. I set the collet die so that the Lee press comes to the stops, and also gives me the neck tension I'm after. That way, your force exerted on the collet die is exactly the same for each case cycled through the press. I will admit, it is still harder on the arm using the Classic cast press, than when I do the same collet resizing operation on my dads old RCBS A2 press that toggles over. But nevertheless, it works, and is fool proof once adjusted.

  13. #58
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mercer Island WA USA
    Posts
    210
    I broke my Rockchucker with an 8x57mm Lee Collet die adjusted for 100 pounds of handle force at top dead center.
    I sent the Rockchucker back and they sent me a new one.
    I realize now that force gain is infinity minus friction at top dead center.

    My Lee Collet dies sat around for 8 years, while I assumed that more expensive dies were better.

    This year I did a controlled test on brass growth and concentricity with Redding, Forster, RCBS, and Lee dies on a population of 223 cases over many firings at ~66kpsi.

    The Lee Collet die is the winner.

    I cut a washer down to fit over brass, but inside the jaws of my co-ax press. This makes for partial neck sizing.

    I got some more, and have been polishing the Collet, Collar, and Mandrel.
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    Last edited by Clark; 07-12-2009 at 11:11 PM.

  14. #59
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    41
    Valintine, your posts should be read by everyone who ever uses a Collet Neck Sizer. Many people cuss that excellant tool simply because they don't seem to know, or try to find out, how it works and how to make it do so.

    Few understand that the fine thread cap that holds things together is SUPPOSED to strip out if someone leans on it too hard. Like an electical fuse, it "blows out" when overloaded to prevent damage to the press or die body!

    Part of what causes non-concentric seating with conventional dies is the excess "bullet tension" that bends necks during seating. Lee's collet die tension is light specifically so the straight necks it provides won't be ruined during seating. Some folks sand their die mandrel down for additonal tension, tending to defeat part of what the die is doing best.

  15. #60
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    6

    Chambering issue

    I love the collet die, however, with my A Bolt, when I use it, I really have to work the bolt to chamber a cartridge, I assume because I'm not bumping back the shoulder? Any input?

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