first re-loading session generated questions...


January 29, 2007, 09:25 AM
Well my bullets haven't arrived yet, so I got organized and did prep on 80 .30-30 cases......generating some questions...

I'm full length sizing with Lee Pace Setter dies on my brandy new classic turret press (cast base model). I adjusted the sizing die per instructions...w/ ram full up, screwed in until it touched shell holder, then lowered ram and screwed in an additional 1/4 turn, lifted ram again and tightened lock screw.

Question #1....

I had some trouble figuring out how far down to push the press handle....

I'd hear "ping" when the primer poped, then feel resistance, then the resistance gave way and the case would slide up with minimal effort, then it would stop......not a hard stop, just a marked increase in resistance.

At this point the handle was not all the way down to it's mechanical stop and there was still ~3/16" of case showing between the top of the shell holder and the bottom lip of the die. But if I kept pushing, the decapping pin would slide up in the collet and stand proud.

Did I "full length size?" or Did I stop short?

Inspecting the cases, I could see a transition point (change in taper angle) between the botton 3/16" that did not go into the die and the part that did.

Question #2.....

My first case pulled out the decapping pin as the cone portion stuck in the neck. I carefully popped it out in a vice and noticed that there was a little smidge of oil (most likely residual from the machining process) in the collet. So I wiped it out as best as I could and reassembled with the top of the pin flush to the top of collet, per the instructions.

This helped a lot, but as I continued to size my 80 cases, I had this pin slip up and stand proud of the collet ~1/16". This happened some four times. I tightened up the collet so much that I was very close to damaging the threads and slightly rounded the hex head. (filed it flat with no trouble).

Why is this thing slipping? Am I pushing down on the ram to hard?

I've heard a co-worker tell of an "old machinist trick" where they intentionally put a touch of "grit" on an end mill shaft before sliding into the collet when doing heavy cutting. Should I give this a try? Or maybe rough up the end of the pin with emory paper?

The last time it slipped, I pulled the pin out and inspected it. I had quite a build up of Lee lube on the cone section. So apparently I was applying to much lube. Could this have contributed to the problem?

Thanks in advance for any help....

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January 29, 2007, 11:47 AM
While I don't own the same style dies you're using, It appears to me that you might have your decapping pin set too deep.

The lube / resistance issue is a tricky one. Too much lube can actually make things more difficult, and you might even notice some dimples in the brass if you're using too much. Not enough lube, and you'll hear it. You'll have to experament with that one.

As for the seating deapth of the resizing die. Usually there's a little variance there. Did you save on unfired case to compare your resized cases with? This will assist in determining whether you've moved the shoulder back to original specs or not. Most presses are designed for a full stroke of the handle. That means when the ram is up, handle is down, until things stop hard. -As long has things are adjusted properly.

When in doubt, Call LEE. Lee, RCBS and Lyman have Excellent customer service. They'll get you set.


January 29, 2007, 12:28 PM
As JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone pointed out, you may have the decapping rod set too deep, which would make the expander button contact the inside of the case, at the web, thereby forcing said rod up. The only thing you have to worry about with the decapping pin is whether or not it extends far enough to punch out the old primer, not where it is in relation to the top of the die. The important part of the decapper is the opposite end from where you're watching.

As for setting up the die for full length sizing, the die instructions will often result in excessive sizing of the case, and resultant shoulder setback, affecting headspace. In your case, the 30-30 effectively headspaces on the rim, but if you set the shoulder back too far, it will affect case life, especially in a case as thin as the 30-30, which doesn't have a whole lot of meat in that area to start with.

If you have some fired brass that hasn't been sized yet, try to find some that the bolt will close on with some effort. Then back out your sizing die about one full turn and size one of the cases. Try it in your gun again and see if the bolt will close with the same amount of effort as before, or close without any effort. Keep doing this, turning the die in about 1/8 turn at a time, until the bolt will close with no effort, but the shoulder hasn't been set back too far for your chamber. Then tighten the lockring and the die will be set up for your rifle.

If you run out of 30-30 brass before you get it set up, I've got about a thousand rounds of it on hand.

Hope this helps.


January 29, 2007, 12:41 PM
Call Lee, and ask the guy to help you set it up while on the phone - good people. I agree, decapping rod too deep. I use Lee dies, and decapping/resizing goes right to the top of the ram stroke. Good dies.:cool:

January 29, 2007, 12:58 PM
This is why I dont like Lee dies, amoung other reasons. I have had several rounds with tight necks that would pull the decapping pin all the way out of the collet.

RCBS uses a threaded in decapping pin, and it wont pull out with a tight neck.


January 29, 2007, 01:14 PM
While I don't own the same style dies you're using, It appears to me that you might have your decapping pin set too deep.I suspect so as well. The only time that a properly adjusted Lee die will move the decapper pin is if the inside of the necks are not lubed properly or if the pin is literally too low in the die.

I have had several rounds with tight necks that would pull the decapping pin all the way out of the collet. This is simple enough to fix - lube the inside of the necks better, and tighten the collet holding the pin a wee bit more.

January 29, 2007, 02:00 PM
agree with the posts above, but to specifically answer your question, in all cases i'm aware of, you want to move the press handle to the full mechanical stop (except in some presses during the seating of primers)

there's no other way to get consistency, since you won't know exactly where to stop the stroke. you want to set your dies so that they finish sizing as the press handle reaches it's stop.

January 29, 2007, 05:55 PM

Another thing to check is you may have turned the sizing die in a bit further when you tightened the lock screw. Using a fine tip black magic marker, I always mark a line on the turret and a line on the die to see where I'm at when I tighten a lock screw. That way I know if I've cranked the die in too far.

Hope this helps,


January 30, 2007, 10:03 AM
1. Called Lee Precision and they were VERY helpful. Must have talked with me for 15 min. He thinks I'm not getting the case up far enough into the die to fully push the shoulder back (me, a limpwrist :confused: ), but since I'm loading for the same gun that fired the factory brass, recommended I chamber check them and if they chamber smoothly without any effort on the lever, then they are good to go.

Did the chamber check last night and the cases drop right in without any effort. So I think I'm good to go.

2. I'm not sure if the primer pin was bottoming out or not. I was all up tight about the pin slipping in the collet, as the instructions say it is to be flush with the top. But the guy at Lee says that it's no big deal if it rises up :scrutiny: just as long as it still pushes the primer.

3. My co-worker (who is a pretty capable machinist) says to stir the end of the pin shaft into speedy dry (cat litter makes a suitable substitute) and the very fine clay dust will make the collet hold like a rock

Any suggestions of how to find out for sure if the pin shaft is bottoming out in the case before the case is fully into the die?

January 30, 2007, 10:54 AM

Here's something else to think on. Every single Lee die set I have has me setting the decapping/expander ball pin so the top of the pin is flush with the top of the collet. When I do this, the pin sticks out of the bottom of the die about 1/4" and the bottom of the expander ball (where the pin is stuck into the ball at) is just slightly inside the mouth of the die.

There is a possibility you have a decapping pin/expander ball that's a bit on the long side, but the adjustment I just described has worked for me for every brand of dies I've ever had. That is, the tip of the decapping pin sticks out the mouth/bottom of the die about 1/4."

I hope this helps,


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