Lee Collet Die Seats Bullets Too Loose


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Eagle103
August 1, 2007, 06:58 PM
I'm just setting up my new Collet Die set for my 30-06 but the bullets are much too loose. I can push them in and can almost pull them out with my fingers. This is with Winchester brass. I know this is a common problem and am aware of Lee's solution to polish the pin down .001. Their other solution of annealing the case neck sounds like a PITA. I also have a Lee Factory crimp die though which I'm sure would also solve the problem. So, with accuracy and practicality (these will ultimately be hunting rounds) in mind should I polish or crimp?

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Smokey Joe
August 1, 2007, 07:50 PM
Eagle 103--Had the same problem with the Lee Collet die. Did their reccommended polishing of the die, which is EASY to do if you have access to a drill press. Voila! Problem solved!

Now, I shoot a bolt gun. If you have a gas gun or a pump or lever, you might want to crimp instead, to ensure the bullets don't shift in the necks.

Agreed, annealing case necks would be a PITA. I've never done it. Don't plan on starting, unless it would be with quite rare/expensive brass. When more than a couple of cases in a lot split, that lot becomes scrap.

Hope you find a solution that works for you! :)

Eagle103
August 1, 2007, 10:23 PM
Thanks Smokey. What do you and others recommend to polish with. I've got some 600 grit paper that would seem like a reasonable method.

Smokey Joe
August 2, 2007, 12:20 PM
Eagle 103--600 grit sounds fine to me.:D:D

Seriously, Lee has a recommendation on this I believe; go w/their recommendation. Don't remember what I used when I did it.

Lee has a VERY good Customer Service Dept; call them and ask. Be sure you get Customer Service and not one of the order clerks.

Stinger
August 2, 2007, 01:43 PM
When bullets are as loose as you say they are, crimping would provide absolutely no help. A crimp is designed to prevent setback during feeding, or bullet pull during recoil. It will not provide appropriate neck tension.

So, be sure you are applying enough force when you are using the collet. It seems to require more force than it should, and if that doesn't work, polish the collet as recommended.

ranger335v
August 2, 2007, 04:09 PM
With any die, if the sized case is too loose the finished diameter is too large. With the Lee Collet that is ONLY because the collet hasn't been pushed up far enough. The die must be carefully adjusted to work properly.

Fully raise the ram with a fired case in place. Install and screw the die down until it makes contact with the shell holder. Lower the ram and turn the die in a half turn or so deeper and test size the case, fully lowering the ram. Remove the case and put a bullet in the mouth, with your fingers; it will likely go. Lower the die another 1/8 th of a turn and try again - and again, it will likely go. Repeat testing until the bullet base cannot enter the case with finger pressure.

Only if you cannot get sufficent neck reduction with this method should you resort to grinding down the mandral a thousant or so.

Screwing down the die deeper than 1/8 th of a turn with each test is too coarse of an adjustment, you may exceed the correct depth and push out the die's aluminum top cap. And don't push the inner sleeve into the die without a case inside, you may jam the sliding part firmly in the outter body.

The Lee Collet Sizing Die is a great design but sometimes the manufactoring process leaves rough machining on the mateing surfaces of the inner and outter portions of the tapered forcing cones. Polishing them and using a bit of grease on the tapers will help smooth things out.

TheTransporter
August 21, 2007, 01:14 PM
Going a bit off topic on the Collet Sizing die... the Lee website says may eliminate trimming by the use of this die....

If you use the collet sizing die you don't (for the most part) need to trim the cases?

Smokey Joe
August 21, 2007, 01:46 PM
Transporter--What you surmise is correct. When you first fire-form a bottleneck case in your bolt gun, you then check its length and trim if need be. Subsequently, when you neck-size-only with a Lee Collet Die, the case neither grows nor shrinks, so, no trimming.

Straightwall cases almost never need trimming anyhow.

However (there is always that darn "however!") if you're going to use the cases in several different guns then you have to test the resized case for fit in each one. You'll probably end up FL sizing to fit multiple rifles. Don't recommend this, BTW, each gun oughta have its own dedicated set of brass.

And finally, if you're loading for a pump, lever, or auto, you'll probably have to FL resize each time anyhow, and then you will be needing to trim the cases.

bender
August 21, 2007, 02:13 PM
So, be sure you are applying enough force when you are using the collet. It seems to require more force than it should, and if that doesn't work, polish the collet as recommended.
yes, Lee says to adjust the die so that approx 25 pounds of force is used to lower the press handle all the way.

TheTransporter
August 21, 2007, 02:22 PM
Smokey joe,

Thank you for the response. Yeah why the need for the FL resize for the autos? New to the reloading world and this board. Going to be reloading a bunch of .223 for my AR's. lots of reading and searching to be goin on.

Smokey Joe
August 21, 2007, 03:02 PM
in the instance of autos, Transporter, is that the cases are usually stretched in firing--if not also deformed in ejecting!!--and need to be returned to original spec so that they chamber the next time.

With a bolt firearm, you have the camming force of the bolt, plus your hand giving it that extra little "oomph" as need be to close on a case. If the case is a tiny bit out of spec you just crank the bolt shut and proceed. An auto slams shut--or tries to--the same every time. If the case is even a tiny bit oversize it just won't chamber, and the auto jams.

Levers and pumps suffer the same problem: Their actions are normally a tiny bit "springy" in firing, so again the case is stretched beyond dimensions and must be FL sized to get back to where it will feed easily the next time around. This is a general rule for these guns; there are exceptions: The Browning lever gun comes to mind--it has a rotating bolt, and cams tightly shut like a bolt gun.

No personal experience with AR's, but I'd expect them to be just like other autos in regards to stretching/deforming cases. You could try just neck-sizing some cases and firing them, but frankly I'd expect you to be having jams as a result.

With all of these general rules about firearms and ammunition and reloading, there are exceptions, and codicils, and subsections, and then individual guns that don't follow the rules anyhow! That's partly why ammo loaded for a particular gun can be much more accurate than store-bo't ammo.

Enjoy. Be safe. And as always, the journey is part of the destination.

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