Classic Lee Loader Troubles


December 13, 2009, 02:49 AM
I have reloaded quite a few rounds using my brand new Classic Lee Loader in 6.5x55.

All the brass was once fired only so wasnt trimmed, all cleaned and polished.

I noticed the rounds in my old P14 Mauser action rifle caused the bolt to be a bit stiff on opening/closing but not to the point where it was any sort of problem.

However, I have since sold this and bought a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight (Push Feed) also in 6.5x55 and am having all sorts of issues only having poked 3 rounds through it of my reloads.

The bolt was REALLY hard to open and close coming to a head last week when I just couldnt close it so I backed off but then couldnt open it either.

Some reasonable force opened the bolt and also broke off the extractor in the process. The case was well and truly jammed having to be extracted by stoving in the projectile from the muzzle end, pouring out the powder and giving it death with a 6mm steel rod.

I compared my rounds to a mates factory rounds and found the overall length is ok but the shoulder taper start point on the case is longer by about 1mm. I followed all the instructions to the letter, the brass was tapped flush with the end of the neck sizer so it should be the right length, right?

I just want to know if anyone has had issues with this kind of thing using the Lee? My gunsmith says that the military actions are just more tolerant of inconsistencies and the big extractor just pulls odd ones out better.

My point is that most people have no trouble at all with rounds from the Classic Lee Loader so what have I done wrong? :banghead:

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December 13, 2009, 07:54 AM
If you haven't full sized them at all, I'd start by doing that first. I suspect that would solve your problem.

December 13, 2009, 09:47 AM
Lee Loaders only neck size. Fired brass takes on the dimensions of the chamber it's fired in. Each rifle, in the same caliber, is a bit different. I segregate all my .303 and.308 brass and keep my reloads separated for each of my Bolties.

December 13, 2009, 12:05 PM

You need to have your brass full length resized first back to SAMMI standards and then once you have fired them in your new gun then the Lee Loader will neck size them from then on. They will work great at that point because the brass is now sized to your chamber.

How many cartridges are we talking about that needs resizing???

December 13, 2009, 06:22 PM
Only 180 thank god.:rolleyes:

I have them up for sale at the moment for Mauser actions only, they fed through a Carl Gustav and Husqvarna okay but not my Model 70.

I suspected that the fault may have been the shape of the P14 chamber differing from that of the Winchester but didnt think it would have this type of impact.

Live and learn I suppose.

Still, if done right it still works out at $1NZ per round vs about $2.50NZ for Federals or the like.

Thanks for the replies team.

December 13, 2009, 06:39 PM
I as going to suggest that you send them and I would resize them for you for free, but since you are in New Zealand that might be a little expensive.

December 13, 2009, 08:27 PM
They might be just as bad in another Mauser as they were in your M70. Can you find another local reloader to full-length size them for you?

December 13, 2009, 09:08 PM
Don't sell them. That would be a WASTE. Get a full length size die, size them once, and you are good to go. Make sure that you read the directions that come with the LL and any set of dies. Bottom line, if you only neck-size, then try to put it in a different rifle (even the same make and model!) you are going to run into this eventually, if not immediately. Once you switch rifles, you have to FL size in most cases, but you only have to do it once. Even with the same rifle, you may reach a point where the cases have expanded a bit too much (say after 5-10 uses), and you need to FL size them even in the same rifle. I love my LL and still use it, but especially for high-pressure cartridges, you will want a complete set of tools. Don't blame the brass, nor the rifle. It's your reloading procedures that need some adjustment.

December 19, 2009, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the replies guys.

I am looking at getting a kinetic bullet puller and a set of the Lee dies to full length resize at some stage in the future so will hold on to the rounds until then.

January 5, 2010, 09:00 PM
I just spoke with the guy I sold my old rifle to and he agreed to buy half my ammo after testing it fitted okay - which it did.

Surprisingly some of the ammo I brought with me to show him was fired froma Tikka T3 but he was okay to see if that fed okay too - and it did, no stiffness at all.

Obviously the chamber is a bit more forgiving than my Model 70.

A friend also suggested that Winchester probably have their chambers precision machined to SAAMI standards to negate any accuracy issues and that my old rifle as it was built on a replacement bull barrel may not have had that level of accuracy.

When I compared the rounds fired from the P14 I noticed the shoulder was a little rounded compared to the brass fired from the Model 70 which was still crisp, and when compared for length had not moved at all considering the P14 rounds shoulders were 0.6mm longer after firing.

The guy is keen to buy the rest later on so no worries there, thanks again for the information team.

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