LEE seating dies


PDA






moooose102
December 17, 2009, 10:58 PM
i have several sets of lee dies, and have on and off has oal variations. yesterday, i was loading 380acp's and having a heck of a time trying to keep the oal even close to the same. after tearing apart the seater, and finding lots of play everywhere, i decided to something horribly "cobbled". i stuck a square nut into the die, tightened down the adjuster completely. and it turned out it took all of the slop out of it, and i could get exact oals. it works, but it is a terrible cobble. has anyone come up with a better fix for these?

If you enjoyed reading about "LEE seating dies" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
mongoose33
December 18, 2009, 08:51 AM
I think pictures would help. :)

I can't envision what you've done here. I only have one Lee set, for 9mm, and I was frustrated with the seater die, same reasons you gave--very inconsistent OAL.

I ended up buying a set of Hornady dies for the progressive, and an additional Hornady seater die for my single-stage.

I'd sure love to know what I could have done to cobble something together to get the 9mm Lee die to work well.

Walkalong
December 18, 2009, 08:55 AM
I have done the same thing with a machined insert. Takes the spring of the O-Ring out of the equation. I realy like the Hornady seaters for pistol. The Redding Competition dies are best, but expensive. I use one for .45 and it is very convenient to dial back to the many bullets I use in it. I also have one for .38 Spl and .357. With the flat seater stem I made it will do anything from 38 SPl WC's to the longest bullet I use in .357. Just barely, but it does, so one die is used for both calibers. My .357 die box has the sizer I use for both, a .357 expander, a roll crimp die and a taper crimp die. The .38 Spl box has the Redding seater I use for both, a .38 expander, a roll crimp die, and a taper crimp die.

JimKirk
December 18, 2009, 09:20 AM
If you look at all the post about problems with dies, about 95% of them deal with LEE dies, that in its self should tell you something! Fix the problem with a better set of dies. If you don't believe me go back and read all the post yourself.

Jimmy K

Ol` Joe
December 18, 2009, 11:52 AM
If you are measuring the cartridge from base to tip you never will get two cartridges to match. The die seats off the ogive and you need to measure from that point to the base. The OAL to tip isn`t important anyway with the exception of insuring the cartridge fits in your magazine. the length to the ogive is what insures the bullet doesn`t "jam" in the lands or is seated X amount off the rifleing. As long as this measurement is consistent you are good to go.

jcwit
December 18, 2009, 12:34 PM
Are these cast bullets? What kind of lube are you using? Back in the days that I used LLA tumble lube I'd get build up of lube on the part of the die that pushes the bullet into the case.

Its possible there is a lot of questions about Lee dies because they are the major supplier to reloaders, except to those who only buy quality based on cost.

Mags
December 18, 2009, 12:49 PM
Knock LEE all you want I don't get more than an .001-.003 variation in COAL whith my cheap LEE seaters. I don't shoot competively and I find the variance acceptable. I just don't get why people knock LEE so much they are the most affordable dies,presses,and trimmers on th market. With LEE you don't get what you pay for you get more all of their products have a great warranty and when I broke my decapping pin on a 223 die they just sent me two for free. I think it's just snobbish to knock a brand because it is the most affordable. I would love to have the more expensive reloading tools but I can't afford them right now. I am quite certain if you contact LEE about any problem they will remedy it.

ranger335v
December 18, 2009, 03:06 PM
Sheesh.

All of our makers provide excellant dies. People having problems are almost always using them incorrectly, perhaps most often Lee's due to a failure to read or follow the instructions; hard to fault the dies for that!

Even if bullet ojives and meplats were precisely identical (which they are not) simple differences in press operation and linkage compression can make OAL vary a few thou. Combined, it can seem like a lot of variation. Agonize over it if you wish but it's rarely enough to matter on targets at all. Best OAL is a range, it's not a specific point, plus or minus zero!

Lee's non-crimping "dead lenght" seaters compensate for spring better than any other but only IF they are used correctly. Just screw the die body down very hard on the shell holder and snug the lock ring, then all press/linkage spring will be taken up by the die contact. Control seating depth with the seater plug, not the die body AND the seater plug as is common with other brands of seaters.

ar10
December 18, 2009, 03:24 PM
I used to have some problems with their .45GAP seating die in my Hornady press. I would get small variations in COAL. I stuck a light weight spring in the seating cap. So far I've done 800 rounds and they all read 1.0610. I think it was because I use the locking ring for Hornady and Lee dies that caused the adjusting cap to loosen up just enough to cause the COAL to change.

Walkalong
December 18, 2009, 03:51 PM
Sheesh.

All of our makers provide excellant dies. People having problems are almost always using them incorrectly,
Agreed.

Reloaders these days are lucky to have both the great selection and the competition between die makers that we do. Everybodies dies work.

JDGray
December 18, 2009, 04:11 PM
I measured the OAL of a box of Fed GMM, with 168gr Sierra Match bullets, and they varried .005 between the 20 cartridges. Not enough to sweat it;)

If some of the most accurate rifle ammo is .005" off on OAL, them pistol rounds will never know the difference.

JimKirk
December 19, 2009, 04:56 PM
Sorry if I upset you Lee lovers! I have reloaded for over forty years now and use some of Lee products, started with a set of the whack and stack dies for 30/30, those are the only Lee dies I still own. Yes I've owned multiple sets of Lee dies, I've either given those away or sold them. There are much better dies made, so far I've been able to purchase those, when the day comes that I can't afford the better dies, I'll look at Lee again.
Again sorry for peeing in the grits.

Jimmy K

RustyFN
December 19, 2009, 06:36 PM
Again sorry for peeing in the grits.

Glad I don't like grits.:D

I have only used Lee and Dillon dies. I couldn't tell any difference in to quality of the ammo. I did find the Lee dies to be a lot easier to use.

ranger335v
December 19, 2009, 06:53 PM
"Sorry if I upset you Lee lovers! I have reloaded for over forty years now and use some of Lee products, "

Sorrry, but you misunderstand. We love them all, you don't. The message is I and others can use them all with near perfect results. No big deal. We all like what we can use well. And I love grits too! :D

Walkalong
December 19, 2009, 07:11 PM
Glad I don't like grits :D

Yea, well this Southern boy likes em. :D

RustyFN
December 19, 2009, 08:46 PM
Yea, well this Southern boy likes em.

I try them once in a while. Maybe one day I will aquire a taste for them.

Walkalong
December 19, 2009, 09:02 PM
Bland by them selves. Butter is a must, and many use salt, but I salt only two things, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Good "stick to your ribs" food, like my mamma used to say. :)

bullseye308
December 19, 2009, 09:07 PM
I try not to eat anything I don't understand(and I don't want to either). But I love my Lee equipment. It works so long as the operator does his part, and even when I don't. :)

madd0c
December 19, 2009, 10:49 PM
Walkalong,
And you call yourself a southerner? What about watermelon and cantelopes? they of course need a little salt also. Jees, next thing I know you'll say you don't like sweet tea :p
madd0c

ranger335v
December 19, 2009, 10:52 PM
Grits, 3 fried eggs, 2 thick slices of ham, a ladle of red-eye gravy and 3 biscuits is the definition of a fine breakfast.

madd0c
December 19, 2009, 10:56 PM
I'll take mine with sausage, sausage gravy and a heart bypass please :)

Also I think we have severely gotten this post off topic lol
madd0c

Bush Pilot
December 20, 2009, 12:41 AM
Grits must be good for something, has anyone tried them in a tumbler?

MarkDozier
December 20, 2009, 02:49 AM
Love real grits, had instant. Love my Lee dies. Boought whe I first begin reloading. Adjusted once to get tighter fit in my 40. I also make a dummy round everytime i make arun a my last calivration check i within .001 inches of each other.
So far all my reloading is done with onve firred brass with Montana Golf bullets.

StretchNM
December 20, 2009, 11:42 AM
If you look at all the post about problems with dies, about 95% of them deal with LEE dies, that in its self should tell you something! Fix the problem with a better set of dies. If you don't believe me go back and read all the post yourself.

Jimmy K

That's because about 95% of dies sold are LEE!

There's nothing wrong with the seater die. It isn't sloppy - the seater plug is designed to float inside the die. My guess as the reason for this is if you ever have a cartridge (or rather the bullet as it sits lightly in the case mouth) go into the die at an angle just off center, the bullet contacts the concavity of the plug and centers itself before the plug hits its stop and begins seating.

Aside maybe of Redding's Competition Seater, there is no better than Lee dies I don;t think. You can pay more for equality, if it gives peace of mind, but that's all it'll give....

jcwit
December 20, 2009, 12:14 PM
I'll say it one more time. Lee's overall bigest problem is they have no bragging rights as to, Look how much I spent on my dies. Notice I was able to refer to myself twice in one sentence. We used to live in a socity where being thrifty & frugal wasa virtue, now it seems to be how much we can spend and brag to our buddies.

Thank Goodness Lee took the road they did as it brought prices down with just about all mfg's. And in the process made reloading available to a much larger segment of the shooting populace.

Wonder why the above logic doesn't apply to primers and powder, most spend gallons of gas trying to save the 1 or 2 dollars per thousand on primers.

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 12:18 PM
Walkalong,
And you call yourself a southerner? What about watermelon and cantelopes? they of course need a little salt also. Jees, next thing I know you'll say you don't like sweet teaI don't salt watermelon, don't care for cantaloupe, and can't stand tea, sweet or unsweet. :eek:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lee seating dies, and dies in general:

1. Not as pretty machine work wise as others. Be prepared to polish expander plugs etc.

2. Silly O-Ring to hold the seater plug and it bends and stretches sometimes causing inconsistent O.A.L.'s, and perhaps crooked seated bullets.(necessitating the FCD:uhoh:)

3. O-Ring lock rings which stink, unless you are going to lock them on a turret or LNL bushing and leave them. They work fine for that. If not you will be re-adjusting your settings all the time. I like consistency, and that ain't it.

4. Bottom line is they work, especially if you make an insert so you can tighten the stem down tight to remove the flex of the O-Ring. That is what I have done with mine. (.32 ACP & .32 Long/Mag) All my other Lee dies have been replaced except for some sizers.

Lee is the best bang for the buck in the industry. They have made other companies shave the price of their equipment to compete. They will never be the choice of picky, anal folks who like nice machine work. They load great ammo the vast majority of the time, and when they don't it can be fixed (No, not the FCD :scrutiny:)

jcwit
December 20, 2009, 12:25 PM
Why O why did you have to bring up the FCD?

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 12:30 PM
Gluten for punishment? :uhoh:

Just to let the noobies see a different view before the FCD fixes all things crowd praises its vitrues.

Hopefully we won't argue that here, just state our preferences. I am done on it. :)

Think seater die.......

jcwit
December 20, 2009, 12:34 PM
Amen!

JDGray
December 20, 2009, 01:09 PM
Just mention food, and look where this post has gone:D

I'm from the "North Country", but still like grits. I get them when I road trip to Florida, since they show up with my Breakfast order, I eat them.:)

ranger335v
December 20, 2009, 01:40 PM
"Wonder why the above logic doesn't apply to primers and powder, most spend gallons of gas trying to save the 1 or 2 dollars per thousand on primers."

JC, you make a good point. I suppose the "you get what you pay for" crowd believes gasoline is much better than it used to be and so is our government, etc.

And, yeah, all that ham and sausage and etc. finally brought on a massive, very near fatal heart attack but I was good while I lasted!

But grits sure did no harm, I still eat them. With eggs but in moderation.

(All that's written as a small cautionary warning to those who haven't had one... yet!)

StretchNM
December 20, 2009, 04:32 PM
Lee is a Great American company. Today's quality and more, at yesterday's prices. Jcwit, I've also said (by paraphrasing another forum member's words), that if Lee were to raise their prices by 80% to 90%, there wouldn't be a handloader or competition bench shooter alive without a full array of Lee products.

They could even embark on the strategy of the current elite, "Buy our warranties, and we'll throw in a free press!" (or "........ we'll throw in a free set of dies!").

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 04:38 PM
that if Lee were to raise their prices by 80% to 90%, there wouldn't be a handloader or competition bench shooter alive without a full array of Lee products.Benchresters? I like Lee and what they are, but give me a break. They would have to increase quality 90% as well as some design changes. :scrutiny:

StretchNM
December 20, 2009, 04:50 PM
Well, if they upped their quality even just a bit, that would make them vastly superior to what's out there now. I admit, maybe they could lose that "silly" O-ring and replace it with a "serious" one, I don;t know..... (For those "noobies" that don;t know, the O-ring has little if anything to do with the operation of the seater. It's there to provide friction against the threads. Additionally, OAL's will change as the inconsistency of the bullet's metplat changes, and the crimp die isn;t going to fix that or makeup for it). <--- just for the noobies.

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 06:07 PM
Well, if they upped their quality even just a bit, that would make them vastly superior to what's out there now

A little bit....Vastly?

Please, and they would have to up it a great deal to compete with what BR shooters use.

The O-Ring is intended to hold the seater stem from turning instead of using a more expensive lock nut, but it also flexes a good bit. Since case walls of brass varies and seating pressure varies it will flex more on some rounds than others causing one more thing to enter into O.A.L. variances besides the usual ogive/meplat variances etc. And yes, no crimp die will fix variances in O.A.L., naturally.

I like Lee & I recommend Lee to new reloaders as a great way to get into reloading as cheaply as possible and have equipment that loads excellent ammo, but I also don't have illusions of what it is not. :)

From the Lee website:

Last year we celebrated our 50th year of producing the best value and most innovative reloading tools.

They are a good value, and Richard Lee is good at coming up with neat ideas and how to make something more simple or more cheaply. At least he quit saying his stuff is machined to the highest quality in the industry. Any machinist can look at the various dies from all the makers and tell you that simply isn't so. Is it good enough? Yes it is. Is it machined as well as RCBS or Redding? Nope. :)

ranger335v
December 20, 2009, 09:58 PM
Walk: "Please, and they would have to up it a great deal to compete with what BR shooters use."

Okay, that's true enough, as stated. But, what brand of 7/8 x 14 dies DO serious BR competors use? Right-OH! NONE of them! Nor do they use RCBS, etc. presses or powder measures, so, what effective value does that BR user judgement have for the rest of us?

Your evaluation of the visual "quality" of the machining misses the point. You have to be refering to the external machining but the ammo is made inside. Lee's interior machining is certainly as good as needed and their sizer die chambering is done with the same SAAMI spec reamers used by other makers (at least I know of none that make their own reamers).

I've used and measured the output of a lot of dies in a lot of calibers by every maker but Dillon. On average, I find there's as much difference between individual dies of the same brand as between brands, ALL of them.

Forster's full length sleeve, straight line seaters, and Redding's copies, are the best screw-in seaters available but even then not by a vast amount. And even they don't get used by the BR boys. Forster's adjustable expander plug makes their's the best sizer design available but even it does no good if it's not properly adjusted. Machining tolerance ranges being what they are, an occasional conventional seater will be made with parts that actually fit and are concentric so those individual dies will do as good as any by Foster/Redding but that's NOT the norm. So, other than those specific features on those two specific brands of premium and much more expensive dies, and purty externals aside, no other brand of die has any statistically measurable average advantage over the others so far as the ammo producable. Including Lee's, by my limited experience as a small time machinest and over 40 years of reloading. But, YMMV. Maybe.

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 11:27 PM
Actually a few use the Redding Competition threaded dies to seat, and a handful use their sizer, but that is rare.

My 7/8 X 14 sizer is custom made and cut by the gunsmith who smithed one of my barrels using his reamers. Before I bought a cute little custom aluminum press made specifically for BR from Ed Watson I used my RCBS Partner press, and won using it.

I do seat with a Niel Jones hand die using an arbor press.

I didn't miss the point about the quality of the machining. It is fine as far as tolerances, it just isn't machined as nicely, especially where it doesn't count, to save money, but the expanders are also rough as a cob compared to other makes. Be prepared to polish them yourself.

Forster's full length sleeve, straight line seaters, and Redding's copies, are the best screw-in seaters available but even then not by a vast amount.Agreed, And although not vast, definitely a goodly jump.

other than those specific features on those two specific brands of premium and much more expensive dies, and purty externals aside, no other brand of die has any statistically measurable average advantage over the others so far as the ammo producable. Including Lee's
I am pretty sure that is what I said. They load great ammo, but are not machined as nicely.

I was around machine work a lot for many years, as a good friend was a machinist, but obviously you have more experience there. I do have a small hobby lathe, and have made some pretty nice stuff with it, but am a pure amateur. As a professional machinist, what do you think of my powder measure operating operating rod assembly (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=439181)? Not bad for a rookie I thought.

It does not take 40 or 50 years experience to tell a good finish from a rough one.

I am not knocking Lee, just calling it like it is, or at least how I see it. Some folks won't buy Lee because they like a better looking, overall, product, and other makers provide that.

Any one who needs a carbide sizer only and buys anything but Lee is wasting their money, although the Redding carbide sizers are a hair smoother, they are not better enough to pay the money.

I like the Redding two step (three really) expanders. Nicely machined and smooth. The Lee expanders are rough and need a lot of polishing, unless they have vastly improved recently. :)

ranger335v
December 21, 2009, 12:26 AM
"I am pretty sure that is what I said. They load great ammo, but are not machined as nicely."

You did say that, I was more addressing the idea that Lee was for those who couldn't afford more polished dies. True they ain't so well shined or knurled as others but I'm uncomfortable with the way many less well-off reloaders would take that. I don't like that they would feel they have inferior dies when, in my opinon, they do not. I'd much rather see them buy a neck turner or concentricity gage or OAL gage and dial calipers than prettier dies!

I'm by no means a machinest, just did a liittle such work for the electornics shop I used to work in back when we made engineering prototypes. I got my "training" from a very good machinest where I worked at the time, but not a lot of it, just enough to do what we needed for a few years. I do have an old 9" South Bend Mod. A lathe in my shop that I use for lots of small things since I retired some years back. It is fun to make specialized reloading tools isn't it? Your work looks quite nice but I'm even more impressed with the ingenuity to come up with such a device. Good job!

Redding's very nice pistol expanders are copies of Lyman's very old "M" expander design. Worth coping, surprised others haven't also done that.

StretchNM
December 21, 2009, 12:39 AM
Well, where it counts Lee is right where they need to be, even IF they were to charge the competitors prices. If better looks are worth from $5 to $80 more per die, then better looks it is for some, I suppose.

Now, the expander seems fine to me. If it needs polishing, then we polish it. It's like saying to a reloader: "Well, yeah, you get some nice brass, but you have to buy a bunch of stuff and load them. I prefer to spend the extra money and buy ready-made ammo". Walkalong, it's what we do as reloaders, isn;t it? We take something and finish it. That's ok. But to pay so much extra for something that glitters nicely in the light....?

Benchrest shooters may just need something more precise, I suppose. They all have to live with one another, so to speak. And to do so, you've got to have what the other guys have..... I suppose. So once someone says we've gotta have this press, or these dies, or that reamer, etc., well, then that's what a competitior must have or his mind will never let him rest. Every 1st place that he loses to will be because he didn;t have that die. So that die gets purchased. Next match it's something else. Yes, he realizes consciously that it's his shooting, not so much his equipment. But the sub-conscious says it's the other was around. So, we have to do all of our shopping out of a Sinclair catalog. Now, Sinclair doesn;t sell Lee, so there's a message for us - "there's something wrong with Lee. They're not for us".

I'd like to own a Redding Competition bullet seater. I really am impressed with them. I want one not because I compete, but because I just once want to squander $80 more than I need to..... I'm as guilty as the next guy when shopping for something...anything. I always gravitate toward the item with the highest price, figuring it must be the best, or the maker would lower the price to compete...or fail. But I'm not guilty when it comes to most of Lee's products.........especially their Classic line of presses, but also their dies. I have a long history with Lee, dating back to about 1978. I stand by them just as I stand by our Great Country. As an anology, Lee isn;t perfect, but they're better in character than the rest, it seems.

They should pay me. Think they will? ((:D))

Walkalong
December 21, 2009, 09:47 AM
Redding's very nice pistol expanders are copies of Lyman's very old "M" expander design. Worth coping, surprised others haven't also done thatYep, they copied Lyman. I have switched almost all my expanders to Redding because I like the design so much. It really helps to get bullets straight and doesn't over work brass.

I'd like to own a Redding Competition bullet seater. I really am impressed with them.I bought one for .45 ACP and they are real nice. I use several different bullets in .45 and I can just dial right back to the seating depth I need for each one. Really quick and easy. Not having to set up the seating depth every time I swith bullets made it worth it to me. I have a Hornady micrometer top for their seaters (I have 3 or 4 in pistol calibers and like them a lot), but the numbers were very difficult to see. I had to remark them with a fine black marker. I also bought one for .38/.357. I made a flat seater stem for it and it will seat anything from a .38 WC flush to the longest .357 bullet I load. Just dial it in and go. Plus they seat bullets really srtaight as well. Well worth it to me in those two applications.

You evidently know nothing about Benchrest. That is obvious by your statements. Yes, they do like pretty gadgets, but if they don't work, they don't fly. If Lee dies loaded winning ammo at that level, they would use them, trust me.

They should pay me. Think they will?
Hey, why not. :D

moooose102
December 21, 2009, 10:12 AM
well, this thread has gone way astray from where i wanted it to go.
1) i am not saying that lee dies are JUNK. nor am i saying they are fit for bench rest shooters. they are neither. normally, they work pretty good for most stuff, but sometimes, i want better than pretty good, especially when i am trying to work up a load to near maximum. since i already have these, i am not looking to replace them. if i wanted to throw money at the problem, that would be easy enough to do.
2) even with my lousy eyes, i can see the adjuster on the seating die move up and down as i seat the bullet. so, in my humble opinion, that leaves a bit to be desired. if the adjuster flexes, there is no way to get an accurate oal.
3) i am simply looking for a quick, semi-easy, not horrible expensive way to eliminate the movement, without replacing the die set with some ultra-exotic $5000,00 super-precision set that david tubbs would use. this is a .380 acp, i am not looking to set a 1000 yard competition record of less than 1", i simply want to get a fairly consistent oal.
4) i have no idea how grits, or any other food item is going to help this.
5) i was thinking of some kind of spring preload, or better yet, a nut to lock the adjuster, and eliminate the o-ring. i know this makes the die slower and more comlicated to use than the quick and easy o-ring, but to get rid of the flex, sometimes there is a price to pay.
6) i was just looking for some honest to goodnes help from somebody that had found a way to fix or at least help this issue.

Walkalong
December 21, 2009, 12:44 PM
Never mind. I was thinking of something else. Thought I had the answer. Dang old memory. I'll check my Lee .32 seater when I get home and see if I can come up with a fix for your .380 seater.

Pardon us for straying. AC

Gryffydd
December 21, 2009, 01:07 PM
You never mentioned what kind of press you're using. Is it a single stage? If it's a Loadmaster your OAL problems may lie elsewhere :evil:

Apologizing in advance to the OP...

I started out with all Lee dies for pistol reloading. So far I've switched pretty much all of my cartridges over to Lee sizing, Lyman (M) expanding, Lee seating, Redding Profile/Taper crimp. So at any given time I have 3 manufacturers' dies on my Lee Loadmaster :D

For the most part you do actually get more than you pay for from Lee products, simply because they're so cheap, while being quite functional. Sometimes though, it's not worth the savings. The "Perfect" Powder measure for one. :barf:

Walkalong
December 21, 2009, 01:25 PM
So at any given time I have 3 manufacturers' dies on my Lee Loadmaster LNL for me, but my 9MM die set is a Lee sizer, a Redding expander, a Hornady seater, and a C&H crimp die.

Gryffydd
December 21, 2009, 01:47 PM
Oh yeah, and a Hornady case activated powder measure and a Dillon beam scale(OK...Ohaus just like all the other ones), and an RCBS APS hand primer. I'm missing Forster and a couple other brands still though...
Celebrate Diversity :D

I think going to the LNL AP from the Loadmaster will likely be my next step. The Loadmaster is hard to beat from the auto-indexing progressive with case feeder for <$300 standpoint, but the indexing and priming systems leave a lot to be desired.

ranger335v
December 21, 2009, 02:45 PM
"2) even with my lousy eyes, i can see the adjuster on the seating die move up and down as i seat the bullet. so, in my humble opinion, that leaves a bit to be desired. if the adjuster flexes, there is no way to get an accurate oal.

5) i was thinking of some kind of spring preload, or better yet, a nut to lock the adjuster, and eliminate the o-ring. i know this makes the die slower and more comlicated to use than the quick and easy o-ring, but to get rid of the flex, sometimes there is a price to pay."

Okay, Goose, you make a valid effort to get us back on topic. Sorry. But sometimes even side trails do inject some useful info even if it's not strickly on the subject. Actually, I didn't make any suggestions because I'm not really sure you have a problem from the die, as such.

First, truly precise seating for a handgun seems an exercise in frustration with no value on target. (And for most rifles too.)

Second, I think you are worrying about the seating stem wiggle far too much.

All that stem is meant to do is limit the bullet's upward travel during seating; it WILL stop moving, firmly, when the seating pressure pushes it fully up. Sure, you can block that travel with some kind of shim, as your nut serves to do, but it only does what the bullet itself will do during seating, ie, push the adjusting/limiting plug fully up. The ONLY purpose of the O ring is to provide sufficent friction to prevent a seating change from casual handling, it was never intended to be a hard lock on any possible movement.

Individual press and linkage flex/compression during seating is likely much greater than you might think! Totally consistant lever pressure and rythum can help OAL by a few thousanths.

And anyone who don't like grits is iggorant! :)

moooose102
December 22, 2009, 08:54 AM
i am using a lee single stage press. if i had known that lee products were, well, not quite as good as some of the others, i would probably have bought something else. dont get me totally wrong, some of their stuff is ok, (i think their bullet casting stuff is GOOD stuff) especially for beginners, or just slamming out plinking rounds. but as i gain more experience, and want to do more (different) experiments to try and accopmlish different goals, i am finding that getting precision ammo from this equipment, is a lot harder than it should be. i guess the trade off (there is ALWAYS a trade off somewhere) is ease of use when making a variety of different plinking ammo. in this particular case, i am trying to load 380 cast bullets, and trying to come up with a good load. it is hard to get good results over a chronograph and on paper when the oal (which changes pressure and velocity) varies all over the place. i am not talking +/- .005", more like +/- .040". plated, or jacketed bullets are not so bad, but for some reason, the cast bullets are all over the place. maybe the swc design, i do not know. i have to assume it is in the design of the die itself, because when i stick a spacer into the middle of the die, which locks up the adjuster/and seating cone solid, the oal's get much tighter. the problem with doing it this way, is the die is almost all the way out of the press, hanging on only by a thread and a half or two. so i need to find a different way to lock things up, or replace the die. since all of my dies are lee, (and i am starting to shoot cast in most of them) i really do not want to start replacing all of them.

twice barrel
December 22, 2009, 04:51 PM
After reading thru the entire thread I'm trying to discern if this is another Lee bashing effort or a genuine problem with a set of dies. I've only been handloading on & off since 1979 so I realize I'm not as experienced as some of the folks here. Have also owned dies by Pacific, Lyman, RCBS, Lee, & Hornady that I know for certain. To be honest I've only been frustrated by some of the RCBS dies and had rust issues on some Lyman dies but in the end they all worked.

Most reloading I've seen required a certain amount of tinkering and touch by the loader. Folks that demand positive stops in equipment so that they can just cram things thru generally seem to be the one's I've seen have the most difficulty. Its not for everyone.

No matter what press there is always some slop that needs to be adjusted out. Certain bullet profiles don't lend themselve to some seating stem's. That is not the die manufacturer's fault. The loader needs to determine which bullets work with some dies and or their parts (different stems in some dies) and use them only when appropriate.

Hopefully your rifling is not obstructed so that a bullet seated on the ogive jumps about the same distance each time...even when the actual tip of the bullet may be longer or shorter between bullets. As long as everything else is equal; the "jump" is what we strive to have consistency in.

The O-ring die lock isn't for everyone everytime. Can't you just flip the locking ring over or purchase other lock rings? Why sit there and gripe about it if you don't like it?

Lee makes some cheap stuff, some inexpensive stuff but mostly pretty doggone neat stuff. Heck, I've always thought of Redding as a top-shelf brand but do you like everything they make?

And I still can't understand what the OP's issue is for sure yet. Would love to help if I could.

Regards,

TB

Walkalong
December 22, 2009, 07:39 PM
Attached is an excel file with a diagram showing the spacer I alluded to in post #3. If you are not crimping with the seater while seating, this spacers height is easy. If you are, it has to be just right. It will allow you to screw the stem down tight and remove the flex from the O-Ring. It is just a round spacer with a hole through it slightly larger than the stem that seats the bullet.

RustyFN
December 22, 2009, 08:00 PM
even with my lousy eyes, i can see the adjuster on the seating die move up and down as i seat the bullet. so, in my humble opinion, that leaves a bit to be desired. if the adjuster flexes, there is no way to get an accurate oal.

How close is close enough for you. I was just wondering because I don't shoot long range rifle competition. I do shoot pistol competition and shoot some fun rifle matches. I load four calibers on a classic turret with Lee dies and my OAL has never been off more than .003 in any caliber from where I want it.

Ol` Joe
December 22, 2009, 08:25 PM
Mooooose102
Call Lee and ask if they offer a seating cup designed for Semi Wadcutters. There is a big difference in the shapes between truncated (most HPs and LSWC) and round nosed bullets. Lyman and RCBS offer seaters for both styles, and Lyman had both in a couple sets of dies I bought some tears ago.
I think you`ll find the proper seating cup will greatly improve how consistant your COL is.

moooose102
December 22, 2009, 11:12 PM
How close is close enough for you. I was just wondering because I don't shoot long range rifle competition. I do shoot pistol competition and shoot some fun rifle matches. I load four calibers on a classic turret with Lee dies and my OAL has never been off more than .003 in any caliber from where I want it.

if i could get anywhere near that, i would be estatic, heck, if i could get anywhere near double that, i would be estatic ! my oals with the lswc's is running in the neighborhood of +-.040". it is rediculous.

Call Lee and ask if they offer a seating cup designed for Semi Wadcutters. There is a big difference in the shapes between truncated (most HPs and LSWC) and round nosed bullets. Lyman and RCBS offer seaters for both styles, and Lyman had both in a couple sets of dies I bought some tears ago.

that is the best idea i have seen so far. i will e-mail them right now (i hate the telephone!).

jcwit
December 22, 2009, 11:24 PM
if i could get anywhere near that, i would be estatic, heck, if i could get anywhere near double that, i would be estatic ! my oals with the lswc's is running in the neighborhood of +-.040". it is rediculous.



Man, something's not set up right there. Just checked 30 rounds of 7.62 x 39 I've reloaded with my own cast bullets and they only varied .003 except for 1 round which was .005. I could check some 30/06 and .45 acp's and 9mm also if you wish. These were all reloaded using Lee Dies and the older alu. "O" Challenger press.

StretchNM
December 23, 2009, 12:23 AM
I agree, with that much variation, something else is wrong. A couple of three thousandths is acceptable to me, and all I ever notice. And.....I attribute that to slight inconsistencies in the bullet tip.

JCWit: I'm thinking the older aluminum press must be a Deluxe Breechlock. The Classics are all cast steel.

jcwit
December 23, 2009, 12:41 AM
Opps, my mistake. It the old Challenger Press, thanks for catching that!

Walkalong
December 23, 2009, 09:48 AM
Yep, plus or minus .003 is perfectly acceptable with some pistol bullets, while it gets better with others, but .040 is way to much.

It isn't the die doing it.

moooose102
December 24, 2009, 10:52 AM
well, for $8.00, they will make me a custom seater plug. they want one of my bullets to make it. i am going to do that, but i am also going to send them the die it goes into, to see if there is something going on with it. i dont have problems like this with my 45, which is using lee cast bullets. so it seems like it has to be in the die, or the way these bullets sit in the die. in any case, $8.00 is a cheap enough "cure", if it works.

jcwit
December 24, 2009, 11:30 AM
I might add I think the variation with my OAL is caused by how hard the cast lead bullet slides into the case, forcing the seater portion of the die to imprint into the tip of the bullet. I don't use a very hard lead alloy, so it wouldn't take much to dent the bullet a couple of thousands.

gregj
December 28, 2009, 02:06 PM
I subscribed to this thread, as I'm having a similar issue. I am a new reloader, just got a Lee Classic Turret press, dies, etc. Loaded some 9mm over the weekend (115g FMJ), and noticed some significant deviations in the OAL. I was trying for 1.135, several were around 1.114 (will post exact numbers tonight if there's any interest). They all chambered and fired with no issue, but the difference in OAL was unsettling. I will take a look again at my dies to make sure everything is adjusted correctly.

If you enjoyed reading about "LEE seating dies" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!