HELP Lee Collet Die Doing Nothing


July 15, 2011, 10:07 PM
30-06 once fired brass through my new Lee Collet die is doing nothing. No resistence when running the brass through the die. Obviously no resizing of the brass is taking place (bullet just fall thru the brass). When I take either virgin brass or brass I have full lenght resiszed, I can feel resistence when the brass is cycling through the die. So I know the mandrel in the die is doing something.

What could be going on with my once-fired brass? Adjustment of the die is straight forward, so I know I do not have that screwed up. Thanks

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July 15, 2011, 10:38 PM
Measure the mandrel > The Mandrels for the Collet Dies are made to .002" to .003" under nominal bullet diameter as there is about .001" to .002" of spring back. When the case neck is finished being sized, we want the case neck to be .001" under nominal bullet diameter. Lee help here> Under "dies & die questions" there are 5 topics on the collet die.

July 16, 2011, 12:08 AM
You will generally not feel anything when using a collet die. This because the collet die squeezes inward, in a radial fashion, and only works the neck of the case. A standard FL sizing die has to slide down over the entire case length and therefore has quite a lot of friction. About the only way you can tell if a collet die has done its job is to measure or seat a bullet.

July 16, 2011, 01:40 AM
When I run the collet die thru the brass there is no change in dimensions on the neck. Like I said, the bullet just falls into the case. I'll read up on later. Just went ahead and FL resized 50 rounds.

July 16, 2011, 02:02 AM
Not sure what kind of press you are using but the collet die is what I use on my Lee Classic Turret and it does all of the resizing work at the very bottom of the stroke. IIRC the directions say to apply 25 lbs of pressure at the bottom of the stroke to resize the case. If you just bring the handle down to where it stops and dont apply any pressure it will not do any resizing of the neck

July 16, 2011, 02:44 AM
Thanks for the directions! The Lee instructions leave something to be desired. Kinda a hokey process to apply the right force.

Will see if this fire-formed method works better than new or FL re-sized ammo in a couple days ...

Collet die pressure exertion

All of the sizing in the Collet die takes place at the very end of the stroke, when the ram/shell holder appears to bottom out against the base of the die. If you lean into the handle at this point, you will force the collet up into the die body, and cause the collet to squeeze the case neck down against the mandrel (the very end of which pops out the spent primer). About 25 lbs. of force is sufficient to resize most cases. If you are sitting in front of your press, just leaning your upper body weight into the lever is about right.

A good way to determine how much is necessary is to start the case into the die and feel the die remove the primer. Start using pressure and work up to what you think is about 25 lbs. Remove the case from the die and attempt to place the intended bullet in the case neck. If there is little or no resistance, repeat the process with slightly more pressure. When you have reached a point where there are vertical striation marks on the outside of the case neck or the intended bullet does not fit easily into the case neck, the correct amount of pressure has been achieved.

LTR shooter
July 16, 2011, 09:28 AM
Yep the Collet die does its work right at the very bottom and has a different feel than a standard neck size die. At the bottom is where the most "force" is needed. I think once you get the hang of using them you'll really like the ammo it produces.

I was skeptical about the Lee Collet die at first but at the price I tried them for my .223s and since then retired my Forster neck die for good! I also started loaded .30-06 using the Collet die.

July 16, 2011, 06:55 PM
Not sure what kind of press you are using but the collet die is what I use on my Lee Classic Turret and it does all of the resizing work at the very bottom of the stroke.

That's true. Inside the die, it only takes about 3/8 to 1/2" of movement to actuate the collet, which is going to have about the same "feel" as seating a primer. Once the collet closes all the way, applying extra pressure does nothing for the press, the brass or the collet.

July 16, 2011, 07:13 PM
Notice the collet die sometimes does not tighten up the neck enough (i.e. neck not tight on bullets). In the instructions with the die it says I can send back to Lee and for $10 bucks they will fix this if users prefer tight bullet fits. Maybe I just need to lean into the lever more when resizing...

July 16, 2011, 07:33 PM
I believe you have die adjusted wrong, what press are you using.? Also I disassembled the die and added heavy grease(small amount)to outside of "fingers" so its a more smooth process as they move against die wall.

I've had excellent results with both 223 and 204 ruger.

July 17, 2011, 07:35 AM
I also believe you have it adjusted wrong.

I have mine adjusted where the press slightly cams over. I keep adjusting the die down until I get it to size the neck down to where I want & there is next to no force required by me. I love when things are easy. This does go against Lee's instructions.

dagger dog
July 17, 2011, 08:31 AM
First make sure the collet is not stuck in the die body, remove the top let the mandrel slide out and push the collet free oil lightley, then reassemble.

Put your shell holder on the ram, let the press handle down to the bottom, screw the die in against the shell holder until the press handle is horizontal to the floor, if you have a press that cams over center you'll have to help the handle up, and then lock the die in that position.

This position will give you the best feel, you have to set down pretty hard to get the maximum force need to have the collet fingers press the case neck into the mandrel.

I like to decap and tumble before I resize, making sure all I feel is the collet squeezing the case neck, I also like to rotate the case 180 degrees in the shell holder.

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