Why Only Lee?


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lizziedog1
December 17, 2011, 11:58 PM
I purchased a new gun the other day. Today I was in a gun shop looking for dies for it. I try to buy Lee dies whenever possible.

They didn't have Lee, but another brand. Being that I was anxious to try this new gun, I bought them along with a few components to get the ball rolling.

I opened the die box and instantly realized there was no shell holder. I was bit upset.

I guess I am spoiled to Lee, they include a shell holder with each set of dies.

Luckily I had a shell holder that works for this caliber.

Here is my question.

Why is Lee the only company to include shell holders with their dies? How much does this cut into their profits?

And all the other companies that make you buy shell holders separately, how much money does this practice make for their shareholders.

Maybe other dies makers produce better quality dies than Lee. Maybe reloading with those dies might produce better ammo. But for me, I'll only buy Lee from now on. If I have to shop around for them, if I have to order them on-line, don't care.

I know this might seemed like an overblown rant. But including shell holders is a big deal to me. Is it to anyone else?

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James2
December 18, 2011, 12:12 AM
I will happily buy a shell holder to have some decent-that is, real lock rings on the dies. I am sorry I don't like Lee (non locking) lock rings.

denton
December 18, 2011, 12:23 AM
I use practically nothing but Lee dies.

It's true: Most companies don't give you a case holder with a die set. Lee is the exception.

ROCKFISH
December 18, 2011, 12:24 AM
I also try to buy only Lee dies. I like their attitude. They make products that are more than capable of producing quality ammo, and offer a lifetime gaurantee. They could make stronger more expensive products, but they would have to charge more, and it is not neccesary. Their stuff works and is reasonably priced.

Striker Fired
December 18, 2011, 12:26 AM
After you already have a shellholder that fits 10 calibers,why insist you nees ten more ? I don't concider a shellholder a deal. Plus they don't even work on most, if not all, turret or progressive presses. I've had and used all brands,so far the only ones I have had trouble with are the Lee's.

HOWARD J
December 18, 2011, 12:30 AM
I take the gasket out of Lee rings & they work fine.
I use a Lee turret press--some rings from other Companies are too big to work on the turret, Dillon & lee work fine.
My fingers are too old & tired to play with the gasket in a Lee locking ring.
BTW--after 40 years of reloading I have 2 or 3 shell holders for all my calibers.

lizziedog1
December 18, 2011, 12:33 AM
Its the principle of the matter when it comes to shell holders. How much can one of those set a company back?

I don't care if I have ten or twenty or thirty case holders. If I don't have the one I need, I am out of luck.

RandyP
December 18, 2011, 12:45 AM
I use Lee products and they are a great match to my needs and budget.

The only folks who could answer your question however would be the other die manufacturers?

grubbylabs
December 18, 2011, 12:50 AM
I started a thread very similar to this a few months ago. For the 5th time or what ever I went to the store and bought a set of Hornady dies only to get home and realize I forgot to get the shell holder. I only buy Hornady, I just like them.

I personally would pay a few extra bucks to have a shell holder come with a set of dies. I don't care if I have 50 calibers that use the same shell holder, I want a shell holder in each box of dies. For me it is just easier. However many folks on that thread said it would be more inconvenient to have that many shell holders.

noylj
December 18, 2011, 12:53 AM
I prefer Lee and Dillon lock rings. they lock the die to the press. Split die rings means you first align the die to the round and then try to turn the die body out without losing the alignment and lock the ring to the die. Then you rely on the die staying locked to the press by friction.
Best solution for me were bushings (per Lee and Hornady) or a tool head (per Dillon).
The Lee rings with the o-ring mean that you do not lose the setting when you loosen the die from the press. Not as good as bushings/tool heads, but it works.
Most reloading companies have always sold a set of 11 or 12 shell holders, though back in the '60s, all die sets came with shell holder.

bds
December 18, 2011, 01:03 AM
I will happily buy a shell holder to have some decent-that is, real lock rings on the dies. I am sorry I don't like Lee (non locking) lock rings.
Many prefer die locking rings and they are cheap enough ($14 for a set of 6) - http://www.midwayusa.com/product/236200/hornady-sure-loc-die-locking-ring-7-8-14-thread-package-of-6?cm_mmc=Froogle-_-Reloading+-+Dies+%26+Shellholders-_-PriceCompListing-_-236200
http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/medium/236/391359.jpg
I reload mostly on LCT/Pro 1K and have the dies preset in removable turrets (and no, they do not move once set in the turrets). When I do load development on the single stage press, dies are easily removed with finger pressure.

I think it would still be cheaper to buy the Lee dies and then buy the locking die rings.

cfullgraf
December 18, 2011, 01:22 AM
I will happily buy a shell holder to have some decent-that is, real lock rings on the dies. I am sorry I don't like Lee (non locking) lock rings.

I agree!

I will agree if you use a Lee turret or the various bushing systems on the market, the Lee lock rings are fine. Just jam them down and they will not move.

As far as the shell holder, why doesn't Lee drop the price of the dies a few bucks and leave out the shell holder?

Personally, I do not need a shell holder for each set of dies. If one shell holder works for several cases, I do not need extras.

Back in the nineties when I stopped buying Lee dies, Lee dies sets with aftermarket split rings and a new storage box to my liking cost as much as one of the other manufacturer's die sets. It was too aggravating ordering three separate items and dealing with out of stock status.

The difference is greater today but the aggravation is still there so I still buy dies other than Lee.

I do like the Lee lock ring on my powder cop die. This die gets adjusted with each caliber change on my progressive and I find the Lee die with the o-ring works well here.

thorn-
December 18, 2011, 01:28 AM
I have no need for shell holders at all, as my press doesn't use them. Or little plastic dippers. So, I'm happy I'm not paying $2-3 (or whatever a shell holder costs) for something I have no use for when I buy a set of Hornady or RCBS dies.

thorn

Wildbillz
December 18, 2011, 02:23 AM
Some like Fords and some like Chevys.

WB

ArchAngelCD
December 18, 2011, 03:40 AM
I opened the die box and instantly realized there was no shell holder. I was bit upset.

I guess I am spoiled to Lee, they include a shell holder with each set of dies.

Why is Lee the only company to include shell holders with their dies? How much does this cut into their profits?
That's a good question, why is Lee the only company to include a shell holder?

4895
December 18, 2011, 05:30 AM
I use Lee dies, Dillon, and RCBS. I appreciate the load information that LEE sends with its dies sets, especially for those hard to find surplus military calibers. I really like the quality of RCBS dies over Lee and will be buying more RCBS in the future over LEE. I can spring $5 for a shell holder if I need it that bad. Besides, I can get RCBS almost anywhere in town. Lee products are almost mail-order only. Why spend the shipping cost and waiting period...I want to reload now...

lizziedog1
December 18, 2011, 08:33 AM
Why spend the shipping cost and waiting period...I want to reload now...

Good point. Except that without a proper shell holder, you can't reload.

I should add something.

I live in a small town ninety minutes from the nearest civilization. If I get home and don't have the proper shell holder on hand, I am SOL.

I could get back in my car and go for a three hour drive to pick up a small item that I think should have been included with the dies.

To me it is sort of buying a car and the keys are not included. It might be a great deal on a great car, but without the keys it is pretty worthless. Dies without the correct shell holder are worthless too.

I have to mail order many things. So, from now on I'll order direct from Lee. In the past I have had their dies delivered in a few days anyway.

Some of you mention that Lee dies are of dubious quality. I suppose if someone is some sort of expert or sharp-shooter, it might make a difference. I am an average shooter, at best, Lee quality is fine for me.

Walkalong
December 18, 2011, 10:08 AM
Lee rings work fine if you are going to lock them down on a bushing or a tool head and leave them alone. The Hornady split rings are much better if you are going to remove them from presses or tool heads, which I do with many of my dies. I have some dies locked down on bushings with Lee rings, but most stuff has Hornady lock rings, with a few RCBS rings, which I despise. Love their dies, hate their lock rings. The only way they are worth using is to put a piece of shot or some kind of wad under the set screw, which has been replaced with a steel one. The brass ones strip way too easily, and are worthless if they need to be re-adjusted 4 or 5 times.

I have shell holders from Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, and Redding. They all work well enough, although some had to be modded to fit the plastic piece that holds them on my RCBS hand primer.

I ordered new dies for my latest caliber the other day and forgot the shell holder. Arghh. Remembered the shell plate, forgot the shell holder.

cfullgraf
December 18, 2011, 11:26 AM
Why spend the shipping cost and waiting period...I want to reload now...

In my parts I cannot remember the last time I was in a local gun store. Their inventory is abissmal unless you want some "wonder auto" for self defense. So, mail order is it. No sense wasting time and gas running around town and not finding what I want.

In my past, I lived near a good gun store. While I still did lots of mail order, they were handy to get some stuff I needed quickly, although at a price.

Generally, I find paying shipping is offset by not paying sales tax. I do not shop locations that charge me sales tax and shipping. If our state government has its way, that is going to change.

jcwit
December 18, 2011, 11:37 AM
Why spend the shipping cost and waiting period...

Don't forget to factor in your gas at $3 to $4 bucks a gal. running all over town.

Shipping generally run around $10 for me, thats just over 2 gallons of gas. Being as my closest gun store that carries is over 30 miles away..................I think you get the point.

I also do not like the locking rings from Lee, but split rings are very cheap from industrial supply houses.

kennedy
December 18, 2011, 12:25 PM
I like the idea of each set of my lee dies has its own shell holder, instructions and all parts I need packed together in its turret in a round red lee plastic box. what I don`t like is you need different shell holders for the lee auto prime. you can buy a set, but odd calibers like 7.62x54 are not included and you have to buy them separate from lee.

lightman
December 18, 2011, 12:37 PM
We have all forgotten the shellholder.Kind of like a right of passage!After you have reloaded for several years,you usually have any shellholder you need,but thats not much help for a beginner,or someone who loads an odd or rare caliber.I'm not really a Lee fan,but I'm also not a Lee basher.Providing a shellholder with the die set would be nice. Lightman

T Bran
December 18, 2011, 01:43 PM
I have no real complaints with Lee dies. When I receive each set I tear them down and polish the seater plug so it doesnt leave a ring on the bullet at the contact point. As for having a shellholder included great thing in my opinion. When I open a box of dies everything I'll need should be in there. Rummaging around looking for the correct parts isnt something I enjoy doing. Having to wait on another order to come in so I can start loading also gets under my skin as well. I do have other brands but I will no longer order anything but Lee unless it is something they dont make.
T

oneounceload
December 18, 2011, 01:58 PM
And all the other companies that make you buy shell holders separately, how much money does this practice make for their shareholders.

SERIOUSLY?...........

I have some Lee dies, never use them.......I'll take my Hornady, RCBS, Forster and Redding dies, TYVM

giggitygiggity
December 18, 2011, 02:03 PM
I only use Lee dies. They are a fraction of the price of other dies and they are well-made and produce excellent ammo. Also Lee's customer service is awesome.

gamestalker
December 18, 2011, 02:20 PM
I like Lee die's for loading handgun cartridges because they are easier to work with. But for bottle neck cartridges, I much prefer using RCBS comp. die's.

So far as shell holder's are concerned, I could care less if the die maker includes them in the die set, because I prefer using Hornady shell holders anyway, they seem to be more precision to me. I've noticed that when I'm resizing, that the Hornady shell holder will let me know if the case has any buldges or head problems because the brass will not slide in easily, where as with Lee and RCBS the shell holder's seem a bit sloppy. Just me I guess?

beatledog7
December 18, 2011, 03:50 PM
I use some Lee dies, and getting a shellholder with the set is a convenience. But I don't mind buying one separately, especially since I like RCBS and Hornady shellholders better.

If you use a progressive press like a LNL AP, you don't need a shellholder anyway, right? Or if you've loaded 30-06 forever and you start loading 25-06, you don't need another one.

So looks like I'm in the "I'll decide if I want to pay for a shellholder when I buy dies" school. Same as the "keep your combo; I'll decide if I want fries" school.

GLOOB
December 19, 2011, 01:09 AM
I like having the shellholder included with the dies, because then I have one with each die set. So what if my 40, 9mm, and 9x18 die sets all have the same shellholder in them? When I grab the box, it has everything I need inside.

1SOW
December 19, 2011, 01:30 AM
LEE is a good company. Their better dies work for me, because mine are locked down . I also like getting everything in one "die package".
I hate it when the shipping cost is more than the part cost.
Just me I guess?

NOPE, I HATE Lee universal pistol case holders. Having extra case holders lets me modify the d@#^ holder with shim stock .

Lost Sheep
December 19, 2011, 02:30 AM
Gloob has the first half of the answer.

The other half is the possibility that die manufacturers are speculating that their dies may be used on a progressive press, and thus, requiring a shell plate rather than a shell holder, which would simply be a waste.

Lost Sheep

4895
December 19, 2011, 05:51 AM
I have numerous resources locally for all of my needs. I prefer to spend the extra few $$ and support the local economy. I enjoy getting to know the owners of local gun shops and making friends, its part of my enjoyment. One particular gun shop actually orders in special items for me and they sell cheaper than I could buy it for. I don't have to pay shipping and reap the benefit of their FFL discount. I could save 5% or 10% and I do order online at times, however, all of our local business NEED local business to stay afloat, employ people, pay taxes, and help get us all out of a recession. I never have a problem finding a shell holder, besides, I don't plan on buying another caliber, what I have works for me and that's all that counts.

northark147
December 19, 2011, 08:14 AM
Don't buy Lee RGB dies if you want the shell holder either.. They don't include them in RGB sets.

RugerBob
December 19, 2011, 08:21 AM
I like Lee dies as they fit my budget and have never let me down. I do have some other dies, RCBS, and Lyman. But that was only because the store I go to had sold out of the Lee dies I wanted. First time I bought dies other than Lee I had to go back and get a shell holder.

ranger335v
December 19, 2011, 10:46 AM
"Maybe reloading with (other) dies (than Lee's) might produce better ammo."

Not really. I've measured and tested the output of quite a few dies of all current and some long gone brands. On average, there is as much variation between individual dies of the same brand and type as between brands. I've found that not only do Lee's dies work as well as any, they are often a small bit better. After some 45+ years of reloading, I haven't had a 'favorite' brand of anything for a very long time. I sift and sort between individual dies to make the working set I want and that almost always gives me a mix of brands.

Lee's collet neck die and their Factory Crimp Dies are the best of their types available at any price, IMHO. Of course they must be used correctly to work correctly but that applies to anything, right?

Progressive presses may constitute 2-4 out of every hundred presses sold and no dies ever included shell holders until Lee started doing so with their Pacesetter and Delux sets a few years back so I doubt the possibility of progressive shell plates are a serious consideration to die makers.

I don't mind having extra shell holders; what I do mind is paying MORE for sets that give LESS and then having to pay another $7-9 to get one! It costs virtually nothing to make shell holders on modern automated machinery.

A LOT of highly skilled reloaders actually prefer Lee's "O" (semi) lock rings; they are different from others and that seems to throw some people off but it appears to be more of a problem in their minds or fumbly fingers than in how well the soft rings actually work.

Bottom line, all of our die makers do quite well so it's not a matter of 'quality'. Each of us makes his own choice of features he likes and pays what it takes to get there. :)

snuffy
December 19, 2011, 11:57 AM
A LOT of highly skilled reloaders actually prefer Lee's "O" (semi) lock rings; they are different from others and that seems to throw some people off but it appears to be more of a problem in their minds or fumbly fingers than in how well the soft rings actually work.

This^

That was me about 10 years ago, I thought like many others that the lee so-called-lock-rings were junk. Then I got my first lee turret press. In case some don't know it, you are forced to use the lee rings on the turret. The other brands are too big, in their overall diameter! Once I figured out how they work(ed), I actually prefer them.

Need it explained? The O ring is exactly the right diameter to crush when the die and ring are tightened against the top of the press or turret. This puts side force on the lock ring and die, holding it securely. You don't really have to crank the die down hard to get it to grip the die. Removing the die does not relax the grip. In fact, it's downright difficult to turn the ring on the die once it's set. You can remove the die and replace it, everything remains set as long as you ONLY USE THE RING TO TURN THE DIE BACK INTO THE PRESS/TURRET!

For you single stage guys, a little care on how you use the lee rings, you'll see how good they work. For us turret users, once set, they remain in the turret.

The Lee RGB dies do NOT include the shell holder. Those are the economy sets, no powder scoop either.

kingmt
December 19, 2011, 12:23 PM
Everything I had to say has almost been said. I perfer Lee dies & perfer the lock ring. If I switch the die from one press to another then it needs adjusted so Lee's is easier.

I normally don't buy fries or drink but if I want them I don't mind saveing 2 dimes to order them together. I have several of the same holders but it is cheaper for me to buy the sets then piece it together.

You are paying for everything in the set. Only with Lee it seems free because you get so much more for your money.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 19, 2011, 12:28 PM
I suppose having 49 extra shell holders that one does not need can always be a GOOD THING!

For instance, if one is stuck on ice with one wheel spinning, they can use the shell holders for TRACTION between the tire and ice! That, in itself would pay for them all if it saved the driver from being late to his first day on the job as President of the New York Stock Exchange (for example).:eek:

cfullgraf
December 19, 2011, 12:41 PM
For you single stage guys, a little care on how you use the lee rings, you'll see how good they work. For us turret users, once set, they remain in the turret.

.

I agree, if one is using a Lee turret press, one of the presses with a tool head, or a press with a bushing arrangement (Lee Breech Loack or Hornady L-N-L), the Lee lock rings work just fine. Jam the ring against the tool head and never turn the die again unless you want to change the adjustment.

But I disagree with their use on conventional, threaded single stage press. It is not if, but when you will lose your die setting while turning the die in and out of the press. This will occur at the most inopportune time and cause grief in having to disassemble a bunch of rounds.

Having used Lee lock rings extensively in the past and with working with precision equipment my entire career, precision settings cannot be maintained without positive locks.

Of course, if you like to spend the time checking or reseting your dies at each use, then have at it. I would rather get on with reloading.

I have continued to use Lee lock rings in a few limited applications. My powder cop die has one as it gets reset with each cartridge change on the progressive. Works fine and why waste a good split ring in this application.

I use them on my powder measures. No precision adjustment needed and I can hand snug the Lee lock ring against the stand and the powder measure stays put. I can hand loosen it later when changing powder measures.

It is interesting that Lee has introduced a Breech lock bushing with a split lock ring as part of the bushing.

bds
December 19, 2011, 01:30 PM
Lee has introduced a Breech lock bushing with a split lock ring as part of the bushing.

Now, why can't Lee sell just the lock rings? :scrutiny:
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=155032&stc=1&d=1324315963

JohnM
December 19, 2011, 01:44 PM
Now, why can't Lee sell just the lock rings?

I know there is an industrial source for those locking rings and also split locking stop nuts, but I having a bad senior moment trying to remember who the suppliers were and how they are listed.

bds
December 19, 2011, 02:02 PM
Hornady lock rings (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/236200/hornady-sure-loc-die-locking-ring-7-8-14-thread-package-of-6?cm_mmc=Froogle-_-Reloading+-+Dies+%26+Shellholders-_-PriceCompListing-_-236200) are $14 for a set of 6 ... I was hoping Lee would sell just the lock rings for cheaper ... :D OK, enough of thread hijack ... back to OP.
http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/medium/236/391359.jpg

mdi
December 19, 2011, 02:31 PM
Well, in almost 30 years of reloading with Lee dies (with Lee lockrings) I've never had a die work loose. Mebbe 'cause I'm a lifelong mechanic/machinist and I have used hand tools all my life, but Lee stuff works fine for me. No, I don't use a wrench or God forbid, pliers, on the Lee rings, just finger tight. I bought a set of RCBS dies that had those "real" lockrings on them and had to repair the threads on the die exterior before they could be used. Some ya-hoo must have used a 18" wrench tightening the lock ring (badly distorted threads) and the set screw on the side of the ring was tight enough to gouge flats in the threads. Used a lot of Kroil to loosen things up and had to chase the threads to make the dies usable. I now just use some stainless 7/8-14 lock nuts (thin) on my single stage, and some I customized (knocked the corners off) on my turret. If you use a wrench on the Lee lockrings you stand a good chance of distorting/striping the threads in the aluminum. In my estimation, lock rings don't make or break the quality/usibility of a die set. And yep, I've got dies from several manufacturers (Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Pacific, Herter's, Lyman)...

BTW McMaster-Carr sells one piece split threaded collars 7/8-14 for $4.89 each http://www.mcmaster.com/#locking-rings/=fflnjx

ranger335v
December 19, 2011, 02:40 PM
"I suppose having 49 extra shell holders that one does not need can always be a GOOD THING!"

Friendly, if another shell holder is too much of a good thing we can always pay more and get a brand that helpfully doesn't include a 'surplus to our needs' shell holder, right? ;)

AABEN
December 19, 2011, 02:49 PM
I have dies that are over 40 years old and the rings are still good and work good! I like them be caws if I want a little more crimp I do NOT need to get the Allen wench to change them.

howlnmad
December 19, 2011, 03:00 PM
I don't know why Lee is the only brand that includes a shell holder. I also don't worry about it because I have the 11 piece shell holder set.

And all my lock rings get replaced with Hornady cross bolt lock rings.

jcwit
December 19, 2011, 03:10 PM
Never realized that Lee having shell holders with their dies and not having split locking rings would turn out be this big of a deal.

JohnM
December 19, 2011, 03:28 PM
Never realized that Lee having shell holders with their dies and not having split locking rings would turn out be this big of a deal.

That's no kidding.
This thing has been going on forever.

.338-06
December 19, 2011, 03:48 PM
While most of my dies are Lee, I do have RCBS and Hornady dies and there are pros and cons to all of them. BUT I have fewer issues with the Lee. I always wondered why the store I buy my reloading stuff sold RCBS decapping pins, then I found out when I broke one, I've never broken a Lee decapping pin. The non-Lee locking rings are a pain as I never seem to have an Allen wrench when I need it. I've never had Lee locking rings come loose. My biggest problem with Lee is with their shellholders. They like to combine more calibers that their shellholders can use instead of making caliber specific holders. I recently started loading for .480 Ruger for which Lee supplies their #5 shellholder. Roughly 50% of the Hornady .480 cases wouldn't fit. Calling Lee they blamed Hornady and offered to grind my shellholder to fit. I went to my LGS and bought a RCBS shellholder for .480 (#40) which fit all the cases. So, while I really like their dies, Lee shellholders could be better.

Striker Fired
December 19, 2011, 05:23 PM
It is going on because some of us DARE to say anything about what Lee does and the fanboys.

kingmt
December 19, 2011, 05:49 PM
I'm haveing fun reading it all.

bds
December 19, 2011, 06:00 PM
It is going on because some of us DARE to say anything about what Lee does and the fanboys.
I am a fan of Lee products but will tell it like it is (Lee safety scale requires time/patience to use and could use a heavier base, FCD is not for larger diameter lead bullets as it may post-size, Pro 1000 has primer feed attachment issues, etc.).

If Lee wants to buck the industry trend and include shell holders and powder scoops in their die set, maybe because John Lee makes them do it. ;):D

evan price
December 20, 2011, 06:53 AM
Ya know, if having 49 extra shellholders bothers you that much, you can sell 'em on eBay for $5 apiece and then your new die set costs what, $25?

I got rid of my RCBS dies and went all Lee. Simple, easy, reliable. The powder-through-expander with case actuated powder drop works great. Plus it seemed to me Lee's carbide pistol dies sized better, further down to the case head than the RCBS dies did.

I use only pro-1000 or 3-hole turret press, so all my dies go in their own pre-adjusted turrets with Lee lock rings, that work fine for me.

TheCracker
December 20, 2011, 09:29 AM
I have nothing but lee dies (except one redding comp seating die) and they work well for me. I use a breechlock single stage for the bolt guns and a lee classic turret for everything else.
I have no need for the locking rings but could see where they would be neccessary for standard single stage with no bushing. That would be a major pita to have I reset dies every time. It does seem like lee could upgrade their locking rings!

Constrictor
December 20, 2011, 09:45 AM
lee gives you a freebie to make up for dies that wont stay tight and where you put them.

fpgt72
December 20, 2011, 09:58 AM
I have not been doing this as long as many of you, so perhaps going into this with an open mind might be good or bad. I have never had a problem with the dies in any way. they seem to just do the job that they are ment to do. To me I just do not see any added value in spending a vast amount more for something with little return.

JohnM
December 20, 2011, 10:08 AM
lee gives you a freebie to make up for dies that wont stay tight and where you put them.

All the ranting and wailing every time the name Lee is mentioned get's real old.
There's reloading equipment out there in every flavor for what ever turns your crank.
I've got tools from when Richard Lee first started the company, they always have and continue to do a good job.
Around my shop there is equipment from just about every maker, some from companies that don't exist anymore.
Some have some things that do a better job than others for certain duties.
I doubt there are many reloaders who have all one brand of equipment, any more than shooters who have all one brand of firearm.

ranger335v
December 20, 2011, 10:40 AM
"lee gives you a freebie to make up for dies that wont stay tight and where you put them."

Now that there's funny, don't care who ya are!

snuffy
December 20, 2011, 01:22 PM
"lee gives you a freebie to make up for dies that wont stay tight and where you put them."

And some have ten thumbs and little skill to figure out how they work. In post #35, I explained how the lee lock rings work. If that doesn't do it for you, then I give up, you're hopeless.

JohnM
December 20, 2011, 01:58 PM
Quote:
"lee gives you a freebie to make up for dies that wont stay tight and where you put them."
And some have ten thumbs and little skill to figure out how they work. In post #35, I explained how the lee lock rings work. If that doesn't do it for you, then I give up, you're hopeless.

There are some people out there who could use that o-ring locking system that Lee employs for a month without a blip and still swear it's worthless. :banghead:

kingmt
December 20, 2011, 03:36 PM
And some have ten thumbs and little skill to figure out how they work. In post #35, I explained how the lee lock rings work. If that doesn't do it for you, then I give up, you're hopeless.
You bet me to it.

I see they have 21 post. I wonder if there is as much wisdom in the other post.

blarby
December 20, 2011, 03:49 PM
+1 for shell holders !

Think of it as the toy in the happy meal.

This happened to me (shell holder ordeal) when I bought my 45 dies. That grey box produces some great bullets, but that empty space where the tool I needed most should be was heartbreaking that sunday....

FWIW the lee new ACTUAL lockrings are FANTASTIC.:what:

There are some people out there who could use that o-ring locking system that Lee employs for a month without a blip and still swear it's worthless.

Indeed.

USSR
December 20, 2011, 03:54 PM
Knocking Lee is a lot like knocking Savage. The fanatics come out of the woodwork accusing you of either not appreciating them for their "value", or being some kind of elitist.:rolleyes:

Don

res7s
December 20, 2011, 04:44 PM
My bench(floor) is covered with a rainbow of colours. I don't buy anything without some type of footwork on my part first. I don't like to waste money. I like my Lee's and Herters, love my Pacific Durachrome's, dislike my Hornady's, and HATE my RCBS dies. The only thing I would change about the Lee dies is the finish. I'd give them a phosphate bath before they left the shop.

I have often wondered why someone didn't come out with a small diameter set of 7/8-14 locknuts that used a long spanner sleeve or socket that would fit over the dies to tighten the jam nut. http://www.epcserver.com/graphics/jamnut.gif

A Pause for the Coz
December 20, 2011, 06:31 PM
So far for me, I use 90% LEE everything. I will say I have replaced all of the full length sizing dies I use for rifle calibers. Way too much trouble to keep clean.

I have a Lyman sizing dedcapping die for my .223 and a old Pacific sizing/ decapping die for my 30-30. RCBS for 7.62x54 and 8mm Mauser

Just twist the top of the decapper and out it comes. clean it and back together in less than a minute.

Usually when I start a new caliber I always start with LEE, well because I am broke by that point. The get Better dies when cheap on ebay.

Honady makes one heck of a nice bullet seating die. I bought a set on sale for 32 H&R mag. Nice stuff.

jerkface11
December 20, 2011, 10:27 PM
Good point. Except that without a proper shell holder, you can't reload.And some have ten thumbs and little skill to figure out how they work. In post #35, I explained how the lee lock rings work. If that doesn't do it for you, then I give up, you're hopeless.

Some of us use a Forster press and don't need the shell holder. Plus only about half of the lee rings fit Forster presses.

Hondo 60
December 20, 2011, 11:33 PM
Not only does Lee provide a shell holder, but their dies are sometimes less than 1/2 the cost of other brands.

Out of 17 sets of dies, 15 are Lee.
1 RCBS, I bought 'em just to see what the difference is ... (I don't think they're worth it. )
1 Redding, which came with a gun.

Constrictor
December 20, 2011, 11:39 PM
My post was hardly a rant. And i use lee almost exclusively. Thats why i am intimate with their issues. Mine didnt come with locking rings i use duct tape to hold them from moving until i can afford some decent dies

cfullgraf
December 20, 2011, 11:44 PM
I
If Lee wants to buck the industry trend and include shell holders and powder scoops in their die set, maybe because John Lee makes them do it. ;):D

To Lee Precision's credit, they are innovative with their products and they serve a price point less than the other players in the market.

Some of their stuff works great, some of the stuff not so great.

Some folks put up with the equipment's idiosyncrasies because of the economical price, some folks won't regardless of the price.

Some folks have used Lee as well as other manufacturer's products and have formed valid opinions one way or an other. Some folks have not used one or the other but still voice an uninformed opinion.

For some folks, they like the one stop shopping and get the shell holder and dipper cups with their dies. Others do not need the extra stuff cluttering up their reloading room.

Variations in opinions is what makes the world go around.

BeerSleeper
December 20, 2011, 11:47 PM
Just because it's in the box, doesn't make it free. The cost of the shell holder is built into the cost of the die set. Including it, just means you if you want the dies, you have to buy the shell holder with it. Even if you have 3 already, and don't want another.

Seedtick
December 20, 2011, 11:51 PM
I have often wondered why someone didn't come out with a small diameter set of 7/8-14 locknuts that used a long spanner sleeve or socket that would fit over the dies to tighten the jam nut. http://www.epcserver.com/graphics/jamnut.gif

I picked these up to use on my Lee 4 hole turrets and I think they work pretty good.

Dillon 1" die lock ring (http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/9/pid/24576/catid/4/1_quot__Dillon_Die_Lock_Ring)

Dillon 1" die lock rings 5 pack (http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/9/pid/24511/catid/4/Dillon_5_Pack_Die_Lock_Rings)

Dillon 1" die lock rings 5 pack w/wrench (http://www.dillonprecision.com/content/p/9/catid/4/pid/24577/Dillon_Wrench_Lock_Ring_5_Pack)

HTH

Seedtick

:)

kingmt
December 21, 2011, 07:58 AM
My post was hardly a rant. And i use lee almost exclusively. Thats why i am intimate with their issues. Mine didnt come with locking rings i use duct tape to hold them from moving until i can afford some decent dies
Duct Tape? If you don't use the tool right how do you blame the tool?

Every time I hear Lee bashing & try to help them work out the problem I here stuff like this. Had one member bashing Lee dies because it wouldn't push the shoulder back. I tried to explain how to adjust it to his press & he says "I don't want my press to cam over. It shouldn't have to.". It blows my mind how lazy people are that they would rather blame the tool then learn how to use it. It is like saying this wrench is junk because it won't fit this big bolt & that little screw with the + on it.

rogn
December 21, 2011, 08:43 AM
The "free shell holders" are a so what issue, I mean who really cares? Lee products are innovative, accurate and inexpensive. They are capable of reproducing as/or more accurate ammo as any other brand. AS FAR A THE LOCKRINGS GO, most of the complaints are voiced by those who are too AR or haven't read the instructions(RTFM). Instant adjustability is easily enjoyed by placing index/witness marks on the press and the dies-markers will give good results for those who don't want permanent marks on the press or dies. Just reset to the index marks when you reinstall the dies. The flexibility of the "O" ring allows the dies to self center, which a rigid ring will not permit. Again as far a loosening-if they loosen in use you have some other problem, look elsewhere. Enough of a rant, but I get tired of the blustering detractors of the Lee lock rings................................

USSR
December 21, 2011, 10:13 AM
AS FAR A THE LOCKRINGS GO, most of the complaints are voiced by those who are too AR or haven't read the instructions(RTFM). Instant adjustability is easily enjoyed by placing index/witness marks on the press and the dies-markers will give good results for those who don't want permanent marks on the press or dies.

See - here we go with the Lee fanatics. If you don't like the way Lee has done something, in their infinite wisdom, you have either not read the instructions or are AR. Heaven forbid that you just plain like the way Lee's competitors make their dies.:eek:

Don

Constrictor
December 21, 2011, 11:34 AM
Duct Tape? If you don't use the tool right how do you blame the tool?

Every time I hear Lee bashing & try to help them work out the problem I here stuff like this. Had one member bashing Lee dies because it wouldn't push the shoulder back. I tried to explain how to adjust it to his press & he says "I don't want my press to cam over. It shouldn't have to.". It blows my mind how lazy people are that they would rather blame the tool then learn how to use it. It is like saying this wrench is junk because it won't fit this big bolt & that little screw with the + on it.
i know how to use the tool right. these lee dies did not come with locking rings, nor would they fit.

JohnM
December 21, 2011, 11:42 AM
What kind of die set did you get from Lee that came without lock rings?
What didn't fit?
The rings they sent you or rings from someone else?

I think Lee would have fixed you up immediately if you had contacted them.

jcwit
December 21, 2011, 11:52 AM
What kind of die set did you get from Lee that came without lock rings?
What didn't fit?
The rings they sent you or rings from someone else?

Waiting to see the answer to this one also. At the most it sounds like a fluke to me.

crawfobj
December 21, 2011, 11:58 AM
Some of the best money I ever spent was to buy Lee's shellholder set, along with a shellholder set for the old school Lee Autoprime. I did this after having one too many #$%& moments when I forgot to buy the shellholder with a set of RCBS dies. The price is right to always have the shellholder you need on hand.

I use mostly RCBS dies, but now have a few Lee sets and several Lee FCDs to use in station 4 on my Dillon.

kingmt
December 21, 2011, 12:28 PM
I'm having a hard time understanding this. What didn't fit?

I didn't say you didn't know. I said you wasn't using them right. I just assume you don't know.

I just checked there site & even there RGB dies have lock rings. Where did you buy these?

CollinLeon
December 21, 2011, 02:51 PM
Just because it's in the box, doesn't make it free. The cost of the shell holder is built into the cost of the die set. Including it, just means you if you want the dies, you have to buy the shell holder with it. Even if you have 3 already, and don't want another.

I recently decided to add to my die collection so that I could reload a few more calibers. I have a Dillon unit, so I have to buy the Dillon shellplate, locator buttons, and powder funnel. for each of the calibers. There is also the option of just buying their "conversion kit" that has all of these items in a small blue plastic box. The cost of the separate items is more than the cost of the kit, so even if I don't need all the items in the kit, I end up buying the kit and just having extra items.

Personally, I would rather have some sort of series of display cases that would allow me to store all of the shellplates together, all of the locator buttons together, and all of the powder funnels together. Each location in the case could be labeled so that you would know the part number for that item. From there, you could have a table that said for example, "for .45ACP caliber, you would need shellplate #1, locator buttons #1, powder funnel #E".

There is a certain convenience to having one small blue box that has everything I need for a particular caliber in it, but not so much that I'm willing to pay much extra for it. For example, for most calibers, the conversion kit cost $44.95. Buying all the items separately would cost $53.63. When I decided that I wanted to add the capability to reload 7.62x51 (.308), I looked at their chart and say that I needed shellplate #1, locator buttons #1, and powder funnel #B. Since I already had that shellplate and locator buttons for reloading .45ACP, all I really needed was the powder funnel #B. So, instead of ordering the entire conversion kit for $44.95, I ordered just the powder funnel for $14.95 and even bought the small plastic box which was $3.95 (overpriced in my opinion) and still came out $26.05 ahead of buying the entire conversion kit with the duplicate items.

On the other hand, there have been some calibers where I didn't need the entire conversion kit, but bought it because it was cheaper to buy the kit than it was to just buy the items that I needed. If you don't need the locator buttons, it's cheaper to buy the kit and just have extras than to only buy what you need since the powder funnel is $14.95 and shellplate is $33.45 (total of $48.40). So, for less than the cost of the powder funnel plus the shellplate, you get both of those plus the locator buttons and the plastic case. Yeah, I'll put up with having duplicates when it works out to be cheaper for me...

Now, as this relates to Lee dies...

Since I use a Dillon press, I do not need the Lee powder dies or shell holders, so that is just a waste of money for me, but I still buy the complete Lee die sets so that I at least have the option of loading on a single stage press if I so desire.

The first few Lee die sets I bought came in the round cylindrical plastic containers. The last few that I've bought come in flat rectangular plastic containers. From a stacking / clutter management standpoint, I think I prefer the newer (i.e. flat rectangular containers). From the standpoint of at least theoretically protecting the screw threads on the dies, maybe the round container is better.

3006mv
December 21, 2011, 03:31 PM
I started w/ Lee and am sticking w/ them, I have used a Redding for .300 Whisper when Lee didn't have them avail and a Hornady to use w/ their flext tip bullet. I should have waited or sent in a bullet to lee for a new bullet seater plug. the other dies' lock rings, even w/ an allen screw, still didn't lock in that great, have never had an issue w/ my Lee dies, or other components made by them, plus they have a good warranty and great customer service. Their instructions are clear and have load data. I believe Mr. Lee loves reloading so much he cares enough to share. And yeah the shellholder is a plus.

to the previous poster the round plastic containers will hold the 3 or 4 turret dies/plates or so I have been told, I don't own a turret press, just 2 single stages. Turn the bottom one upside down for the 4 die set. I bought their new lockable clear top rectangular storage boxes b/c I needed to get more organized and wanted to save some space. turn the tops 180 and they are more easily removeable (another simple design).

kingmt
December 21, 2011, 03:40 PM
Everyone does understand that you can buy the RGB kits from Lee or don't they? If not, the Lee RGB kits have no shell holder or scoop. They may not even have the data. If I loaded for a auto I would probably go this route but since I add the neck sizer it is cheaper to get the kit.

CollinLeon
December 21, 2011, 03:50 PM
Everyone does understand that you can buy the RGB kits from Lee or don't they? If not, the Lee RGB kits have no shell holder or scoop. They may not even have the data. If I loaded for a auto I would probably go this route but since I add the neck sizer it is cheaper to get the kit.

Actually, I had never heard of the RGB kits until I read this thread... There's only a couple of more calibers that I might eventually get a rifle or handgun for, but I'll consider them the next time around... Even with the full set of dies, they're a good bargain compared to the dies by the other manufacturers...

ranger335v
December 21, 2011, 05:33 PM
"...(Lee dies) a good bargain compared to the dies by the other manufacturers... "

Lee uses a lot of automated machinery to make their dies, etc. It costs a lot to install such tooling but it's less expensive in the long run because it doesn't require a skilled machinest to run the automated stuff. And it's really easy to make good dies anyway.

cfullgraf
December 21, 2011, 07:18 PM
Some of the best money I ever spent was to buy Lee's shellholder set, along with a shellholder set for the old school Lee Autoprime. I did this after having one too many #$%& moments when I forgot to buy the shellholder with a set of RCBS dies. The price is right to always have the shellholder you need on hand.

I use mostly RCBS dies, but now have a few Lee sets and several Lee FCDs to use in station 4 on my Dillon.

These sets are a good idea. Unfortunately when Lee introduced the sets, I already had most of the shell holders so it was not economical to buy the sets and duplicate many of the shell holders.

But, they also sold the empty boxes which I did buy. One for the press shell holders and one for the Auto-Prime shell holders.

They are a great way to store the shell holders.

I need to get another as I have filled up the press shell holder box and have a few extra shell holders floating around in die boxes.

x_wrench
December 21, 2011, 07:59 PM
i have mostly lee dies also. i have one set of RCBS and one Hornady. for most reloading, they work great. i honestly believe that if you wanted to load precision bench rest competition ammo, you would need better. at least for bullet seating. as far as the comment on their lock rings, i can relate. i bought a dozen good lock rings, but found out that sometimes i need to move the die for one reason or another. the "good" lock rings are a royal pain to reset. so i reinstalled the lee rings on most of them. maybe if i ever (not likely) get to a point where i am only making one load for each caliber, i would reinstall the "good" lock rings.

Constrictor
December 22, 2011, 01:13 PM
What kind of die set did you get from Lee that came without lock rings?
What didn't fit?
The rings they sent you or rings from someone else?

I think Lee would have fixed you up immediately if you had contacted them.
just a normal set up lee 9mm carbide dies does not have a locking ring on the bullet seating depth screw. the crimp has lock rings but not the bullet seat. and it wanders its way out making the finished cartriges too long. duck tape around the die to try to keep this from happening. Just a typical cheap die.

JohnM
December 22, 2011, 01:53 PM
There's supposed to be an O-ring seated into a machined retainer on the depth adjuster that locks it into position.
I've seated bullet after bullet and never had it move a 'thou".

If that o-ring isn't in place the adjuster would be loose enough to move and would cause all your problems.

kingmt
December 22, 2011, 02:00 PM
"Just a typical cheap die."

This isn't typical.

Constrictor
December 22, 2011, 02:47 PM
There's supposed to be an O-ring seated into a machined retainer on the depth adjuster that locks it into position.
I've seated bullet after bullet and never had it move a 'thou".

If that o-ring isn't in place the adjuster would be loose enough to move and would cause all your problems.
you are correct, there is suppose to be an o ring, and alas there is an o ring, and alas the o ring is not adequate and doesnt lock anything. it merely slows down the movement.
Its just a typical cheap die, which i am not bashing because i am using it. just reporting the facts.

Walkalong
December 22, 2011, 03:01 PM
The Lee rings are excellent for locking down on a bushing or tool head where they will stay, but are not very good for taking on and off the press all the time.

They are nicely made, not "cheap" at all.

CollinLeon
December 22, 2011, 03:31 PM
Personally, I prefer to use two nuts if I'm wanting to lock something down. The Lee way of doing it with the O-ring works well enough for the type of shooting that I do since I'm not one of those guys who weights each and every powder charge (as might happen with a match rifle shooter). The current place where I'm hunting, I'm lucky to be able to see far enough through the brush to get a 20 yard shot anyway. Besides, my old eyes are MOA-compatible anymore anyway... :) Assuming they ever were... Too many years, can't remember ancient (i.e. older than last week) history...

kingmt
December 22, 2011, 03:48 PM
Trying to understand you. The O ring is in place but the seater stim still moves? You keep saying typical as in this is the same thing they all do which isn't the cases. What did Lee say about it?

I would like to see some pictures. I would actually like to see the die but that being unlikely. What caliber is it?

JohnM
December 22, 2011, 03:55 PM
He says he has a set of 9mm carbides.
The only way that adjusting stem can not be held in place by the O-ring insert is if it had been totally shredded.
I can't imagine how long screwing that thing in and out it would take to destroy the O-ring.
Lee would probably send a couple O-ring replacements gratis.

Constrictor
December 22, 2011, 05:13 PM
Trying to understand you. The O ring is in place but the seater stim still moves? You keep saying typical as in this is the same thing they all do which isn't the cases. What did Lee say about it?

I would like to see some pictures. I would actually like to see the die but that being unlikely. What caliber is it?
ill take a photo when i get home. the seater is not loose feeling, but still works its way out and cartridges get too long. The dies are performing exactly as designed, why would I ask lee anything? just like i would not buy a table saw from harbor frieght tools and call them and ask why they dont work like a powermatic saw.

JohnM
December 22, 2011, 05:28 PM
The die isn't working exactly as designed.
The stop is moving.
People have used them for years without seeing that problem.

There's something wrong.

jcwit
December 22, 2011, 06:15 PM
but still works its way out and cartridges get too long.

Your words, not ours. If in fact this is the case then is obvious the seating die is not working correctly, whether you wish to accept that or not.

The dies are performing exactly as designed, why would I ask lee anything?

Again, your words not ours. Please note the above quote.

Constrictor
December 23, 2011, 12:18 AM
Your words, not ours. If in fact this is the case then is obvious the seating die is not working correctly, whether you wish to accept that or not.



Again, your words not ours. Please note the above quote.
You are misquoting me. I never said the lee die was working corectly, i said it was working as designed. You may wish to accept this or not.

psyshack
December 23, 2011, 02:21 AM
I set and forget my lee dies.

CollinLeon
December 23, 2011, 04:07 AM
One thing that I've noticed with Lee dies on my Dillon RL450B press is that I have to adjust them so far down that there is barely enough room for more than a thread or two of the die to be contacting the lock nut. The instructions say to adjust the die down to the point where it touches the raised shellplate. Once I get it that far, there's only a couple of threads sticking out above the top of the press for the lock nut to contact. Has anyone else noticed this problem?

JohnM
December 23, 2011, 09:34 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwit View Post
Your words, not ours. If in fact this is the case then is obvious the seating die is not working correctly, whether you wish to accept that or not.



Again, your words not ours. Please note the above quote.
You are misquoting me. I never said the lee die was working corectly, i said it was working as designed. You may wish to accept this or not.

:what: Looking at this along side a few earlier ones turns all statements made by you into so much nonsense. A lot of us were seriously trying to figure out what the problem was you were having with a die set.

What a total waste of time that was! :fire:

jcwit
December 23, 2011, 10:12 AM
You are misquoting me. I never said the lee die was working corectly, i said it was working as designed. You may wish to accept this or not.

Please inform me as to how its possible for me to misquote you when I copied and pasted your post?

What is your logic here, makes no sense whatsover.

As JohnM said, and I'm quoting What a total waste of time that was!

snuffy
December 23, 2011, 10:35 AM
One thing that I've noticed with Lee dies on my Dillon RL450B press is that I have to adjust them so far down that there is barely enough room for more than a thread or two of the die to be contacting the lock nut. The instructions say to adjust the die down to the point where it touches the raised shellplate. Once I get it that far, there's only a couple of threads sticking out above the top of the press for the lock nut to contact. Has anyone else noticed this problem?

Cointenly! That's when you put the lock ring on the bottom.:) Ya know, under the tool head? Lee has made a few of his dies a bit longer so they will work better in thick tool heads like the dillons. Or, so I've heard.

It appears that some have made their mind up that nothing lee makes is any good. I can understand anger at one thing that failed, or was made to fail, causing someone to not buy another thing from that company. A fair decision if they tried to get it made right, and they blew you off. But lee bends over backwards to get things replaced.

I have one of the auto primes, actually it was my first one. The primer punch got the face damaged, how I don't know. It left an impression in the face of each and every large primer. I emailed lee with my gripe, including my mailing addy. A couple of days later a small envelope arrived with a new large primer punch in it. No hi-how-are-ya, argument, or other salutation, just a new part. No proof of purchase, or how old is it, just a new part.

ROCKFISH
December 23, 2011, 11:12 AM
I've had a similar experience. When I purchased my Lee Breech Lock Kit from Cabelas, The drop tube for the Perfect Powder Measure was missing. I called Lee and they sent me the part immediately, no hassle no receipt etc. A pleasure to deal with. When I asked about dies for 30 Rem. they told me to buy a 30-30 die, and sold me the appropriate shell holders for 30 Rem, for a couple of bucks. No hassle, just honest courteous service each time.

Constrictor
December 23, 2011, 11:54 AM
:what: Looking at this along side a few earlier ones turns all statements made by you into so much nonsense. A lot of us were seriously trying to figure out what the problem was you were having with a die set.

What a total waste of time that was! :fire:
Im sorry that you wasted your time, however i was not asking for help. i know the limitations of my lee dies and have figured out how to use them relatively successfully.
I was merely adding an honest unbiased ( I use mostly lee dies) opinion about the lee shell holder question the original poster requested.

CollinLeon
December 23, 2011, 03:28 PM
Cointenly! That's when you put the lock ring on the bottom.:) Ya know, under the tool head?

Nope, no luck... There's either ZERO threads sticking out on the bottom or maybe one or two at most... I'm wondering if the Dillion RL450B has a thicker tool head than the 550... Could someone get their micrometer out and measure the thickness of the toolhead on their 550 and post it so I can compare it to my 450?

I just measured the toolhead on my 450 and the micrometer says that it is 1.080". When I wrote Lee and asked them what was the thicknes son the toolheads on their presses, they replied "approximately 1"... The dies do work this way, but just from an engineering standpoint, I would prefer to see another 1/2" of screw threads sticking out so that it would be possible to have more adjustment options and the ability to put another stop nut on the die to lock it at a particular depth.

kingmt
December 23, 2011, 09:09 PM
How much to send me your dies?

noylj
December 24, 2011, 02:11 AM
CollinLeon:
If you don't need the o-ring, simply remove the lock nut, remove the o-ring, and put the lock nut back on upside down. This will give you more than enough threads.
You only need two or three threads.

CollinLeon
December 24, 2011, 07:50 AM
CollinLeon:
If you don't need the o-ring, simply remove the lock nut, remove the o-ring, and put the lock nut back on upside down. This will give you more than enough threads.
You only need two or three threads.
Yeah, I know we only need 2 or three threads, but I like to see threads sticking past the nut on thinks that I'm putting a nut on... The die works, so I can't really complain about it, but just on a general principle, I think that it should have a longer threaded portion so that it could be more adjustable... I nearly have to bottom out the die to get it to work in my press... Probably only have a couple more turns that I could make in depth adjustment (if I removed the nut or replaced it with a shorter nut).

Rodentman
December 24, 2011, 07:57 AM
I prefer Redding dies with the micrometer bullet seating die and separate crimping die. Sometimes I use Lee's FCD since I can adjust the crimp w/o messing with the locknut.

I have a bunch of Lee ides but they're not my favorite. I find different brands work better for different calibers. For .357 Sig I like Dillon dies. For 5.7x28 it's Hornady.

YMMV.

ranger335v
December 24, 2011, 09:01 PM
"Once I get it that far, there's only a couple of threads sticking out above the top of the press for the lock nut to contact. Has anyone else noticed this problem? "

I have noticed but I never thought of it as a 'problem.'

CollinLeon
December 24, 2011, 10:24 PM
"Once I get it that far, there's only a couple of threads sticking out above the top of the press for the lock nut to contact. Has anyone else noticed this problem? "

I have noticed but I never thought of it as a 'problem.'
Well, basically it means that there is not much room for adjustment. The FCD sits especially low in the toolhead.

Walkalong
December 24, 2011, 11:35 PM
I have made every one of my dies work on the LNL, even some with no threads left, like some old Lee dies..

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5832383&postcount=3


http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7817375&postcount=15

beangado
December 25, 2011, 01:31 AM
I have only bought Lee dies. Some of these dies have seen many thousands of rounds through them. I have never had a problem with them.

psyshack
December 26, 2011, 04:59 PM
I like getting a shell holder with my Lee dies. I also like having the dipper so I can work up a bug out load if needed. And know I can make ammo on the move from a very compact system.

I also like the locking nuts. I can set them up in my breech lock single stage and do my load work up's. Once done I transfer the dies to a Classic turret head complete with a Pro Powder measure and I'm ready to go after the finial turret setup. They never change. Don't even remove the die's from the head to clean them up.

The only time I have ever seen anybody have a issue with a crimp/bullet seat die is when folks don't set the dies up off the press's lever stop and try to have the die in question be the stop. That never works and makes junk ammo. I have never seen a bullet seater back out on any body's die.

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 01:34 PM
Waiting to see the answer to this one also. At the most it sounds like a fluke to me.
http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w220/cornstrictor/IMG_20111228_053350.jpg

here is a picture of my typical Lee bullet seating dies that did not come with, nor am i aware of a lock ring that will fit and lock the bullet seating depth.

JohnM
December 28, 2011, 01:56 PM
It doesn't need one.
The O-ring down in there on that adjusting stem with stay wherever it's turned to and the bullet seating stem inside it, will continue to push the bullet to the same depth, as long as it's not adjusted to a different position.

Only reason it couldn't is if there is a defect.
Bad threads or bad O-ring.

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 02:14 PM
thats the theory, but its a bad design. all 5 of my lee die sets walk out to different degrees. periodically i change o rings and it helps some. But they always walk out without some duct tape around the top.

JohnM
December 28, 2011, 02:25 PM
Strange. I only have one, but I loaded a batch of about 500 rounds a few days back and all bullets were within a few thou of each other.

CollinLeon
December 28, 2011, 03:06 PM
here is a picture of my typical Lee bullet seating dies that did not come with, nor am i aware of a lock ring that will fit and lock the bullet seating depth.
Although I have never had that problem, it would be easy enough to create a block that would fit over the die and lock onto the two knurled sections so that no movement would occur... It could be made out of wood even...


Take a block of wood and drill a hole through it slightly less that the diameter of the upper knurled section of the die.
With a drill that is slightly less than the diameter of the lower knurled section of the die, drill halfway through it along the same axis as the first hole.
Drill a hole on each side of the block so that a bolt can go through each side. Even better might be to have a bolt on the top and bottom of each side.
With a thin saw blade (hacksaw, band saw, etc), cut the block in half along the axis that you drilled. It will kind of look like two halves of a mold at this point, except that the hole goes all the way from top to bottom.
Using fine sand paper, smooth the edges so that you do not have any splinters or rough edges of wood.
Insert appropriate sized bolts in each side of the block.
Place flat washers on the end of threaded ends of the bolts that is sticking through the block that you created.
Use wing nuts instead of hex nuts to allow for adjustments without the use of a wrench.


The wood will be soft enough that when you tighten it down with the side bolts, it is going to grip the knurled sections. If you have the machine shop tools to do it, you could make this out of metal. A really soft metal would be able to grip the knurled sections. A harder metal might need a softer insert inside of it between the metal halves and the knurled sections of die. A strip of thin rubber glued into the inner surface would work. A soft metal like lead could also work for the gripping surface. I don't think that I would use anything harder than lead though.

Your choice of material for the block is going to affect its thickness. It's going to be thicker if made out of a block of wood than if it was made out of a block of aluminum. Depending upon how you have your dies setup, you might be a bit pressed for room with it made of wood. You could probably made it a bit smaller if you made it out of oak than if you made it out of pine.

Something like this could work if you could increase the inside diameter of one half of it...

http://images1.mcmaster.com/Contents/gfx/large/8389kp1l.png?ver=5038838

Oh well... It's just an idea... It shouldn't take very long to build... I don't have that problem with my dies and it seems that no one else has that problem, but if you can't get the dies to work right, this might help... If you try it out, post some photos and tell us whether it works better for you...

Good luck...

kingmt
December 28, 2011, 03:37 PM
You have 5 sets that all do that? I figured it was you doing something wrong until now. Now I know it is you & if you can't see it then nobody can help you.

JohnM
December 28, 2011, 03:47 PM
This is all beyond me.
On the one I have the keeper/locking O-ring is compressed so much by the threads it takes a fair amount of force to turn the knob to change the setting.
Once set it never moves unless I make it move.

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 04:07 PM
You have 5 sets that all do that? I figured it was you doing something wrong until now. Now I know it is you & if you can't see it then nobody can help you.
Yes all 5 of my calibers do it, some worst than others. my 9mm are the worst. and AGAIN i might point out i didnt ask you for help or a fix, i said they are working just as designed, and by adding duct tape to the top they are working acceptably for me.
While i thank you for your help, i dont need it. I was replying to the thread my opinion of lee dies.
It is posible that you guys are satisfied with looser tolerances, or just dont load as much as i do.
I cranked out 2,500 rounds of 9mm this weekend.

Oh and i like Lee providing a shell holder, if i dont need it ill pitch in the extras drawer.

ErikO
December 28, 2011, 04:20 PM
Well, in almost 30 years of reloading with Lee dies (with Lee lockrings) I've never had a die work loose. Mebbe 'cause I'm a lifelong mechanic/machinist and I have used hand tools all my life, but Lee stuff works fine for me. No, I don't use a wrench or God forbid, pliers, on the Lee rings, just finger tight. I bought a set of RCBS dies that had those "real" lockrings on them and had to repair the threads on the die exterior before they could be used. Some ya-hoo must have used a 18" wrench tightening the lock ring (badly distorted threads) and the set screw on the side of the ring was tight enough to gouge flats in the threads. Used a lot of Kroil to loosen things up and had to chase the threads to make the dies usable. I now just use some stainless 7/8-14 lock nuts (thin) on my single stage, and some I customized (knocked the corners off) on my turret. If you use a wrench on the Lee lockrings you stand a good chance of distorting/striping the threads in the aluminum. In my estimation, lock rings don't make or break the quality/usibility of a die set. And yep, I've got dies from several manufacturers (Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Pacific, Herter's, Lyman)...

BTW McMaster-Carr sells one piece split threaded collars 7/8-14 for $4.89 each http://www.mcmaster.com/#locking-rings/=fflnjx
6438k28 - black oxide - $4.89
6438k89 - stainless - $18.03

Thanks! This may be a great group-order type thing?

CollinLeon
December 28, 2011, 04:54 PM
Yes all 5 of my calibers do it, some worst than others. my 9mm are the worst. and AGAIN i might point out i didnt ask you for help or a fix, i said they are working just as designed, and by adding duct tape to the top they are working acceptably for me.
While i thank you for your help, i dont need it. I was replying to the thread my opinion of lee dies.
It is posible that you guys are satisfied with looser tolerances, or just dont load as much as i do.
I cranked out 2,500 rounds of 9mm this weekend.

Oh and i like Lee providing a shell holder, if i dont need it ill pitch in the extras drawer.
Have you tried making an index mark on the two pieces of the die with a marker so that you can see that they really are rotating? Otherwise, it *could* be something else in your setup that is causing a change in depth... I take it that the bullets are getting seated less the more bullets you reload? If so, that would seem to preclude that it is just a buildup in bullet lube in the seating die...

Lee's instructions for setting up some of the dies says to screw in the die until it just touches the brass and then to back it off or increase it (dependent upon the die you are talking about) another half turn. Since the dies do not have index marks, getting exactly a half turn is a bit hit or miss. I use a Sharpie permanent marker to put index dots on my dies so that I have a point where I can see what is rotating.

jcwit
December 28, 2011, 04:58 PM
Waiting to see the answer to this one also. At the most it sounds like a fluke to me.

thats the theory, but its a bad design. all 5 of my lee die sets walk out to different degrees. periodically i change o rings and it helps some. But they always walk out without some duct tape around the top.


All I can say now is that I reload for close to 40 different calibers and most "not all" of my dies are Lee and they all have the "O" ring keeper/lock for the bullet seating stem. In my 50 some years of reloading I've never had this problem, I'm not sure just when I started to use Lee dies with this set/up but I can assure you its been decades ago, and yet I've yet to experience this problem even with Lee dies.

Of course I do realize I lead a perfect and charmed life. Have to go now, time to change more lead into GOLD.

jcwit
December 28, 2011, 05:05 PM
It is posible that you guys are satisfied with looser tolerances, or just dont load as much as i do.
I cranked out 2,500 rounds of 9mm this weekend.

WOW! Thats alot!

Striker Fired
December 28, 2011, 05:10 PM
Gentleman,it is time to give it a rest.Nothing furture can be gained at this point.

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 05:10 PM
Have you tried making an index mark on the two pieces of the die with a marker so that you can see that they really are rotating? Otherwise, it *could* be something else in your setup that is causing a change in depth... I take it that the bullets are getting seated less the more bullets you reload? If so, that would seem to preclude that it is just a buildup in bullet lube in the seating die...

Lee's instructions for setting up some of the dies says to screw in the die until it just touches the brass and then to back it off or increase it (dependent upon the die you are talking about) another half turn. Since the dies do not have index marks, getting exactly a half turn is a bit hit or miss. I use a Sharpie permanent marker to put index dots on my dies so that I have a point where I can see what is rotating.
Actually no i havent marked them. but i did was put duct tape around the top ( i took the opportunity to remove for photo and ill put new on) and this has worked fine. the rounds havent started creeping out in over 15,000 rounds on the 38 special now. I dont see how anything else could be moving because with the tape it stays acceptable.
I mic every round and use a single stage press to push any in that are over .001 long.

I am perfectly happy with me lee dies or i would replace them.

jcwit
December 28, 2011, 05:28 PM
I like shooting and totally enjoy the time spent at it.

I enjoy reloading and the time spent at it.

There is no way I have time to mike every round I reload whether to .001 or to .005.

Further one needs a bullet comparator to truly measure cartridges not just a set of calibers or a mike and measure OAL.

kingmt
December 28, 2011, 06:03 PM
Wow. You will load that much & mic every one but don't take the time to find out what is really going on with the dies.

I understand you didn't ask for help which makes your opinion about them not carry much value. Even after all that the Lee fans are so sure of the product they still want to help you.

I still have questions. First I wonder why you care if they're withen .001". Then I wonder it they are all same headstamp. If they are all trimmed the same, bullets measured, crimped in a different step, & on...

RustyFN
December 28, 2011, 06:55 PM
thats the theory, but its a bad design. all 5 of my lee die sets walk out to different degrees. periodically i change o rings and it helps some. But they always walk out without some duct tape around the top.

I don't know if the design has changed but I doubt it. I have been loading 9mm, 38/357, 45 auto and 223 with Lee dies for five years and thousands of rounds and have never had that problem. I use the dies on a classic turret and Dillon 550. And my lock rings fit on the top of the tool head for my 550.:D

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 08:12 PM
Wow. You will load that much & mic every one but don't take the time to find out what is really going on with the dies.

I understand you didn't ask for help which makes your opinion about them not carry much value. Even after all that the Lee fans are so sure of the product they still want to help you.

I still have questions. First I wonder why you care if they're withen .001". Then I wonder it they are all same headstamp. If they are all trimmed the same, bullets measured, crimped in a different step, & on...
wow, again your not listening. i figured out what was wrong with my dies many years ago and they are working fine now. It takes me a long time to mike them, i bring em to work and do them in spare time. I do size the cases every other time, except 9mm which usually are single time reloads.
My opinion about lee dies is just as valid as anyone else's, and isnt biased because i use them and actually prefer them despite their flaws!
Of course they are all the same headstamp! i make my ammo in "lots" give them a lot number and enter on spreadsheet. every time i open a new box of bullets, new lot, different headstamps, new lot, different lot of primers, new lot, different can of powder, new lot.
Now i dont claim to be a good shot whatsoever, but i do shoot in a local competition and need all the help i can get.

jcwit
December 28, 2011, 08:34 PM
This sound alittle like the guy we have at our range that buys new Star cases and loades them up, brings them to the range, shoots them, and leaves the cases for the rest of us.

I get lots of once fired Star cases this way.

jcwit
December 28, 2011, 08:41 PM
Are you measuring OAL or using a bullet comparator to measure length? If you are measuring from the tip of the bullet your measurement means nothing as its inaccurate from one bullet to another, even if they are match bullets.

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 09:15 PM
This sound alittle like the guy we have at our range that buys new Star cases and loades them up, brings them to the range, shoots them, and leaves the cases for the rest of us.

I get lots of once fired Star cases this way.
the reason a rarely pick up my 9mm brass is i have 2 5 gallon buckets full of once fired brass. I always pick up my other brass, particularly 44 mag brass. The 44 autos loose a ton of brass.

Constrictor
December 28, 2011, 09:17 PM
Are you measuring OAL or using a bullet comparator to measure length? If you are measuring from the tip of the bullet your measurement means nothing as its inaccurate from one bullet to another, even if they are match bullets.
I am measiuring the oal length. this may not be the best way i dunno? im just doin everything i can to make the best ammo. 30 years worth of loading experience and im still learning!

CollinLeon
December 28, 2011, 10:44 PM
I am measiuring the oal length. this may not be the best way i dunno? im just doin everything i can to make the best ammo. 30 years worth of loading experience and im still learning!
For consistent pressure, you probably want the distance between the base of the bullet and the bottom of the case to remain the same. If your bullets are varying in length, either due to slight variations in their lengths or due to inconsistencies in the pressure used to seat them (i.e. the nose was flattened a few thous during the seating process, more so on one bullet than another), it would result in the base of the bullet being a different height above the base of the case (i.e. different case volume) even though the OAL of the cartridge is still the same. Theoretically, at least... For myself, as long as it chambers and goes boom, I'm happy enough since I don't load to the max nor do I shoot competitively... :)

jcwit
December 29, 2011, 07:03 PM
Here's a discussion on the same subject on another site with the same conclusion I put forth.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=137776

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