Lee Collet Neck Die question


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Naterater
January 4, 2012, 01:21 AM
I was neck sizing my .308 NATO military brass today and I was pressing pretty hard on the downstroke of my my Lee Breech Lock Challenger press (from the 80th Anniversary Kit)--It doesn't "cam over." I've sized probably 100 or so cases so far with it and I wanted to size them WELL in 1 stroke.

I was using a lot of force (probably 2x as hard a normal FL sizing) with a bit of momentum going into the stroke. I was sizing a normal case, then "POP!!" :cuss:

I looked at the die and the cap on the upper end had stripped clean from the body of the die. I sent it into lee to get repaired for free :), but now I have the following questions:

1. How much force do I need to properly neck size my .308 cases? (I'm assuming now that I'm using too much force to neck size)

2. Has this ever happened to anyone before?

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918v
January 4, 2012, 03:49 AM
You don't need much force. You misadjusted your die.

noylj
January 4, 2012, 03:53 AM
Go the Lee Precision web site and watch the videos.
You never need to force anything in reloading.
If so, something is wrong and you need to re-evalute the press and die set-up.

steve4102
January 4, 2012, 08:01 AM
Once you get passed the decapping of the primer you can actually feel the die sizing thee neck, at least I can.

Blue68f100
January 4, 2012, 09:00 AM
Sounds like your case lube was not doing the job. Imperial Neck Sizing Lube will, it's a dry lube. FL is a Wax.

Naterater
January 4, 2012, 09:10 AM
I didn't think I needed case lube at all. And thanks for the videos. I obviously am overworking myself!

ranger335v
January 4, 2012, 09:30 AM
That die doesn't need any lube at all.

There is no advantage to using more force when sizing, once the neck is fully pressed against the mandral it won't get any smaller no matter how hard we push.

There is no advantage to making the inside diameter of a neck smaller than about 1 thou under bullet diameter. Going smaller only increases seating effort and, often, bullet runout, without doing a thing to increase the actual "bullet tension" or grip.

You are by no means the first to pop that die's top off. It's actually made to do that rather than let us damage the die body or press. Lee's instructions tell us to only use about 20 pounds of force.

kenjs1
January 4, 2012, 09:54 AM
Too-shay Ranger- good post.

snuffy
January 4, 2012, 12:43 PM
1. How much force do I need to properly neck size my .308 cases? (I'm assuming now that I'm using too much force to neck size)

Lee recommends 25 pounds of force is all that's required. If your necks don't have enough tension to hold the bullet, you can increase the tension by removing a small amount of metal from the mandrel. Chuck it in a drill motor, use some fine Emory cloth to reduce the diameter. A good micrometer is VERY helpful.

2. Has this ever happened to anyone before?

Yes! The cap is made of aluminum for a reason, it's a fuse that fails rather than damage your press.

If some people would only answer questions when they have actual experience with a certain die, then this would be a much better place to learn from.

popper
January 4, 2012, 01:34 PM
First time using the N/S die? Probably will need to polish the cone w 400-600 emery and then lube the cone with oil. Lee will probably get it working right when it's returned. Seems like I have to 'fix' everything I get from Lee. Just got a Lee press, the handle bolt galled and stripped the aluminum mount. Got to put the RCBS press back on the bench to check out the FCD I just go. Also get to 'fix' the 2 pistol molds I just received.

rsrocket1
January 4, 2012, 02:22 PM
As the other say, 25 pounds of force is more than enough. You need to adjust the handle so that it stops horizontally and hang 25 pounds of weight from near the handle. That should give you a feeling of what 25 pounds of force is on that press. After that, reassemble to normal and use no more force than what you felt.

The Lee presses brag about their presses not camming over. Cam-over is not something you want because it gives you no sense of how much you are over doing it. If the press stops, you know exactly how much to press to get X amount of force on it. With cam over you have no idea how much more pressure you used and can actually crack carbide dies by over doing it.

To understand how the Lee dies work when neck sizing a bottle neck case, unscrew the top, let the center rod float in the case, and run the case through the die. You'll see the 4 fingers close on the neck and stop on the rod. No amount of added force will do anything more.

If you want to get rid of the "unevenness" of the tiny gaps in the fingers, rotate the case 45 degrees and press again, it adds about 2 to 3 seconds to the resizing process.

Chuck Perry
January 4, 2012, 07:53 PM
What exactly is "can over"? At what point in the ram stroke do you reach it?

Naterater
January 4, 2012, 08:24 PM
some presses "cam over" which is where their cylinders go all of the way up and then back down a little bit while still pushing down on the handle.

I took apart the die before and I knew how it worked, but I guess I never got a "feel" for the sizing part of it.

steve4102
January 4, 2012, 08:26 PM
What exactly is "can over"? At what point in the ram stroke do you reach it?

Typo? It's Cam Over.
A quote from out friend RC.

Cam-Over = All press frame flex, and linkage slop is forced out of the system when the linkage reaches full extension and cams over, or reaches center-line.

rsrocket1
January 4, 2012, 10:50 PM
An illustration for cam over is to put your finger on the side of a ball, move the finger along ball till you reach the top, then go over a little bit more. Now put the press ram on top of your finger as you go "over the top" and back down on the other side a bit.

If you aren't forced to stop before you get to the top, you never know exactly how hard you pressed to go "over the top" because you can start the die/shellplate contact farther and farther down and still be able to cam over. That can be enough force to crack a carbide die which doesn't have as much give as a steel die.

35 Whelen
January 4, 2012, 11:21 PM
2. Has this ever happened to anyone before?

Yep, happened with my .303 Brit collet die and I WASN'T using excessive force. Th el cheapo aluminum cap stripped out. No worries, I went to a local bolt store and got a short bolt with the same thread diameter and pitch as the aluminum cap. Screwed it in and have been using it ever since.

Yes! The cap is made of aluminum for a reason, it's a fuse that fails rather than damage your press.

I kind of doubt the cap is a "fuse", but who knows. I DO know one thing, if a collet die damages your press, your press was a POS. I use an RCBS and an old Pacific, both cast iron O frames, and I know they can't be damaged by a die.

35W

popper
January 11, 2012, 02:06 PM
The stripped out bolt on the classic press I got was a Lee problem. The press parts list shows a 5/16 NF bolt but the part list sent to me from Lee shows a 5/16 NC. Called them and she said the parts are on the way. Feeling better about Lee stuff now. Got 2 molds that didn't take much prep at all. I'll see how they work next week.

JohnM
January 11, 2012, 02:51 PM
Those Lee collet neck sizing dies are sweet, but yeah, they're a little different.
There's a couple good videos about using it.
The torque requirement is 25 pounds and that isn't very much, takes minimal pressure on the handle to get there.
Best thing is to use a few cases and size backed out quite a bit and work into a good sizing.
You'll see the marks from the collets start to show on the neck and you'll and be surprised how little force it takes.
There's a company makes a click stop torque wrench handle that snaps on for a consistent torque, don't know what they cost, but sound pretty handy if you had a lot of cases to do.

res7s
January 11, 2012, 03:24 PM
Popper, just wait until you find you have to "fix" your Lyman moulds. Now that will straight pzz you off. I've only had to "fix" one Lee mould, but the last two Lyman moulds I bought needed to be lapped out. The Lyman .452" sizing die I bought the other day is sizing to .449". If it happens with Lee products I can say well, it didn't cost that much, so I don't mind as much. Now I'm po'ed again.:cuss:

k4swb
January 11, 2012, 05:08 PM
With Lee Collet dies, what you get is what you get. The inside neck size is maintained by the mandrel size and once you get to a certain point, that's all there is.

If you want more sizing down, take the mandrel out and reduce the diameter by whatever you want.

On most all of mine I have reduced the diameter by about .002".

kingmt
January 11, 2012, 07:05 PM
I hated the instructions thatt came with the die. 25 lb where between ram & die or at the end of the handle? I just set mine up to cam over with the slightest feel of resistants & it works great for more sizeings then I can count.

rcmodel
January 11, 2012, 07:10 PM
Well, it sure wouldn't happen to me.

Because I wouldn't use a Lee collet neck sizing die if somebody gave me one.

But, that's just me.

We probably see more people here having one sort of problem or other with them then all other brands of neck sizing dies combined.

rc

kingmt
January 11, 2012, 08:57 PM
That may be because we set more people here useing them more then all others combined.

NeuseRvrRat
January 11, 2012, 09:13 PM
not Lee's fault that folks don't read the instructions or understand how the die works. a lot of folks use the Lee collet neck sizing die with excellent results.

280shooter
January 12, 2012, 12:54 AM
I just looked at a youtube video tonight about the collet dies from Lee,, good info there,, It sure answered all my questions I had about it,,

noylj
January 12, 2012, 12:56 AM
The biggest cause of user problems with Lee equipment is NOT reading the instructions. They have very few instructions, but each is important.
Read the instructions on the Perfect Powder Measure and then look at how people try to use them...

merrill
January 12, 2012, 01:14 AM
Kingmt, as I read the instuctions, the 25 lbs refers to the force you apply to the end of the lever. The torque would be much greater. Torque is the force you apply times the length of the lever arm (handle) and is not measured in pounds.

kingmt
January 12, 2012, 06:35 AM
It would still be measured in pounds(in-lb, ft-lb). It still seems like poor instruction. It has been a long time since I have read them but as I remember if I set the die up per instructions my Pro1000 would put much more force on the neck then the RCBS Jr with the same amount applied to the handle. Now with the Jr set to cam over it applies much force to the ram then I can get on the Pro1000.

As said above I set mine to where I can just fell it bump. Perfect every time.

magnatecman
January 12, 2012, 01:21 PM
not Lee's fault that folks don't read the instructions or understand how the die works. a lot of folks use the Lee collet neck sizing die with excellent results.

The instructions leave a lot to be desired though! And I did read them very carefully.

It would still be measured in pounds(in-lb, ft-lb). It still seems like poor instruction.

This is what I thought too, I am thinking inch pounds, but the instructions just say 25 pounds.

I recently bought a set of these dies for my .204 and did the same thing, It sheared the threads right off the cap (aluminum).

I am using an RCBS rock chucker press, the instructions say to turn the die down till it touches the shell holder plus two full turns to prevent the cam over action from happening, thus making you feel the operation. The instructions also say that it takes considerable force to complete the operation.

I got 44 rounds before mine broke, I am glad I bought from Midway USA as they are taking care of me. I will use inch pounds and see if that is enough to get the job done this time.

MrOldLude
January 12, 2012, 02:02 PM
Neck-sizing doesn't take much force at all. It was stated that this was military brass. Once-fired? Because I haven't seen any discussion about whether or not the primer-pocket is crimped. And if so, that would be another cause of extremely hard resizing.

I use a universal decapping die on crimped primers. Bangs em right out.

popper
January 12, 2012, 02:05 PM
I had to 'pre-flex' mine a couple times after which it works fine. Take out the innards, install over a case that's in the shell holder in the press. Put a piece of metal on top (keep it from going through the normal die hole) and squish it a few times. Guess I need to pre-bend the steel fingers a bit.

snuffy
January 12, 2012, 02:26 PM
What few realize is the force applied to the end of the press handle is multiplied by a huge amount by the compound linkage of the press. Take the time to look at how the ram moves in relationship to the handle.

At first, the ram moves much faster with little movement of the handle. Then, it slows down at the top of it's travel, it's moving very slow in relationship to the handle. At that point the mechanical advantage is huge.

I'm no mechanical engineer so I can't put a number on the force multiplication happening, but it has to be in the 20-1 arena. That means that the 25 pounds of force at the end of the handle is 500 pounds!

500 pounds of force applied to the neck of the brass against the mandrel, forces the neck to conform to the mandrel. Additional force may make the brass flow forwards, but WON'T make the I.D. smaller.

More force results in the aluminum threads stripping off the plug. If that plug was replaced with steel, there would be damaged presses and sprung press frames, but no smaller inside diameter of the neck.

As I said in post #9;

Lee recommends 25 pounds of force is all that's required. If your necks don't have enough tension to hold the bullet, you can increase the tension by removing a small amount of metal from the mandrel. Chuck it in a drill motor, use some fine Emory cloth to reduce the diameter. A good micrometer is VERY helpful.

And was repeated by;
k4swb With Lee Collet dies, what you get is what you get. The inside neck size is maintained by the mandrel size and once you get to a certain point, that's all there is.

If you want more sizing down, take the mandrel out and reduce the diameter by whatever you want.
On most all of mine I have reduced the diameter by about .002".

It's worked for me and everyone else that's tried it. If you are possessed with 10 thumbs, or don't have a drill motor, then a call to lee will bring you undersized mandrels that will result in the smaller I>D> for the neck.

kingmt
January 12, 2012, 04:49 PM
I actually called & ordered a new mandrel because I wore mine down a bit. I still haven't replaced it tho.

magnatecman
I just barely have it bumping when it cams over. If I backed it out any then it would not size.

magnatecman
January 13, 2012, 03:48 PM
I should have my replacement die here tomorrow, so I'll be much more careful from here on out. This is my first time neck sizing and I didn't realize just how easy this should be to only size the neck.;)

JohnM
January 13, 2012, 03:59 PM
If you have a torque wrench, set it to 25 ft lbs and trip it on a bolt to see just how little force that takes.
Or just take a bathroom scale and push it to to 25 pounds.
Ain't much.

cfullgraf
January 13, 2012, 04:09 PM
It would still be measured in pounds(in-lb, ft-lb).

No, if the instructions meant torque, the units of measure should have been listed as inch-pounds (in-lb) or foot-pounds (ft-lb).

If they meant torque and only said pounds for the units, that is p*** poor instructions.

The unit of pounds is a unit of force.

JohnM
January 13, 2012, 04:24 PM
I saw somewhere a recommendation to hang 25 pounds a foot out on the handle to get an idea of how much torque to apply.
That would be 25 ft lbs at the first pivot point.
Still not an easy way to judge how much force to apply to the handle to me.

Romeo 33 Delta
January 13, 2012, 10:25 PM
FWIW, I have mine adjusted just enough off cam-over to NOT cam-over under any circumstance of pressure or softer brass (the handle position is then just perfect for me).

When I cycle the ram, I hold down to the count of 5 (5 sec +/-).

That has always seemed to do the trick for anything I've encountered.

popper
January 14, 2012, 03:12 PM
Naterater - you probably will get a working die back from Lee. Someone will look at it, figure out the problem and fix it. they are a manufacturing company and well, everything isn't always 'right'. An average man can apply a max. of 25# without gritting teeth and grunting using arm strength only, not body weight. I know some here will disagree - just get your torque wrench out and try it, ~ 25 '/#. I went through 4 30-30 N/S die at the store before I found 1 taht would allow the inside part to rotate in the shell. Point is that tolerances stack up to where stuff JUST WON'T WORK. Cam-over presses are intended to give a tactile 'feel' so you know you bottomed the press out. It is NOT to take the slack out, no matter what the marketing spin is. You shouild lock your die into the press with a wrench, a couple #, to take out the thread 'slack'. If you adjust the shell holder to touch the bottom of the die when it's cam'd over and the 'cam' bump is .01", you will be trying to stretch your press .01 every time you cycle the ram. Eventually the linkage pins and threads will wear and weaken. With all the aluminum being used, wear out or broken parts, as you found out, will fail. I'm not bashing Lee, just noting some stuff doesn't work out of the box - saying YOU didn't do it right is not an answer.

ranger335v
January 14, 2012, 07:25 PM
"I use an RCBS and an old Pacific, both cast iron O frames, and I know they can't be damaged by a die."

IF you know that, you may have some learning ahead. I've seen a few photos of broken top straps on Rock Chuckers after the owners tried to push the shell holder into the mouth of a die. Meaning that nothing is 'fool proof' to a sufficently determined fool.

Lee's excellant collet neck die has a moving part that has a learning curve, it doesn't respond well to simplistic rote instuctions; seems some people just can't grasp that so they have a LOT of problems with it. They would be better served with conventional neck dies; just push the case in, pull the case out and use whatever the result is. ??

splattergun
January 14, 2012, 08:28 PM
now, I'm just a noob to this forum and to reloading, so you can take my comments for what you like, but I just learned to use my Lee collet neck die by incrementally increasing the pressure I applied to the handle using a dummy load.

After a few increments I found just how much pressure I need to apply to seat a bullet securely. It turned out to require more pressure than I anticipated, but it is certainly not enough to strip out the cap, break the press frame or bend the arm.

It's just like loading. Start low and work your way up until you find the sweet spot.

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