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Die locknuts

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Racinbob, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Racinbob

    Racinbob Well-Known Member

    This could be a really stupid question. I've seen postings from folks not liking the locknuts on the Lee dies. I don't like them either so I looked into the other brands. I'm not going to run a setscrew into my die threads but I liked the type that had a screw to clamp it tight. Then I tried popping off the o-ring on the Lee nut, turn it over and just snug it up. It doesn't take much torque to hold the die in place. It works great. Being a reloading newbie am I doing something I shouldn't? It just seemed like an easy solution to me.
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Some folks have drilled and tapped the side of the Lee rings and used a set screw, but you say you don't want to do that. I have Hornady rings on most of my dies, RCBS, Forster, and Redding on just about all the rest.

    There is no reason the dies will not work like you tried, but they are not going to keep position on the die and your adjustments will be difficult to keep.
  3. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    But a little lead under the set screw to protect the threads, end of problem with the ones that use a set screw. Another option is to use a brass screw even if its not a set screw.
  4. Racinbob

    Racinbob Well-Known Member

    Walkalong, isn't there an issue with marring the threads with setscrews? Please elaborate on why I'd not be able to hold my adjustments. I figured that if was locked tight to the bushing it would hold fine.
  5. Racinbob

    Racinbob Well-Known Member

    By the way, I'm talking about snug with a wrench, not just finger tight.
  6. Shoney

    Shoney Well-Known Member

    If you drop just one pellet of #6 shot in the hole before putting the set screw in, you will not marry or bugger or mar the threads. Since the shot is so cheap, I usually replace them in cases where I change the "locked" position.

    After posting, I remembered that I have seen set screws with concave bottoms. I used larger shot for these.
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    What "locked"? Once you take it off the press, it is loose again. I must have missed something.

    Like the folks said, use a piece of lead shot under the setscrew, or just a wadded up piece of paper, etc.
  8. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    It would work if they're put in the Hornady LNL bushings, since the whole bushing comes out with the die. On other presses, the adjustments would have to be reset each time the lock ring was loosened.

    I prefer both Hornady and RCBS lock rings. You can sometimes find them on sale at Midway. I usually buy them a dozen at a time, and it makes changing dies on my other presses much simpler to have just two die lock rings to deal with, since I've got both wrenches handy on my bench.

    Hope this helps.

  9. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    I prefer the clamp-style lock rings, and here is a summary of what is available in clamp-style rings:

    Hornady lock rings are all steel, have allen head clamp screws, and have wrench flats.

    Lyman aftermarket (not the ones included with their dies) also have clamp screws, and I think they are steel, but they do not have wrench flats.

    Forster lock rings are aluminum, no flats, and a phillips clamp screw. Allen vs phillips head does not make much difference on conventional threaded presses, but it does make a small difference on presses where the die floats, like the Forster co-ax.

    Finally, OLD RCBS lock rings (haven't been made in a long time) are similar to the forster lock rings, but with an allen head clamp screw. I've picked them up at gun shows for a buck apiece.

  10. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

  11. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...not going to run a set screw into my die threads..." Nothing to worry about. The die steel is much harder than the set screw. The set screw locks the ring in place so you don't have to adjust the die every time you use it.
  12. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Well-Known Member

    your idea of using the upside down Lee nut will work fine if you're mounting them to a tool head and not a single stage press,where you will change the setting every time you loosen the die .
  13. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    +1000 on that!! Hornady locking rings as shown in the link are the only lock rings that I use now. I have something like 30 of them and still need more in order to have them on all my dies (more than 60!)

    One comment about Redding lock rings though, the set screw pushes on a small, threaded "plug" that matches the threads on the die so it doesn't crush the threads the way a set screw can (and did on my old RCBS dies).

  14. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

    Bingo, i take the set screw out and drop in one piece of 7 1/2 shot. holds tight and no buggered threads.
  15. moooose102

    moooose102 Well-Known Member

    on dies that i have to adjust periodicly, i use the lee rings, they actually work pretty well. but in dies i never have to change, i use the hornady lock rings. never had them move on little bit, and they do not harm your dies.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If you are perminately mounting them in a die plate or L&L bushing, they work fine not upside down, just as designed.

    As everyone already said, the problem is when you screw them in & out of a press all the time.

    I take every Lee ring in the place and drill & tap them for a 6-32 set-screw & a lead shot as soon as I get them.

    I'm too tight to buy new rings I guess.

  17. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    Most of the time I use the lyman dies. It's just easier then buying dies and then having to modify them so they'll work right.
  18. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    Some like the Lee O rings, some don't. I do, but understand those who don't. But, I do like my rings to stay put so I don't have to adjust anything when swappin' them around. An inexpensive and simple solution is to buy more Lee rings, remove the O and use two nuts on each die, as jam nuts.

    There is no reason to use a wrench on die rings, finger tight is plenty. In fact, some makers only make knurled rings, no wrench flats at all, for just that reason. I hate to see used dies with the rings buggered up with plier marks from users doing them wrong.
  19. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    The only reason I like the wrench flats is at times "not always" for some reason with the larger calibers I need a wrench to remove the die. Don't know why as I only finger tighten but if it has wrench flats I don't need the Channel locks and bugger things up.
  20. tribbles

    tribbles Well-Known Member

    I do this too with the Lee dies that I use, but because I use them in a Lee turret press, I bought a turret for each set of dies, which makes for extremely rapid caliber changes. Very rarely do I need to make adjustments, but when I do, I do have the proper wrenches on hand - no slip-joint or locking pliers needed here. As others have said, they just need to be snugged up, it's not like you're changing tires here.

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