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Giving the Stank Eye to Lee Right Now!!!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by spec26, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. spec26

    spec26 Active Member


    So I have several sets of lee dies right...All right out of the box needed very little adjusting etc etc...223, 40, 45, 9mm all have functioned flawlessly...

    So tonight Fedex leaves a box from grafs on my door all full of stuff to reload 308 on my 550b...Like a kid in the candy store I rip through checking contents and then immediately go to set the dies up in their new toolhead...Done this plenty of times should be childs play right? Well I guess not today!!!!

    So I adjust the die per the standard...Decap pin is at the position it came in from grafs...Lube the cases like normal, giddy as a school girl mind you...Case on shell holder, pull down handle...Case goes in about half way until it meets the large part of the decapper and gets stuck!!! Thinking ok no biggy lets get everything apart, wondering though why the "fail safe" from lee didnt alloy the decapper to eject free...So disassemble, check, clean, notice some threads on the decapper pin, hmmmm wrenched too tight from factory? So I try to just size a case without decapper in...Slides in like, well you can figure it out, perfectly no resistance what so ever...So go to put the decapper back in...Adjust blah blah, take the same case that was already sized (partially I guess as it fit in my case gage), re lube a little more just to be extra carefull. Badda bing badda boom, case goes in, little resistance, go to lower lever and WHAMMO!!! STUCK! And not only stuck locked in there like a catholic school girls, we you get the point...Pin didnt eject backwards AGAIN now im gettin pissy. This is what I got....


    Go to take it apart and no joy pin will not come out, stuck...So now the temper tantrum starts, wondering what I should do as I now have a case, and decapper pin stuck and wont come out I get the vise ready and rubber mallet...Whack here whack there...NOTHING....Sweaty, tired, aggravated, see my poor savage saying feed me please!! I break out the hammer and this is what I get out!


    As you can see the primer definately came out and now im at a loss...I will be calling lee tomorrow to request some assitance but should I expect? Obviously there was something wrong with the decapper, threads in shaft not normal?, but I don't know what else. The case went through the die fine without the pin and everything so I dunno...I have a full set of lee dies that are perfect so I am assuming that I shouldn't hesitate to request a new sizing die be sent should I. I really dont want to mess with grafs with this their shipping times are days and then I have to wait and wait etc...I figure lee is the the place to start. Not a lee bash yet just a rant as the wife is deaf ears about my hobbies at the moment!!!:cuss:

    Any comments. suggestions?
  2. Jumping Frog

    Jumping Frog Well-Known Member

    Measure the decapping pin diameter and compare to one of the pins in your other dies.
  3. Otto

    Otto Well-Known Member

    Berdan or boxer primers?
  4. spec26

    spec26 Active Member

    223 pin is .2015, 308 pin is .202

    The 308 pin is only .202 for about 3/4" then drops down to .197. (I didn't want to take apart the 223 dies as its set up) However where the thread imprints are is measures at .207 but that may be from the displaced metal from the threads engaging....Its boxer primed, the primer came out fine, most of the "stress" felt like the decapper couldn't get pass the case mouth. And from the looks of it once it did it crushed the case allowing the decapper pin to push out the primer....

    I gotta tell you though sites like this are great....After ranting I feel so much better...
  5. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    sounds like it may have been assembled with a .311 decapping pin, instead of the .308 pin.
  6. Impax

    Impax Well-Known Member

    I had the same problem with my Lee .308 dies. I used Hornady oneshot and stuck the case.I took the die apart and the decapper was stuck just like yours. I wound up using a dremel with cutoff wheel to cut the case in half. Afterwards, I polished the decapper with 1000 grit sandpaper and switched to imperial sizing wax and have not had any problems since.
  7. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    Did you lube the inside of the case neck? Without graphite or mica or some other lube, the expander ball probably siezed inside the neck. If that happened, it's not Lee's fault unless the ball was poorly machined.

    Once the expander ball siezes inside the case neck, it crushes the shoulder and sets the case off-center in the die. As you ram the case up harder into the die, the case freezes up even worse.

    The 0.202" shaft you are measuring is not the diameter of the expander ball. It's just the shaft and has no bearing upon die performance.

    You can get a new pin without buying the whole die. Lee might even send you one for free. If you're not lubricating inside the case neck, do it next time.
  8. JFettig

    JFettig Well-Known Member

    Not exactly sure whats happening here but you got the case partway in and it crushed?
    Check to see if the expander ball is too far into the die, the expander plus the thickness of the neck are greater than the ID of the die, so if its up too far into the neck area it would jam up like that.

  9. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    I've had that happen a few times and I just get a tubing cutter and cut the case in half. The pin falls out easy at that point. :(
  10. rodregier

    rodregier Well-Known Member

    I found that even when lubing inside the case necks that dragging the Lee expander thru a .308 Win case took an enormous amount of force.
    (Polishing the expander helped, but not a lot),

    I finally switched to Redding resizing dies with the optional carbide neck expander. No need to lube inside case necks and *vastly* reduced effort to pull the expander back thru the resized necks.
  11. spec26

    spec26 Active Member

    You have GOT to be kidding me!!!!!


    So everyone knows WTH happened at the beginning of this post....So I went ahead and said hey its only 8 bucks to order a new decapper and clamp...So I did and got them today....Go ahead and clean and put the die back together. Lube the cases using dillon lube heavily on the inside and die. Adjust etc etc...And guess what....The first case makes it in just fine no effort at all and LOCKS UP ON THE WAY OUT!!!! YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!

    And get this...Naturally the case is still locked in the shell holder so I couldn't even lower the press down...So in an effort to free up the press MY F@^KING WORKBENCH TOP BREAKS FROM THE FORCE REQUIRED TO GET THE DAMN THING FREE!!!!!:what::mad::barf:

    I mean *** here! ( I KNOW IM MAJORLY RANTING)!!! I am using everything the same as I just got done doing pistol and 223. Why is 308 giving me such crap!?:confused:

    So now not only did I waste 8 bucks thinking I had something to do with it...Im convinced this whole die must just be fubar...With the decapper in the die just wont release the case....Period...This time the case came out, after beating, perfect without a crushed neck....Now I have two decapper pins stuck inside a case from resizing...I need to resurface my freaking bench that worked FLAWLESSLY for many rounds.....DEATH TO MR. LEE!!!! Im not even to going to bother calling...I will get a whole new NON LEE sizing die and move on and slowly replace ALL of my remaining lee crap....

    Is this a little extreme....probably, but I don't need to waste my hard earned money and time reordering and replacing items due to a manufacturers screw up....:evil::cuss::banghead::barf:

    End rant! BTW...I was using a workmate bench inside the house that took the leverage from pistol and 223 fine...Any ideas for a good surface...Im probably going to remove all the moving parts and attach a good thick butcher block or MDF top directly to the top of the bench....
  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    just a guess

    Your using military brass that happens to be on the thick side. When you sized the case without the expander, this made your next attemp with the expand a much harder process, as the neck was probably
    sized down over .010" probably
    more. When you put the decapper assembly back and tried to size ,the expander crushed the case then went into the case to knock out the primer, then it got stuck. I see drag marks on the decapper shaft. If you try to size 308 to 243 with GI brass the same thing can happen with Lee dies. The decapper needs to be held in the die like RCBS dies so that it can not slip. Plus the Lee die might be out of spec., sizing the neck tighter then need. A normal die will size the neck down more than .010" , this is normal, then the expander opens the inside of the neck back up to the correct inside diameter, over working the brass. Very common. The second time it happened is the same as the first, the FLRD is taking the neck diameter down to far. The military brass is not helping anything being thicker. I had Lee dies, years ago, went back to RCBS when the decapper kept slipping when doing GI 223 brass.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  13. spec26

    spec26 Active Member

    No military brass yet...just standard Federal brass..the first time and winchester the second....
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    still could be a die problem in the neck area.
  15. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    It sounds like a problem with the expander ball, as others have said. I'd see if Lee will replace the whole die (they usually will) just in case it's something different, like an undersize neck area.
  16. spec26

    spec26 Active Member

    I'm 95% sure its a die problem...the case today came out perfect, but the decapper cannot come out of the case mouth...
  17. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's the equipment, friend.

    You're going to hate this, but... With two decapping pins stuck, it's probably not be the equipment. I know you said you lubricated 'inside and die'. But since the ball is sticking in the neck you clearly aren't lubricating it properly. Swab powdered graphite inside the neck. Don't use spray lube because you're probably getting 100% alcohol inside, without the lube. The alcohol disolves carbon and lets it harden inside the case neck even worse than before.

    Everything happening to you has happened to me. I've made every possible mistake in the book. Rest assured, we can whip this problem easily and you'll look back in 40 years and laugh. I still laugh at the stuff I pulled in 1968.

    And please clean up your language when you repost. My family reads this stuff and they understand acronyms.
  18. spec26

    spec26 Active Member


    And I thought I was toning the rage down by using acronyms and symbols for letters....Oh well can't please everyone...:confused:

    Anyways, I used the same process used when loading 223. Same lube, same press, same bench, and same dies...So could it be me? possibly...Why would this lube not work on 308 but work on 223 with absolutely no resistance? Dies are adjusted properly, press set up correctly...I dunno like I said above 95% dies problem which leaves 5% for retarded user error so its possible...I ordered an RCBS full length size die, we shall see if "I" have the same problem...

    At least the fury has subsided and now I can think about how to make my little workmate better..
  19. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    First you need an anger management course. Second, you violated one of the most important rules regarding reloading, don't be in a hurry. Believe me, this bit me bad when I first started loading handgun ammo, I have the damaged cylinder to prove it.

    You sound relatively new to reloading. You need to slow down and think.

    Lee makes some very serviceable stuff. They can make mistakes, just like anybody else. But I believe this is operator error.

    Sizing without the decapper/expander in the die sized the neck down. Now you go to size again with the expander in. When the expander hit that sized neck, it tried to PUSH through the abrupt mouth, instead of being drawn through the neck from the inside on the case, there's a gentle taper of the shoulder there. It crumpled the shoulder, then managed to get through. Like was said above, to get those expanders out, you'll have to cut the case in half somehow.

    You're loading with a dillon 550B on a workmate?:scrutiny: I'd certainly get, or build, a better,(IE heavier), bench.
  20. Bear2000

    Bear2000 Well-Known Member

    This happened to me when I started reloading. The problem? Not Lee, but me. I didn't lube properly. Imperial Resizing Wax solved that problem once and for all.

    To get the decapping pin out, I put the shell into a vice and got the hax saw out.

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