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New Win. 308 die does not neck-size (?).

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Ignition Override, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Well-Known Member

    It is only a Lee Collet neck-sizing die (as I have had for the .303 caliber). A .308 bullet can be easily pushed into the neck.

    With the .308 shell holder in the Lee ram, and the ram in the full upward position (then one more full 360* turn, as in the Lee video), the deprimer works quite well, but there is no resistance felt. None at all.

    This exact same installation works with both the .303 neck-sizing die and the .308 full length sizing die. I've reloaded about 1,200 .303 cases with its neck-sizing die.

    After trying three different cases, I tried an extra one or two (+) turns, and still feel no resistance when de-priming, except for a slight bit when the primers are pushed out.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  2. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    You should feel no resistance with a Lee neck sizing die. The 4 segments only close in on the neck and don't slide against anything.

    Take the top cap off the die and the depriming rod out. Mount the die, adjust it to where you think it should be, then put a case into the shell holder and raise the ram. Don't push too hard with the press handle or you'll squeeze the neck too much. See the segments closing in on the neck? That's what it's supposed to do.

    You might want to use calipers on the depriming rod to see if it is truly .307 (I think its supposed to be about 1 mil under the correct bullet size, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong). If it's .308 or larger, you may need to send it back to Lee to get it turned down or you can do it yourself.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Run one through the die and then see if a .308" bullet will fit in the neck or not.

    If it isn't sizing at all, the bullet will fall inside the case.

    If it is sizing, it won't.

  4. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Well-Known Member

    rsrocket 1: Watching the .303 go into the RCBS sizer, the edge of the neck first makes contact a bit below the sizer, then you feel the pressure. The depriming rod measures .305 with the Frankford Arsenal caliper. Did it four times.
    My Lee dies always caused pressure during each movement.

    But with this .308, the very first contact on the neck has it about even with the sizer's top edge. Shouldn't it already have been forced against the taper at a lower place, to squeeze the brass?
    In comparison with the RCBS .303 (neck-sizer), it looks like the taper might be too high in the Lee die.

    rcmodel: Trying bullets were the first thing after the die was installed. Only a slight pressure allows the bullet to be inserted.

    As with the help video on the bottom of the "Lee reloading" website, my .303 neck-sizing dies (with Lee lube) always require a bit of pressure, both downwards and upwards, but not with this brand-new Win. .308, which is labeled as such on the die, the data sheet and the plastic box. "Lee 308W-A1".

    If nothing else works tonight, tomorrow I can remove the 2' board which is clamped to the table, and carry the board with the attached press and die
    (plus several brass cases) to the club range: just ten min. from here. There are plenty of guys there who have been reloading for decades.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I think you were pretty clear about the adjustment procedure you used, but just for clarity, does the die make contact with the shell holder when the ram is at full stroke? It should, at least to confirm if the die is in fact defective.
  6. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Well-Known Member

    gamestalker: "Roger that". Any and all questions are welcome.

    As directed by the Lee videos when I began my first reloading (.only .303) in early '10, the full upwards position of the ram at the stop (with shell holder in place) blocks any more downward adjustment of the die.
    The ram is then lowered, and the die is rotated another 360* lower.

    Watched the video again this afternoon, hoping that I had made a mistake.
    Even an extra one or two turns of the die makes no difference. Bizarre, after many hundreds of rounds doing identical set up with the .303 neck-size, both Lee (broken pins with military primers) and now RCBS.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  7. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    So you are following the Lee collet neck sizing video right? I watched it again and it's pretty straight forward so I can't see how you could be missing anything.

    At least I see that there is no resistance to the press as the guy in the striped long sleeved shirt presses down until he reaches the very end of the stroke. That's the only resistance I feel when neck sizing my .308's. That final 25 pounds of force has virtually no movement associated with it.

    What press are you using? Are you sure the die is contacting the shell holder without a case in it? Reading your OP says yes you did do this and still had enough thread to screw it down another full turn. When neck sizing my .308's, I readjust the handle about 45-90 degrees farther up so that I don't have to stroke all the way to the bottom. You might try that too.

    Try this. Use a magic marker to color the neck of the case. Run it through the neck sizing die and take it out. Do you see rub marks on the neck? You should see four segments with 4 small gaps where the fingers of the collet meet.
  8. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Well-Known Member

    Can't get enough marker fluid to stick to the brass.
    The neck-sizing with .303 British has always exactly followed the Lee video steps. 1,200 or so rds. with no problems at all.

    As I tried earlier tonight after removing the .308's deprimer rod, watching the top of the neck move upwards in the ram shows that the first contact is when it touches Only the top edge of the .308 die's tapered sections.

    With the RCBS and a .303 case done in the same exact procedure with no rod, the front edge of the neck contacts the tapers at a lower position, and moves in contact for a very short distance before the neck's edge is in line with the top of the taper.
    Continuous contact over this very short distance is enough to always correctly neck-size the .303 cases.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011

    PCCUSNRET Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you have a bad die to me. I don't have any Lee dies, but if they are anything like RCBS or Redding neck sizing dies they the deprimer rod has an expander on the tip just above the depriming pin to help form the mouth. Let us know what you find out from the folks at the range.
  10. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Well-Known Member

    There were two mechanical problems.
    1) I did not know that when the Lee .308 die is installed, you should be able to push with your finger upwards against the depriming pin, and there should be an almost subtle, tiny bit of movement as the collet moves up into the body.

    This was hung up. A very nice guy at the club spent some time with it and used a soft object to push it up and down, somehow loosening a tiny bit of friction (somewhere).

    2) But there is still a problem because the rod (mandril) which runs like an axis through the collet has not enough clearance at the top to allow the neck to be re-sized.
    He told me that you can use fine sandpaper to remove a very thin layer of metal at the top. Maybe this Twilight Zone episode is about over.

    He claims that some dies which only neck-size require a bit of polishing to make the resizing possible.:(
    This was never the case with my three Lee .303 British neck-sizers, or with the RCBS being used now.:confused:

    Would Midway possibly allow an exchange (plus extra money) for a full-length sizer, even though we marked part of the rod with a magic marker, in order to see where the neck made contact?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  11. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    You can remove the magic marker ink with a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol (actually any sort of rubbing alcohol will probably work, even 70%).
  12. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Well-Known Member

    rsrocket: Will do so.

    Thanks to all of you gents for the help.
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Quite common problem with Lee collet dies, including the FCD crimp dies.

    I take them apart, debur & polish them them with fine emery cloth and needle files, and lube them with Remington dry-lube spray.

    That ends collet sticking problems, seemingly forever.

  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "Would Midway possibly allow an exchange (plus extra money) for a full-length sizer,"

    Maybe. But keep the Lee collet die and learn to use it properly, it's unique design makes it the best neck die we can have.
  15. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Do what ever you have to that will make that collet die function properely. Those dies are supposed to be the best of the best for bottle neck cartridge sizing.
  16. bigedp51

    bigedp51 member

    Ignition Override

    I had problems with my first Lee Collet die, the collet should be free to move up and down inside the body of the die with just finger pressure. And as stated above you may need to polish the die to smooth things up.

    The Lee Collet die has less bullet run out because the collet and the mandrel float and are self centering.

    Once the collet was cleaned up, stoned, debured and moved up and down in the die body freely my Collet die worked fine.



    Do not forget to lube the die at the points indicated.

  17. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Well-Known Member

    The Lee collet die is actually a very simple device. Very effective but exceptionally simple. But when I first tried it, I also had problems. At first I was using it on a Lee classic turret. Then I tried my Lee single stage. It was kind of goofy because on either one of those presses it seemed like the first 2-4 cases I tried wouldn't be sized at all. Then magically, it would start to work fairly well until the next session. It required me to screw the die in about 1 1/2 turns beyond contact with the shell holder and it also required me to exert a lot of force to the handle.

    Eventually though, just by coincidence I acquired a Redding Big Boss 2 single stage press. Miraculously all the problems with my 3 collet dies just went away. Completely disappeared. I screw the die in one turn past contact, the press cams over and instantly I have a perfectly sized neck every single time.

    Keep fiddling with it, they do work very well.
  18. popper

    popper Well-Known Member

    My 243 Lee die works great, but the 30-30 one, I can't get the collet out of the housing. Collet moves up/down fine but housing still needs polishing( a bunch). Any ideas? The collet doesn't spin, so I can't put lapping compound on it. The housing cone looks to have .005 steps. Both take a bunch of pressure on the lever after the primer pops out, to resize.
  19. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "I can't get the collet out of the housing."

    You aren't pulling hard enough. All that holds the collet in the body is the friction of a small wire 'C' spring and it is just a slip-fit thing.
  20. popper

    popper Well-Known Member

    Got a replacement for the 30-30 neck-die. 2 of 3 at the store didn't work. The fingered part sticks in the outer housing, so when you try sizing, all the press force is trying to move the collet and NEVER pushes the fingers against the case. It is a simple design, but if machined improperly, WON'T work. Even the new one will end up wearing out my inexpensive press. For now it goes back on the shelf. All the mandrels are .305.

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