Can't close gap on full-length resizing die?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by johnlee2u, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. johnlee2u

    johnlee2u Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Very new to reloading, I'm trying to resize my .223 brass, but I'm having trouble. I'm using a Lee full-length sizer and I've followed the instructions to screw the die in until it hits the ram, lower the ram, and screw it in another 1/3 turn. I lubricate the case with the Lee resizing lubricant, but when I go to resize the brass there is a gap between the ram and the bottom of the die that is about an 1/8". No amount of pressure seems to be able to close the gap. Am I missing something? I've attached a pic.

    Thanks!
     

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  2. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    My suspicion is you have the stem turned in too far. It is hitting the bottom inside the case. Back up a bit and should be fine.
     
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  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    My first suspicion would be that you screwed the die the wrong direction
     
  4. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I think Illnoisbert's idea may be the problem. Try backing your depriming stem out a few turns.
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The decapping pin on the Lee dies, is in a collect that should be set so it moves up if there is an obstruction vs breaking. It is 1/8 NPT threads so the tighter the collet is tightened the tighter it grips the stem. Left to right #2,4&5 are rifle decap/expanders, #1&3 are collet sizing arbors and the one on the right is a pistol decap or universal decap die stem.

    26E19B3A-1496-4EF9-B6F0-1F6C0347952B.jpeg

    If it is the cause and “no amount of pressure” can allow a full cycle, it’s not set as designed.

    Is the handle traveling a full stroke? There is a stop, is it being reached?

    With no case I assume the die is touching the shell holder?

    What lube are you using and how did you apply it?

    If the handle is traveling a full stroke, you are hitting the stop, using a decent lube applied per instructions and empty the die and shell holder touch, I would completely remove the collet and decapping/expander rod and try again.

    While you are there I would measure the OD/ID of the neck just so you know how much the expander is stretching it back out, once reinstalled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  6. johnlee2u

    johnlee2u Member

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    Thanks everyone,

    I didn't know anything about the collet holding the decapping pin, makes a lot of sense. How do I know where to set it? I think I pulled it too far out the first time and it crushed the necks, but I pushed the pin in further and it seems to not be doing that anymore.

    The neck appears to be resizing, how do I know if the shoulder is being pushed down far enough? Hornady Headspace comparator? I was looking at that, just waiting for it to get back in stock.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. buba68

    buba68 Member

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    The decapping pin should extend approx 1/8 to about 3/16 of an inch below the base of the die. If it is not extending through the die far enough it will not push the old primer out of the case. I would try about 1/8 if it doesn't push the primer out turn the pin down another 1/4 turn and try again. If that doesn't do it keep turning the pin down 1/4 of a turn until it pushes the primer out and you should be good to go.
     
  8. sacnho

    sacnho Member

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    I like a headspace gauge like a le wilson, dillon, etc to check you are bumping the shoulder to spec.
     
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  9. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    As with most dies, there are multiple operations being done to the cartridge case on a single pass. The trick to die setup then is to adjust these die functions in the proper order.

    • First, set the shoulder height so that the case "head spaces" correctly in YOUR chamber. This is done by moving the die body up/down, relative to the shell holder. (Decapping assy is best removed.)
    • The sizing of the exterior will then be automatically set with the head space.
    • Finally, set the central decapping shaft to properly remove the primer. This is done by moving the decapping shaft up/down, relative to the die body.
     
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  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Flush with the top of the collet, is where you set them in operation they might run around an 1/8” above. I tighten them just enough they will push the primer out without sliding up. If you are decapping crimped in primers, it will need to be a bit tighter than non crimped primers.

    If you set them like this, it will slide up if it hits the bottom of the case and most importantly won’t break if there is an obstruction.



    “Securely tighten” is a bit ambiguous, if you tighten it too much, the decapping rod will not move to the appropriate height as they say it should, around 35 seconds in.

    Rifle dies have an expander machined into the stem, it is a must that the expander be down inside the body of the case when the die sizes the neck down. If the expander is in the neck as it is being sized, it’s going to lock up or destroy the case. As the case neck is sized down some amount under and the expander stretches it back out, this makes ID’s the same despite differences in neck wall thickness. You can measure how much difference there is as I posted at the end of #5.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  11. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    You did not mention if this is for a AR or bolt gun. In a AR you need to push the shoulder back at least 0.002"-0.003" for chambering reliability. A bolt gun only needs to be 0.001". A case gauge is good for a AR but may be over working the brass if it's for a bolt gun. You can use a 9mm cartridge brass to check position of the shoulder before and after sizing. This will give you measurement to let you know how far your moving it. This is just used as reference purposes. Just place the 9mm over the neck and take a reading with your calipers, size and measure again this will tell you movement. You still need to test it in your gun chambers, as some AR's are over gassed and will stretch the brass more. Best to remove the extractor and ejector to get a good feel as to how it's fitting the chamber. The Hornady comparator is doing the same thing, just giving you a indication of hows the shoulder is being moved.
     
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  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  13. johnlee2u

    johnlee2u Member

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    Thank you everyone for the wealth of information. Yes, it's for an AR. From the factory the collet was so tight I could barely get it loose again, may explain why the pin didn't slide up.

    I love the idea of using the 9mm case for a quick check on the shoulder movement. Waiting on the case gauge at the moment.
     
  14. HankC

    HankC Member

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    Does the bench flex? If anything flex, you won't get all the force to the die. More lube also helps. As to the Lee die decapping pin, I had problem that the collet not holding the pin tight enough no matter how much I tighten the nut. The pin slipped out of the collet on the reverse stroke when coming out of the neck and left the pin inside the neck. I had to cut the brass to remove the pin and polished down the pin diameter a bit.
     
  15. garandsrus

    garandsrus Member

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    The 9mm case is a good idea. I do something similar but use a nut about an 1” in diameter with several different sized holes drilled on the flat of the nut. An appropriate sized hole that rests somewhere on the case shoulder will let you measure the before and after sizing shoulder movement.

    Sinclair makes a Comparator that is a fancy version of the same thing. They are using it for measuring bullet seating depth so their hole sizes are caliber specific. It works great for case necks also if the holes are big enough.

    https://www.sinclairintl.com/reloading-equipment/measuring-tools/bullet-comparators/sinclair-hex-style-bullet-comparators-prod83792.aspx
     
  16. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    1. Remove the decapping pin entirely, leave the collet nut loose.
    2. Adjust the die body to contact the shellholder + 1/4 turn (Lee's instructions), then tighten the locknut firmly

    Resize a case. Does it now close the gap?
    If it does, you've isolated the problem (the depriming pin was bottoming out)

    3. With the ram/case still up in the die, drop the depriming pin down through the collet til it hits bottom inside the case
    4. Tighten the collet slightly (just enough to hold the pin in place)
    5. Lower the ram/shell-caing clear of the die.
    6. Loosen the pin collet/drop the pin about another 1/8" and retighten the collet firmly this time.

    That should do it.
     
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  17. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    ► The ultimate gauge is always your gun's chamber.

    The case gauge only mimics the chamber dimensions so that you don't have the trouble of disassembling your firearm every time you reload. But not every gauge will accurately mimic your unique chamber. That has yet to be determined.

    Hope this helps
     
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  18. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    6BD1460B-4AF5-4AAA-8D8B-A3BEBC92919F.jpeg I use a 30 cal insert as a quick gage to measure the br case set back. I also don’t try and bump shoulders on cases that haven’t been fully formed ( 3rd firing etc.) resistance on bolt closer is a good indicator that they are ready to set back just enough to chamber freely, .002 -.003 is normally about right.
    these fellas will help ya get yer die set up’ personally I use a feeler gage between the threaded die and shell holder to monitor my adjustment in thousand.
    J
     
  19. Lafitte

    Lafitte Member

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    Don't try out-guess your equipment. Follow the FACTORY instructions, make up three rounds with no powder or primer (inert dummy rounds) , try them in your rifle and see if there is a problem. By the way, I have never seen instructions that said to "close the gap". Actually you can try empty resized brass in your rifle as a first test for a problem.
    Lafitte
     
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  20. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I politely disagree. As long as you get full travel of the ram the case will be sized fully. A more advanced ideology has one working at a consistant dwell time in the die. I like 10 seconds as I lube the next case so there is no waiting.
     
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  21. HankC

    HankC Member

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    Yes, if the ram has full travel, but when flex, user may get a false sense of full travel achieved from the level position. Lee press is not like RCBS that can set up to give the cam over feel so you know full stroke is accomplished.

    I have Lee press and I had brass not fully sized before because I set up the press on a portable stand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  22. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Pray tell what happens when the ram fully meets the die... and this O-Press Ram still has another 0.25/14= 0.014" inch to go? *
    [​IMG]

    * (assumes 1/4-turn past full contact as per Lee instructions)
     
  23. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    I suspect you have a decapper Rod that needs to be backed off,,, nevertheless I will point out that you need to review the before sizing ( fired ) then after resizing dimensions of your cases to ensure setting of the die otherwise you are just driving blind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  24. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Depending on your setup you could be oversized and create dangerous headspace issues. If your not measuring you have no idea.
     
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  25. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Uuuuuh.... No.

    In general, Sizing dies return the case to SAAMI minimums upon Full Length resizing.
    Sizing dies do that upon the Shell-holder making firm contact with the die mouth -- i.e., Full-Length Resizing
    Having the shell-holder in "firmer" contact with the die mouth does nothing other than "cam-over" the Press. It does not size further.

    The OP is shooting a Gas Gun (AR)
    Cases for Gas Guns should be Full-Length Resized every time unless the operator is well & truly into the details/measurements/has pulled the bolt apart/established case dimension minimums/and using a real comparator to set the press every time
    Even then -- case condition/lube can cause slight variations.

    BOTTOM LINE:
    - OP should Full Length Resize (Shell-holder in firm Contact/slight Cam-Over)
    - And think about throwing them away after 6-8 reloads
     
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