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Lee Collet Neck Die question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Naterater, Jan 4, 2012.

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  1. Naterater

    Naterater Member

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    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?
     
  2. 918v

    918v Member

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    You don't need much force. You misadjusted your die.
     
  3. noylj

    noylj Member

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    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.
     
  4. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Once you get passed the decapping of the primer you can actually feel the die sizing thee neck, at least I can.
     
  5. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Sounds like your case lube was not doing the job. Imperial Neck Sizing Lube will, it's a dry lube. FL is a Wax.
     
  6. Naterater

    Naterater Member

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    I didn't think I needed case lube at all. And thanks for the videos. I obviously am overworking myself!
     
  7. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    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.
     
  8. kenjs1

    kenjs1 Member

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    Too-shay Ranger- good post.
     
  9. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    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.
     
  10. popper

    popper Member

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    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.
     
  11. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    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.
     
  12. Chuck Perry

    Chuck Perry Member

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    What exactly is "can over"? At what point in the ram stroke do you reach it?
     
  13. Naterater

    Naterater Member

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    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.
     
  14. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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

     
  15. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    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.
     
  16. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    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.



    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
     
  17. popper

    popper Member

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    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.
     
  18. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    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.
     
  19. res7s

    res7s Member

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    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:
     
  20. k4swb

    k4swb Member

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    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".
     
  21. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    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.
     
  22. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  23. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    That may be because we set more people here useing them more then all others combined.
     
  24. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

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    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.
     
  25. 280shooter

    280shooter Member

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    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,,
     
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