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LEE seating dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by moooose102, Dec 17, 2009.

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  1. moooose102

    moooose102 Member

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    i have several sets of lee dies, and have on and off has oal variations. yesterday, i was loading 380acp's and having a heck of a time trying to keep the oal even close to the same. after tearing apart the seater, and finding lots of play everywhere, i decided to something horribly "cobbled". i stuck a square nut into the die, tightened down the adjuster completely. and it turned out it took all of the slop out of it, and i could get exact oals. it works, but it is a terrible cobble. has anyone come up with a better fix for these?
     
  2. mongoose33

    mongoose33 Member

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    I think pictures would help. :)

    I can't envision what you've done here. I only have one Lee set, for 9mm, and I was frustrated with the seater die, same reasons you gave--very inconsistent OAL.

    I ended up buying a set of Hornady dies for the progressive, and an additional Hornady seater die for my single-stage.

    I'd sure love to know what I could have done to cobble something together to get the 9mm Lee die to work well.
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have done the same thing with a machined insert. Takes the spring of the O-Ring out of the equation. I realy like the Hornady seaters for pistol. The Redding Competition dies are best, but expensive. I use one for .45 and it is very convenient to dial back to the many bullets I use in it. I also have one for .38 Spl and .357. With the flat seater stem I made it will do anything from 38 SPl WC's to the longest bullet I use in .357. Just barely, but it does, so one die is used for both calibers. My .357 die box has the sizer I use for both, a .357 expander, a roll crimp die and a taper crimp die. The .38 Spl box has the Redding seater I use for both, a .38 expander, a roll crimp die, and a taper crimp die.
     
  4. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    If you look at all the post about problems with dies, about 95% of them deal with LEE dies, that in its self should tell you something! Fix the problem with a better set of dies. If you don't believe me go back and read all the post yourself.

    Jimmy K
     
  5. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    If you are measuring the cartridge from base to tip you never will get two cartridges to match. The die seats off the ogive and you need to measure from that point to the base. The OAL to tip isn`t important anyway with the exception of insuring the cartridge fits in your magazine. the length to the ogive is what insures the bullet doesn`t "jam" in the lands or is seated X amount off the rifleing. As long as this measurement is consistent you are good to go.
     
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Are these cast bullets? What kind of lube are you using? Back in the days that I used LLA tumble lube I'd get build up of lube on the part of the die that pushes the bullet into the case.

    Its possible there is a lot of questions about Lee dies because they are the major supplier to reloaders, except to those who only buy quality based on cost.
     
  7. Mags

    Mags Member

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    Knock LEE all you want I don't get more than an .001-.003 variation in COAL whith my cheap LEE seaters. I don't shoot competively and I find the variance acceptable. I just don't get why people knock LEE so much they are the most affordable dies,presses,and trimmers on th market. With LEE you don't get what you pay for you get more all of their products have a great warranty and when I broke my decapping pin on a 223 die they just sent me two for free. I think it's just snobbish to knock a brand because it is the most affordable. I would love to have the more expensive reloading tools but I can't afford them right now. I am quite certain if you contact LEE about any problem they will remedy it.
     
  8. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Sheesh.

    All of our makers provide excellant dies. People having problems are almost always using them incorrectly, perhaps most often Lee's due to a failure to read or follow the instructions; hard to fault the dies for that!

    Even if bullet ojives and meplats were precisely identical (which they are not) simple differences in press operation and linkage compression can make OAL vary a few thou. Combined, it can seem like a lot of variation. Agonize over it if you wish but it's rarely enough to matter on targets at all. Best OAL is a range, it's not a specific point, plus or minus zero!

    Lee's non-crimping "dead lenght" seaters compensate for spring better than any other but only IF they are used correctly. Just screw the die body down very hard on the shell holder and snug the lock ring, then all press/linkage spring will be taken up by the die contact. Control seating depth with the seater plug, not the die body AND the seater plug as is common with other brands of seaters.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  9. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    I used to have some problems with their .45GAP seating die in my Hornady press. I would get small variations in COAL. I stuck a light weight spring in the seating cap. So far I've done 800 rounds and they all read 1.0610. I think it was because I use the locking ring for Hornady and Lee dies that caused the adjusting cap to loosen up just enough to cause the COAL to change.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Agreed.

    Reloaders these days are lucky to have both the great selection and the competition between die makers that we do. Everybodies dies work.
     
  11. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I measured the OAL of a box of Fed GMM, with 168gr Sierra Match bullets, and they varried .005 between the 20 cartridges. Not enough to sweat it;)

    If some of the most accurate rifle ammo is .005" off on OAL, them pistol rounds will never know the difference.
     
  12. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    Sorry if I upset you Lee lovers! I have reloaded for over forty years now and use some of Lee products, started with a set of the whack and stack dies for 30/30, those are the only Lee dies I still own. Yes I've owned multiple sets of Lee dies, I've either given those away or sold them. There are much better dies made, so far I've been able to purchase those, when the day comes that I can't afford the better dies, I'll look at Lee again.
    Again sorry for peeing in the grits.

    Jimmy K
     
  13. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Glad I don't like grits.:D

    I have only used Lee and Dillon dies. I couldn't tell any difference in to quality of the ammo. I did find the Lee dies to be a lot easier to use.
     
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "Sorry if I upset you Lee lovers! I have reloaded for over forty years now and use some of Lee products, "

    Sorrry, but you misunderstand. We love them all, you don't. The message is I and others can use them all with near perfect results. No big deal. We all like what we can use well. And I love grits too! :D
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yea, well this Southern boy likes em. :D
     
  16. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    I try them once in a while. Maybe one day I will aquire a taste for them.
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Bland by them selves. Butter is a must, and many use salt, but I salt only two things, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

    Good "stick to your ribs" food, like my mamma used to say. :)
     
  18. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I try not to eat anything I don't understand(and I don't want to either). But I love my Lee equipment. It works so long as the operator does his part, and even when I don't. :)
     
  19. madd0c

    madd0c Member

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    Walkalong,
    And you call yourself a southerner? What about watermelon and cantelopes? they of course need a little salt also. Jees, next thing I know you'll say you don't like sweet tea :p
    madd0c
     
  20. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Grits, 3 fried eggs, 2 thick slices of ham, a ladle of red-eye gravy and 3 biscuits is the definition of a fine breakfast.
     
  21. madd0c

    madd0c Member

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    I'll take mine with sausage, sausage gravy and a heart bypass please :)

    Also I think we have severely gotten this post off topic lol
    madd0c
     
  22. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

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    Grits must be good for something, has anyone tried them in a tumbler?
     
  23. MarkDozier

    MarkDozier Member.

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    Love real grits, had instant. Love my Lee dies. Boought whe I first begin reloading. Adjusted once to get tighter fit in my 40. I also make a dummy round everytime i make arun a my last calivration check i within .001 inches of each other.
    So far all my reloading is done with onve firred brass with Montana Golf bullets.
     
  24. StretchNM

    StretchNM Member

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    That's because about 95% of dies sold are LEE!

    There's nothing wrong with the seater die. It isn't sloppy - the seater plug is designed to float inside the die. My guess as the reason for this is if you ever have a cartridge (or rather the bullet as it sits lightly in the case mouth) go into the die at an angle just off center, the bullet contacts the concavity of the plug and centers itself before the plug hits its stop and begins seating.

    Aside maybe of Redding's Competition Seater, there is no better than Lee dies I don;t think. You can pay more for equality, if it gives peace of mind, but that's all it'll give....
     
  25. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I'll say it one more time. Lee's overall bigest problem is they have no bragging rights as to, Look how much I spent on my dies. Notice I was able to refer to myself twice in one sentence. We used to live in a socity where being thrifty & frugal wasa virtue, now it seems to be how much we can spend and brag to our buddies.

    Thank Goodness Lee took the road they did as it brought prices down with just about all mfg's. And in the process made reloading available to a much larger segment of the shooting populace.

    Wonder why the above logic doesn't apply to primers and powder, most spend gallons of gas trying to save the 1 or 2 dollars per thousand on primers.
     
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