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Poll: Dies, lock rings, and settings

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ATLDave, Jan 12, 2018.

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Do your die lock rings hold their settings when you remove them from the press?

  1. No; every time I re-install a die, I have to go through the whole process of setting them up

    7 vote(s)
    6.9%
  2. Yes; the lock rings I use hold their settings and I just screw the dies in until they are tight

    49 vote(s)
    48.5%
  3. Yes; I use a bushing system that holds its setting

    32 vote(s)
    31.7%
  4. Some yes, some no

    10 vote(s)
    9.9%
  5. They do, but I re-set the dies from scratch anyway; I have trust issues

    10 vote(s)
    9.9%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    For years, I loaded only on a LCT with Lee dies. When I removed dies from the press, the o-ring lock rings on the dies would stay in place on the die. When I re-installed the dies, I could simply tighten down the die until the lock ring hit the press, and then snug the whole thing up. I didn't have to go through the process of adjusting the die's depth unless I was fundamentally changing something.

    Recently, I moved my highest volume cartridge to a Dillon. Dillons have tall toolheads, and Lee dies are short compared to Dillon dies. The Lee o-ring lock rings are simply too tall to work; there's not enough spare thread after the dies are adjusted properly. So I had to use some Dillon lock rings. These lock rings don't have any locking mechanism (such as an o-ring or a collet set-screw) of their own. They only work by pressing against the toolhead and die; once you start to back out the die, the lock ring spins freely on the die's threads and will not hold a setting when the die is off the press.

    Suddenly, I wondered whether this explained some products and preferences among reloaders that I had never understood. For instance, the use of non-indexing turret presses always bafffled me... when batch processing brass, how hard is it to unscrew one die and replace it with another? The answer, I suppose, is that it's pretty hard if you're having to truly set up the die's installation depth every time you put it in.

    So here's my question: Do the lock rings on your dies hold their setting when you take them off the press?
     
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Just a note, I'm told you can use your Lee lock rings on the Lee dies if you secure them under the tool-head instead of on top. I don't load on a Dillon but I have read that many times.
     
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  3. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    I use Lee dies on a Lee SS press. The first few times, I worried about the dies moving, and reset them each time. After I got used to the press, I just put the dies in, and measured the first completed round. It was in spec, so dies were set. Now, I just screw the dies in, and check the completed rounds. So far, I have not had to reset my dies due to the rings moving.
     
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  4. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    "Just a note, I'm told you can use your Lee lock rings on the Lee dies if you secure them under the tool-head instead of on top."

    Yes, I did that for a while until I got the Dillon rings in.

    Problem is that, installed that way, there is no way to keep the setting if/when you remove the dies! So this gives away what I feel is the biggest advantage of the Lee rings.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Ahh, I see, I didn't think of that.
     
  6. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Neither did I, at first!
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    My dies hold their setting, whether they stay in a bushing or get screwed in and out of the bushing for the appropriate spacer.

    I prefer the Hornady lock ring for anything that gets screwed in and out, but any cross bolt ring (Bonanza) will work.

    For locking onto a bushing, turret etc, and leaving it alone, the Lee rings do fine. Not so much if they have to be screwed on and off. Still prefer Hornady though, if I do need to move them, I'm set.
     
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  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    My Lee rings hold their setting through countless on-and-offs. Yours don't? Mine have been so consistent about holding their settings I never even bothered with the whole spare turret thing for my LCT.
     
  9. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I load several handgun rounds and 223 on my LNL and the bushings work fine.
    Other rifle cartridges get loaded on a COAX with Hornady locking rings on the dies.
    I use a Lee turret for a few rounds. It doesn't auto index, missing a part.
    I just use it like a single stage for low volume reloading. It's convenient to have the dies all set in turrets.
    Loaded 10 45-70 rounds with it this morning to test. I size them all, hand prime and then charge and seat.
    If I wanted to load larger batches I'd get another set of dies and bushings for the LNL.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    You must be much more careful than I am with them. :)
     
  11. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Like a safecracker, I am.
     
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  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Too impatient. :)
     
  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The actual key is to use the lockring itself to do the final tightening/loosening.
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I know, I just like the ease of a ring that locks on the die and doesn't move.
     
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  15. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The Hornady rings are pretty great, no doubt.
     
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  16. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    On my Lee sets I am using Hornady lock rings on the sizing and seating dies, and Lee on the factory crimp die. I fiddle with the crimp die the most due to brass variances. Since I am using a single stage press for rifle cartridges I am screwing the dies in and out and like the security of the lock screw. I use the Dillon rings on my Dillon dies sets for pistol ammo, which I load on a 550b. I have a tool head for each cartridge I load on that press, so the lack of a lock screw is not that significant. I am still using the RCBS lock rings on the RCBS dies, but I am considering changing them to Hornady for consistency.
     
  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I inspect all my work after each step. I don't install a die and just crank out rounds "willy-nilly". I install a die, go through the process, inspect/measure, then if the round comes out as I want it to, I continue. Sizing/decapping is the only die I don't have to reset as a quick look see to determine if the die still kisses the shell holder is enough (except for my 308 dies). I reset my seating dies every time; I back out the seating stem, insert the die and re-adjust it. No big deal as it only takes a minute or so...
     
  18. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Do you check the torque on all the bolts of your car each morning, or just go out driving "willy-nily" in the absence of some reason to believe they've moved? :neener:
     
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  19. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    No, just at their 3,000 mile "C" Checks. When I was right out of college, I devised an automobile maintenance schedule based on the inspection and maintenance schedule McDonnel-Douglas supplied with the original DC-9 airframe.
     
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  20. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    The Lee lock rings and I never got along. Now, the first thing I do when I get a set of Lee dies is put a split lock ring on them and since RCBS stopped using split rings, I use the ones supplied by Hornady.

    By the way, the last time the lock rings on my set of RCBS 223 dies were adjusted was the day I bought them in 1979.
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Of course. I would hope we all did that.
     
  22. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    All my dies have the Hornady Split ring locking nut on them. The ones that I move between the LNL-AP and Redding SS press I use a spacer that was machined to compensate when the bushing is removed and different stack height.
     
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I prefer split lock rings that clamp securely to the die but will use the rings where the set screw screws into the thread. I've never had either style lock ring move for its setting.

    Works well for both threading the die into and out of the the press or installing the die in a bushing/tool head. Unless I want to change the die body setting, the dies' adjustment does not change.

    Lee o-ring lock rings are a different story. I could never get them to stay put when unscrewing the die from the press. Too much time wasted checking the die's setting every time I use it.

    But on the other hand, this is handy for my powder cop and powder measure dies where they get reset for every cartridge change. With the o-ring arrangement, I can hand tighten the lock ring and the die will stay in place for the duration of reloading run.

    These Lee lock rings work fine in a bushing or tool head where I would not remove the die. Just hog down on the lock ring with the appropriate wrench and its locked.
     
  24. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Turrets & Progressives - I run separate turret heads for each cartridge to make the change over faster.
    Forster Co-Ax - Forster and Hornady locking rings.

    Worst case scenario - I keep dummy rounds which let me reset my dies in a matter of seconds, just run the ram all the way up, screw the dies down to touch, tighten lock ring, done...

    I only ever set my dies from scratch once per rifle/barrel.
     
  25. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    Redding steel lock rings work great and lock down consistently on the T-7 press.

    I have separate heads for the T-7, but it's kind of a PITA to change the heads, so I just swap the dies back and forth.

    The lock rings are so consistent that I mark the crimp die with a scale and use the die ring lock screw as an indicator. That way I can record the crimp settings and dial in a heavy or light crimp without and fiddling back and forth.

    I hate fussing back and forth with dies. The rings, the micrometer seating dies and the crimp scale really cut my setup time when changing bullets.

    The only thing I need is a good wrench for round lock rings. My slip joint pliers have really chewed them up.
     
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