Trouble Resizing AK brass... Anyone know why this is happening?

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Mar 4, 2008
I just got all the hardware and supplies I need to start reloading for my AK... very excited. The first four cases I've tried to resize came out looking very sad. Here's what happend:

1. Using Lee full length dies. I set them up according to the instructions. Ram up, screw in until touching shellplate, lower rame, screw in another 1/4-1/3 of a turn.

2. Lubed on a lube pad. Made sure not to get lube on the neck or shoulder

3. Put a little lube in the inside of the case neck with a q-tip

4. Resized.

In the picture #1 was the first attempt. Crushed... So I backed it out progressively farther (no longer touching the shellplate). By the third one, it wasn't crushing the shoulder anymore. I backed it out again, same thing but smaller.

Why is this happening, and how important is it that I fix it? Can I save cases 3 & 4? Case 2? I also reload 30-06 (RCBS dies) and .223 (Lee) and don't get this. Anyone know?



  • 4 sad AK cases.jpg
    4 sad AK cases.jpg
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My first question is:

Are you using full length resizing dies or do you have a neck only resizing die?

I would back it out a quarter turn more, and hopefully it should be fine.
Are you sure you're using the 7.62x39 dies and not the 7.62x33 ones?
Personally I havent seen anything like this, but I am sure the people with the right knowledge will be on shortly.
Are those cases steel or brass plated steel? Magnet? Did you dismantle your Lee FL die and clean all the gunk and crap out of it? New Lee dies came come with a lot of excess baggage inside.
The shoulder is being compressed/collapsed for some reason. Maybe it's just 'cause of the excessive force needed to resize for those large chamber neck tolerances that sks's and ak's tend to have.
Other than an obstructed die in the necking area or the expander section being up the in there when resizing. This should not be occuring.

Made sure not to get lube on the neck or shoulder.

Maybe a thin firm of lube may help on the neck area, in this case. Carefull not to get too much on the shoulder area, though. Just a thought.
Per the Lee website:

Full Length die adjustment

When using our full length sizing dies for rifle cartridges, the die should be turned in to touch the shell holder and then enough more that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. This is the preferred method because the act of sizing sometimes results in flex that prevents the shell holder from touching the bottom of the die.

Lee dies are designed so that the shoulder of the case is not sized until the very top of the die has been reached. This is done for two reasons; first, we do not want the die to overwork your brass and second and more importantly, we do not want to invite headspace problems. Pushing the shoulder back too soon can create a situation that can eventually cause case separation and a dangerous situation.

If you notice that your Lee Die does not appear to push the shoulder of your case back, ensure that you are adjusting the die so that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. If you see daylight at the top of the stroke, readjust the die downward and repeat sizing until it disappears. If your case is still difficult to chamber, you can send the die back to us with a sized case and we can modify the die to minimum SAAMI specifications.

Lee Precision, Inc.
4275 Highway U
Hartford, WI 53027
Make sure the expander button is not moving up in the die when sizing.
Yep. Make sure the expander is not too high up in the die. The sized neck must be back down out of the upper (neck) portion before the expander tries to come back up through the neck.
Brass is not magnetic. First case was a remington (obviously brass). When I crushed it, I switched to the no-headstamp brass, but I did check with a magnet, and it didn't stick...
Try resizing with out the decaping pin/expander rod.
Somebody may have made a bad one or installed the wrong one.
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