More discussion as to the Lee Collet Die

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  • Last Post 10 July 2017
45ACPete posted this 29 April 2017

I've been using the LCD for all my reloading in a half dozen or so rifle calibers for several years with good results.  I set up the die so that the handle on my Rockchucker just "cams over" at the bottom of the stroke.  Recently, while sizing/decapping a batch of about 250 G.I. 30-06 cases (which had all been processed the same way and reloaded probably 8--10 times I experienced a collapsed shoulder on 5 or 6 cases.  The first failure was after about 200 cases had been processed without incident.  I thought maybe a bit of lubrication might be needed and so I tried wiping cases with my fingers and just the slightest bit of lanolin-based lube, but still had a couple more collapsed shoulders.  Then I figured the die must need a good cleaning--did that (although it seemed to be quite clean) and still had a couple more collapsed shoulders but finished the batch.  Any ideas?

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onondaga posted this 29 April 2017

45ACPete

Some comments removed by moderator due to being inappropriate. 

I use the Lee Collet Neck Sizing Die on 30-06 also and have never encountered any problem like you mention. You specifically mention not following Lee directions for setting this die up on cam over presses and you mention case shoulder damage. The die is designed so it cannot touch the shoulder of cases yet you are collapsing shoulders.

The first reason that comes to mind is:

You are using one but it is the wrong caliber and for a shorter case than a 30-063) The shell holder you are using is incorrect and allows brass to enter the die farther than the die is designed to be used.

 

I suggest you determine what part of the die you are using touches the shoulder of your brass and determine why.  Someone may have modified the die by shortening the die's collet, that will allow brass to enter the die farther than die design and shoulders will be damaged..

 

Gary

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 29 April 2017

,,, might mention that it is just fine to adjust the collet sizer so that you only neck size 1/2 or so of the neck  .... just as with old classic squeeze-expand dies .  >> especially if the cases were previously fired in the same rifle .

ken

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mrbill2 posted this 29 April 2017

I have had this happen. The bottom part of the die (the part that touches the shell holder)  is not releasing from the collet . This means the collet never opens up to allow the neck to enter and there for crusher the neck. Try cleaning it again and take a close look for burrs  that may need filing. Hope this helps.

mrbill2

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 29 April 2017

I think MrBill2 is correct. I have read about this before in an article, and now that he mentioned it, that jogged my memory. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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onondaga posted this 30 April 2017

mrbill2, you said:

I have had this happen. The bottom part of the die (the part that touches the shell holder)  is not releasing from the collet . This means the collet never opens up to allow the neck to enter and there for crusher the neck. Try cleaning it again and take a close look for burrs  that may need filing. Hope this helps.

 

mrbill2, That is indirectly brought up in the Lee instructions. You can make the die stick like that by not following directions and closing the press / die with no shell in the holder. Then, there is nothing to stop the collet from closing beyond design.  That usually distorts the collet fingers and causes the binding and stuck collet in the closed position. In that situation a case mouth can catch and crumple.A case CAN be forced into a stuck die like that but some of them will catch and crumple.I've never done that as I heed Lee instruction that closing the die with no shell can permanently damage the die with the full force of the press. A die damaged like that acts like a fixed bushing die instead of a static working collet die.

Another way to check the die is to remove it from the press and verify that pushing the die bottom down on a hard surface causes the collet to push in  and releasing returns the collet fully down. It goes up and down in use that way and if yours doesn't do this by hand and not in the press, the die is trashed from misuse and needs repair/replacement best done by Lee under warranty.

If that is the situation, the die may be destroyed beyond repair by ruining the fit of the collet end to the taper in the die body. That particular fit is responsible for the die setup instructions to work as designed. The collet may be fixable by bending and reliving burrs but the fix attempt might just as well make the die worse so it cannot be adjusted to function correctly. You only have to close the press once with the die and no shell in there to ruin the die. That is clearly stated in the directions..

 

I hope some that hate Lee and this die have a better understanding why people say this stuff and get so infuriated and trash Lee after ignoring instructions and trashing their die. It seems like an innocent enough thing to do if you haven't read and understood Lees clear warning about it only taking one misuse to permanently damage the die.

I believe this is what the OP has done that makes his die occasionally crumple a case. the collet sticks  because it was damaged by the operator and the collet is not functioning as a static collet neck sizing die.

Add into the mix that there really are reloaders that don't understand the difference between bushing neck sizing dies and collet neck sizing dies and how they each function. Those are the loudest ones too.

Gary

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onondaga posted this 30 April 2017

mrbill2,

My comments aren't meant to slap anybody. They are directed not only to the question of the OP but to other beginners here to learn. If you wish to rebut, feel free here, by PM or phone if you wish my number by PM.

Gary

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onondaga posted this 30 April 2017

,,, might mention that it is just fine to adjust the collet sizer so that you only neck size 1/2 or so of the neck  .... just as with old classic squeeze-expand dies .  >> especially if the cases were previously fired in the same rifle .

ken

Ken, the exposed collet end at the bottom of the Lee Collet Neck sizing Die is moved up to engage the collet in the die and close the collet fingers to squeeze a case neck against a mandrel.. The shell holder pushes the collet up to activate it's function. The Collet cannot be mechanically closed without the shell holder pushing it up. "Half sizing" a neck as you mention can be achieved with a stuck damaged collet die acting like a bushing neck sizing die. I believe you misunderstand the function of the parts in the Lee Collet Neck sizing die. If you have one that functions as a half neck sizing die, it is broken and the collet is not functioning as it is designed. The shell holder activates the die and backing the die off to half size a neck will only work with a stuck collet in the closed position and cause the problem the OP, 45ACPete, started the post about.

Don't believe me or don't understand me? Ask Lee Technical,

 They may explain this better, but I am disappointed with their lack of dummy proofing the die instructions as I have offered my technical writing skill to do. The instructions include no explanation of how the die works and no instructions to check the static function of the collet as I have posted.

Gary

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Brodie posted this 01 May 2017

Gary,

As I am sure you are aware most so  called instructions are written by the engineers who developed the product.  The job going to the low man on the totem pole.  Hence they tend to be all but indecipherable to most of the public.  Your instructions have always been clear and concise as I have read them.  Too bad Lee did not take you up on it.  Brodie

 

B.E.Brickey

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onondaga posted this 01 May 2017

Brody, they offered me the job, the pay was unattractive, a one time unlimited 50% off order. I didn't need that.

Gary

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 01 May 2017

... something else that may come up with the lee collet dies :: the sliding collet may seem very tight in the die body at first .,  last week i opened three new units and one slid very nicely with finger pressure.  one was barely moveable, and one needed a hammer to move it all ....... don't let this bother you unless after sizing a few cases the slider still sticks shut ... then you might have to de-burr or even polish the bottom part taper a half-thousandth . ( not the top taper ) .

i was careful to not close the collet without a case in the die ... i have fixed several that loaders have done exactly that ... it is too easy to do that by dropping the handle on your press and jamming the slider up into the cone closer .... apparently the heat treat on the springy collet varies a bit in the production process , and some don't bounce back enough .  my fix on some that stuck too tight was pushing a tapered rod into the springy fingers . they worked fine after that .

you can limit the length of neck sizing by putting washers around the base of your brass over the shellholder .

ken

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papertrl posted this 01 May 2017

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 12 hours ago
you can limit the length of neck sizing by putting washers around the base of your brass over the shellholder .

ken

Thank you, Ken! I've been pondering this for awhile, coming up with all sorts of unworkable ideas. Such a simple solution.

Reed

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Sawfish posted this 10 July 2017

You could try a small bit of lube on the outside of the collet to prevent it from sticking inside the die.  This same method is used by many to prevent sticking with collet type bullet pullers. 

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." Rudyard Kipling

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