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Thread: Not paying $30 for a Lee crimp die

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    rtracy2001's Avatar
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    Not paying $30 for a Lee crimp die

    I have had good results with the lee rifle crimp dies. So much so that I want to try one on my 8mm-06. Popular wildcat though the 8mm-06 is, it is still a wildcat and as such requires a custom built crimp die. Lee offers this service for $25 +$5 shipping, and I have to send them a dummy round first. I get the die set when they feel like making it.

    I'm cheap and $30 for a $15 die just doesn't sit well with me.

    I got to thinking the other day, (first problem) and figure I should be able to modify a 30-06 crimp die to work for the 8mm-06. All that is really required is to drill/ream out the collet a little bit to accept the 8mm boolit.

    Am I dreaming, or is it that simple?

    how hard is it to drill out one of those collets? anyone ever done it?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I would get hold of an 8x57 Mauser Factory Crimp Die and machine up a 6mm thick washer to sit on top of the shellholder . The dies work by bottoming on the shellholder which pushes the collet up into the taper . All that needs to be done is to push the collet 6mm earlier , that being the difference between the 8x57 and the 8mm-06 .

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    It isn't $30 for a $15 die, it's pretty darn cheap custom work. The time table you have a right to be unhappy about, but not the price.

    I think to make your own from an aught six die, you'd have to have the collet fingers compressed when drilling. Not sure what that jig looks like.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Blackhawk Convertable's Avatar
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    Would it be possible to get both the 8mm and 30-06 crimp dies and switch the crimp inserts so the 8mm is in the 30-06?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk Convertable View Post
    Would it be possible to get both the 8mm and 30-06 crimp dies and switch the crimp inserts so the 8mm is in the 30-06?
    It works with mine.

    US Govt mantra. if it's moving tax it, if it's still moving regulate it, if it stops moving subsidize it

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimkim View Post
    It works with mine.
    The crimp inserts will exchange between die bodies which are visually identical . The difference in length between the 8x57 and the 30-06 crimp inserts is 6mm . An 8x57 crimp insert in a 30-06 die body will not crimp an 8mm-06 .

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I would think for them to be able to make a profit at that price they would have to be able to set up and run the die out in 15 minutes or less.

  8. #8
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    "It isn't $30 for a $15 die, it's pretty darn cheap custom work. The time table you have a right to be unhappy about, but not the price."


    +1

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    I ordered a custom 7.5 French factory crimp die from lee and I had the die in my hands 1 week to the day from putting the check in the mail box.

    I'm not sure if that is typical of the FCD custom services or if they just happen to keep over runs from non-stock calibers that they have made in the past.

    On another note: if you could actually Frankenstein one from the 2 calibers mentioned above, wouldn't you just be spending the $30 anyway for the 2 dies?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 30CAL-TEXAN View Post
    On another note: if you could actually Frankenstein one from the 2 calibers mentioned above, wouldn't you just be spending the $30 anyway for the 2 dies?
    I plan on buying a crimp die for the 30-06 anyway, so that price stays the same. I could order an extra crimp collet at a cost of $9, making the total about $30 for esentially two dies. Or I could just spend $35 and get two complete dies. (come to think of it, I need an 8x57 die anyway too.)

    If I let them do the custom work I spend $50, so no it isn't a huge difference.

    holding the collet closed while maching shouldn't be temendously difficult as Lee sends a holding jig with the collet (the die body). It would not be difficult to thread the die into a press and raise the ram to the top of the stroke while maching the collet.

    Maybe it is just the cumulative effect of an extra $15 here, an extra $30 there, a probable 5 year pay freeze (Thank you Washington) and not having the equipment to just make things myself, so I am at the complete mercy of others. That and lets face it, custom work or not, what is Lee going to do? They will take a 30-06 collet and ream it out to the 8mm spec, slap it in a standard die body and send it out the door. Odds are the collet will say "8mm XX -06" on it. :rantoff:

    Too bad the custom die work isn't like the custom mold work in that if you get enough orders they will waive the setup fee, and it ends up just about the same as a standard item

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    "Am I dreaming, or is it that simple?"

    It is that simple.


    "how hard is it to drill out one of those collets? anyone ever done it? "

    I have modified Lee collet crimpers but drilling isn't the way to go and finding a correct diameter bit may be impossible anyway (I ain't gonna do the research to see).

    You need to have the collet fingers firmly closed when you work so do it with the die in the press, lever down and collet pushed up moderately hard. Use a common taper reamer to enlarge the hole. Stop cutting when the hole is maybe 10-15 thou larger than the final diameter of your case neck. If that happens to not be quite large enough you can ream it out a tad more. Work careful, it's very hard to put metal back if you go too far at any stage and buying another crimp die to save half the cost sorta negates your efforts!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Custom die at off the shelf price? Obamanomics at work or how to go bankrupt one customer at a time. Better yet why don't they just PAY YOU to take the die!
    At $30 that die is a bargain at twice the price.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by heathydee View Post
    I would get hold of an 8x57 Mauser Factory Crimp Die and machine up a 6mm thick washer to sit on top of the shellholder . The dies work by bottoming on the shellholder which pushes the collet up into the taper . All that needs to be done is to push the collet 6mm earlier , that being the difference between the 8x57 and the 8mm-06 .

    I measured out the difference between .308 and .30-06 and made a spacer to use .308 FCD on .30-06 shells. You have the extra step of putting the spacer on and off of each round but it works great and saved me the cost of an extra die.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lead-1 View Post
    I measured out the difference between .308 and .30-06 and made a spacer to use .308 FCD on .30-06 shells. You have the extra step of putting the spacer on and off of each round but it works great and saved me the cost of an extra die.
    Glad I could help

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lead-1 View Post
    I measured out the difference between .308 and .30-06 and made a spacer to use .308 FCD on .30-06 shells. You have the extra step of putting the spacer on and off of each round but it works great and saved me the cost of an extra die.
    bingo! Seems like this is the easiest answer if you have a 8x57 FCD die already.
    I Cast my Boolits, Therefore I am Happy.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    My 30/30 fc die also works for my 32 Special (they must build them with considerable slop). Just possible the '06 fc die will crimp the 8mm/06 without further ado. You have any buddies with a '06 die you could try?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlmck View Post
    My 30/30 fc die also works for my 32 Special (they must build them with considerable slop). Just possible the '06 fc die will crimp the 8mm/06 without further ado. You have any buddies with a '06 die you could try?
    Wow, haven't thought about this thread in ages. I did pick up a 30-06 crimp die a while back, so I may just give that a shot.
    My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.- Rodney Dangerfield

  18. #18
    Boolit Man RED BEAR's Avatar
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    As a retired machinist I can tell you I wouldn't even turn on a machine for thirty dollars . thirty dollars is extremely cheap for this service. And that is coming from the cheapest person on earth. ( honary title given by wife)

  19. #19
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    So how do you get the insert out?
    Whatever!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Hey. It's only money. And last time I checked, coffins do not have side pockets!

    Buy what you need when you can.........while you can!

    I sure do.

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