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Thread: Should I avoid 'Lee' Loading Dies?

  1. #81
    Boolit Master Oyeboten's Avatar
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    I heard back from 'Lee' and they say their .455 Webley Dies are made for .455 or .456 Bullets.

    So, cthis is good news then...I will get a set and try them.

  2. #82
    Boolit Master
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    YES LEE RULES!! if not they would have went belly up by now?.

  3. #83
    Boolit Bub
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    Out of curiosity I miked the expander on a set of 455 Lee dies I bought late last year. .450 ! I was expecting something around. 452-3. Maybe I need to give them a call.
    Bill

  4. #84
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    Straight wall cases are no problem with lee dies, get the carbide dies. I’ve never liked the rubber ‘o’ ring aluminum die nuts so mine have been replaced with lockable steel nuts. Never liked the collet nut on the necked case rifle expander rods, prefer the threaded screw style like rcbs uses. Good luck. I reload a bunch of .455/.450 webley as you can see. To the OP, What Mark do you have?
    Last edited by Baltimoreed; 03-29-2020 at 08:17 PM.

  5. #85
    Boolit Master
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    Yeah ,the collet nut is a pain,and the only reason its like that is to protect the "unbreakable decapper" claim....But if the mating parts are perfectly oil free ,it holds OK .....the design of the system means they need to guard against the expander plug getting stuck in case neck and die,so the reduced section is used......Its not difficult to make your own expander as you like it ,but be careful it doesnt get stuck as detailed above.

  6. #86
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    Hm...
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    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  7. #87
    Boolit Master
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    I have switched to Lee dies for almost all of my straight wall hand gun reloading for several reasons .
    I like the press mounted Lee powder measures , I like the simple bullet seating depth and crimp adjustments.
    I like the de-capping pin collet as pointed out the collet needs to be adjusted tight enough to prevent the de-capping pin from moving but once set they will only let the pin slide if you would have bent or broken the pin. I like the 4 die sets that cost Less than most 3 die sets . If I have a particular need for a different die in one of the stations I get one , not a big deal , no die "sets " will be perfect for every application .
    1 more thing I am really liking the new Lee lock rings that are cut for the little plastic spanner wrench makes no difference on a single stage , but on a turret or progressive best solution I have used yet for tight spaces .
    Last edited by onelight; 03-30-2020 at 10:36 AM.

  8. #88
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I like the de-capping pin collet as pointed out the collet needs to be adjusted tight enough to prevent the de-capping pin from moving but once set they will only let the pin slide if you would have bent or broken the pin.
    Lee's collet locking nut virtually assures the locked decapper/expander is centered in the die. I like that, well centered is not common with other dies. I have threaded 1/8" of the top of those decap rods to put a nut on to prevent "pull-out" if I don't get the collet tight enough. (#8x32 if I remember correctly)

  9. #89
    Boolit Master
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    lee stuff works well for me ,i like the o ring lock nuts myself .

  10. #90
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    Should I avoid "Lee" loading dies? - like Covid-19
    " If you cant do it with a 308 , you dont need to do it!

  11. #91
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    On measuring your slug with 5 grooves I think most any gun smith or machine shop can do it.
    With your .457 chamber mouth I would try a .457 or slightly larger as a first try.
    NOE can make a mold to your specs. It just may take awhile. They keep busy just trying to keep up with standard production.
    Leo

  12. #92
    Boolit Buddy
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    .455 webley

    Quote Originally Posted by 44magLeo View Post
    On measuring your slug with 5 grooves I think most any gun smith or machine shop can do it.
    With your .457 chamber mouth I would try a .457 or slightly larger as a first try.
    NOE can make a mold to your specs. It just may take awhile. They keep busy just trying to keep up with standard production.
    Leo
    Old thread but since I reload .455 Webley mk2 cartridges for a Webley MKVI I want to share a few opinions that may be helpful. My gun is in unaltered original condition and the chamber throats are .450 and the barrel is .452 groove to groove. I have measured a number of unaltered MKVI revolvers and they are essentially identical. Many MKVIís have the chamber throats reamed larger than the original .450 , probably because it doesnít seem logical to launch a .455 diameter boolit into a .450 chamber throat (squishing it down to .450) then having the hollow base slug expand to fill the .452 barrel grooves. If the chamber throats are .457 I think that it has been reamed. A .455 boolit should drop right thru a .457 throat (too loose IMHO) and then expand to fill the bore?? A bore as large as .458 while possible seems unlikely, at least to me. Anyway, I load a hollow base 265 grain Mihec Webley boolit sized to .455 in Starline MKII cases using Lee .455 dies (The expander works fine for .454 or .455 boolits) and they shoot to the point of aim, no leading or fouling with good accuracy. Yes, a .455 boolit into a .450 throat then the hollow base boolit (now .450) expands to fill the .452 groove barrel. I would guess that Webley designed the gun this way to increase pressure and velocity since the tiny MKII case didnít hold much powder. Just my opinion.

  13. #93
    Boolit Master

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    I like fine things including the detailed machining on Redding and Dillon dies, but they don't load any more accurate ammo than the Lee dies. All my Dillon tool heads have at least one Lee die, some more. Lee factory crimp dies and collet neck sizing dies offer niche features not found elsewhere. My most accurate rifle ammo is produced with Redding body dies and Lee collet neck sizing dies. An extra step but produces very accurate ammo.

  14. #94
    Boolit Master
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    The only issue I have with Lee dies is their o-ring lock nuts. I swapped them out with nuts from other brands or just pulled the o-rings. I have Redding and RCBS and love them but as I type, I'm waiting on a new Lee universal expansion die for a special project.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  15. #95
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaysouth View Post
    I like fine things including the detailed machining on Redding and Dillon dies, but they don't load any more accurate ammo than the Lee dies. All my Dillon tool heads have at least one Lee die, some more. Lee factory crimp dies and collet neck sizing dies offer niche features not found elsewhere. My most accurate rifle ammo is produced with Redding body dies and Lee collet neck sizing dies. An extra step but produces very accurate ammo.
    In my opinion Lee has ruined their collet neck sizing die in the second half off 2019. They shortened the collet by about .050 leaving that amount unsized. If your a cast bullet shooter or casual shooter its no big deal. If your a long range shooter paying match entry fee its a huge issue. The original collet used with a Redding body die every time loaded the straigtest most consistant finished round I could produce. Much straighter than the S dies. One of the biggest features is with a couple of rotated squeezes on new premium brass you could eliminate neck thickness skim turning. Last winter I had a new Brux barrel instlled in 6 Creedmoor and ordered a collet neck sizer and Redding body die fully expecting to get the same thing as I have been using for years. Surprize surprize, .050 of unsized neck.

    Last week I sent an email into Lee asking how much to make me a original collet but no reply. Their website says they are busy again and not taking custom orders at this time. We'll see what they say. I wish they would have just told the people requesting the shorter collet to just go to a local machine shop and have whatever amount they wanted surface ground off rather than penalize the silent majority.
    Last edited by Iowa Fox; 05-23-2020 at 12:37 PM.

  16. #96
    Boolit Mold
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    I have dies from just about all the manufacturers, including Lee. Can't tell whether a shell loaded in a Lee die is any different than the rest.
    Have four 223 rifles we shoot with ammo made in Lee dies. They are all reliably sub MOA.

  17. #97
    Boolit Master
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    If you don't like lee dies in this caliber . Call CH4D They make them
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  18. #98
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by salpal48 View Post
    If you don't like lee dies in this caliber . Call CH4D They make them
    Collet neck sizing dies? I only see Lee on their website.

  19. #99
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa Fox View Post
    In my opinion Lee has ruined their collet neck sizing die in the second half off 2019. They shortened the collet by about .050 leaving that amount unsized. If your a cast bullet shooter or casual shooter its no big deal.
    I used a lot of other die brands long before I got my first set of Lee's, now Lee is usually my first choice for common loading of common cartridges. Lee's dies aren't as "purty" (nor as costly!) as other dies but ammo is made inside the dies and Lee's insides are fully equal to anyone else's. And I've come to absolutely love Lee's collet neck sizers (and collet crimpers).

    Didn't know Lee had changed the collet's neck to leave a bit of the neck unsized and flared but I've long been modifying mine to accomplish exactly that for three important reasons.

    First, factory chambers AND our seater dies tend to be a bit over sized/sloppy. A tad of case mouth flaring helps align and starts bullets into both our seaters and chamber throats. Lee's short unsized portion of the case mouth accomplishes better case centering and that helps accuracy.

    Second, consistent bullet grip aids accuracy. That requires a consistent case length but consistent trimming quickly becomes a PITA. Lee's neck sizing collet leaves a consistent bit of unsized neck that doesn't contact the bullet so it also leaves the actual gripping portion of the necks quite consistent. That helps accuracy too.

    Third, "everyone knows" case mouths should be flared a bit when seating cast bullets. But, not everyone knows that the same flare also makes for better seating/starting of jacketed bullets as well! So, Lee's new sizing collet's slightly shortened necks can produce a perfectly flared mouth for better seating and with no attention from the user. Straighter seating really helps accuracy!

    Thus, I rejoice that the new Lee collet sizers don't squeeze the entire necks! Get one and enjoy the actual benefits the remaining neck flare leaves on finished reloads.

  20. #100
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    ... I can afford to buy any brand and any tools I want. My room is full of every conceivable brand. At last count I was loading for twenty-three different cartridges. I should have found a need to buy a brand other than Lee at this point. But the fact of the matter is that Lee dies produce ammo w/ little measurable run out.

    People like to bash for many reasons. When it comes to Lee dies I think a lot of it is because they're mad they spent more than they had to. Lee dies aren't the prettiest ones available. But it's not a beauty contest and the only thing that matters is results on target

    Buy whatever brand you want. But disparaging others because they choose a brand other than your preference is quite foolish.
    I think it's either because the bashers want to be seen as one of the "smart reloaders" OR they've used Lee tools and screwed up but choose to blame the tools instead of the operator.

    Choose and buy the right tool for the job and use it correctly, all problems will go away.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check