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Thread: collet sizing LEE easy adjust dead set

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    collet sizing LEE easy adjust dead set

    I haven't used it, it looks "nice",,,

    THe lee pamphlet says that collet only sizing on the neck requires the user to seat the bullet so that it is "barely touching" the rifling so as to provide the same tension when chambered that would be provided by a traditional crimp.

    Is that an official rule to follow, or am I still allowed to merely neck size a .308 case and seat to the cannelure and skip the full length die?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I understand what Lee is saying but there is more than one way to skin a cat. The die does as stated above size the case neck. Several things can come into play though. Thin case necks like the 30-30 will not have the same amount of "holding power" as thicker case necks such as the 30-06. By crimping the neck, the movement of the bullet out of the case is retarded and brings the level of pressure up faster. This can be especially important with slower burning powders. Not using a crimp on a thicker case mouth will work in some cases and not in others. There is also the expander plug in the sizing die. Depending on the die maker, a 30 caliber resize die expander plug may run anywhere from .306 to .307 which will normally work quite well with most powders without crimping but still might need a little help on the slow burning powders. In my 30-06 bolt action rifles, I mostly use 4895 or 4064 powder and do not really need to crimp. Ammo for my Garand gets crimped because of the violence of a gas operated system. On my 30-30 Marlin I crimp everything because with the thin brass at the mouth, it does not have enough holding power not to crimp. There is also the tube magazine to consider as the bullets might be set back some into the case during recoil raising pressure considerably. I fire form cases (8x57 mauser) that I form from 30-06 by using a light charge of fast burning powder and seating the bullet to jam slightly into the rifling retarding the bullet movement forward and building pressure to stretch the case(fire form) to the chamber. There are other reason to crimp or not to crimp but this is just a short answer. my experience anyway, james

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    so basically,

    some powders need a crimp for proper burning, others not so much dependent.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    my question came to me when I was reading the online instructions for the lee collet die thing.

    It said neck sizing only works find and that by having the bullet touching the rifling when its chambered eliminates the need for crimping and makes ignition just as good as a full length sized case with same powder charge and a fully crimped bullet

  5. #5
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    My opinion is that a crimp isn't going to help much as far as better powder burn. Use the expander to adjust neck tension to the proper amount and you're good to go. I would use a crimp for any tube magazine, most autoloaders and heavy recoiling revolvers just to prevent the bullet from moving (in or out) before it goes bang. Gp

  6. #6
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Oh! One more thing, NEVER run the ram up onto a Lee collet neck die without a case inserted. You WILL damage the die. Gp

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpidaho View Post
    Oh! One more thing, NEVER run the ram up onto a Lee collet neck die without a case inserted. You WILL damage the die. Gp
    I thought you were supposed to adjust the die without a case in it at setup...

  8. #8
    Boolit Man Gillie Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minuteshaver View Post
    my question came to me when I was reading the online instructions for the lee collet die thing.

    It said neck sizing only works find and that by having the bullet touching the rifling when its chambered eliminates the need for crimping and makes ignition just as good as a full length sized case with same powder charge and a fully crimped bullet
    That is interesting. I checked all of my collet die instructions, single die and die sets, and none of them have any reference like this. But then again all of my collet dies are relatively old and yours might be new.

    I seat off the lands and do not crimp neck sized bottle neck rifle with no issues at all but they are all bolt guns, and accuracy is very good. Interesting theory of Lee's you found.

    GD

  9. #9
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Read the Lee collet die instructions very carefully. Bringing the ram up against the die without an empty case installed will lock the collet closed and your die will be damaged and function as a bushing die to what ever size you have collapsed the collet. Gp

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    This is how I adjust my collet dies and it works for me.

    Raise the ram and shellholder (no case) to the top of the stroke. Install the collet die and SLOWLY screw it down towards the shellholder. The crimp die has an external body and the internal collet that spins freely, independent of the body.

    As soon as the crimp die makes the slightest contact with the shellholder STOP! You will know when it makes contact because the internal section will drag on the shellholder and stop spinning with the body. This is the starting position. Use a marker to make an index mark for reference. Then lower the ram, screw the collet die in 1/2 turn and check for proper sizing of a case.

    You can go in and out from there.

    For me it works on 30-30, 7X57, 30-06, 308W and a few others that I can't remember right now.


    Steve in N CA

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Do you still NOT reload? You have 200 posts now. It is time to actually reload a few rounds,

    Quote Originally Posted by Minuteshaver View Post
    I thought you were supposed to adjust the die without a case in it at setup...
    EDG

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Follow John Valentine's instructions and you will be happy. I have several sets of the collet dies and before John shared his instructions I hated them, now I love them. Two things- a good press that cams over and not much pressure to size the neck. If you need more or less neck squeeze use a different mandrel. Lee really needs to sell a body die with the collet die in a kit, I use a Redding body die to bump the shoulder. If your a 1K shooter these dies really work.

    J. Valentine J. Valentine is offline
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    It does not size like that , it squeezes in on a central mandral. The only way you can reduce the length of neck area sized is by placing a machined washer over the case onto the shell holder. The thickness of the washer is the length of reduction.

    Using The Lee Collet Die.
    I started using Lee collet dies when they first came on the market and have found that they are very good for the purposes for which they were designed .
    I have found that there is a lack of understanding of how to use the die properly and as a result people fail to see the advantages that the die can deliver over standard neck sizing dies.
    This is not the fault of the product , it is just a lack of understanding of how the die works and what it will feel like when you operate the press correctly.
    Standard dies use a neck expanding ball on the decapping rod and size by extruding the neck through a hole and then drag the expander ball back through the inside neck.
    The collet die achieves neck sizing by using a split collet to squeeze the outside of the case neck onto a central mandrel which has the decapping pin in it’s base .
    One advantage is that there is no stretching or drawing action on the brass.
    The inside neck diameter is controlled by the diameter of the mandrel and to some extent by the amount of adjustment of the die and the pressure applied to the press .
    This results in less misalignment than can occur in standard dies because of any uneven neck wall thickness in the cases .
    Cases will last longer in the neck area and require less trimming. If cases have very uneven neck wall thickness then this can cause problems for the collet die they definitely work smoother and more accurately with neck turned cases but it is not essential.
    When you first receive the die unscrew the top cap and pull it apart check that everything is there also that the splits in the collet have nothing stuck in them then inspect the tapered surface on the top end of the collet and the internal taper of the insert to make sure there are no metal burs that might cause it to jamb.
    Next get some good quality high pressure grease and put a smear onto the tapered surface of the collet .
    Put it back together and screw it into the press just a few threads for now . The best type of press for this die is a press of moderate compound leverage that travels over centre .
    Over centre means that when the ram reaches its full travel up it will stop and come back down a tiny amount even though the movement on the handle is continued through to the stop .
    eg. is an RCBS Rockchucker.
    This arrangement gives the best feel for a collet die sizing operation.
    Place the shell holder in the ram and bring the ram up to full height then screw the die down until the collet skirt just touches on the shell holder , then lower the ram .
    Take a case to be sized that has a clean neck inside and out and the mouth chamfered and place it in the shell holder.
    Raise the ram gently feeling for resistance if none , lower the ram.
    Screw the die down a bit at a time .
    If you get lock up ( ram stops before going over centre) before the correct position is found then back it off and make sure the collet is loose and not jammed up in the die before continuing then raise the ram feeling for any resistance , keep repeating this until you feel the press handle resist against the case neck just at the top of the stroke as the press goes over centre and the handle kinder locks in place .
    This takes much less force than a standard die and most people don’t believe any sizing has taken place .
    Take the case out and try a projectile of the correct caliber to see how much sizing has taken place.
    If it’s still too loose adjust the die down one eighth of a turn lock it finger tight only and try again .
    Once the die is near the correct sizing position it takes very little movement of the die to achieve changes in neck seating tension .
    This is where most people come undone , they move the die up and down too much and it either locks up or doesn’t size at all .
    It will still size a case locking it up but you have no control over how much pressure is applied and some people lean on the press handle to the point of damaging the die. A press like the RCBS Rockchucker , that goes over centre each time gives you a definite stopping point for the ram and the pressure that you apply .
    There is a small sweet spot for correct collet die adjustment and you must find it , once found , how sweet it is ! Advantages : With a press that travels over centre it is possible to adjust the neck seating tension within a very limited zone. No lubricant is normally required on the case necks during sizing .

    If you still cant get enough neck tension to hold the bullet properly for a particular purpose then you will have to polish down the mandrel.
    Be careful poilishing the mandrel down and only do it a bit at a time as a few thou can be removed pretty quickly if you overdo it.
    You can't get extra neck tension by just applying more force. The amount of adjustment around the sweet spot is very limited and almost not noticable without carrying out tests.
    For example , to go from a .001 neck tension to a .002 or .003 neck tension you would be talking about polishing down the mandrel.

    There are some other advantages but I will leave you the pleasure of discovering them .
    One disadvantage that I have found with the collet die is that it needs good vertical alignment of the case as it enters the die or case damage may result so go slowly.
    Also some cases with a very thick internal base can cause problems with the mandrel coming in contact with the internal base before the sizing stroke is finished.
    If pressure is continued the mandrel can push up against the top cap and cause damage . If you are getting lock up and cant get the right sizing sweet spot, then check that the mandrel is not too long for the case you can place a washer over the case and onto the shell holder and size down on that.
    It will reduce the length of neck sized and give the mandrel more clearance. If it sizes Ok after adding the washer then the mandrel could be hitting the base.
    This is not a usually problem once you learn how to use them .
    The harder the brass is the more spring back it will have so very hard brass will exhibit less sizing than soft brass because it will spring away from the mandrel more. If this is happening to excess then use new cases or anneal the necks.
    Freshly annealed brass can drag on the mandrel a bit in certain cases because it will spring back less and result in a tighter size diameter.
    I have experienced it. I always use some dry lube on the inside and outside if I get any draging effect . Normally you dont need lube.
    I make up a special batch 1/3 Fine Moly powder. 1/3 Pure graphite. 1/3 Aluminiumised lock graphite. Rub your fingers around the neck and It sticks very well to the necks by just dipping it in and out and tapping it to clear the inside neck . After a few cases it coats up the mandrel .
    Other dry lubricants would work also.
    Use the same process for normal neck sizing also.

    I noticed a definite improvement in the accuracy of my 22-250Rem. as soon as I started using a Lee collet die instead of my original standard neck die.
    Readers are encouraged to utilise the benefits of responsible reloading at all times. Although the author has taken care in the writing of these articles no responsibility can be taken by the author or publisher as a result of the use of this information.
    John Valentine. 21/01/2002.
    *****

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    http://leeprecision.com/cgi-data/instruct/RM3512.pdf

    thjats the instructions for the lee collet die and bullet seater kit. They really screw things up by talking about other products at the same time. Tho strangely there is no mention of using a case inside the die for setup, just the standard LEE description.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Alright I found where my confusion came from from Lee website.

    http://leeprecision.com/reloading-di...e-collet-dies/

    " Maximum accuracy is usually achieved by seating the bullet out far enough to touch or almost touch the rifling. This provides the shot start pressure normally supplied by the crimp. "

    And the irony is that they say neck sizing is not for semi auom lever, or pump rifles. But every caliber they list for the die sets is semi auto, pump, or semi auto, as well as bolt action cartridge.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    You have to learn to take marketing propaganda with a large grain of salt- especially Lee's.
    Lee brags about its Factory Crimp Die (improves bullet pull or something else) as being a positive aid to accuracy even if you damage the bullets by crimping non-cannelured bullets.
    In fact Lee conducted a sort of crimped bullet vs non crimped bullet war with the Speer brand owner when the Lee Factory Crimp die was put on the market. Speer's brand owner at the time (also the owner of RCBS) recommended NOT crimping Speer bullets with the Lee Factory Crimp die. You would have to infer that the Lee FCD improves combustion of the powder or uniformity of the bullet pull or produces better alignment of the loaded round.
    Another view of this issue has to do with the best practices of the short range bench rest crowd. None of the short range guys crimp their loaded ammo with a Lee Factory Crimp die. Ok so now you have heard the Lee Factory Crimp die story. Lee says it improves accuracy. Lee says the Lee Collet neck die also improves accuracy but Lee does not sell the Lee FCD in the Neck Sizing Collet die set. I have never seen Lee advocate using both collet dies on the same ammo. Get it?

    Lee sells the Lee Neck Sizing Collet die and claims that its use results in better accuracy. However Lee does not sell the Lee Neck Sizing Collet die with a Lee Factory Crimp die except with the ultimate 4 die set. So why not? Would not both dies yield even better ammo?

    However Lee has to cover itself saying that you can seat the bullets to touch the rifling to provide a more uniform start force if you use only the Collet Neck Die. This is sort of consistent with the short range guys who may either jam or jump their bullets.

    At one time the dead length bullet seater was not the standard Lee seater because it did not provide the normal roll crimp or any other sort of crimp. The improved accuracy claims for the Lee Collet Neck die only applied when the bullets were seated with the Dead Length Bullet seater. You can draw your own conclusions or not.



    Quote Originally Posted by Minuteshaver View Post
    Alright I found where my confusion came from from Lee website.

    http://leeprecision.com/reloading-di...e-collet-dies/

    " Maximum accuracy is usually achieved by seating the bullet out far enough to touch or almost touch the rifling. This provides the shot start pressure normally supplied by the crimp. "

    And the irony is that they say neck sizing is not for semi auom lever, or pump rifles. But every caliber they list for the die sets is semi auto, pump, or semi auto, as well as bolt action cartridge.
    Last edited by EDG; 07-27-2017 at 09:59 PM.
    EDG

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    LEE seems to have its die set up on an inferred "luxury" level. Each set to a specific cost level.

    Kind of like how Gillette in the good days sold the same razor, with 5 different cases at 5 different price levels.

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