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Thread: Lee sizing die bad?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    Lee sizing die bad?

    Bought a set of the Lee dies for .450 Bushmaster at an ACE hardware store/gun shop 50 miles away. Got home and was going to work up some loads for my new rifle when I realized I totally forgot to buy the proper primers (CCI 400 Small Rifle).

    So I was bummed but figured I might as well prep the cases and flare the mouths in anticipation of getting the proper primers.

    Went to size the first case and it stopped about 5/8"... Odd. Took it out and added some case lube and tried again. Same results. Made the mistake of trying to give it some more pressure and it moved about 1/8" inch and got stuck. Broke my press table trying to get it unstuck.

    These are unfired Starline cases. I tried the three fired sample cases that came with the upper and they, of course, were worse. Tried to insert a brand new Hornady Black unfired round and same results.

    Tried all other cases in the other dies and they fit perfectly.

    Got the calipers out and the cases are within spec but the die is simply undersized.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So it appears I got a bad die...

    Since driving back down to the store and returning the set will cost me $22 in gas, and the fact that it was the only set they had (it was a miracle they even had one), can I return the set directly to Lee? Or can I return just the one die? Or do I have to go through the retailer?
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
    RedlegEd's Avatar
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    Hi. I’d give Lee customer service a call and explain your situation. I’ll bet they’re more than willing to exchange the bad die for a good one. I’ve found they usually make things right. Ed
    ______________________________________________
    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is totally optional!

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    There is a very good chance Lee will just send a replacement die or die set after talking to you. What does the inside finish look like? It may have missed the finish reamer.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    first lee die set I bought for my 50beo was just like that. Returned them to lee and they sent me a good set. Found out a bad batch got through quality control (if lee even has it)
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I went round and round with one long time customer service guy at Lee, got a 308 die that had an unfinished neck section, sent it in with a piece of brass, and the dummy said there was nothing wrong with it, sized the brass I sent and buckled the shoulder, SENT IT BACK ANYWAY!

    I bought a new one off ebay, there is a full .001" difference in the two dies, the ebay die sizes cases as normal, the die that Lee said there was nothing wrong with? I can SIT on the press lever and it WILL NOT push the case into the die past the neck. I checked the dies with pin gages, and the tight one is rough and unpolished in the neck. You cannot fix these btw, unless you just want to commit half a day to banging ones head against a brick wall as they are case hardened after they are finish reamed. I MAY be able to "save" this one with my Sunnen hone, should I ever run into the situation that I need a die with the neck sized larger than the good die I got off ebay.

    I was VERY DISAPPOINTED in my experience with sending dies back to them, in the future they will go into either the trash to keep them from mixing in with good dies or I will saw them in half and send photos to Lee upper management.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    I have nothing but good to say about Lee products and the customer service, they have always been good should I have a problem. I had a six cavity mold that was bored off center and they had me take photos of the problem and sent me a new one without sending the old one back. The new mold was perfect.

    Ken

  7. #7
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    i have never used lee customer service but i really like there product's. i have a press that i have had since the 80s and know that it has reloaded into the hundreds of thousands of rounds. i did rebuild it last week but now is tighter and smoother than when it was new. i like the lee molds better than most others ( mp molds are the exception nothing better than them in my opinion). the light weight is easier on my arthritic hands.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
    I was VERY DISAPPOINTED in my experience with sending dies back to them, in the future they will go into either the trash to keep them from mixing in with good dies or I will saw them in half and send photos to Lee upper management.
    I was less than impressed with Lee customer service during my first experience with them. Brand new 6 cavity 9mm mold and the sprue cutter lever snapped off the first time I used it. After requiring the sales receipt they agreed to replace it under warranty "free" for only $7. I have not had another problem since replacing the part, which only confirms that it was a defective part from the start. I mention this because I also got a long explanation of what I did wrong and that I should read the instructions.

    By way of comparison I also contacted RCBS about the same time and told them that I had a 2 cavity mold that had been dropped with the sprue cutter plate in the open position and the plate was bent. I asked how much including shipping for a replacement. I got a reply saying that the part would be sent at no charge.

    I understand that there is a price difference between the two products but this reminds me of when I first started buying hand tools. Most of what I bought was Craftsman brand but I also bought a few tools from K Mart. After all, they were lifetime warranty. But after several trips back to K Mart to exchange the same tools over and over it became apparent that they were no bargain.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Last week I sent an email explaining the problem complete with pictures. I asked if I could just send back the single die or if they wanted the whole set, since the rest fit perfectly.

    Their response was to grill me on my experience, how long I've been reloading, what case lube I used, etc.

    Forget it. I didn't have time to argue with them. I was too busy getting ready for my trip to Japan to see my grandkids.

    Now, I can order another Lee set for $30, or start looking at RCBS for die sets.

    Lee really did a dumb thing in not just using critical thinking skills, looking at the pictures, and sending me a new one.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    Take some advice from an old man. If it is a tool that you are going to keep and use buy the best you can afford and you will never regret it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Lee used to take care of problems , I have a lot of Lee equipment that I usually buy from Midway.
    Midway had a policy of taking back whatever you had a problem with and exchanging it and paying the postage , therefore I never had to deal with Lee. Not sure if this is still Midway's policy on defective merchandise...probably not but Lee better wise up to the fact that an unsatisfied customer isn't going to get them any repeat business. That's just a fact of business....they need to relearn that old business adage....The Customer is always Right . Treat me poorly and I'll buy elsewhere.

    Need good dies and customer service....CH4D , Dave and wife Dawna Davison will treat you right.
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  12. #12
    I am a RCBS man from way back. I do have few Lee dies that are over 30 years old. They still work fine

    Sent from my SM-J320V using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy engineer401's Avatar
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    CH4D is great to deal with. I have not had problems with Dillon or RCBS. Lee customer service wasn’t great for me when I had questions. I don’t buy Lee dies anymore.
    Last edited by engineer401; 10-04-2018 at 09:48 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Take some advice from an old man. If it is a tool that you are going to keep and use buy the best you can afford and you will never regret it.
    Wise advice indeed!
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Is the decapping rod set too low, to the point that it is hitting the base of the case?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by higgins View Post
    Is the decapping rod set too low, to the point that it is hitting the base of the case?
    Nope. Rod completely removed.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    DougGuy I feel your pain.
    Too many stories of issues with lee 380 sizing dies and lack of help from lee.
    But I gave them a chance, sent my sizing die in with brass and factory plated bullets.
    Works fine they say.
    They sent it back with a few of the bullets seated in the cases.
    I could push them deeper with one finger.
    Correctly sized brass my butt.
    I still use some lee items, even bought their undersize 380 die which works the way the regular sizing die should, but I will never waste my time with their customer disservice.
    I just moved the box from lee with everything still in it today.
    Itís been years and I am still disgusted when I see it, I should just throw it away.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    I started reloading in earnest when I was 16, so that was now 54 years ago. In that length of timer I have owned or tried just about every die out there and I have narrowed my choices down to three manufactures. My first choice is Dillon. I found a long time before the "Bulge Buster"that the Dillon dies would size a little further down than my other dies, turning straight wall cases that were unusable back to usable. Also Dillon led the pack when it came to new ideas and customer service. Of course the Dillon die selection was limited. My next choice is Redding Dies because they are simply quality made dies. Next are RCBS, a good die, big selection and great customer service.

    Lee has some good products so you have to pick & choose because their quality control is a problem and from my personal experience customer service far from the best. Good advice from Ben Franklin; "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.“

    My advice is cut your losses, go online and simply order a set of dies from Dillon or other reloading components from Mid South and get them mailed to your door. The cost to drive 50 miles & back is more than the cost of the dies.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master



    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    I ended up buying a set of the Hornady dies. I figured since they developed the caliber, then they probably know how to make dies for it. $68 online and shipped to my door for $74 total.

    Way more than Lee, but my only option was to argue with them and send them back the bad die and hope they replaced it. Or, buy another Lee set online for $43 and hope that it was a good one.

    Decided to just go for a better die since I anticipate much reloading for this caliber; it is a blast at the range!
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  20. #20
    Boolit Master



    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    BTW, just used the Hornady die tonight and it is perfect. Thanks for nothing, Lee.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

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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