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Old July 28, 2011, 08:30 AM   #26
Unclenick
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That's right and normal, especially for a flat base bullet. The chamber starts the heel of the bullet in, but the bullet will tip over easily until it is constrained by the die. Using a VLD type chamfering tool can help because of its steeper angle, but I usually just keep the bullet and neck pinched between my thumb and index finger until the tip of the bullet is inside the mouth of the seater die so that keeps the tip from falling over further.

Jmorris posted a Lee expander from a larger caliber. Since the rods are all the same size at the top, the bigger calibers have more expansion. Below is a drawing of my Lee .223 expander so you can see what that particular one looks like compared to your own.

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Old July 28, 2011, 10:52 AM   #27
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I've disassembled the die and the decapping pin looks like the one on the right in your photo. I can't explain why this "pistol" like pin would have been sent with the .223 full length sizer die.
If it has a straight sided decapping pin, it might be a neck sizing die, not a full length sizing die.

My Lee FL sizing die has 223-DO stamped into the side of it. The neck sizer has nothing stamped on it that I could see. Here is a link to Lee's Deluxe Rifle Die Set. The FL sizing die is on the far left, the neck sizing die is on the far right.
http://leeprecision.com/xcart/Lee-De...fle-3-Die-Set/
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Old July 28, 2011, 11:24 AM   #28
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Good thought. If it's the collet die, that would explain some of the problems.

Both my Lee FL die and collet die are marked LEE-.223-L8. The FL die is stamped up above the body thread. The collet die is stamped at the tip of the moving collet, so you only see it when that is down.
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Old July 28, 2011, 11:45 AM   #29
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I went back and checked. My collet die is marked right where you said. Thanks.
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Old July 28, 2011, 12:57 PM   #30
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Regarding the bullet not sitting correctly on the seating die, yeah it can be a bit alarming at first. I started out loading revolver rounds where I had a definite flare on the case mouth and the bullets would sit there nice and straight as the case entered the seating die. When I started loading rifle rounds, my first experience was using some boattail bullets. They didn't sit on the mouth quite as steadily, but no big deal. When I finally tried some flat base bullets I was sure I was doing something wrong. The dang things would just fall right off the mouth and bounce around on the floor. I even thought about using my Universal Expander die to give them a slight flare, but didn't get that far.

It does kinda take a leap of faith to hold that bullet on top of the case mouth with your fingers as you guide it into the die, knowing that it will kind of tip over a bit before it makes contact with the seating stem. No worries though, they get aligned just fine.

It's important to note the distinctive "feel" that you get with each step in reloading. There is a way different feel when seating a boattail bullet into a case that has been chamfered and neck sized to where it is only 0.001" less than the bullet caliber as compared to seating a flat base bullet into a case that is sized 0.002" or 0.003" less than the bullet the way a few of my FL dies do it. Sometimes I do a double-take because the "feel" is so different from one combo to another. I have to double check everything to make sure that "feel" is not pointing to an error.
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Old July 28, 2011, 05:04 PM   #31
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I believe that Hog Buster has us on the right track

Hog Buster - I think that you have hit on the heart of problem.

Unclenick - My decapper/expander rod looks just like yours although the 0.222" measurement is 0.208". I'm looking into the VLD type chamfering tools.

higgite - My FL sizing die is stamped with Lee-223-KO (I suspect your "DO" is for deluxe???)

Doodlebugger45 - My concern regarding getting the feel for priming with the press led me to use a Lee Auto-Prime XR versus the press to prime at this point. All the practice running single cases through attempting to understand the "bullet won't fit in the mouth of the case" issue has sensitized me somewhat to what is going on with the press, but I know I still must learn and pay attention and not just pull and push the press handle.

Now that I know that the bullet won't fit in the case mouth, I will try the suggested pushing the bullet into the bullet seating die whilst I move the shell plate carrier up enough to keep the bullet from falling out or I'll try to master the thumb and forefinger hold method.
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Old July 28, 2011, 05:25 PM   #32
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There’s nothing to master. Just hold the bullet in place till it disappears into the seating die. Then continue to slowly press the case in behind it...... After moving your finger and thumb....... Bingo a seated bullet....... Of course you will have to set your seating die to get the correct cartridge length, and crimp, if you want one.
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Old July 28, 2011, 06:58 PM   #33
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LOL yeah don't forget to move the thumb and finger out of the way! Bet you'll only forget once though.
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Old July 28, 2011, 08:39 PM   #34
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LOL, Doodlebugger you beat me to that. That's why my left thumb is smaller that my right, it's been resized too many times.

LOLOLOL
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Old July 28, 2011, 09:17 PM   #35
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Laugh if you like, but that’s good advice. I’ve resized and de-primed my thumb and/or finger more than once.

I’ve got an old Lyman Spar-T press that anytime my fingers were between the ram and die the handle would fall and it would bite me. Usually when I had a sizing/de-priming die lined up. Words can’t adequately express how it feels to have a de-priming pin driven thru a finger or thumb. It happened so often that I used a brazing rod and chunk of lead to make a counter weight....... I haven’t used it in years, but it’s still there, just waiting....
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Old July 28, 2011, 11:35 PM   #36
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You can expect problems seating bullets if you do not chamfer the cases. It jumped out at me that you said you didn't do it. You only have to do it once.
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Old July 29, 2011, 12:13 AM   #37
higgite
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Quote:
Unclenick - My decapper/expander rod looks just like yours although the 0.222" measurement is 0.208"....
Dan, are you saying the thickest part of your expander rod is only 0.208" in diameter?
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Old July 29, 2011, 12:35 PM   #38
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That's what I was about to remark on. That's way, way too small. Something's wrong with the measurement or you got a bad part that needs to be replaced.

You do see the Lee .223 somewhere stamped just above the threads on the die body, do you not?

Here's another picture of mine. I got my good micrometer out and made more precise measurements. The fat spot should only be about one thousandth smaller than the bullets measure. If yours is actually .208" at the wide spot, that's your problem right there.

Attached Images
File Type: gif 223 Rem Lee Decapper Expander 2.gif (23.2 KB, 112 views)
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Old August 2, 2011, 09:57 PM   #39
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Depended upon where you measure

Just looking at the pin didn't inform me that it is tapered. The measurements are OK.
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File Type: jpg 223remleedecapperexpand_taper.jpg (30.5 KB, 18 views)
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Old August 3, 2011, 08:47 AM   #40
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That must be a design change. Mine may simply be older, but it has no taper. Where the taper is useful is when you have a slight dent in a case mouth that needs to be fed over it. The one you have, at .224" at the top actually seems like it should be leaving case mouths on the loose side, though if the measurement is by caliper rather than micrometer it isn't uncommon for them to be off a thousandth.
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Old August 3, 2011, 09:07 AM   #41
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Maybe the problem is that you are trying to load flat base bullets instead of boattails. Boattails should slip right into the case mouth and pressed WITH FORCE into place. Flat base bullets require that the case mouth be slightly expanded so that they can slip in and then you still need to use force from you press to seat them to the proper depth. Make sure you are following the instructions on your dies EXACTLY. IE. If it says screw in 3 turns then do that.
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Old August 3, 2011, 11:52 AM   #42
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Expansion is needed with cast bullets to stop the brass shaving them hard, but a chamfer is adequate with jacketed bullets, even with square bases. Note that manufacturers don't expand case mouths loading new cases, and sometimes have a little shaved copper at the mouth of the case to prove it.
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Old August 3, 2011, 03:22 PM   #43
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FWIW, the decapping pin in my Lee .223 FL sizing die (bought last year) is tapered, very similar to the one pictured on the left in post #16. It mics out at .223" at its thickest point. I haven't had any problem seating flat base bullets.
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Old August 4, 2011, 09:16 AM   #44
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That would seem to confirm the design change. Mine are probably at least a dozen years old. Do you recall when you got yours?
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Old August 4, 2011, 10:07 AM   #45
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The LEE Collet Neck Sizing Die may use the straight decapping pin while their FL Die uses the tapered one!
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Old August 4, 2011, 03:15 PM   #46
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If you look at the illustration you'll see it's not a Collet Die pin. Those are straight from the decapping pin end almost to the top end, but then have a slight head spread out out at the top so they don't fall through. The ones we are talking about are thinner for a length at the top so the FL die collets can all be made the same size, with only the last inch or so shaped to act as the expander. Mine has an expansion segment that is a uniform 0.2229" from one end to the other, while theirs are about that at the far end from the decapping pin and only 0.208" at the end near the decapping pin.
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Old August 4, 2011, 05:52 PM   #47
higgite
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That would seem to confirm the design change. Mine are probably at least a dozen years old. Do you recall when you got yours?
Unclenick, I bought mine last year.
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