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Old November 2, 2010, 11:02 AM   #1
VasiliyZaitsev
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Newbie reloading need help with Lee dies setup

Hi everyone, just starting reloading. I dont know if I should make multiple threads or just list my questions. I will list them with best info I know you can may be guide me a bit.

Shooting 308 pretty much exclusively.

I got Lee 50 anniversary press kit with 3 die deluxe set.

Using Factory once fired in my rfile brass (Winchester and Federal)

Bullets I am using are Hornady 165gr BTSP

1. All my cases since fireformed to my chamber are too loose for the bullet to seat. Neck collet sizing die does not do anything it seems. So my first question is can this die be used to narrow tighten the neck or just to widen it?

2. When I full lenght resize my cases, they come out right size I suppose but when I feed one in my action the bolt closes a little tight, not too bad but definitely tighter then factory rounds, is that adjustibe and how, or is it OK to use as is?

3. to the bullet seating now... I followed "ammosmith" advise to try a looser bullet in case to gauge AOL and back it off 0.10" for good AOL for my rifle, well I did that and I come up with AOL of 2.8 which is max for my load according to the book ( I use Varget with 165gr Hornady BTSP), I end up with two questions. first, this theoretical best AOL ends up being just under the ribbed ring (is it a cannelure?) on the bullet, so that the whole ring is visible above the edge of the neck. Is that OK? Does it not need crimping anymore?
the second dilemma is after collet sizing the cartridge the bullet seats with a bit of pressure and I wonder how tight does the neck has to be for best seating of the bullet. From my first look it seems very tight.

Any advice please is appreciated, like I said first time, kind of in the dark, I try to follow instructions but see all kinds of variables that I guess you guys know by experience and are almost assumed by instructions.
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Old November 2, 2010, 06:29 PM   #2
Scorch
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1- The Lee Collet die must be st up according to the directions provided in order to work properly. When set up properly, there is noticeable resistance at the end of the stroke.

2- Your cases are tighter in the chamber because you are not bumping the shoulder back. This can be good or bad, depending on whether or not you shoot an autoloader. For a bolt gun, bumping the shoulder back is not required.

3- Don't worry about crimping the bullets, that is not generally done for bolt action rifles. Make sure you seat yourbullets off the lands by at least .010" or work your load up carefully. Starting off with the bullet seated against the land is asking for trouble.
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Old November 2, 2010, 06:58 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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Scorch is definitely correct about the Collet die. It should be adjusted to touch the ram when the ram is at the top of the stroke, and then the ram should be lowered and the die should be adjusted DOWN (closer to the ram) by 1/2 turn, if I remember correctly.

The bottom of the collet die is the actual collet. This is the part that is forced up into the die by the ram and compresses the neck of the case against the decapping pin.


It doesn't matter where the cannelure lines up with the case mouth. It's only there (basically) to crimp into. You don't need to crimp for bolt action guns. You may find that you want to but you don't need to and even if you do crimp, it doesn't have to be into the cannelure.
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Old November 2, 2010, 09:46 PM   #4
VasiliyZaitsev
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thanks it is working now

I guess, I didn't push hard enough to ram it into the die....

It definitely resizes now.

And my bolt closes properly with a case that only been neck sized

How tight should the bullet be seated? It seems hard to tell.

I did not want to full length resize since I heared from many reloaders that if I shoot one rifle I can just resize neck and seat bullet without crimping for best consistency and accuracy, is that true? It certainly cuts down on steps and saves brass.
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Old November 2, 2010, 10:03 PM   #5
Edward Horton
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VasiliyZaitsev

The Lee Collet mandrel is .309 and the collet squeezes the case neck around the mandrel. You have a little "spring back" and normally the case neck does not "drag" along the mandrel on exit. Your bullets are .311 to 312 in diameter and will be locked in place after they are seated. If your bullets fit "loose" when seated or go in too eazy then your necks are not tight enough.

If you go to http://www.6mmbr.com/index.html a bench rest shooters website they speak very highly of the Lee Collet die and Bullet alignment (accuracy)

Don't worry you will find your reloading "sweet spot" with your dies and everything will be OK.
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Old November 3, 2010, 10:23 AM   #6
VasiliyZaitsev
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Thanks Edward,

Yes, I am getting a feel for it, I ran a bunch of cases trimmed them, seated a few bullets and so far it looks good, all my literature suggests AOL 2.75 for this bullet, my loose bullet test shows full contact with rifling at 2.85 I guess that is the right starting point.
I am starting with a first load of Varget 43gr for 165gr Hornady BTSP, and in my first case I can hear the powder loose in the case after the bullet is seated , I dont usually hear loose powder in factory ammo ( or at least never noticed) is that normal?
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Old November 3, 2010, 11:00 AM   #7
Scorch
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Quote:
The Lee Collet mandrel is .309 and the collet squeezes the case neck around the mandrel. You have a little "spring back" and normally the case neck does not "drag" along the mandrel on exit. Your bullets are .311 to 312 in diameter and will be locked in place after they are seated
Quote:
Shooting 308 pretty much exclusively.
Actually, since you are shooting 308, your mandrel in .305"-.306", and your bullet diameter is .308". Your bullets will be a press fit after sizing the case.
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Old November 3, 2010, 01:21 PM   #8
Edward Horton
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Scorch

Thank you, I just read this again and I don't know what I was thinking except possibly everyone should have at least one Enfield rifle to torture their brass.

.308 and "NOT" .303 sorry.........
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Old November 3, 2010, 01:28 PM   #9
VasiliyZaitsev
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In any case the standard mandrel dia should give me sufficient bullet seating tension without crimping. I guess. Thanks it is all becoming more clear now
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Old November 11, 2010, 03:16 PM   #10
VasiliyZaitsev
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done...

Loaded a dozen of 165rg SPBT with 43,2 gr Varget and great groopings at 100yards, very happy, thanks all.
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Old November 11, 2010, 10:31 PM   #11
jhansman
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Edward- thanks for lube tip! I just disassembled my collet die, cleaned and lubed it, and checked it's position in my breech lock press. This is why I check the reloading threads on TFL each night.
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