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Old May 15, 2011, 09:39 PM   #1
Marco Califo
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Lee Neck Sizing Collet Die 308

Only one problem: it doesn't.

I went to load some fire formed 308 cases for my Savage rifle and: Primer comes out, but, Uh-Oh, bullet falls in - all the way!

So, I found the instructions. Yes, I was doing it right. Die touches shell-holder. Proper pressure was applied. Took it apart. Put it together. Tried again. Not even close to any neck tension.

Fortunately, I also have RCBS 308 dies - full length sizing. But at least they created the desired neck tension.

So, I checked the user reviews at Midway, and, at least one other customer had the exact same problem. I was liking my Lee dies, in general, in several calibers, until now. But this is a "show-stopper".
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Old May 15, 2011, 10:19 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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The die has to more than "touch the shellholder". The shellholder pushes the collets up into the die to compress the neck against the rod. You can put all the pressure in the world on it if your press is bottoming out when it touches the collets.

The instructions indicate one full turn PAST TOUCHING.

If that's how you have it adjusted, remove the rod and measure it. I'm not sure the exact measurement for .308 but my 7mm-08 measures .280, so probably around .304. If the rod measured correct, you're not setting the die correctly.

Also, if your press "cams over" you should set the die lower than full stroke so the press does NOT cam over.
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Old May 15, 2011, 11:01 PM   #3
Marco Califo
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Quote:
The instructions indicate one full turn PAST TOUCHING.

If that's how you have it adjusted, remove the rod and measure it. I'm not sure the exact measurement for .308 but my 7mm-08 measures .280, so probably around .304. If the rod measured correct, you're not setting the die correctly.

Also, if your press "cams over" you should set the die lower than full stroke so the press does NOT cam over.
Thank you for your reply.

Yes, it was one and half full turn past touching. It does not cam over, not even close.

With no case in it, the bottom sleeve of the die goes up around 0.2" into the die when pushed up by the shellhoder. With a case in it, it DOES NOT. Hard stop.

The rod measure 0.3065. It pass into the case easily and wobbles.
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Old May 16, 2011, 07:43 AM   #4
wingman
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Call Lee tell them your problem, I have two of the collet dies both work beautiful, I do take apart and clean on occasion and add heavy grease(small amount) along shoulders of "clamp", seems to smooth the process.
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Old May 16, 2011, 07:50 AM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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It sounds like the rod might be a bit too large but your description of the die operation doesn't sound right either. There shouldn't be any "hard stop".

Try running a case that you've resized in the RCBS die. Does it act differently?
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Old May 16, 2011, 09:21 AM   #6
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"I checked the user reviews at Midway, and, at least one other customer had the exact same problem."

Proving only that people who make the same mistake using the tool obtain the same result. ??
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Old May 16, 2011, 09:40 AM   #7
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We've had this in a thread before. It turned out the decapping end of the mandrel was bottoming out on the head of the particular brand of brass used. Loosen the cap on top a couple of turns and see if that puts an end to the hard stop? If so, find where you need to adjust it prevent bottoming out, plus half a turn for some margin. Then call Lee and tell them and they may send you a shortened mandrel. That aluminum cap is designed to strip out if you push up on the mandrel too hard, and is replaceable. It can also be counterbored on a drill press as an alternative to getting a shorter rod.

Expect to see more of this kind of problem as overseas outsourcing of brass manufacturing increases. SAAMI specifies only the exterior dimensions of cases. The internals are up to the manufacturer to determine for function.

Note, too, that the collet dies, unlike most others, have a learning curve. In particular, the general instruction to apply 25 lbs force to the press handle obviously will vary with the length of the handle and the mechanical advantage of the particular compound mechanism. You'll have to find what works on your press by experimentation.

Loose primers sounds like your using Federal brass. They can be soft and suitable only for moderate load levels. In some instances, the original factory loads can loosen the primer pockets. They need to strike their headstamps a little deeper to harden the brass.
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Last edited by Unclenick; May 16, 2011 at 11:55 AM.
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Old May 16, 2011, 10:27 AM   #8
Marco Califo
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NATO Brass

It is NATO 308 brass. This lot is mostly LC 74-75.
I will try your suggestions. Thank you very much.
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:00 PM   #9
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LC Brass? That's a surprise. Loose primer pockets in under about 5 loadings is a definite high pressure sign for the brass. LC isn't soft, so a high pressure sign with it is worth concern. I'd knock the load down 5%. If the load is the original, there are some unusual conditions under which powder deterioration can cause high pressures (more commonly it's the opposite) and I would pull any remaining example sof those loads and replace the powder.
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:23 PM   #10
Marco Califo
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Not loose primers

Actually, the primer pockets are not loose. I only said the primer popped out (like normal). I swagged the primer pockets and deburred, but they are not loose. Those loads were well below max and there were no signs of excess pressure.

I did try backing the plug out. I also tried a R-P case. Same result.

I also have the Lee collet dies for 223. I think I used those OK, so I am going to mount those to this same turret and compare the action.
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:39 PM   #11
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Sounds like the collet fingers are sprung closed and the case is not going into the collet. This happens if the die is pressed in hard without a case in it. Take the die back apart and look closely at the collet fingers. There should be an even spacing of the slots all the way around, with no debris in the slots. If they are sprung, they can be seperated with a mandrel or drift of appropriate size. While you have the die apart push the neck of a fired/unsized case into the collet. It should go in easily, without having to force it. If the case neck doesn't enter the collet easily it pushes the collet into the tapered part of the die before the neck is in a position to be squeezed. The one prime rule of using these dies is to NEVER "dry fire" them. Don't ask how I learned this.
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
The one prime rule of using these dies is to NEVER "dry fire" them. Don't ask how I learned this.__________________

Bingo,now everyone knows.
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Old May 16, 2011, 03:37 PM   #13
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Interesting. That never occurred to me. I can't recall having done it. Now I've got to try it to see what happens.
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Old May 17, 2011, 12:15 AM   #14
mikef64
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I had this exact same problem with a 300WSM in a Model 70.

Turns out the chamber was a little large at the case web and after a 2 firings, the case expansion just above the web was grabbing the inside of the collet and started to push it up just before hitting the shell holder.

I purchased a Redding body die and adjusted it to just resize this expansion (ring) down just a hair. The die never touched the shoulder sides or shoulder.

Another friend had the same problem as yours and mine and this fixed it right up.

Or you could open up the opening of the collet with some sandpaper and a wooden dowel on the end of a drill.



Look and see if that's whats happening to yours.

L8r.
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