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Old August 10, 2011, 11:25 PM   #1
Rustle in the Bushes
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Anyone use Lee Collet neck sizing dies?

Im thinking about getting one of these for my .303. anyone like these, are there any special things you have to do to get them to work well?
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Old August 11, 2011, 01:12 AM   #2
deepcore
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Setting the die properly so you can get feel the mechanics inside the Lee Collet Neck sizer doing it's job.
Which is different from the feel of the your press just banging against the bottom of the die.

Lube the die (inside 'moving' parts). Don't need to lube the case.

Reading on the die in the forum...it's been recommended to polish the moving/mating surfaces inside the die.
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Old August 11, 2011, 03:38 AM   #3
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IMO, there is nothing better. No lube, no case stretch. Perfect every time.
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Old August 11, 2011, 07:31 AM   #4
LDBennett
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Rustle in the Bushes:

The LEE die is a collet assembly (DUH!). As such it has two taper surface that make it work as the die is pushed up by the press ram. Since LEE very often chooses the wrong materials for their products (and this die is no exception) eventually the two tapered surface (inside the die and the collet itself) gall making the die stick during use and not drop the case easily.

Polishing the taper surface on the collet can do nothing but good and using some light oil on that surface, replenished regularly, can preclude or delay the eventual galling that may occur.

In general neck sizing only works for awhile and eventually the cases, after many reloadings, will have to be full length resized. So don't throw away your full length resizing die. Also be aware that full length resizing is pretty much mandatory all the time for any self loading gun (semi-auto) or pump gun as those action have very little camming force when the bolt closes and a tight case fit to the chamber will cause jamming. Bolt guns not so much.

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Old August 11, 2011, 08:17 AM   #5
wncchester
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Every reloader needs a Full Length size die, a neck die is optional. The whole idea of neck sizing is to size ONLY the neck, not the body, and leave the neck as straight as possible. It's desirable that the inside diameter of a neck be 1 thou smaller than the bullets, no more than 2 thou, which gives plenty of 'neck tension' but not so much the bullets get pushed out of line during seating. It's nice if the necks are changed the bare minimum in order to achieve all this - not necked down too far and then expanded back up - so the cases will last longer. And, ideally, the die will work with any cases we may have without needing to turn them for consitant thickness as bushing type dies need. IMHO, Lee's simple little Collet Neck Die meets all those criteria better than any other neck dies at any price.

Lee's internal machineing IS spotty. If the die you get was bored with new tools it will be fine right out of the box but, if the cutting tool was nicked, the finish of the mating cones will be rough and will benefit from some home shop smoothing. The die works so well and costs so little that most of us consider it worth dealing with any roughness we find. It's not difficult to smooth sufficently (it need not be perfectly smooth) and I enjoy doing it myself. A few minutes with an electric drill, some 320 or 220 grit black sandpaper and a split dowel rod takes care of all that needs to be done.

It's important to understand that once the (soft) neck brass has been formed to the internal mandral they can't be made smaller/tighter with more pressure; all extra pressure does is stress the die and press. The die's top cap is made of fine threaded aluminum to serve as an over-pressure relief, it will strip out and push up if we put too much pressure on it. Push too hard and you will need a new top cap but your press and the die body will be okay. Follow the directions, think about what you're doing and it works fine.

The collet is a moving part, the die is not a simple 'push the case in, pull the case out' process so there is a learning curve to using it. Those who learn to use it properly usually love it. Those who will not, or cannot, learn to use it correctly usually hate it.

Last edited by wncchester; August 11, 2011 at 08:22 AM.
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Old August 11, 2011, 01:14 PM   #6
243winxb
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Lee Frequently Asked Questions

Go here http://leeprecision.com/xcart/Freque...Questions.html Click "dies & die questions" Read the 5 topics on the Collet die.
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Old August 12, 2011, 02:22 AM   #7
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yall really didnt disappoint. im excited to play around with it once it comes in. Maybe one day I'll be able to actually provide something for this part of the forum but now im happier than hell to load safe ammo.

thanks gents-checking out that link. sounds like consensus is the collets are a good buy vs comparable products offered by other brands
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Old August 13, 2011, 07:08 AM   #8
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It's a great product. wncchester summed it up nicely. Those who take the time to learn to use it the correct way love it. I have one for each rifle cartridge. One had an out of round body and I couldn't get it to work, drove me nuts for awhile until I figured it out. Sent it back to Lee and they replaced it for free.
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Old August 13, 2011, 12:19 PM   #9
wingman
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I use the Lee Collet dies very satisfied with the results however I also maintain a full length type and as needed will full size plus trim. Brass last longer and I believe better accuracy.
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Old August 14, 2011, 05:43 AM   #10
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I have them in .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and 300 WSM. Like the others have said lude the mating surfaces on the collet and no problems. Sometimes whem I pickup range brass and the mouths are dented, I will run them through the Lee Neck die before using a FL resizing die.
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Old August 14, 2011, 12:48 PM   #11
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I was kind of skeptical but for the price I figured they were worth a try. I started using them for my 223 loads (bolt actions and TC Conterder) and the loads were extremely accurate and very consistent. I have since retired my old Forster neck die! Although their Benchrest seater is excellent.

Have since added a .30-06 and ordered a Lee Collet for it as well.
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Old August 14, 2011, 01:16 PM   #12
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Agree with the above folks. The concept is just better. See this video on how well it works. If you have a self-loader and need to set the shoulder back at least a couple thousandths each time, you can get a Redding body die that leaves the neck alone, or use one of the neck bushing sizing dies without a bushing as a second, separate sizing operation.

I'll second the need for lube, and go you one better in that I have used the old S&W armorers action slicking mix on these dies with some success. You just mix a slurry of JB Bore compound with well-shaken (to get the Teflon in suspension) Break Free CLP, and put it on the tapered closing surfaces and work it in and out to lap the high spots smooth and embed the Teflon. A three day soak in Sprinco Plate+ Silver is another strategy that applies permanent lubrication to prevent galling.
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Old August 15, 2011, 02:25 PM   #13
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I am currently testing with my sign 556 on how long till case failure between neck sizing and full-length. So far I no problems and they have been shot a total of 4 times. Who ever said you can't neck size for a auto is wrong because I am going on my 4th reload with neck sizing only.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:42 PM   #14
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Kxkid,

The concern is magazine feed and slamfires. After you've neck sized a case a number of times (how many depends on how warm the load is and who made the brass) your case body fit will start to get pretty tight in the chamber and you'll eventually need to run a full length resizing cycle to keep them fitting. That increasing tightness, while it's happening, increases the odds a round won't chamber smoothly, which increases the odds of getting an out-of-battery slamfire due to the added chambering resistance.

If you want to keep experimenting with it, that's up to you. But as a courtesy to others, please stay at the right end of the range when chambering these to make sure nobody is to your right. Nothing like hot, sharp brass and bolt face fragments to ruin the day of the person to your right if one lets go.

One fellow on another board used to be test director at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. He said he once investigated an out-of-battery slamfire in a machinegun that killed the soldier to the right of the ejection port. So, even if the chance is one in a million against it, prudence says you'll feel a lot worse if you not only turn out to be that one in a million guy, but then also have the injury of another person on your conscience.

Glen Zediker suggests that you will be fine setting the shoulder back 0.002" at each loading. That is, you can tighten the neck in the collet die, then use a body die to set the shoulder back that far, and it will feed. For single loading 0.001" setback is good enough. Plus, several benchrest shooters claim they get better accuracy that way, they believe it to be due to allowing room for a bit of cartridge body self-centering. Worth a try, anyhow.
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