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Old August 22, 2012, 12:41 PM   #1
browninghunter86
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Lee Seating Dies

I know alot of people are biased towards x brand or y brand just because......But has anyone compared Lee Seating dies to other top die brands to compare runout between them? Using same prepped brass,method and proper set up........


I do know Lee Collet Die is up there in the least runout in neck sizing dies but wandering how their Seating Dies do
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Old August 22, 2012, 02:39 PM   #2
wncchester
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I've seen several 'tests' showing first one way and then another. Proving (1) there's not a lot of difference between brands of seaters and (2) individual dies of the same brand can vary considerably. That said, I have quite a few dies of several brands that I've tested for runout; my Lee's have a slightly better average figure than any other brand of conventional dies.

Redding and Forster searters are the ONLY seaters that do better than my Lee's and they even aren't massively better - after all, conventional dies usually do pretty good work!
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Old August 22, 2012, 05:14 PM   #3
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Seating dies do not cause runout. That happens in the sizing operation. Most people do not realize that the standard Lee seating die will also crimp the bullet. Don't get this confused with the Fatory Crimp Die.
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Old August 22, 2012, 05:45 PM   #4
5R milspec
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The only die that Lee makes that will crimp while seating a bullet is for a pistol.The rifel die will only seat a bullet.
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Old August 22, 2012, 07:39 PM   #5
browninghunter86
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Lee does have rifle seating die that will crimp. Dead Length Seating die does NOT crimp while the reg seating die will

**something like this except with other dies http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com...ie-runout.html

Last edited by browninghunter86; August 22, 2012 at 07:47 PM.
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Old August 22, 2012, 07:51 PM   #6
jimkim
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Quote:
The only die that Lee makes that will crimp while seating a bullet is for a pistol.The rifel die will only seat a bullet.
My Lee 30-30, and 243 seating dies will crimp. My 308 dies don't. I think it depends on the cartridge.

I'm kinda glad(I think) I read this. I found out I'm missing some dies.
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Old August 22, 2012, 08:22 PM   #7
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Seating dies do not cause runout. That happens in the sizing operation.
Seating stems that do not properly match the profile of the projectile can cause significant run-out, by 'grabbing' the bullets and seating them crooked.


Quote:
I know alot of people are biased towards x brand or y brand just because......But has anyone compared Lee Seating dies to other top die brands to compare runout between them? Using same prepped brass,method and proper set up........
My own experience with Lee dies has shown their tolerances to be all over the map. Whether or not you get a tight, concentric seating die with a properly fitting seating stem... is just a roll of the dice.

Use what you like. If it doesn't give you the result you were looking for, check to see if it's a problem with the tool. If not... try something else.

My biggest aversion to Lee seating dies, in particular, is the aluminum seating stem. It is far too easy to damage, and the alloy is incredibly soft (easily deformed with use / threads easily stripped). That alloy is so soft, that every machinist I have ever met in the firearms/reloading industry has referred to Lee's aluminum alloys as "Blue Bonnet" (as in the brand of butter).
It's easy and affordable to have a machine shop turn a steel replacement stem. But, if you're going to do that; you might as well just have them make the die, too.


Use what works for you, and don't worry about changing it.... unless you find that the end product is not to your satisfaction (and can legitimately be blamed on the tool).

As long as we're buying "mass market" dies... we get what we get. The tolerances are variable and somewhat loose (some brands more than others), to accommodate the myriad of different components and firearms on the market. If we want something with tight tolerances, it has to be custom made.
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Old August 23, 2012, 11:33 AM   #8
Scimmia
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Quote:
The only die that Lee makes that will crimp while seating a bullet is for a pistol.The rifel die will only seat a bullet.
Untrue. The standard Lee rifle seating dies that come with the Pacesetter die sets will crimp. This is the vast majority of Lee rifle dies sold. The Dead Length Seating Die that comes with the Deluxe set or Collet sets does not crimp.
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:34 PM   #9
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I have to agree with frankenmauser on both accounts. Seater dies can absolutely cause runout, I'm not a big fan of the aluminum seating plug with the wash ring.
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:53 PM   #10
wncchester
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"My own experience with Lee dies has shown their tolerances to be all over the map. Whether or not you get a tight, concentric seating die with a properly fitting seating stem... is just a roll of the dice."

You have me a bit confused; my Lee 'seating stem' is a free-floating steel bushing that self centers directly over the bullet if the user works it properly. And the bullet alignment/guide section of my Lee dies are almost always noticably tighter than others costing much more; in fact it's difficult to use slightly oversized cast bullets in most of my Lee seaters. ???

Lee's "butter" alum seating die cap really isn't subjected to much pressure, I've never seen or even heard of one stripping out so they must be plenty strong for the job. I have my own 9" South Bend Mod. A lathe and make a lot of reloading tools and improved parts with it but it's never even occurred to me to replace those caps.

No seater can correct bad case necks.

Last edited by wncchester; August 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM.
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Old August 24, 2012, 12:34 AM   #11
Dwayne
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Norma Brass

I'm new to reloading and have started out with Lee dies to learn. I have bought new Norma brass and after I full length sized it is 0.017'' short than the Trim-to length. I seat and crimp in a seperate process and has done me well on the other cartridges I have reloaded, but with this cartridge I have noticed in both Seating Die & Factory Crimp Die my cannelure bullets are being seated 0.005'' to 0.009'' deeper in the crimp process, I'm not putting a heavy crimp on these either. Is this being done because Norma brass is short of Trim-to Length? This is the only brass cartridge that has done this, all the other brass I use Win. & Starline has to be trimmed to length when new. I'm guessing when I shoot these rounds the brass will stretch to the Trim-to Length. I know this may be too nick picky for some but I like to produce what the book calls for. Any information would be appreciated.
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Old October 15, 2012, 11:34 PM   #12
browninghunter86
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finally got a concentricity gauge and the Lee seater is producing in the ballpark of 0.003-0.005 runout. Kinda high for long range competition
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Old October 16, 2012, 12:31 AM   #13
mrawesome22
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Did you measure the runout in the body and neck of the case before seating the bullet?
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:01 AM   #14
browninghunter86
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yes neck runout of about 0.001 and neck wall thickness variation of less than 0.002". Runout was low since using Lee Collet Die to size necks
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