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Old August 11, 2011, 08:17 AM   #5
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Join Date: December 1, 2002
Posts: 2,832
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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