The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 30, 2011, 10:22 PM   #1
Tex S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, TEXAS
Posts: 875
Is there a learning curve with the Lee Collet Die?

Mine has buckled 5 cases out of 20!!! So much for a perfect lot of 20 cases!!!

I have a Forster Co-ax and I set it up by screwing the die in so that it touches the shellholder jaws. I then turned it in 2 more times and tightened the ring.

I am quite sure that the collet isn't getting stuck shut (it will wiggle up and down slightly).

Maybe this die needs to be operated slowly? Is it not a "load the case and crank the handle" type operation?

I'm hoping that I just need to get a "feel" for this thing.
Tex S is offline  
Old January 30, 2011, 10:29 PM   #2
jepp2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 24, 2008
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 1,476
Have you watched the Lee Video?

Lee Collet Die Set Up

The video said 1 complete revolution. Are your 2 turns, 2 revolutions?
jepp2 is offline  
Old January 30, 2011, 11:30 PM   #3
Tex S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, TEXAS
Posts: 875
Jepp, thanks for the video link.

I'm thinking that maybe I should pry apart the collet fingers.
Tex S is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 04:54 AM   #4
TheNatureBoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2007
Posts: 1,204
Tex S, go to You tube and search Ammosmith. Good information.
TheNatureBoy is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 08:18 AM   #5
89blazin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2009
Posts: 107
I use the Lee Collet Die for a couple calibers. Better than sliced bread, and my best groupings out of 11 calibers that I reload.
89blazin is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 08:44 AM   #6
tpcollins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 18, 2009
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 533
I had the same result until I realized I was "caming over" or "toggling". I have a Rock Chucker and if you cam over at the end of the stroke, it will push the neck further than it needs to go. Don't forget to lube inside the neck opening.
__________________
What direction did that last shot at Kennedy come from?
tpcollins is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 09:55 AM   #7
DoubleUp
Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2010
Posts: 27
What caliber?
DoubleUp is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 10:01 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Austin, CO
Posts: 19,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpcollins
Don't forget to lube inside the neck opening.

There's no need for case lube anywhere when using the collet dies. There is only the slightest resistance when withdrawing the case and (virtually) none on the way in. Lube only serves to gum up your die. I believe Lee does recommend a bit of oil between the collets and the die body.
__________________
Nobody plans to screw up their lives...
...they just don't plan not to.
-Andy Stanley
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 10:09 AM   #9
Tex S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, TEXAS
Posts: 875
Caliber is 308 win.

I will check out Ammosmith on my lunch break.

Thanks!
Tex S is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 10:14 AM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Austin, CO
Posts: 19,436
Tex S,

You're right about the die operation too...

It's not a slam bang die. It's meant to be used (relatively) slowly and deliberately, exerting the same pressure on each case. That's how you get the most concentric necks possible.

Also, if you're looking for the best possible results:

1) Hold the handle at max stroke for the count of five. This allows the brass to "relax" a bit and maintains more consistent sizing.

2)Size the case twice.... count of five, lower the ram just enough to grab the case, rotate it 180dg and size again to the count of five. This produces best concentricity.

(Both tips thanks to UncleNick)
__________________
Nobody plans to screw up their lives...
...they just don't plan not to.
-Andy Stanley
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 11:11 AM   #11
Tom Matiska
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2000
Location: Wilkes-Barre, Pa
Posts: 1,026
Case trimming??? Possible that some of the cases are a few thousandths longer than the others.
Tom Matiska is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 05:11 PM   #12
DoubleUp
Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2010
Posts: 27
I don't know if the Forster press cams over. I use an RCBS Rockchucker and contrary to the instructions with the collet die, I got best and consistent results setting up to where I have just a little extra pressure when it cams over. I got that by putting the press handle all the way down. That puts the shellholder at the top of the stroke. I then screwed the collet die down until it touched the shellholder. Then I raised the handle and turned in the collet die just enough so that I could feel slight resistance as the press cammed over at the bottom of the stroke when I lowered the handle fully.

Sounds like your die is screwed in way to far. You need to correct this quickly because if you don't you're soon doing to bust the top out of the collet die. The aluminum cap is made to give way in over-pressure and you'll break it and have to replace.

Do not use lube in the neck. It is not needed and may actually hurt by causing more hydraulic pressure between the collet and the brass further risking blowing the top out of your die.
DoubleUp is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 07:45 PM   #13
flashhole
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 2,000
I agree with double up, I think you screwed it down too far. You can actually measure the amount of neck sizing when adjusting the die. It is properly adjusted when you get full neck contact on the mandrel w/o leaving crease marks in the brass neck. If you are careful you can feel the brass give way to sizing against the mandrel. You develop a feel for it. I keep a bullet on the bench and check each piece of brass to ensure the bullet doesn't slip freely into the neck once it is sized. Rotating it once during the process helps.
__________________
,,, stupidity comes to some people very easily. 8/22/2017 my wife in a discussion about Liberals.

Are you ready for civil war?
flashhole is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 09:34 PM   #14
BigJakeJ1s
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2005
Location: Arlington TX
Posts: 663
The Forster does not cam over, and has much less frame flex than most presses. So two turns after contact will be a bit much.

Andy
BigJakeJ1s is offline  
Old January 31, 2011, 09:55 PM   #15
Romeo 33 Delta
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2009
Posts: 315
I used to cam over my Rock Chucker for years ... never had a problem ... until I did!

I then backed my collect dies off until I'm just "up to the edge of almost ready to cam over". I do my sizing from a stool and this set up is just perfect for my getting the right "feel" that I can get consistantly ... round after round.

For the record, I use collect dies for EVERY caliber I can get them to build for me ... wish they could do shorter cases than they can.

Just my opinion ... free ... for what it's worth.
Romeo 33 Delta is offline  
Old February 1, 2011, 12:36 AM   #16
Tex S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, TEXAS
Posts: 875
Ok, thanks for all of the help guys.

As it turns out, I just needed to get a feel for the die. I am used to inserting a case into the shellholder and cranking the handle down fast. That WILL NOT work with this particular die! It requires a much more "deliberate" movement.

Several of you have suggested that maybe I had the die screwed in too much. I do not think that this is the problem. It seems to me that as long as the die is not screwed in excessively (as in, screwed in so much that there is not enough room between the mouth of the die and the shellholder that the case won't fit!) the die position is, for the most part, irrelevant. If the die was screwed in "too far", I can see how I may lose some of the presses mechanical advantage since the bulk of the sizing would not be taking place at the bottom of the stroke, but I dont think it would be a dicernable difference. I guess that I am trying to say that it doesn't really matter at which point in the press stroke the case bottoms out in the die, so long as it does bottom out.

On a side note, I have never experienced cam over with my Co-Ax until I used this Lee die set. The Forster press will indeed cam over, but I adjusted the die deeply enough that the cam over went away. It really felt like the press was in a bind when it was camming over, so I figured a more positive and repeatable stop was in order. After about 1 3/4 turns in the cam over went away. I also adjusted the dead length bullet seater so that it would stop camming over.

All problems seem to be solved!
Tex S is offline  
Old February 1, 2011, 09:14 AM   #17
DoubleUp
Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2010
Posts: 27
Whatever works for you is what you'll have to use, but since your original question was about collapsing cases, then something was creating too much pressure in your setup. That basically comes down to the die being screwed in so far that when you reached the bottom of the stroke or attempted to reach it, the case gave way.

Is your process repeatable every time on every case? If you are able go to the bottom of the stroke each time, it should do the same whether it cams over or not. Unless you have a torque wrench in place of your handle it might be difficult to get the same pressure on each case without going to the bottom of the stroke.

Anyway congrats on finding a method that works for your setup. Glad it worked out for you.

I believe the collet neck die in conjunction with a Redding body die to bump the shoulder back when needed is the best available method to minimize working the brass and still have consistent neck tension and repeatability. That translates into accuracy gains.
DoubleUp is offline  
Old February 1, 2011, 11:05 AM   #18
BigJakeJ1s
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2005
Location: Arlington TX
Posts: 663
Tex,

The "ears" on the outside of my yoke contact the linkage arms and stop travel just before TDC. Apparently this is not true for all of them.

You don't happen to have the aftermarket right-angle linkage arms, do you? How old is your co-ax? Mine is about 6 years old (B-2 model). I'm wondering if the design has changed slightly over time, or if it is more or less random from press to press.

At least I now know that some co-ax's will cam over, and that it could be a contributing factor in some situations for some users.

I also should have mentioned that my Lee Collet dies (and collet type FCDs) often benefit from a little polishing of the collet/closer interface. This makes them operate more smoothly and consistently. The design of the Lee's collet dies is excellent, but the execution is sometimes lacking.

Thanks,

Andy
BigJakeJ1s is offline  
Old February 1, 2011, 06:10 PM   #19
flashhole
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 2,000
Andy does not speak with forked tongue with his comment about execution. I had a Collet Neck Die for my 25-06 that gave me all kinds of problems. I had it polished smoother than a baby's butt but still gave me fits. Turned out the die body was out of round. Lee replaced it with a new one and all was good in the land of Oz again. I chased my tail around a bit with that problem.
__________________
,,, stupidity comes to some people very easily. 8/22/2017 my wife in a discussion about Liberals.

Are you ready for civil war?
flashhole is offline  
Old February 2, 2011, 01:19 AM   #20
Clark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 1999
Location: WA, the ever blue state
Posts: 4,678
Many years ago, I broke a rockchucker press with an 8mm Lee collet neck die. I had it at 100 pounds of handle force right at toggle over in the press. That will just about break any press. RCBS sent me a new press, even though it was MY fault.


Here is the painful learning curve.

I had lots of 223 dies.
The most expensive was the Redding FL "S" die. It looks nice too.
The cheapest was the Lee Collet neck die. It looks crude.

For years i used the Redding.
Then I did an organized test.
I get paid money for coming up with deigns and tests for starting jet engines, power supplies, etc.
I should be able to do a controlled test.

Big surprise.
The best results came from the cheapest die, the Lee collet neck die.

So the important thing for me to learn is to use the Lee collet neck die.

So now when I start out a new cartridge, like say, 260 Remington, I get:
1) a Forster FL and have the neck honed out by Forster.
2) a Forster seating die and de burr Forster's de burring of the seater stem.
3) a Lee collet neck die and polish the collet and collet sleve
Clark is offline  
Old February 2, 2011, 10:35 AM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Austin, CO
Posts: 19,436
Clark,

Did you buy that 260 die recently? I took apart my Collet dies (7-08, 204Ruger and 22-250) and polished them but none of them looked even remotely close to your "before" picture. They actually weren't bad at all, I wondered if I was wasting my time polishing them, actually.
__________________
Nobody plans to screw up their lives...
...they just don't plan not to.
-Andy Stanley
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old February 2, 2011, 12:07 PM   #22
flashhole
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 2,000
I have 4, none of them were as bad as the one in the photo either. They do polish up nicely and it does help functionality.
__________________
,,, stupidity comes to some people very easily. 8/22/2017 my wife in a discussion about Liberals.

Are you ready for civil war?
flashhole is offline  
Old February 2, 2011, 12:10 PM   #23
Clark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 1999
Location: WA, the ever blue state
Posts: 4,678
Yes, recently.
I have had the same problem with Lee Collet dies being rough for 10 years. It does not affect performance, but I can feel the difference at the press handle. It feels smoother with polish.

I have had the same problem with Forster seating stems for 10 years, and it DOES affect performance. The bullet can get stuck or get a nasty ring mark.
Clark is offline  
Old February 2, 2011, 12:30 PM   #24
Brian Pfleuger
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Austin, CO
Posts: 19,436
Wow. Well, maybe it looks worse in the pics than it really is? Mine were all a little "rough" but that collet from yours practically looks like it's threaded. That's amazing. The inside surface of mine all looked pretty close to yours but the collet was not remotely close to that bad.
__________________
Nobody plans to screw up their lives...
...they just don't plan not to.
-Andy Stanley
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old February 2, 2011, 02:49 PM   #25
BigJakeJ1s
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2005
Location: Arlington TX
Posts: 663
In my book, smoother is better performance. It allows you to feel differences between one case and another, and spot (or avoid) potential problems more easily. It also reduces the force required for the operation, which is less wear and tear on me and the press.

The closers on all of mine have looked about like that in Clark's picture. I've only had one that was that bad on the collet, but the collets are usually at least as bad as the closer. Same thing on collet type FCDs.

Andy
BigJakeJ1s is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10557 seconds with 11 queries