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Old July 29, 2009, 10:29 AM   #26
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re: Leepowder-through expander (flare) dies
and that dang thing thunking up and down with each stroke of the press just drives me nuts!
In the event you weren't aware, they did that on purpose so that the "clunk" makes sure to "shake" the powder through the die so it doesn't bridge or lodge itself in there. With these dies, you can feed your powder measure device right through the middle of the die.

It is kind of an annoying clunk, but it serves a purpose.
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Old July 29, 2009, 11:08 PM   #27
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About 2/5ths of my dies are made by Lee. The balance are mostly RCBS with a Hornady and CH thrown in. My reloading mentor started me out with RCBS years ago, and that's all I used for some time. Somewhere along the line, I discovered that you could get Lee dies for considerably less in price that RCBS so I tried a set out with satisfaction and success.

I don't mind the Lee lock rings; in fact, they are easier to use than the set screw design but I can adapt to either kind. Lee claims some people buy their design to retrofit RCBS dies. Once upon a time I bought a set of RCBS to retrofit a set of Lee dies and they are still new in plastic wrapper.

I've had to send a couple of sets of Lee dies back to the factory for corrections, but I've also had to do the same with RCBS.

Lee makes some goofy European milsurp calibers at a reasonable cost that cost an eye tooth from RCBS.

My biggest complaint about Lee dies is with the flaring die (#2) in the pistol sets. Lee uses a simple tapered fitting to flare the case mouth to receive a new bullet. RCBS (and others) use an expander ball that sizes the case to the proper diameter, and flares it. You get less case distortion with the RCBS-type. I know this wouldn't work with the powder-through-the-die concept of Lee, but I don't care to charge cases in this manner anyway. This is particularly a problem with 9mmP.

Most other Lee equipment I do not care much for. I like their "classic" cast iron press, which I own one of but haven't used much yet only because my old RCBS RC II is hard to wear out. The Lee powder measure and scale more rightfully belong in an A.C. Gilbert junior chemistry set. But nevermind; no matter how rinky-dink, they can accomplish the mission.

I don't know anything about Lee progressive presses. I've been handloading metallic cartridges for over 30 years and have never graduated to progressive. For me, speed is not of the essence in handloading. I like to visually inspect the powder charge in every case before the bullet is seated.

Actually, I started handloading about 40 years ago, but shotshell. It took me a while longer to get around to serious handloading with centerfire. In the interim, I did experiment with a couple of Lee Loaders, the little hand-job kits that don't take a press. They work.

My shotshell reloading was done with a Lee Load-All that I bought at a swap meet. I didn't know at the time that there were different sizes of powder and shot bushings. I loaded hundreds of Remington RXP's with Red Dot and recycled shot recovered from the Winchester trap range.
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Old July 29, 2009, 11:41 PM   #28
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they did that on purpose so that the "clunk" makes sure to "shake" the powder through the die so it doesn't bridge or lodge itself in there. With these dies, you can feed your powder measure device right through the middle of the die

I understand the reason behind it, but it still drives me nuts. I charge each case from a powder measure screwed to my bench, or for rifle cartridges, weigh each charge on a scale, then funnel it into the case, so the powder-thru-die feature dosent really do much for me.
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Last edited by Crankylove; July 29, 2009 at 11:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old July 30, 2009, 02:36 AM   #29
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lee dies are very easy

I have a full lee set up i really enjoy it and so will you. I was wondering if any would be willing to help my on posting my thread i have some question of my own?
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Old July 30, 2009, 04:39 AM   #30
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i have mostly rcbs with 2 reading dies and 3 lee die sets. i have taken and put lyman locking rings on the seater dies so there is no need for for me .
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Old August 1, 2009, 08:36 AM   #31
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LEE die comments

Measure the length of the die and compaire it with you RCBS.
I E-mailed Lee about their short dies. Lee denied it. Later Lee came out with new longer dies.
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Old August 1, 2009, 09:32 AM   #32
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I started buying Lee dies ~20 years ago, after RCBS started an advertising war against Lee. I was intrigued, and had to see for myself. Well, Lee dies worked just fine! I stopped buying RCBS.

Lee FCD dies are a must for any progressive loader, by the way.

As MADISON mentioned above, Lee dies were a bit short to be used on Dillon progressives, so I had to machine my own lock rings to lock the Lee dies from below the toolhead. Another workaround was installing the set screws to lock the Lee dies from the side.
The new-gen Lee dies are longer, so no issue.

Last edited by Linear Thinker; August 1, 2009 at 10:52 AM.
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Old August 1, 2009, 10:36 AM   #33
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I love my Lee dies and have had no trouble what so ever with the lock rings and like the way they adjust, but thats probably because I use Lee's press with breech lock bushings.
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Old August 1, 2009, 01:09 PM   #34
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go with dillon, easiest to clean.
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Old August 1, 2009, 11:23 PM   #35
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Have to agree the Lee lock rings are not well received because the use and ease of adj. is mostly not understood. I simply put a permanent witnessmark on the press-easily seen-at 9 oclock. Then I put a mrk on the die and the lock ring when they are properly adjusted the firsst time...I also put a witnesmark on the seater stem when first adjusted. You can then easily calculate the amount moved by useing the fraction of rotation and the thread pitch in inches. Anyhow back to the lock ring.. some cases sre a tad different by brand and a fine tiggle of the die makes life better and this is easy to do with just a slght rotation in or out on the die as per the witnesmarks. Final crimps on revolver cartridges is a good case in point. The variation in thickness of case mouths often require a few thousnths of adjustment to improve the level of the crimp. Screw locked lock rings make this an utter pain. One other factor that the Lee dies adress is that with the "O" ring the die is not jam locked solidly to the press and can self center and align, which the other brands do not allow, not even the Bonanza/Foster setup. I also would like to assert htan when Im looking for the best accuracy , I generally go to the Lee dies as I know they will deliver or factoy chambers. One of the best accuray dies is the collet series when theyre used correctly. Ive been able to modify a set of them for a no turn bench test chamber and the results are equal to a custom set of dies--<1" groups 2 420 yds- 5shot. I find Lees products very innovative and the pricings attractive also. There are a few lousers in the lineup but we can let folks know about them if theyll just ask. Im not trying to knock other manufacturers but The Lee lineup serves many of my purposes better than they do. In fact Ive probablly got perhaps 20 sets of dies by all of the other well known manufaccturers. Theyre all good. Sorry for the run on and the bad typing...
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Old August 1, 2009, 11:52 PM   #36
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Mine work well.

I particularly like the Factory Crimp dies.
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