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Lee collet dies

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Unread 07-14-2009, 02:15 PM
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Lee collet dies

I've been reloading for quite a few years now with redding bushing and standard dies. I'm using a t7 press and decided to buy some collet dies for the girlfriend's .243. I set them up to there instructions and it doesn't seem right. I'm using the neck sizing die. Anybody set these up that knows the proper way?
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Unread 07-14-2009, 02:17 PM
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Re: Lee collet dies

What doesn't seem right?

I just screw them in until they touch the shell holder, then I turn them in about 2 more turns (this is so the collet will work). As long as I'm getting enough neck tension, then I'm happy.

If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.

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Last edited by AJ Peacock; 07-14-2009 at 02:27 PM.
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Unread 07-14-2009, 02:23 PM
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Re: Lee collet dies

Lee Collet dies? Gee, I didn't even know he was sick!
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Unread 07-14-2009, 02:45 PM
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Re: Lee collet dies

I have found that I can't screw them in as far as the instructions recommend without crushing cases. I start at one turn past the shell holder, then bump it in slowly until I get the neck tension I'm looking for. I am using a Rock Crusher press.

I always install a locking nut (Hornady) so once I find a setting I like, I can lock it down. Once you have that, your good to go the next time.
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Unread 07-14-2009, 03:59 PM
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Re: Lee collet dies

If the die is used, the collet may be worn.
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Unread 07-14-2009, 05:10 PM
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Re: Lee collet dies

The Collet is the best neck die for factory rifles made today, IMHO. It does have a moving part so some folks have difficulty with it.

Disregard the instructions. Put a case in the ram and push it up, repeatedly, while slowly turning the die down a small fraction of a turn at a time. When you get the proper neck tension to hold a bullet, takes about 20# of lever pressure, depending on what press you have, you're done. Further pushing will do nothing more to the neck but you can damage the die by excess pushing and striping the aluminum top cap out. (It's made to do that to prevent the ham-fisted among us from damaging their press!)

Understand Lee's collet die DOES NOT produce the tight neck-to-bullet fit a conventional size die does. That's to prevent us from bending a straight neck with excessive seating force, which is a common occurance with conventional sizing dies that are frequently excessively smaller than bullet diameter.

There is only one way to crush a case neck/shoulder in that die. We can go wrong by giving the die a "dry push", with no case, and get the collet sleeve jammed stuck into the upper part of the die. THEN, with the collet fingers jammed shut, necks will get pushed back. If that happens, disassemble the die and free the collet, then all will be well. Just don't push the collet up without a case again! AND, while you have it apart, lightly grease the cone-shaped top of the collet for easier work.

Last edited by boomtube; 07-14-2009 at 05:13 PM.
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Unread 07-14-2009, 05:54 PM
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Re: Lee collet dies

The Lee Collet is made to work by applying pressure on the lever and not allowing the lever to "toggle over". That means that it should not be adjusted so that the lever stroke bottoms out and you should put approx 25 pounds or a little more on the handle. If the lever toggles over then it could apply too much pressure and all you are doing is putting stress on the die and press. The neck will not be sized any smaller.

I adjust the die by running the die all the way down and setting the lock nut at the top of the threads which puts the lever at the most horizontal position

this makes gauging the amount of weight you are putting on the handle easier to estimate.

You can also leave part of the neck fire-formed size

by putting an appropriate sized washer on top of the shell holder around the case
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