Lee Collet Die not sizing

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by RangerEd, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. RangerEd

    RangerEd Active Member

    Mar 4, 2010
    Hi everyone,
    About a month ago, i posted my brass wouldnt necksize back and the consesus was that the brass was work hardened and it needed annealing. Well, i tried annealing this brass (Fed Brass, .308 Win 3x fired) and still had the same results (no neck tension, zero, zip, nada). I decided I didn't anneal the brass right and loaded up some new Winchester Brass that I had neck sized months ago but had not yet used. Went to the range last weekend and used those new cases.
    This week, I decided to reload those 1x fired Winchester cased and ran them through my Lee Collett die. Decided to spot check them before I commeted primers to it (placing a bullet on top of the case to see if it will have tension when I do seat the bullet). Well, I have again no tension as I can Easily push in and pull out a bullet.
    I have never done anything to this die other than set it and use it. I have only ran about 500 or so cases through it.
    What could have happened to this die? Do I need to just buy a new die?
  2. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Make sure the die is adjusted down far enough to make full contact with the shell holder, as the collet will not squeeze the case neck unless the case is all the way up in the die. If that doesn't work, try a different shell holder. Beyond that, I would just call Lee tech support and see what they say.

  3. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    You may just need to take the die apart and clean it. It could have something, piece of brass etc. fouling up the works. If it worked once upon a time then it most likely is some foreign body stuck in the works.
  4. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    I have a .223 Lee collet sizer, never did like it, but thought I would try your suggestion. With WW brass, and making full contact with a RCBS #10 shell holder, it does not size the neck enough to grip a .224 bullet tightly.I returned to using my Redding Type S die with a .239 bushing and was able to finish the batch.

    How the devil would a different shell holder change anything?
  5. noneck180

    noneck180 Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2009
    Some shellholders are too thick and won't let enough of the case go into the die.
    I saw a video from ammosmith on collet dies, he sanded one part of the collet and put a tiny bit of grease on it. I don't have a set just going off what I saw.
  6. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    The collets can get dirty and/or jam. You need to take it apart as previously suggested and clean it.

    While doing so, study how it actually functions.

    Upward pressure from the shell holder is what forces the collar over the collet to squeeze the neck.

    More downward travel against the shell holder equals tighter compression against the neck.

    You can keep adjusting it downwards until you completely close the collet and squeeze the neck as far as possible.

    However, by that time, you're about to make contact with the case shoulder which will crush the shoulder.

    If you're making contact with the shoulder, haven't completely closed the collet, and still need more neck tension, then you need a washer, spacer, or taller shell holder to make contact sooner with the bottom of the die.

    Neck turning is another variable that would require you to squeeze down farther on the collet.

    Hope this helps.
    --- richard
  7. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    With the Lee Collet Neck Die, IF you put the proper pressure on the press lever (about 20#) the case necks will get sized down as far as they can get.

    IF you put massively excessive pressure on the lever all you will get is the top cap of the die stripped up and out of the die body.

    Nothing will be gained by any changes to the shell holder.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  8. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010

    You are correct and I had to rethink why this works for me.

    My comments hinge on me decapping as a separate step. I don't use the Lee decapper mandrel. If you do so as per the instructions, you can polish the mandrel to get a little more neck tension for resized cases.

    I set mine up in a Forster Coax press that stops at the same spot so that no more or less force will cause any more or less travel in the die. Doing so allows me to control sizing and neck tension as per my own requirements. With the Forster, I don't have to mess with shellholder thickness, but I have done so in the past.

    Depending on how you set up, you may have to rely strictly on consistent pressure. ...and, Lee cautions against the use of toggle or snap over presses due to lack of "feel". I don't like relying on "feel".

    I'm not saying mine's the best way. But, I like the results.

    Thanks for correcting me,

    LRHWAL Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Measure the mandrel and if need be reduce the diameter. Some mandrels are too large to permit sufficient sizing.

    Turn it down or chuck it in a drill press and sort it out with emery paper. I needed to do this with my 270 die and my new 308 die is a problem too. If I do that I like to put a more gardual taper on the bottom too.