Lee Collet die questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by cbans, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. cbans

    cbans Member

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    I just bought a Lee Collet die for my .30-06. I was putting together some 185 VLDs and I had some brass I had resized with my RCBS dies and I had some brass I sized using my new Lee die. What I noticed is the brass resized with the RCBS was a lot tighter. The VLDs felt like they were falling into the brass I sized with the Lee Collet die. That doesn't bother me when I am going to the range but, when I am hunting in the field if need to take a second shot is my OAL going to change with recoil??
     
  2. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "the brass resized with the RCBS was a lot tighter."

    Virtually ALL common size dies leave a too-small neck inside diameter which requires the bullet to serve as it's own expander as it's pushed in. That does NOT mean it's being held any tighter; it rarely is. But it does require more seating force and that extra seating force is a large contributor to bullet run-out. The Lee collet "expander" (the mandrel actually) insures that we can't make necks too small and that greatly reduces seating effort; that's a good thing.



    "When I am hunting in the field if need to take a second shot is my OAL going to change with recoil?? "

    Not likely. Even if it really is a bit loose the front of the magazine should prevent bullet pulling, at least in a bolt rifle.

    All a neck needs is to be 1 to 1.5 thou under bullet diameter anyway. Again, less ID than that is simply going to have the bullet stretch the neck passed it's plastic limits so greater seating force does not translate into a mechanically tighter bullet grip.

    The Lee collet die usually leaves necks in the ideal range for both grip and accuracy, that's a large part of why it's so well liked by knowledgable reloaders.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010

  3. cbans

    cbans Member

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    Thanks for the response. I have read on these and other forums that guys really liked the collet die and that is why I bought it. It just made me uncomfortable when the bullet seated so easily. Now, I am looking forward to testing the new rounds I put together. Thanks again.
     
  4. roaddog1m

    roaddog1m Well-Known Member

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    It depends on where you measure your OAL. Heavy recoiling rounds (especially in light hunting rifles) pound the ammo that is in the magazine against the front of the magazine and frequently deform the tips. I haven't found any evidence that the bullet gets pushed in any deeper but the tip does get smashed down a bit, there by reducing the OAL of the cartridge. However, the best way to measure OAL is at the ogive of the bullet and that measurement shouldn't change any. Also, the deformed tip shouldn't degrade your accuracy if you are hunting inside of 500yds. Past that, every little bit starts to make a difference.

    I have several sets of the Lee Collet dies that my Dad purchased for us before he passed away. He really liked them and I think they get a bad rap unnecessarily. I think Lee needs to charge about fifty bucks more per set and then maybe guys would like them more. I have had good luck with them. If you are concerned about your hunting ammo, pick up a Lee factory crimp die. You will need to experiment with it to make sure that your accuracy remains acceptable but most times it does depending on what bullet you are using.

    I have RCBS, Redding, Hornady, CHC and Lee dies and I find myself using the Lee dies quit often.

    Good shooting,
    Tom
     
  5. Loner

    Loner Well-Known Member

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    The instructions for setting the collet die up are a little different so make sure you
    followed them and didn't do it from experience with conventional dies. I use the Lee
    crimp die on all my hunting rounds and in semi autos. Play with it a bit too if you decide
    to use one. Crimping and pulling bullets will allow you to see just how deep it compresses
    them. Use those calipers, they can be your best friend when dealing with neck tension.
     
  6. LRHWAL

    LRHWAL Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Boomtube. That said I still needed to take the mandrel on my Lee Collett down a touch for my 270. The others seemed to work fine. I measure the results I get, so yes, I really did need to do it. I chucked it in a drill press and reduced it just a touch and measured the results and the effect as I went.

    My bullets literally dropped into the sized necks and into the case initially.
     
  7. cbans

    cbans Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I think I have it set right and I am looking forward to going shooting!
     
  8. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    I use Lee neck die from time to time, what I noticed with mine are lines on the neck of the resized brass left by collet

    [​IMG]
     
  9. LRHWAL

    LRHWAL Well-Known Member

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    Jinx, that's from the fingers of the collett closing together. It's normal. Look inside the case neck and you will see how the "important surface" looks. The ridges have no impact on either accuracy or case life in my experience.
     
  10. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    I guess I can't call it unequal tension on the neck surface, since this marks proportionally distributed around the neck, one thing to remember then is to outside neck turn before neck size :D, on the picture above the brass never been through Lee collet die so it barres only 4 marks...
     
  11. Johnboy

    Johnboy Well-Known Member

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    hey if you want to try turning the case about 1/4th of a turn and run the case back in.this should remove the marks.or at least push them back in some.this is what I do for all my lee neck sizeing and it helps with the marks.but as one has already said it has nothing to do with the inside of the case neck holding the bullet.
     
  12. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    If you carefully look on the inside of the neck after resizing it with lee collet, you would eventually recognize lines, because they are formed on both sides :rolleyes:
    [​IMG]


    The brass above been cycled at-least 10 times, and sized with Lee 5 or 6 times, it is almost done but it will go through another 2 - 3 cycles, then annealing then I might discard it, here is a better picture of outside finger prints left by collet
    [​IMG]

    Let's just call it "Mutilation by Lee Die" :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  13. LRHWAL

    LRHWAL Well-Known Member

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    Jinx, wow. Mine are not nearly as visible (?bad) as that - both in 270 and 300 WM.

    Also, my collett fingers close very close together around the case. I'm guessing maybe slightly thicker brass affects this?

    I do take the die apart when I get it and smooth off any burrs on the collett fingers and slightly smooth the edges that contact the fingers with fine waterpaper. I suppose that may help too.

    I also do lube with the Redding dry lube applied with the little ceramic balls.

    I've so far loaded my 300WM cases (WW) 11 times with all neck sizing done with the Lee and shoulder moved with a body die. I annealled at 6 reloads and then at 10.
     
  14. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    This are 308 WIN, I did polish my dies with J&B and I do put croil to keep rust away. Lee dies produce not bad loads, they are good for hunting purposes, but not for bench-rest or competition shooting...

    Anyway, as you can see things around me tend to work in the most mysterious way, specially break :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010