Lee Collet Dies vs Redding S bushing dies

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by dlebeck, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. dlebeck

    dlebeck Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    I asked this one on another forum. What are your opinions of the Lee Collet neck sizing dies?? What are your feeling about the Redding S bushing neck sizing dies and what brand of seater die do you prefer?
     
  2. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,537
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    IMO, the Lee is clearly the better die even though it cost a fraction of the Redding die. It works the neck less and needs no lube. To adjust the neck tension one only needs to polish the mandrel to the desired size. It also works on a variety of same length shells. For example, I use my 25-06 die on 25-06AI and 257Wby. I quit using full length and other brands where ever I can use a collet die.
     

  3. Delta Hunter

    Delta Hunter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    161
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    I agree with Hired Gun. I own a few of both types and nowdays the only one I use are the Lee collet dies. It makes consistently straight ammo, works the brass less and doesn't require lube at all.

    As far a seater dies I'm partial to Redding Comp and Forster Benchrest seaters.
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Another vote for the collet dies. No lube, easyer on brass, and no need to turn necks.
     
  5. 300winnie

    300winnie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Hired Gun,

    Did you have to make any modifications to your Lee Collet die in 25-06 to make it work for the .257 Weatherby?

    Thanks.
     
  6. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,537
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Short answer is yes and no. You can use it like it is if you want. What it will do is leave a real slight line around the base of the neck where it meets the shoulder. You can either go with it. It won't hurt anything or there are two ways to deal with it. One way is to use a washer around the base of the brass on top of the shell holder to space the die up a bit higher but this way gets to be a pain after awhile. I ended up just running a 7/16 drill bit in there and taking a small amount out of the neck sizer part of the die. This will eliminate the line and will raise some ugly burrs in the die. I just stuck a fine chain saw file in there and knocked the burrs off. It doesn't take much and then the die will work clean as ever. I don't have any pictures of the mod but if you want one I could get one by tomorrow.
     
  7. Centre Punch

    Centre Punch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    676
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Guys,
    At the request of our fellow member Jimm, i have been conducting side by side tests to see which loads the most accurate ammunition, Lee collet or Redding competition.

    So far i have not collected enough data to show which are better, suffice to say both are producing very accurate ammo with neither showing any superiority over the other.
    Thats where it ends though, the quality of the Lee dies is crap, i had to de-burr the inside of the collets because the grooves were putting marks on the cases, i also had to polish down the sizing rod to get enough neck tension.

    I am waiting to test loads at long range but i have very limited access longer shooting distances.
    At this moment i cannot say that Redding Comp dies load more accurate ammo then the Lee collet, but from an engineering point of veiw the Lee dies are a pile of $hite that should be chucked in the bin.

    Ian.
     
  8. Mysticplayer

    Mysticplayer Writers Guild

    Messages:
    1,459
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    From an engineering standpoint, I think the Lee die is really very smart. Got a patent so I guess others felt the same way.

    As to quality control, well, for the sort of money Lee is asking, you will get a few rough spots. However, most of the dies I have used over the years didn't need any touching up at all.

    The biggest advantage of the Lee die is that the collet will size the very base of the neck. No doughnuts.

    That cannot be said for the Redding die.

    For simplicity in use and quality of finished sized neck, the Lee wins hands down. Add in the fact that it can be used with many other cartridges of same calibre and is dirt cheap, no comparison.

    Only downside is that quite a bit of force is required to squeeze those necks so you need a sturdy press/bench.

    Jerry
     
  9. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,537
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    CP,
    How would deburring or polishing the inside of the die eliminate the voids in the collet that cause the lines in the neck? The lines are not detrimental to accuracy or case life. If they really bother you they can be eliminated by turning the brass 1/8 of a turn and hitting it again.

    The reasons the Redding die is inferior is it is sensitive to neck thickness and requires the time consuming use of lube. This mandates neck turning for consistent neck tension. What is easier, to polish the mandrel with a drill with some 320 grit once in your lifetime or to turn all your brass? The alternative is to have to buy a bunch of bushings, which further drive up the cost of the overpriced Redding die. The Lee die straightens and sizes the neck with a mandrel that extends clear through the primer hole. There is no way to make a neck with run out where a Redding is very susceptible to operator error being that it is absolutely critical that the brass be placed in the shell holder perfectly aligned with the die. This is tough to do consistently. Before the advent of the Lee Collet dies the Redding bushing die was state of the art. It’s day has passed.

    I wonder if the Lee dies would get more respect if they cost more. When I used to weld and fabricate for a living I had a lot more criticism of my work when I only charged $25 an hour. When I bumped up to $100 an hour all I ever heard was praise.

    Jerry, in my experience the Lee takes a lot less pressure to use than any other type die. The instructions say to set it up so it sizes mid stroke and that takes a bit of pressure. I set mine up where the press just lightly cams over. Any more than that and it will blow the aluminum cap out of the die. I could run the press with my pinky this way.
     
  10. Jimm

    Jimm Writers Guild

    Messages:
    1,270
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Ian !

    Youre still alive and kicking /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif Great to hear from you

    Your post on the Lee collet dies regarding " performance ,fit and finish" is refreshing to read . You gave the pros and cons as you see them but even though you are biased towards the Reddings you did not let that stop you from telling what you have experienced . I like tools that have quality finishes as well as you , yet there is a lot to be said for tools that can perform at a higher level without the higher associated cost of a more eyepleasing tool . Richard Lee is a genius in his field and has provided many that can not afford more costly tools with the means to equal the results of them.

    Another note regarding the force required to use the collet dies . I felt like I was overresponding to the instructions in the Lee die set regarding " minimum of 25 lbs force " . So out comes the dial caliper and measurements are taken with what was the force I had been using and then with sucessively smaller amounts of pressure on the press to discover at what level the case is fully sized to the mandrel . I was using twice ( approx ) the force necessary for the task . I wish some of the genious folks here would come up with a gauge that would show applied force to save wear and tear .

    Remember that the " no lube , no neck turn " deal is worth a boatload in consideration of this simple die and the weight in favor of them grows even heavier because of this .

    I am glad that you are getting some use out of the 243 die , I was afraid it would never get to you .

    Jerry Teo and Abinok ar e experts on these dies and a t some time in the past Jerry pointed out several things tha t the Lee collet die would tell you about the condition of the brass that other dies could not . Alas , I am a pitiful search person so I can not tell of those things . Maybe Jerry or Abinok will take the time to repeat what they have shared before . However , I have learned recently that if you push 300 win mag brass hard enough the belt will not want to go inside the " guide " of a collet die causing a scuff / reduction of the belt in order for it to do so . This telltale caused me to check the dimensions of the extractor groove sooner than I would have . From a new measurement to the " problem measurement " was 5 thousands diff., ouch /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif pushed them a bit too much /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif I reckon .

    As far as longrange testing I can attest to the fact that while using Lee collet dies my 300 winnie has produced groups in the 2.5 to 3 inch size at 700. Nothing earthshaking , but certainly some evidence in favor of the accuracy potential of the dies .

    Jim B.
     
  11. abinok

    abinok Writers Guild

    Messages:
    877
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Aside from the base expansion, the best thing the die can "tell you" about the brass being used is when you are work hardening the brass to the point it needs annealed. If it won't hold a bullet with the standard mandrel (about .0007"-.001" neck expansion on bullet seating) its time to either anneal, or can it.
    Collet dies are awesome. Denouncers to their "engineering" seem to conviently leave out that where the different metals contact, there is NO wear, and no moving parts. Fit is what you would expect from a $20 die. Performance is far out of proportion to their cost. They are awesome!
     
  12. Centre Punch

    Centre Punch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    676
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Hi Jimm,
    Yes i am still around, i come here everyday but have got to a stage now that i only comment about things on which i have a current interest or if i can help anyone, maybe i'm getting a bit long in the tooth /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    I meticulously craft all my ammunition to benchrest standards whether it needs it or not, neck turning, uniforming etc are done without a second thought, i clean and polish my cases so they gleam.

    To me, Handloading is the major part of our hobby with the shooting being secondary, prooving my ability to produce accurate, clean, good looking ammunition.

    This attention to detail does not make me a better shooter but what it does give me is 100% confidence that i have crafted the finest ammunition i can, because of this i demand top quality tooling.
    Redding fits the bill here for me perfectly, i am not a wealthy man but i will scrimp, scrape and save untill i can afford the equipment i want.

    All you guys who successfully use Lee collet dies, maybe i was a bit harsh with my comments, if they work for you and give you the satisfaction that i get with my handloads then thats great and you know how i feel. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Ian
     
  13. mo

    mo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    432
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    I also like the the Lee Collet dies. I also have a couple rifles that need to be ran through a FL die after ever firing. My question is could Lee or any other die manf. build a collet die that could FL the brass? That would great!!! Moe
     
  14. dlebeck

    dlebeck Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Moe, that is a great idea that will never happen! There is no way to get a bottle shaped mandrell into a bottle necked case through the neck of the subject case. I have used a die made by Inovative Tech's for belted mag cases such as the 300 win family of cartridges. It works on a similar principle to the Lee Collet die. Works good but only sizes the area just ahead of the belt.

    Doug