Lee Collet Neck Sizing Die Questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ltrmc02, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. ltrmc02

    ltrmc02 Well-Known Member

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    Nov 23, 2011
    Do any of you guys remove the collet and polish the outter tappered part of the collet so that it'll have a smoother surface to interface with the tappered bushing that holds the mandrel? This surface has rings or ridges where it contacts the madrel bushing which causes the squeezing action of the collet. I disassembled mine to sand the edges of the slits in the collet like I've read that others do but after seeing these ridges I was thinking they needed to be polished down smooth.

    Also do any of you put a little grease at these contact points and between the die body and collet which has a sliding action?
     
  2. Kennibear

    Kennibear Well-Known Member

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    Jul 24, 2012
    Yes to all of the above.
    In addition I polish most of the parts that pull through the neck with 2000 grit sandpaper (from the auto parts store). In the Lee collet neck sizer I polish the mandrel and wrap a piece around a drill bit and polish the inside of the collet. It doesn't take much to smooth it up- less than a thousandth. Everything shines like a mirror. The reduction in friction is amazing and it has to help case life.

    I use wheel bearing grease between the collet and die body, "A little dab will do yah".
     

  3. flashhole

    flashhole Well-Known Member

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    Nov 15, 2009
    Kennibear's advice is spot on. I don't think you can name a surface treatment step that hasn't been used by some reloader on the Collet Neck Die. Smooth surfaces are much better than rough surfaces. Polish away.
     
  4. Kennibear

    Kennibear Well-Known Member

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    I should mention that I polish EVERYBOBY's neck parts, even Big Green. In pistol dies the neck expander comes out and I chuck it into the drill press at <200rpm and hit it w/ 2000 grit + a drop of light oil (protect the threads w/ a wrap of electrical tape). 2000 not 200. The expanding mandrel looks like mirror and before and after tests show a dramatic drop in effort. I have machinist Micrometers w/ standards 0" - 6" (Starrett) that read to a ten-thousandth and it changes less than one division (<0.0001").
    Well worth the effort. Hand polishing costs manufacturers big $ so I don't harp on any of them.
    Glad to do it myself.
     
  5. Gale Johnson

    Gale Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Dec 4, 2012
    Sorry to highjack your thread, good advice all, How do you get your decapping pin to last more than 36 shells? that is when mine broke, seemed to be working well up until that point. Is there a different pin and where do i get one?

    thank you
    Gale Johnson
     
  6. joe0121

    joe0121 Well-Known Member

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    I have decapped hundred of once fired brass with crimped primers without issue. That said I have a couple spare decapers.
     
  7. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    Gale, decap pins don't "break", they get broken by the user. You'll have to find out how.

    With no clue what brand of die your using we can't tell you how to get new pins but you'll likely have to contact the maker.
     
  8. Gale Johnson

    Gale Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Dec 4, 2012
    you are right, i was running the press, but i didn't do anything out of the usual, have done thousands with forster dies and haven't broke a pin yet, seemed to crack in half kinda cross ways

    It is a Lee Collet Die in 223
     
  9. Kennibear

    Kennibear Well-Known Member

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    Jul 24, 2012
    Gale Johnson

    Get a universal decapping die and decap as a first step separate from everything else. I clean my primer pockets and necks as the second step (using a slow speed drill press - very quick!) and wash the cases in dishwasher detergent most of the time, drying them in the oven laid out on a tinfoil covered cookie sheet. I use my own cookie sheets as wives do not approve of that sort of thing.

    Use the hottest water out of the faucet for two rinses and roll them back and forth in an old towel. Set the oven no higher than 170F degrees. Check your oven with a good thermometer as any hotter can alter the temper of the brass. Half an hour and I turn the oven off and pull the dried brass out @ 1hr total time.

    At this point you have clean, grit - free brass to process through your dies. Zero chance of scratching the sizing die. For the collet neck sizer I dip the neck in dry lube and that's all. The brass is perfectly clean for primer, powder and bullet. Almost zero chance of contamination. The washing takes no more than 5 minutes tops, seriously. If you want the brass really bright get some citric acid at the health food store. The process is; 1) wash w/ detergent. 2) rinse twice. 3) Citric acid @ 2tbsp / pint of really hot water. Swirl in the plastic tub then let the cases sit for about 15 minutes. Swirl again and drain. 4) clear hot water rinse. 5) Just a little dishwasher detergent to neutralize the acid. 6) Two hot water rinses. This is the least destructive way to clean the tarnish off.

    I developed this procedure when I lived in Idaho and shot Title II machine guns that toss the brass everywhere. Had to find a quick way to process the brass to get rid of the dirt before running it all through the progressive loader. I can't remember the last time I used the sizing die decapper to remove the primers.

    Hope this helps. Don't be intimidated by the wash. I spend 15 minutes at the most at the sink doing this not including wait time. When waiting I set my powder measure to throw the right charge weight or something else productive at the loading bench.