Lee Collet Die

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Ramses II, May 12, 2005.

  1. Ramses II

    Ramses II Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Is this normal. I ran my brass through the full length sizer and then followed the directions to use the collet die.....it was so easy to push the case in and out of the die I wonder if it did anything. I couldn't see any difference. So, I tried it with a shell I hadn't full length sized....same thing.....does this osund right?????
    Ramses II
  2. abinok

    abinok Writers Guild

    Nov 25, 2004
    Theres a set of four fingers that are attached to the portion of the die that moves at the bottom of the die. When you run a case into it, the shellholder will come into contact with that moving portion, and it will move up just a bit... then stop. At that point give it a good 25-30lb push. This squeexes those 4 fingers against the case neck, untill the inside of the neck comes into contact with the mandrel in the center of the die. when the pressure is released, the fingers open, the brass expands .001" and the brass is removed. The only thing that you will nottice has changed, is once fired brass is slightly less tight when running it up the mandrel, and a bit tighter when its being withdrawn. if you FL sized new brass, then ran it into the collet die, there is virtually no change in neck dimensions since the expander ball is designed to give the same diameter as the mandrel in the collet die.
    Am I making sense?
  3. Waltech Jim

    Waltech Jim Writers Guild

    Dec 2, 2004
    Ramses II,

    Two things could be at work here. If you are comparing the feeling to other dies you use, you may not feel anything. Secondly, you may be doing everything just fine and the brass is springing back just enough so there is no feeling on the handle. The only time I can feel/hear any friction between the mandrel and the brass (as I am removing the case) is when I have just annealed the cases.

    What I would do is set some cases aside to practice on. Try a bullet fit on these cases to see how much pressure is needed for your neck sizer to work the way you want it to. If you want to neck size only a portion of the neck, now is the time to get a collar (washers) to fit over the cases. Practice a little before getting serious...

    After loading with other dies for many years it took me some time to get familiar with these dies. Now that I am, I like them more and more as time goes on.

  4. Mysticplayer

    Mysticplayer Writers Guild

    Jul 27, 2001
    That's one of the great features of this die, no drag when entering or exiting the case. Son't need lube and can't stretch the necks.

    As abinok said, the only time the die 'contacts' the case is when you have bottomed out the die and are applying pressure to squeeze the neck.

    It does need a bit of force and why many have trouble. They just don't squeeze enough. I have a bullet near by and just try and push it into the neck. If not sized enough, the bullet can be hand pushed. If sized enough, the bullet will not go in.

    I have found these dies to produce wonderfully sized cases with little to no runout. Seating is also a joy as you can feel how consistent the force is needed to seat the bullets.

    You just have to get used to the fact that you are manually sizing/squeezing the case, not driving the neck into a small hole. Neck tension is in the 3 to 4 thou range which is ideal for hunting ammo and finding favor with more magnum/LR shooters for more consistent velocities.

    A tip: If you are finding that no matter how much you press on the die the necks don't want to hold the bullet tightly (ie can hand seat the bullets), time to anneal the brass.

    This is a sure fire way to know when your necks have worked hardened too much. The die will not be able to squeeze the necks down. Just anneal and all is well.

    I have not found the same thing with reg. 'small' neck die sizing. I have had great loads go sour because necks had work hardened enough for inconsistent neck tension. With no way to monitor the condition, a lot of head scratching and cursing was caused.

    Now I just size until it just doesn't want to work. Anneal, problem solved. I use 475 deg tempilac paint to monitor neck temp. This is the same temp as what Hornady uses in their kits. I let the paint melt and hold for a few extra seconds. I find that it gives that nice bluish colour that you see on military brass (no polishing). Great results.