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Thread: Lee collet neck dies .222 & .243

  1. #1

    Lee collet neck dies .222 & .243

    Hi Guys,

    Like so advice please on the following. Just purchased set of Lee collet neck dies for .222 & .243. The instructions say if using a lee press, screw die down until it touches shell holder, then turn die + 1 ¼ turns. For other presses turn die until die touches holder + 2 turns.

    As my press is an ancient RCBS RC, I screwed the die in + 2 turns. I can push bullets into the neck on both calibers after resizing but is easier on the .222. I have also set the die @ 1 ¼ turns and neck tension is better but I can still push the bullet in by hand but need a kinetic hammer to remove. But the bullet could move in.
    Am I being a girl and not pulling down hard enough on the press handle?? (Instructions state about 25lb of pressure required but too much can damage the collet).
    Does anyone know the best way to set these die’s in a RCBS RC press ?
    I guess that as the set is not provided with a crimp it is pointless crimping. Please excuse my ignorance.
    I have read about polishing the mandrel by 0.001” but only want to do this if I must.
    I guess some of the advice will be shouldn’t have bought lee die’s.
    Thanks
    Steve

  2. #2
    Regular Poster buck52's Avatar
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    Ammomaster.com has 2 videos about how to set the die up properly
    Polish 1 thou off the mandrill it wont cause a problem and, if you are using old brass it may have hardened and needs annealing or binning.
    There are plenty of videos on the net that will show you how to set the die up properly, it takes a bit of fiddling to get it right.
    Remember that after a few firings and collet sizing you may have to bump the case shoulders back, tight bolt close is the indicator.
    Last edited by buck52; 20-02-2015 at 14:55.
    Never a Lender or Borrower be

  3. #3
    when you set it up are you just setting it up so the shell holder just touches the bottom of the collet?

    you realise the inner collet tube moves up inside the main die body?

    when you put in a case you should be just camming over when the die runs out of travel

    I would suggest you uncrew the collar, keep winding down until you reach this point

    I use these religously with all my cartridges, no neck tension issues even with some harder than ideal brass

    Set up is key

    Oh, and BTW, crimping is always worth a go
    you may be surprised what it produces

  4. #4
    I don't think you can really screw in the collet dies too much. Don't be scared to turn it in more - you'll probably be able to get more feel that way. I'm not familiar with the RCBS press so am not sure how much of a cam effect you get at the end of the lever travel, but you'd want to avoid too much camming by screwing the die in more with the collet die.

  5. #5
    Yes I think I understand the principal, that the inner part of the die travels up inside and due to the tapered effect closes the jawed collar around the case neck & pushes onto the mandrel to size. It was the cam over effect that I’m unsure of with the RCBS RC. Because with 2 additional turns of the die(after set to touch the shell holder) I was pushing onto a dead stop and couldn’t get the handle to travel its full travel. I will have a play tonight but adjusting so I can get the ram to reach top but handle to give full travel. If still no good I will try screwing in more or less. I will also try crimp for better tension. The cases are not old, once fired only.
    Thanks to all.

    Quote Originally Posted by bewsher500 View Post
    when you set it up are you just setting it up so the shell holder just touches the bottom of the collet?

    you realise the inner collet tube moves up inside the main die body?

    when you put in a case you should be just camming over when the die runs out of travel

    I would suggest you uncrew the collar, keep winding down until you reach this point

    I use these religously with all my cartridges, no neck tension issues even with some harder than ideal brass

    Set up is key

    Oh, and BTW, crimping is always worth a go
    you may be surprised what it produces
    Last edited by charlieboy-shooter; 21-02-2015 at 18:26. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
    I think that the die is set up fine as it is. There is no need for the ram to reach full travel position. If you're exerting enough force, the die should do its job. I think that maybe the cases are at fault. Don't be scared of putting a bit of force into it - there's nothing you can break on the press, case or die (other than bending the handle on the press ��)

  7. #7
    I use an RCBS press for my Lee Collet Dies. It should cam over with a 'thump' with the dies set correctly. Two turns may be too much but keep inching the dies inward until the neck holds a bullet. You won't hurt the dies or the press; you'll just come to a dead stop if you've gone too far -as you've found out.~Muir

  8. #8
    Regular Poster buck52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by takbok View Post
    I think that the die is set up fine as it is. There is no need for the ram to reach full travel position. If you're exerting enough force, the die should do its job. I think that maybe the cases are at fault. Don't be scared of putting a bit of force into it - there's nothing you can break on the press, case or die (other than bending the handle on the press ��)
    If you overdo pressure on the press handle you can strip the ally threads in the die.
    As for crimping there really is no need, if you have the die set up properly you will have all the neck tension you need.
    Never a Lender or Borrower be

  9. #9
    Once again the Lee collet die failing to do what its supposed to do without the need for modification, no matter how far you screw the die in or how much overcam you have you cannot size the case any tighter then the mandrel allows.
    Like dozens of collet die users before you who have posted over the years with the same problem, you need to polish the mandrel down untill you get the desired neck tension, either that or bin them and get some proper F/L sizing dies.

    Ian.

  10. #10
    Regular Poster buck52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard View Post
    Once again the Lee collet die failing to do what its supposed to do without the need for modification, no matter how far you screw the die in or how much overcam you have you cannot size the case any tighter then the mandrel allows.
    Like dozens of collet die users before you who have posted over the years with the same problem, you need to polish the mandrel down untill you get the desired neck tension, either that or bin them and get some proper F/L sizing dies.

    Ian.
    Its not failing, failure is usually down to the user not setting it up properly.
    I have just bought a new Collet die and have not needed to "polish" the mandrill, I did on the first one I got about 10 years ago but that was down to me wanting more neck tension, the reason I wasnt getting it was because I had not set it up correctly.
    It is also a proven fact (dozens of times) that there is less run out with a collet die than any others.
    Sure, get F/L sizing dies if you like, go ahead lube every case, then clean the lube off oh, and overwork the brass while you are at it!
    No brainer
    Never a Lender or Borrower be

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