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Thread: collet dies

  1. #1

    collet dies

    hi been using the lee collet dies for a couple of years now in my 25 06, very happy with the results just wondering what others think of them. thanks

  2. #2
    There are ok for starters but not a patch on the likes of Redding and Wilson.

    Its a bit like quality Optics until you have used them in anger you will never realise what you are missing.

  3. #3
    I think the design is excellent, very simple and they do load accurate ammo. I just wish they were made a little better. Nice and lazy too as you dont have to lube your cases.

    Yorkie.

  4. #4
    yorkie thats my thoughts exactly

  5. #5
    I like them, they work using a unique method i.e. collet fingers squeeze the neck around a mandrel.

    When the Lee patents expire I bet you will see other manufacturers bringing out similar dies.

    They can be improved by 15 minutes work with some emery paper to smooth the corners of the fingers where the slots are cut, and to polish the cone surface of the collet and die to make the wedging action smoother, plus a dab of moly grease.

    You need to understand how they work to set them up properly. Once you have them adjusted they work very well. Squeeze the die twice, rotating the case e.g. 45 degrees to eliminate any slight marks from the gaps between the fingers.

    If you find you are no longer getting good neck tension this is a sign that your brass needs annealing and is springing back slightly. Check inside neck diameter of a few cases with calipers to confirm. The same would also apply with a bushing die.

    I've read several moans about this from inexperienced reloaders who don't think the die is working properly, they are usually wrong. Some have even over-adjusted so far, and leaned on the press so hard that they have stripped the threads of the cap !!! Lee realised this might happen so made it from alloy as an inexpensive sacrificial safety feature.

    You could still get away using these work hardened cases with an FL die for a bit longer, if you weren't bothered about proper results.

    For ordinary reloading they do have advantages over the posher bushing dies.

    Neck thickness variation does not affect the results, nor are different sized bushings required. And the inside of the neck will be as circular as the mandrel. With a bushing die the outside of the neck ends up circular, but the inside neck may not be, due to neck thickness variations etc. It is the inside of the neck that is important for bullet alignment, tension etc.

    i think you would have to be using either the very best brass, or turning the necks, to see the benefits of a bushing die. IMHO, (I've not yet used a bushing die.)

    Have heard that bushing dies will eventually cause doughnuts, should be unlikely with Lee.
    Last edited by Sharpie; 23-03-2013 at 14:26.

  6. #6
    Lee Collet dies are very good. Very little runout.
    This video by the owner of Shoot.com compares Lee collet die with Hornady die.

  7. #7
    I love them. Never needed to polish or adjust anything but I use mine so frequently that they get burnished from use pretty fast. I have been using them off and on in my 308 long range rifle as the gun seems to shot small-based,full length resized loads and collet sized loads equally. I got lazy the other night and skipped the decapper die and went straight to the collet die before ultra sound cleaning. Worked great. The cases came out of the drier ready to load.

    I have a friend that orders extra mandrels and polishes them to custom sizes for his bevy of 308's and .223's. He has one for commercial brass and one for military.~Muir

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jack View Post
    Lee Collet dies are very good. Very little runout.
    This video by the owner of Shoot.com compares Lee collet die with Hornady die.
    Thats not realy a proper comparison.

    That Hornady die is nothing more than an FL die with the body section enlarged so that it touches only the neck. It works just the same as a normal die, i.e. the neck is over-worked too small on the upstroke, then enlarged back up to proper size by dragging the button back through on the downstroke.

    I should know, I own one. Its a compromise, mine is for just about any .308 calibre e.g. 308, 30-06, so the cases are not centralised in any way. The longer cases don't enter all the way, you have adjust the decapper/button rod so it sticks out of the bottom. It has its uses, but only 'cos I found it in a dealers bits box for a fiver.

    You could get exactly the same results, possibly better, with an FL die, backed off so it just touches, maybe slightly bumps, the shoulder.

    He chose probably the worst "neck die" for his comparison. I think a fair comparison would be with a bushing neck die, which works in the opposite way.

    Also his runout measurement is pretty meaningless, if checked on a seated bullet, at the base and near the tip, I'd be more interested.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    I have a friend that orders extra mandrels and polishes them to custom sizes for his bevy of 308's and .223's. He has one for commercial brass and one for military.~Muir
    I did just that for 30-30 shooting cast lead sized to .311 rather than .308. Used the (polished) .312 mandrel for a .303 die, fitted in a .308 neck die body. Longer neck of 30-30 means 308 die leaves a short unformed portion by the shoulder which centralises the case in the chamber.

    Worked well, but I've since returned to FL sizing for 30-30.

  10. #10
    I've got a pair of pliers and a mallet that will seat bullets with less runout than the last couple of sets of Hornady dies Ive purchased.~Muir

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