Lee collet neck dies .222 & .243

charlieboy-shooter

Well-Known Member
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
 

buck52

Well-Known Member
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.
 
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bewsher500

Well-Known Member
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
 

takbok

Well-Known Member
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.
 

charlieboy-shooter

Well-Known Member
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.

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
 
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takbok

Well-Known Member
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 )
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
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
 

buck52

Well-Known Member
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.
 

Whitebeard

Well-Known Member
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.
 

buck52

Well-Known Member
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
 

charlieboy-shooter

Well-Known Member
Hi Guys,


Thank you to all for your comments.


It appears that it was operator error, needed to be set just so. I can now see that there was probably not a correct answer as to how many turns, as it appears you just have to set it up to suit. When I get the adjustment so that the ram just cams over with a case in the holder all is well. I can not push the bullet into the neck by hand any more. As ever Muir was correct as 2 turns is too much, which I don’t fully understand as I would have thought, that would have closed the collet to its max, but I guess the inner part of the die is at the top of its travel and the cam over effect of the ram exerts a little more pressure closing the collet more onto the mandrel than when I was pushing against a dead stop. Think I’m sorted now, with no need to crimp. But do some still crimp on neck sized cases only?


Thanks again
Steve
 

charlieboy-shooter

Well-Known Member
Yes so true buck52, followed your advice in your 1st post + read some more threads. Once set up correctly all appears good. The only thing I would say now about the lee instructions are, could have stated that need to adjust to die to suit rather than this many turns for that Lee press & that many turns for others.
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
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.

I have collet dies in .222, .243, .270, 308 and .300WM
never had a problem with any of them
if the mandrel is oversized I can see there being a problem but otherwise it is down to set up

how many people have fecked up the setting up of a FL die and screwed cases, got cases stuck for not lubing or generally made an arse of it?
don't see people bashing FL dies in threads though do you?

As soon as it has a Lee badge it is the butt of all jokes
 

buck52

Well-Known Member
I have collet dies in .222, .243, .270, 308 and .300WM
never had a problem with any of them
if the mandrel is oversized I can see there being a problem but otherwise it is down to set up

how many people have fecked up the setting up of a FL die and screwed cases, got cases stuck for not lubing or generally made an arse of it?
don't see people bashing FL dies in threads though do you?

As soon as it has a Lee badge it is the butt of all jokes
True.
The Lee Collet Die does a very accurate job, most of the Lee bashers are those who "fail" to set them up properly, give up on them and revert back to full length sizing which is wholly unnecessary if you are using in brass in the same rifle. Ok after a few sizings you may need to bump the shoulders back a tad but thats not a chore, in any case you will resize more cases in an hour with the Collet Die than you will F/L sizing!
Agreed the lee setup instructions are crap.
 

Whitebeard

Well-Known Member
I have collet dies in .222, .243, .270, 308 and .300WM
never had a problem with any of them
if the mandrel is oversized I can see there being a problem but otherwise it is down to set up

how many people have fecked up the setting up of a FL die and screwed cases, got cases stuck for not lubing or generally made an arse of it?
don't see people bashing FL dies in threads though do you?

As soon as it has a Lee badge it is the butt of all jokes
Collet dies are en excellent concept just poorly executed by Lee, they are neither consistantly good or consistantly bad, there are dies fit for purpose and dies unfit for purpose.
I have personally done side by side tests with two identical 243 collet dies and a batch of the same brass, one die gave satisfactory neck tension and the other didnt, here in is where the problem lies, measuring the mandrel showed .0015" difference in diametre
Most people have good sets and have no problems with there use but there are plenty of those that dont, the amount of users who post on here about the probelms with the collet die usage being a good indicator.

Ian.
 

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