Lee Collet Neck Die

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scott/r
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Lee Collet Neck Die

#1 Postby scott/r » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:15 am

I've finally gone and got some new dies to replace the standard redding dies I've been using. I got the redding comp seating die (why didn't I do that years ago) and the Lee collet neck die. When I was setting the neck die up thankfully I used some old cases. It left sharp grooves up the neck from the collet where it squashes the case against the mandrel. So I pulled it apart again and wrapped some wet and dry around a screwdriver and honed the edges off. It took a few goes and the sharp edges are now gone. BUT when I'm sizing cases, it now leaves bumps up the neck from where the collet doesn't close completely. I have seated a few projectiles in the old cases as dummies and the bumps disappear. Is this normal or have I got the die set wrong?
The cases aren't neck turned either. Would this make any difference?

KHGS
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#2 Postby KHGS » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:30 am

scott/r wrote:I've finally gone and got some new dies to replace the standard redding dies I've been using. I got the redding comp seating die (why didn't I do that years ago) and the Lee collet neck die. When I was setting the neck die up thankfully I used some old cases. It left sharp grooves up the neck from the collet where it squashes the case against the mandrel. So I pulled it apart again and wrapped some wet and dry around a screwdriver and honed the edges off. It took a few goes and the sharp edges are now gone. BUT when I'm sizing cases, it now leaves bumps up the neck from where the collet doesn't close completely. I have seated a few projectiles in the old cases as dummies and the bumps disappear. Is this normal or have I got the die set wrong?
The cases aren't neck turned either. Would this make any difference?


Quite normal! When setting the die up only screw it down far enough to allow the press handle to rock over with some resistance. It is a good idea to take the die apart & apply some molly/anti scuff grease to the cone on top of the collet. Neck turning is not required this is one of the advantages of the collet die, they are very good neck dies, I have used them for years & highly recommend them. =D>
Keith H.

jasmay
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#3 Postby jasmay » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:37 am

Keith, is it possible to vary neck tension with the collet die?

if so what has been your procedure to do so.

Thanks in advance for any info.

scott/r
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#4 Postby scott/r » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:41 am

Cool,thanks Keith. I pulled the whole die apart and washed and re greased it before it went anywhere near the press. I got court with a dirty die years ago and "once bitten" they say.

scott/r
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#5 Postby scott/r » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:04 am

John posted this on a different thread in target rifle a while ago.It mentions polishing the mandrel for different neck tensions.


When talking about the .308 Winchester (though it applies to other calibers too), I would suggest that the single most useful tool that has ever been devised is the Lee collet die - when it is properly used. I have found that often the supposedly superior bushing dies result in eccentric necks causing excessive projectile runout & sometimes have a propensity to change the case's chamber fit.

The most useful writing on the Lee die I have read is this:

Using The Lee Collet Die.

I started using Lee collet dies when they first came on the market and have found that they are very good for the purposes for which they were designed .
I have found that there is a lack of understanding of how to use the die properly and as a result people fail to see the advantages that the die can deliver over standard neck sizing dies.
This is not the fault of the product , it is just a lack of understanding of how the die works and what it will feel like when you operate the press correctly.
Standard dies use a neck expanding ball on the decapping rod and size by extruding the neck through a hole and then drag the expander ball back through the inside neck.
The collet die achieves neck sizing by using a split collet to squeeze the outside of the case neck onto a central mandrel which has the decapping pin in it’s base .
One advantage is that there is no stretching or drawing action on the brass.
The inside neck diameter is controlled by the diameter of the mandrel and to some extent by the amount of adjustment of the die and the pressure applied to the press .
This results in less misalignment than can occur in standard dies because of any uneven neck wall thickness in the cases .
Cases will last longer in the neck area and require less trimming. If cases have very uneven neck wall thickness then this can cause problems for the collet die they definitely work smoother and more accurately with neck turned cases but it is not essential.
When you first receive the die unscrew the top cap and pull it apart check that everything is there also that the splits in the collet have nothing stuck in them then inspect the tapered surface on the top end of the collet and the internal taper of the insert to make sure there are no metal burs that might cause it to jamb.
Next get some good quality high pressure grease and put a smear onto the tapered surface of the collet .
Put it back together and screw it into the press just a few threads for now . The best type of press for this die is a press of moderate compound leverage that travels over centre .
Over centre means that when the ram reaches its full travel up it will stop and come back down a tiny amount even though the movement on the handle is continued through to the stop .
eg. is an RCBS Rockchucker.
This arrangement gives the best feel for a collet die sizing operation.
Place the shell holder in the ram and bring the ram up to full height then screw the die down until the collet skirt just touches on the shell holder , then lower the ram .
Take a case to be sized that has a clean neck inside and out and the mouth chamfered and place it in the shell holder.
Raise the ram gently feeling for resistance if none , lower the ram.
Screw the die down a bit at a time .
If you get lock up ( ram stops before going over centre) before the correct position is found then back it off and make sure the collet is loose and not jammed up in the die before continuing then raise the ram feeling for any resistance , keep repeating this until you feel the press handle resist against the case neck just at the top of the stroke as the press goes over centre and the handle kinder locks in place .
This takes much less force than a standard die and most people don’t believe any sizing has taken place .
Take the case out and try a projectile of the correct caliber to see how much sizing has taken place.
If it’s still too loose adjust the die down one eighth of a turn lock it finger tight only and try again .
Once the die is near the correct sizing position it takes very little movement of the die to achieve changes in neck seating tension .
This is where most people come undone , they move the die up and down too much and it either locks up or doesn’t size at all .
It will still size a case locking it up but you have no control over how much pressure is applied and some people lean on the press handle to the point of damaging the die. A press like the RCBS Rockchucker , that goes over centre each time gives you a definite stopping point for the ram and the pressure that you apply .
There is a small sweet spot for correct collet die adjustment and you must find it , once found , how sweet it is ! Advantages : With a press that travels over centre it is possible to adjust the neck seating tension within a very limited zone. No lubricant is normally required on the case necks during sizing .

If you still cant get enough neck tension to hold the bullet properly for a particular purpose then you will have to polish down the mandrel.
Be careful poilishing the mandrel down and only do it a bit at a time as a few thou can be removed pretty quickly if you overdo it.
You can't get extra neck tension by just applying more force. The amount of adjustment around the sweet spot is very limited and almost not noticable without carrying out tests.
For example , to go from a .001 neck tension to a .002 or .003 neck tension you would be talking about polishing down the mandrel.

There are some other advantages but I will leave you the pleasure of discovering them .
One disadvantage that I have found with the collet die is that it needs good vertical alignment of the case as it enters the die or case damage may result so go slowly.
Also some cases with a very thick internal base can cause problems with the mandrel coming in contact with the internal base before the sizing stroke is finished.
If pressure is continued the mandrel can push up against the top cap and cause damage . If you are getting lock up and cant get the right sizing sweet spot, then check that the mandrel is not too long for the case you can place a washer over the case and onto the shell holder and size down on that.
It will reduce the length of neck sized and give the mandrel more clearance. If it sizes Ok after adding the washer then the mandrel could be hitting the base.
This is not a usually problem once you learn how to use them .
The harder the brass is the more spring back it will have so very hard brass will exhibit less sizing than soft brass because it will spring away from the mandrel more. If this is happening to excess then use new cases or anneal the necks.
Freshly annealed brass can drag on the mandrel a bit in certain cases because it will spring back less and result in a tighter size diameter.
I have experienced it. I always use some dry lube on the inside and outside if I get any draging effect . Normally you dont need lube.
I make up a special batch 1/3 Fine Moly powder. 1/3 Pure graphite. 1/3 Aluminiumised lock graphite. Rub your fingers around the neck and It sticks very well to the necks by just dipping it in and out and tapping it to clear the inside neck . After a few cases it coats up the mandrel .
Other dry lubricants would work also.
Use the same process for normal neck sizing also.

I noticed a definite improvement in the accuracy of my 22-250Rem. as soon as I started using a Lee collet die instead of my original standard neck die.
Readers are encouraged to utilise the benefits of responsible reloading at all times. Although the author has taken care in the writing of these articles no responsibility can be taken by the author or publisher as a result of the use of this information.
John Valentine. © 21/01/2002.

KHGS
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#6 Postby KHGS » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:03 pm

jasmay wrote:Keith, is it possible to vary neck tension with the collet die?

if so what has been your procedure to do so.

Thanks in advance for any info.


I reduce the diameter of the decapping mandrel until I get the tension I want. This can be done easily by chucking the mandrel in a drill press chuck and polishing with 120 grit emery paper.
Keith H.

John23
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#7 Postby John23 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:52 pm

Looking on the net I am seeing come conflicting info on the Lee collet 6ppc die being compatible with 6mm Br.

Anyone been up this path?

Thanks

scott/r
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#8 Postby scott/r » Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:01 am

I didn't think that they were. Considering most of what I have read state that the 6ppc is formed from the 220 Russian case, I would have thought that they would be worlds apart.
In saying that, it's only of research that I have done myself and not actual hands on experience, so I may be right off the money. I was looking at converting my 223 savage to a 6br but couldn't bring myself to pulling apart such a good little gun.

johnk
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#9 Postby johnk » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:50 am

Here's a discussion on another web site FWIW:

http://forum.accurateshooter.com/thread ... t-36820084

6.5x47 lapua
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#10 Postby 6.5x47 lapua » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:47 am

Some things about collet dies i can share with you guys from my own experiences.
When i get a brand new set of collet dies the first thing i do to them is take a triangular diamond file to the edges of the inside of the collet fingers and round them off slightly. Then i put red scotchbrite on a mandrel and polish the inside. I use graphite on the inside of the necks of the cases when i am sizing and it helps keep the neck tension more consistent,along with a click type torque wrench attachment to the handle of your press.
Instead of polishing down the mandrels(which i used to do and it worked),now i have Lee build several mandrels in .001 increments for the specified caliber and set neck tension similar to changing bushings. The mandrels are very cheap to buy.
Collet dies are very universal.example of this is using a standard 260 collet die to neck size a 6.5-06 is easy.you just need to build a collar of the correct length to put between the shellholder and the bottom of the die that is slightly larger than the case.The same can be said about using a 6ppc collet die for the br. Just shim it until you get the amount of neck you want sized.
Hope this helps.Cheers!
Bob Galloway

scott/r
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#11 Postby scott/r » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:31 pm

I finally got to assemble 50 rounds this arvo with shells that have been resized with the Lee collet die and seated the projectiles with the new redding comp seater. The only down side to this setup is that I'm now kicking myself for not getting these dies sooner. The marks on the seater head works out to exactly .001" off adjustment in the oal. And out of the 50 rounds made there was only one mark different with all the finished rounds being at my desired length. Hopefully I'm thinking along the right lines that the neck tensions must be very similar. The reason for me thinking this is I've never had projectiles seat so well and similarly.
Now, bring on the weekend and let's see how they print on the targets.

Normmatzen
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#12 Postby Normmatzen » Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:47 am

My re-loading process has been pretty stable for some years.
1. Anneal cases
2. Full length body size with Short die.
3. Neck size with LEE custom collet die
4. Seat with inline die.

Of course, I didn't add all the prep processing like brushing inside case necks, selecting mandrel to control seating force, cleaning primer location etc.

I never went the route of selecting combinations of other calibers to neck size. I send a couple fired cases and bullets I will use to LEE and get a custom die set made. I also buy a couple custom mandrels so I can control seating force. The custom collet dies are too good and too inexpensive to pass up so I don't consider mis-matching other caliber pieces to do the job.
I recently graphically found that using non-short body dies was not adequate, so short dies do the job correctly. Yes, I can chuck up the mandrel and sand it down to increase seating force, but you need a custom larger mandrel to lower seating force.
Norm

EWM
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#13 Postby EWM » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:21 pm

Hi.
Is there a Lee Collet Neck Die for a 284/7 mm

EWM

Steve N
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#14 Postby Steve N » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:39 pm

EWM wrote:Hi.
Is there a Lee Collet Neck Die for a 284/7 mm

EWM


Not that I've been able to find. I use one for a 7-08 and use a spacer under it I made from a couple of washers stuck together. Need to make it about 3/16" thick to prevent crushing the case shoulder.
Works well unless I forget the spacer...

Steve.

AlanF
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Re: Lee Collet Neck Die

#15 Postby AlanF » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:09 pm

EWM wrote: Is there a Lee Collet Neck Die for a 284/7 mm


This is on Lee's website :
https://leeprecision.com/custom-services/custom-rifle-and-handgun-reloading-die-sets/


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