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Lee Dies, Hornady Press (single stage)

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by rrojohnso, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    'Morn'n

    So I am new to reloading - just gotta get that out there. I have a Hornady lock-n-load press; it's new, and has the stroke that 'toggles over.' I loaded the press with Lee's Collet die for neck resizing. I have read the instructions and the FAQ, but something just doesn't seem right!

    I cleaned, then lubed the brass. I screwed the die into the press until it met the top of the ram stroke. I then screwed the die two full turns and locked the ring (note: the die is all the way into the press at this point - I can't screw the die any further down). When I raise the ram, the primer is poked out, and I feel a 'stop' on the lever. I put pressure on the lever and never feel the collet do it's job. When I measure the brass, the internal neck of the brass isn't opened up to take a new round. I feel like I am putting a ton of pressure on the ram, and when the brass comes out, the collet is still floating in the die.

    Any advice? Do I need to try more pressure, or back the die back out?

    Thanks! ~ Bobby
     
  2. joken

    joken Corvallis Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    With the shell holder place extend the ram to the top of it's stroke. Adjust your decapping/sizing die so the pin extends far enough to pinch the primer out of the case. Screw the die in until it touches the shell holder and then 1/4 turn more and lock it in place. You should be good to go. I hope this helps. Ken
     
  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The Collet die works different than all other sizing dies. First, it only sizes the neck of the case. Lee recommends that you not let your press "Cam Over" because you run the risk of damaging the internal parts of the die. If you can't screw the die into the press far enough using the lee lock nut on top, merely remove it. Either replace it with a hornady lock nut which is thinner or just go without. Since you are supposed to only apply about 25 lbs of pressure to the lever to size the neck just screw it in as far as it goes and size away.

    The neck sizing collet die is not supposed to "flare" or "bell" the case mouth so it will receive a new bullet. That is done by the powder die on pistol rounds or straight walled rifle cases only. The Collet die squeezes the case neck against a mandrel and usually results in a case mouth that is approximately "0.002" or so less than the diameter of the new bullet.

    I use the collet die regularly for my match .308 brass. I adjust the die in a couple of turns past "just touching". When I push the lever down I feel the primer being pushed out, the die coming in contact with the shell holder, and the action of the collet compressing the case neck, in that order. The case neck will "spring back" slightly so the mandrel can slip out but subsequent measuring will show the case mouth to be smaller than the new bullet.

    as for your last sentence "the collet is still floating in the die", it will when you release the case. It only is "tight" when a case is in place being pressed into the die by the shell holder.
     
  4. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    That's what I ran into, and thought there was a problem. I put the calipers on it and the numbers didn't measure up with the numbers in the book. I read about 'feeling' the brass in the die, and though I am going slow, I thought maybe I wasn't going hard enough or the die wasn't seated far enough. Like you, I am loading for .308. I greatly appreciate the feedback! ~ Bobby
     
  5. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    If you're camming over that hard, you might want to pull your die apart and check the collet and collet sleeve, just to make sure you didn't damage them. I somehow ended up with damage to both of those pieces due to what I believe was a machining error, there was a ring around the collet where the sleeve met and the metal was jagged and caused collet not to slide far enough into the sleeve to close properly. When I emailed Lee about it, their first question was "What press are you using?" and "Does the press cam over?" because the camming puts too much pressure on those pieces. Just my $0.02

    http://leeprecision.com/xcart/COLLET-DIE-ONLY-308-W-PARTS/
     
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