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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: SuperCub] #16002371 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by SuperCub
Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
Originally Posted by SuperCub
Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
Once fired Lapua brass


Is this brass "once fired" in this rifle or another?


Yes - once fired in same rifle


Strange that it won't go back into the original chamber it was fired in. I kind thought it was fired in another rifle with a smaller chamber.

I have two 300H&Hs. One makes the fired brass larger than the other so won't fit.

Two rifles, two chambers, ya gotta keep ammo separate or FL size everything.

DF

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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003034 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
I tried to write this question several times and couldn’t quite get it right so here goes:

BLUF: First time using Lee Dies. I want to maximize case life and neck size as often as possible before running a FL. I do not want tight cases when chambering - this is a hunting rifle.

Gear:
Tikka t3x Superlite
Once fired Lapua brass
Lee Ultimate Die Set
Old Bonanza Co-Ax press

I wanted to use the Collet Die alone but resized cases were just too tight in the chamber and marked the case head.

Removed the expander button in the included Lee FL sizer and resized. Cases now fit great.

Ran them back thru the LCD and the FL case was tight over the collet guide shaft (FL provides a tighter bullet fit than the LCD) interesting that with this die set a loader can decide between two different bullet tensions.

Question: Does this overwork the brass too badly? Is it beneficial or harmful to case life & accuracy.

Note to JB: your GG2 load 46g of Hunter / 129gr Hornady IL shot .75 right out of the gate.

Thanks!





You are basically using the LCD as an expander mandrel similar in concept to what the competition guys are doing lately. You should get good results, better runout than using the expander button in the FL die. A bushing or honed die would size the neck much less before the mandrel expands it which would be better.

It sounds like you are on the right track, a body die and the LCD as a neck die is as good as it gets IMO.


Sean
Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003059 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
Originally Posted by SuperCub
Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
Once fired Lapua brass


Is this brass "once fired" in this rifle or another?


Yes - once fired in same rifle

Great idea DF - I’ll take a look in my old die stock to see what might work.

I had to use a well worn grinding bit with the Dremel to fit in the small, .22 cal neck. That’s a lot cheaper than buying a Redding body die.

To me some Lee FL dies are better than others. I’ve had some that didn’t produce the most concentric rounds. Conversion into a body die, probably the best use of one like that.

DF

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003345 04/17/21
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I dug up a set of Lyman 22-250 dies - not sure I even trust them for a body die.

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003392 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
I dug up a set of Lyman 22-250 dies - not sure I even trust them for a body die.

The Lee .22-250 FL die I turned into a body die wasn’t that much of a FL die itself. Seems once you cut enough away from the neck until it easily clears a case neck, you have a body die. It’s the collet neck sizer that helps keep the rounds concentric. All the body die does is set the case shoulder back just enough for easy bolt closure. Even the lesser FL dies seem to make pretty good body dies. Unless you’re shooting really hot loads, you probably won’t need a body die every time. But when you need one, you need one.

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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003437 04/17/21
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^^^^ Exactly.

It's pretty hard to screw up machining the body portion of a typical FL expander-ball die. Can't say it doesn't happen, but the biggest screw-ups in FL dies I have seen occurred in the 1980s, when RCBS decided to save money by first reaming the bodies of cartridges based on the same basic case (such as .243, .308 and .358 Winchester), then afterward reaming the neck portion of the die.

Had a few of those where the neck did not line up with the body, but didn't realize it. Could NOT get the rifles to shoot consistently--until I replaced the RCBS dies with some made the old-fashioned way, by reaming the entire FL die with one reamer. Finally figured it out after acquiring my first concentricity gauge around 1980--and being informed by a well-known accuracy gunsmith what happened with the 1980s RCBS dies.

The big advantage of Lee collet dies is that they don't require case-necks to be very consistent in thickness to produce accurate ammo. They do best (as all dies do) with consistent brass, but if you don't want to sort/turn necks they're a great solution.


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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: Dirtfarmer] #16003487 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by Dirtfarmer
Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
I dug up a set of Lyman 22-250 dies - not sure I even trust them for a body die.

The Lee .22-250 FL die I turned into a body die wasn’t that much of a FL die itself. Seems once you cut enough away from the neck until it easily clears a case neck, you have a body die. It’s the collet neck sizer that helps keep the rounds concentric. All the body die does is set the case shoulder back just enough for easy bolt closure. Even the lesser FL dies seem to make pretty good body dies. Unless you’re shooting really hot loads, you probably won’t need a body die every time. But when you need one, you need one.

DF

Yep. Body die every 2 firings and a Lee collet or expander every time.

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003698 04/17/21
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Wow fellas. After fiddling more with the LCD and working on my body die and loading a few rounds to test pressure (and velocity this time) I’m hoping to get the Lee Collet to function as it should in my rifle. Thanks for the advice - I appreciate guidance in finding the next rungs on the looney ladder.

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16003712 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by PintsofCraft
Wow fellas. After fiddling more with the LCD and working on my body die and loading a few rounds to test pressure (and velocity this time) I’m hoping to get the Lee Collet to function as it should in my rifle. Thanks for the advice - I appreciate guidance in finding the next rungs on the looney ladder.

PM Mathman. Maybe he’ll text you his excellent Lee Collet neck sizer instructions. Lee’s stuff not as good.

DF

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16008461 04/19/21
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A good way to check your FL die, is to size a case, then check for concentricity with a gauge. I use a Sinclair and it works fine. There are others.

With the Lee .22-250 FL die I turned into a body die, sized cases weren't that concentric in the Sinclair. So to me, as a FL die, it was worthless. Instead of spending $45 or more on a Redding body die, I reamed an otherwise useless FL die into a pretty good body die. If the sized case isn't concentric, I doubt the ammo will be concentric.

Getting a grinding bit small enough to fit in the .22 cal. neck was bit of a challenge. I happened to have a well worn carbide tip that fit. And, it takes a while with a good bit of grinding to ream the neck. That steel is hard. And the reamed neck must clear the case neck by enough that you can see the gap. It can not touch.

I then took a vibrating engraver and wrote "body die" on the die, discarding the expander/decapper. That piece actually makes a pretty decent punch.

I like the four die deluxe Lee set. It has the Factory Crimp die, which I like, has both the Collet Neck Sizer and FL sizer. So there's your body die after some grinding, and all for the price on just one set of dies. I find that a properly neck reamed Lee FL sizer is about as good as the much more expensive Redding body die. If fact, the Lee 4 die deluxe set is pretty close to the price of just a Redding body die. Go figure.

Lee seating dies usually work pretty well. If not, a Forster seater may be a good addition to the set. The Hornady seater is pretty good, too.

DF

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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16008527 04/19/21
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Great thread... now if some of this stuff is available...

Trying to figure this out on this 17 Fireball...although annealing every time, the necks on this brass has a short life span due to neck splits...

I've been wrestling an expander ball or three on these RCBS die set...

Lee isn't taking any custom shop work right now... Waiting on some RCBS polished expander balls right now.... and waiting and waiting...

Redding is about the only company that has 17 Fireball readily available... and that has to do with how high they are priced..

I'm not all that impressed with Redding dies. any way.. someone loaned me some Redding Die set stuff in 17 Mach 4, that sorta works,
but having RCBS reaming the neck out is about the best thing I can think of...

Gotta looking at getting a forming set of dies to make the case from 223... I have tried to contact High Plains brass... but they don't answer the phone, and their web site isn't taking credit cards.... I do have tons of 223 brass so that is my best option....

Trying a new cartridge during a plandemic, and with a DemocRAT back in office, and everyone panic buying anything that will make something go boom
isn't one of the smartest ideas one can make....


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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16008570 04/19/21
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Seafire, have you tried chucking the expander stem in a drill and polishing the expander button with 400 sand paper.

I’d get it down close to what worked, then use 600, 1,200 grit to really slick it up.

DF

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: Dirtfarmer] #16008585 04/19/21
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They way I'm thinking the neck section of the die is too tight.


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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: mathman] #16009014 04/19/21
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Originally Posted by mathman
The way I'm thinking the neck section of the die is too tight.

That happens and works the heck out of the brass.

Overworking brass causes it to harden and hardened brass can get brittle and brittle necks split.

DF

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: Dirtfarmer] #16009222 04/19/21
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I've got a Redding FL for 308 that's too tight IMO even for thin WW brass. It's useless for Lapua and LC.


"In the real world, think of the 6.5 Creedmoor as the modernized/standardized/optimized version of the 6.5x55/.260." John Barsness 2019
Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: Dirtfarmer] #16009390 04/19/21
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Originally Posted by Dirtfarmer
Seafire, have you tried chucking the expander stem in a drill and polishing the expander button with 400 sand paper.

I’d get it down close to what worked, then use 600, 1,200 grit to really slick it up.

DF

Agree with Mathman's idea that the neck is probably too tight.

No matter how slick the expander is, an overly tight neck will always be a problem.

It may be a good idea to call CS and see if you can send that die back for them to check it out.

DF

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: mathman] #16010178 04/19/21
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Originally Posted by mathman
Originally Posted by boatanchor
This is exactly why most using a Lee collet neck die use a Redding body die instead of a FL die


Or a different FL die suitable to the task. For example, a 7mm08 FL die with the expander removed makes a good 243 Win body die.

I've done that very thing. I have a .243 that showed promise, but I couldn't quite get the accuracy I wanted. Partial neck sizing by backing out a FL die helped, but resulted in tight fitting cases. The problem was solved by bumping back the shoulder of the .243 case with a 7-08 die with the decapping/expander stem removed. The result was 9 out of 10, 100gr Partitions in under an inch at a hundred yards from a Ruger MKII.


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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16010354 04/19/21
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Tikkas suck. Everyone knows that.


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Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: Pharmseller] #16011566 04/20/21
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Originally Posted by Pharmseller
Tikkas suck. Everyone knows that.

Yep, the suck those bullet holes into tiny little clusters...

DF

Re: Lee Collet & FL used w/o expander - any benefit? [Re: PintsofCraft] #16012864 04/20/21
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Haha. Funny, when I was buying the rifle (my second one)
I thought to myself, geeze, is this is the Glock of the rifle industry? After that thought went away I almost bought a 3rd in 300 WSM. Most Tikkas just work, absence of a wooden soul, shooting effortlessly great groups.

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