Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

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Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Ranch Dog » 11 Nov 2019 07

I've been using the Collet (neck) sizing dies for my bolt guns chambered in 30-30 Win, 300 Sav (special order), 308 Win, 303 British, 7.62x39, and 35 Rem. I've had a couple of issues with them over the years; the biggest problem being that they do verify and correct the web's OD. The actual collet only sizes the case neck against the mandrel.

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What I've experienced with all these cartridges is the need to full-length size the case more frequently than necessary as the web of the cartridges will not chamber. I've seen this affect chambering on every cycle of the 303 British out to only two cycles with the other cartridges. As a note, the gunsmith that rebuilt my SMLE into the scout poured a chamber cast and verified that the complete chamber was at the SAAMI spec.

The frequent reforming is somewhat tiresome. More than that, every cartridge must be checked prior to use. If not, it will leave you with a stuck bolt at the range or in the field. I've started to use the Lee Loader die bodies for neck sizing the cases as it is a true neck sizing die that corrects the web. I use the die bodies with my K&M arbor press. This started with the 303 British, and then the 300 Sav and now the 35 Rem. I will start doing the same with the 30-30 Win and 308 Win. There never was a kit for the 7.62x39, but I will use the full-length die carefully adjusted as I've done with the Lee 30-30 AI die.

Something else that I've run into with the collet die is the need to replace the die body and cap on a regular basis. Look at the instructions, the cap is not up to a life of cycles at the 25 lbs of force.

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The problem with a cap failure is that the aluminum shears into the treads of the steel body and there is no getting it out.

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My first experience with this was with my first die, the 35 Rem, that I bought on eBay. When I went to use it, I realized that it had failed in the other seller's hands and had to replace the parts. Since I've had no less than five failures across the dies. Die body and end cap will run $20 with shipping through FS Reloading. Lee no longer offers the two generic die bodies as parts to customers, but FS maintains a good supply of them.

I'm going to leave it at that.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby RBHarter » 11 Nov 2019 09

That's a shame RD .
I've been considering off and on what a boom that collet would be for that x39 I load with the .323 fired neck ID and .3165 groove . I suppose a reasonably skilled lathe operator could turn one of mild steel ? There might even be a #3 bolt available for Joe hacksaw an file ....... or it might be more work than it's worth .
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 11 Nov 2019 11

I discovered this problem with a 6.5x55 set. I thought it was me, read and re-read the instructions and concluded it wasn't me. The set sits on the shelf gathering dust.

Make smoke,
Curt.......makin' smoke and raising my carbon foot print one cartridge at a time +guns +guns
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Ranch Dog » 11 Nov 2019 16

RBHarter wrote:or it might be more work than it's worth .

I'd go with the above. I've given them a good 20 years and I've not seen the need for them.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Ranch Dog » 11 Nov 2019 19

O3W, I've been curious as to if others have had the same experience. Thanks for your report.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby 9x80Drilling » 11 Nov 2019 21

I, too, have had failures. Maybe only 2 if I recall correctly, or it might be 3.
Failures have been when resizing 9x80 rimmed and 9.3x74 rimmed using a .375 H&H die. I have 2 mandrels that I've turned down to the appropriate diameter for each of these 2 cases. I drop spacers over the shell when running it up through the die, as both of these caliber shells are different lengths than the .375 shell. Otherwise, the collet wouldn't close correctly.

Fortunately, I have been able to get the sheared off aluminum threads out of the die body, so replacement dies haven't been needed.

FWIW, I use the Lee collet dies without issue for sizing 8x57JR, 8x57JRS, .30-30, and several other cases. Guess I've been lucky doing this way since the early '90s. Now watch, I've jinxed myself. Next reloading session will see all sorts of cap failures.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby GasGuzzler » 12 Nov 2019 06

I either don't understand the issue or don't have any of those dies.

I think it's both really.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Ranch Dog » 12 Nov 2019 06

GasGuzzler wrote:I either don't understand the issue or don't have any of those dies.

I think it's both really.

In a nutshell Gas, the top of the die blows off and it is done.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Macd » 12 Nov 2019 12

Ranch Dog wrote:O3W, I've been curious as to if others have had the same experience. Thanks for your report.


I haven't experienced any problems so far. I have collet dies for .223, 30-06, .308 and .35 Rem. I admit I don't use them as much as the FL dies so maybe it is just a matter of time. I have to FL size for my Rem 760 in 35 Rem. Perhaps adjusting them gradually to the point that that desired neck tension is reached on a full stroke of the handle instead of relying on feel alone might help prevent the tops popping off. Could a case with a long body and or neck be "squatted" a bit if it is compressed within the die? Could this contribute to the threads shearing?

For the milsurps I too have taken to partial resizing, i.e. to avoid the problem of excessive case stretch commonly encountered in the often generous chambers of these old soldiers. Setting up the dies takes time and patience. I have been successful for each calibre except the 7.5x55 Swiss which required me to increase the sizing and push back the shoulder and partially resize the body. I found its straight pull action just didn't have the torque needed to reliably chamber every round. As a bonus I have found that partial sizing gives me measurable improvements in accuracy especially in my M96 Swede. There is less jump for jacketed bullets and I am can more easily get cast right to the lands without having the bullets seated out too far.
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Re: Collet Neck Sizing Dies have left the bench.

Postby Ranch Dog » 28 Dec 2019 15

I've been wanting to come back to this topic and finally remembered/found it. In that, I'm into the custom Collet die $70, I decided to buy the stock barrel and cap from FS Reloading ( a good source for Lee parts). What I'm thinking of trying is moving all my Collet dies off the turret press to the single-stage Challenger and APP after it arrives. What I've been pondering is that the play in the turret to frame might be causing so weird "bump" that is affecting the body of the case immediately aft of the shoulder and that is affecting the ability to chamber the cartridges. I think it was worth the 10 bucks to see if something changes with the press selection.

More to follow and I welcome any ideas.
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