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Bill Lester Posted this at the end of one of his recent posts on loading presses...


"If you load for bottleneck rifle cartridges and are using bolt actions or single shots, I also <i> highly </i> recommend Lee's Collet Dies. They are excellent and have made the most accurate loads in several cartridges for me when compared to the same rounds made with RCBS, Hornady, or Redding die sets."
 

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As a general rule, I shy away from Lee dies, except for their factory crimp die in straight taper cases.  I just prefer the solid quality of Redding dies.

However, we get to the Lee Collet dies and I have found them to be extremely useful.   Yes I have loaded some very, very accurate ammunition with them, but my reason for buying them is for an entirely different reason.

I have really enjoyed several of the Ackley Improved cartridges over the years, they have delivered what they were designed to do in every case, and often times much more.  There is a stumbling block there, and that is the cost of the wildcat dies!  Some of them run nearly a hundred bucks!

In doing a little research, and ordering some of the Lee Collet dies, I found, in EVERY CASE, where the case neck of the brass remains the same as that of the parent cartridge, the Lee Collet Dies will work wonderfully for both sizing and seating the Ackley Improved Cartridges!

I tried a set experimentally in the .375 H&H, hoping that they would suffice for sizing my then newly rechambered .375H&H Ackley Improved.  (Ever priced a set of either RCBS or Redding .375 H&H AI dies??? OUCH!)  Well the dies came, and they worked superbly, both for sizing and seating!  I do employ an "M" neck expanding die, but it is of course Lyman generic.

I have tried the Lee Collet Dies for .30-06 AI, .280AI, .375 H&H AI, .223AI and 7x57 AI with perfect results.   A twenty dollar set of dies for these cartridges surely beats the alternatives... especially if you are on a budget.   By the way, loading MOA ammo with these dies has not been any problem what-so-ever!

A last note... in some cases I had to turn down the mandrel in a lathe (you could do it in a drill press with emery cloth just as well), in order to get a tighter bullet fit in the neck in a couple of sets of these dies.

Just a thought or two FWIW.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Marshall,

I've had one set with an oversize mandrel as well, in .303 Brit. Since I don't have a latheor enough skill to use one if I did, I contacted Lee and a new one was sent and received posthaste. I can't vouch for Lee's service, as this is the one and only problem I've ever had with any of their equipment in 16+ years of handloading.
 

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Hi folks, I'm new to this forum. ( Seems I'm a bit late on about everything here lately. ) I just wanted to add a little something to what Marshall has all ready said about LEE Collet Dies. I have a lot of different dies, from about every body that's makes them, and I too have been shy about the LEE simply because of the cost and other horror stories from others. I've owned a few calibers from LEE in their RGB and whatever else they market and was not overly impressed untill I got a set of Collets in 25-06. Now this is a hoss of a different color. They work, and they work great! Now I have them  in four other calibers, and am very pleased with them.
Respectfully, Russ
 

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Maybe for clarification we should say whether we mean Lee colloct neck sizing die or Lee collet crimp dies. I swear by the collet crimp die myself. I can't prove it, but I think it helps line up the bullet in the case. Best Regards, James
 

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James,

The Lee crimp die is referred to as the "Factory Crimp Die" as it's supposed to duplicate the type of crimp found on factory ammo.


Regards


:cool:
 

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Ray...I understand the difference and use the collet crimp die. I was thinking about new reloaders, who might not understand the difference in the collet crimp and collet neck sizer. I'm going to order a collect neck sizer as I get further into shooing Marshall's BTB's in my 06. I think this would be the ticket. For a .310" bullet, I want the finished ID to be .308" for my single shot rifle. I will turn the outside necks to make the thickness at a minumum, for good expansion and seal with slow burn powders. Best Regards, James
 

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I'm convinced.  The Lee collet die is the one to get... but, what does a collet die do?
 

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Charlie,

The collect works in conjuction with a mandrel. The former squeezes the case neck around the latter. This achieves two goals at once- working the brass an absolute minimum to accomplish neck resizing and setting the case neck as close to perfectly parallel to the case body as feasable. Case life and accuracy are greatly improved.

As an aside, I note several cases where respondents to this thread have mentioned hesitation in trying Lee products because of their lower cost compared to Redding, RCBS, et al. I am generally an adherent to the "you get what you pay for" mindset, but in the case of Dick Lee's reloading products they are the rare exceptions to that rule. In regard to  regular dies, they have greatly improved over the past ten years. I sincerely doubt significantly more accurate ammo can be loaded using other manufacturer's die sets, and not as accurate as that loaded in Collet Die sets.
 
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