Lee Dies

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by reynolds357, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    What are your thoughts on Lee dies? I only have two sets of them and I am having a problem loading the .270 WSM that I can only blame on the dies. I have loaded for a .30-30 for years with lee dies and have had no issues. It is also hard to screw up a .30-30 load. I am loading for a .270 WSM, and I can not get consistent seat depth of bullets. The seat depth is all over the place. I re-load everything and have never had this problem. I re-load everything from .222 benchrest ammo to .460 WBY mag and this is the only thing that has ever stumped me. Is is the Lee dies or something else?
    About 40% of my dies are Redding. 40% RCBS. Hornaday and Lyman make up the rest. I have never had this problem.
  2. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    :banghead: I have had problems with the Lee neck sizing die galling and crushing match 308 brass while resizing. Also have a .50AE set that will not crimp properly so both are worthless to me. I will not buy Lee dies EVER again.

    Hey renolds, I have a nice set of nearly brand new Redding 270wsm dies I'll give you a steal on PM if interested, I will gladly enable you to load with dies that will make your reloading enjoyable instead of frustrating.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  3. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    Thanks, but I already have a set of RCBS on the way.
  4. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

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    I would take a caliper to my bullets and see if the dimensions are different from bullet to bullet. This would cause a difference in seating depth.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    reynolds357:

    Also the internal shape of the punch in the die that seats the bullet could be the problem. If shaped wrong it can collapse the nose. It should push the bullet in using the ogive not the point. But remember that it is not the OAL of the cartridge that counts but the distance from a reference point on the ogive to the bottom of the cartridge that counts. That dimension must be uniform from cartridge to cartridge. Use of a bullet comparator rather than just measuring the OAL is mandatory:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/Find?userSearchQuery=bullet comparator

    I like the one that has multiple calibers on it, that looks like a nut. Consistency in this measurement is key not the cartridge OAL.

    All that being said I HATE LEE die sets. They are cheaply made, poorly finished on the inside working surfaces, and often LEE components have issue with the materials LEE chose to make them with. I still have a few but at the first sign of trouble they get tossed and replaced with better dies from RCBS, Redding, Hornady or Forester.

    LDBennett
  6. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    What type of bullets are you using? Are they soft tipped? The seater plug is the same design in all my lee dies maybe you need to rework the plug to fit your bullet style and profile. Like LD said, you should go with some sort of tool to measure from the ogive to the case head, not from the tip.

    By the way LD. My wife was just reading your post over my shoulder and wants to know what the L stands for.
  7. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

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    Lorretta!
  8. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

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    Jusst joshin ya L_D!!!:D:D:D:D:D
  9. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

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    Good point. If the OP sends his bullet to Lee, they will built a seater for that bullet for $13. Recently I was having problems with a bullet not seating deep enough, and I emailed Lee on this. They stated that they can build a seater for me, but I chose to buy the Redding competition seating die instead.
  10. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    Already checked that.
  11. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    I have checked them both ways. What first tipped me off to a problem was when I noticed the cantilevers (? have had not to remember what the groove in the bullet is called for many years and I hope that is right) and the end of the brass were not lining up.
  12. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    I first noticed the problem with Remington ballistic tips. Double checked with some Bergers. If I have to start modifying a seating die to make it work, the only modification it is going to get is a moving from place to place. It will move from my shelf to my trash can.:D:D:D
  13. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    Why should I have to do this with Lee when everything else I own seats whatever I try to seat with it?
  14. Caneman

    Caneman Active Member

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    i don't really like Lee dies overall, to me Lee = Harbor Freight Tools... I have had problems with all Lee seating dies being inconsistent in rifle and pistol... I think the expander, resizer dies are OK... the FCD is good for the taper crimp dies they offer...
  15. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    +1

    Lets do the math.... Lee die set from Midway $28.99+$13 to replace seater that doesnt work = RCBS, Redding, Lyman or Hornady dies that work the first time.
  16. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

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    I was only making a suggestion from my experience, honestly, I couldn't care less what you do. I'm assuming you are an adult and as such, you can do whatever you want.
  17. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    I appreciate the suggestion. I am simply wondering why Lee dies have to be modified to work with different bullet shapes and the other manufacturers do not. My next concern is if they do not work as shipped with Remington accutip or Berger, what do they work with?
  18. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

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    My experience has been the opposite, unless you consider .003 to be bad. I have four Lee die sets and they all seat within .003 at worst. most of the time they are right on.
  19. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

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    Below is my question to Lee reloading and their reply
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I have the Lee Deluxe Die set for .223 Remington and use only Hornady Vmax bullets in 55, 53 and 50 grain. I adjust the die per the Lee instructions. Turn the die into the press untill it contacts the shell holder and then turn an addition 1/4 turn. Here's the problem I have with these dies. I have the Adjusting screw turned all the way in and for the 55 grain bullet it gives me a overall length of approx. 2.233 inches, the 53 grain gives me a overall length of approx. 2.243 inches and the 50 grain bullet gives me a overall length of 2.253 inches. Since the adjusting screw is already turned all the way in I cannot make the overall length any less. It seems to me this is a bad design that doesn't allow me to make the overall length any less than described above.


    The bullet seating plug in the .223 die set is a generic plug designed to fit a large range of bullets. Some of the newer bullets have a lot of taper on them and a lot of the length of the bullet is lost inside the plug before the plug makes contact with the ogive of the bullet. The result is that you run out of adjustment length and you cannot seat the bullet fully. An answer to this is to send us a sample of the bullet you are seating along with a check for $13.00 and we will make you a custom bullet seating plug. In your case I would send the 50 grain bullet as the sample. The plug will then work for the other two bullets.
  20. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    Makes sense in that case. I am having a totally different problem; I am having erratic seating depths. I have the adjustment to seat the bullets a lot deeper if I needed to. I am not sure it is the dies. I will not know for sure until the new set gets here, but I can not think of anything else it could be.
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