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Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 18 Aug 2013, 17:41
by robinzon
Hello all, :cya:

I have been reading very useful info on this forum for a bit, finally decided to register as I finally got all my dies and started experimenting with the 5.7x28. I am using Lee Limited Prod. dies on a Lee Turret press (rod removed)..... several issues arose:

A. After sizing some of the cases measure .312 diameter in the middle, some go to 312.5 or even .313... is this an issue (1/15)?
I tried screwing the die in further, but did not see much of a difference, did not want to go any deeper as am afraid of bumping the
shoulder too much (the neck diameter is within/under spec. btw). I was thinking about RCBS Small Base dies, but read mixed reviews.
A1. is there an easy way to measure shoulder length to check for bumping?
B. After making some dummy rounds they chamber and extract fine (see A above). All within length... Interestingly enough
Lee Bullet Seating die has a roll crimp, I forgot about that as I usually never use roll crimping combo dies (factory crimps only)
and initially screwed the die in 1/4 turn, but the crimp activates before the bullet is within OAL (so I just screwed it up 1/2 turn and
was using a seating function only). I don't care about crimping but curious as to remedying the problem in general (for say other calibers)

C. Swagger.... I swagged several cases and then primed an empty shell to make sure the hammer ignites the primer. After manually
chambering the primer indeed fired (in safe direction). However, after I took the case out and tried to place it into the
holding plate on the press it won't go, the primer popped a bit, I had to hammer it in so that I can deprime...... What gives?
Should I NOT SWAG the cases (I read both ends of that discussion)?!?!!? :ponder:

Thanks!!!!

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 18 Aug 2013, 19:06
by grimmond
I have had no problems swagging. You just have to make sure you do not seat the swag to deep.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 18 Aug 2013, 20:41
by DoubleJ
I just got the Lee dies as well, I set up the sizing die per the RCBS instructional video. I run the ram all the way up, lower the die till it touches the shell holder, drop the ram, tighten the die 1/8 turn. RCBS says this allows the blah blah blah something or other compound lever to make sure the case goes all the way in. I dunno. For seating, I run the ram up with a case in it, seating die down till it touches the case mouth, then back 1/4 turn and tighten. The internet says don't crimp em. I've found that Rem 6 1/2 primers on my press go right into the pockets with no swagging, just occasionally turning the case in the shell holder is all I've run into. Of course, I've only loaded 50 rounds so far, so count me as far from experienced.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 18 Aug 2013, 21:29
by grimmond
Sorry my computer rebooted on me before I could finish answering your questions.

A: There is no issue with your dies. Just make sure you are pulling the lever with the same force every time. Also if it is still concerning you, Buy EA's case length gauge. You will find it very indispensable. Also a good set of digital calipers comes in handy.

B: Do not try to use the roll crimp, the rounds should be tight enough with just sizing them. If they are not snug and you can push them in by hand pull out the center mandril and polish it with some 8000grit paper so that it is a hair smaller. If it is still a concern you can use primer/bullet sealer which is basically clear nail polish.

C: I had the same issue when I first started swagging and this is what I figured out. When you are pushing the swag into the case, stop when the case meets the portion that starts to bevel. If you push it any deeper it will put a bevel on the primer pocket and it will be loose and pop out some like you experienced. Or you can switch to a primer pocket trimmer and just barely remove the crimp. Or you can do like some and just try to force the primers in past the crimps, which sometimes doesn't work all that well. Swagging works for some and for some doesn't. I personally like to swag now that I know what not to do.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 19 Aug 2013, 03:19
by robinzon
grimmond wrote:Sorry my computer rebooted on me before I could finish answering your questions.

A: There is no issue with your dies. Just make sure you are pulling the lever with the same force every time. Also if it is still concerning you, Buy EA's case length gauge. You will find it very indispensable. Also a good set of digital calipers comes in handy.

B: Do not try to use the roll crimp, the rounds should be tight enough with just sizing them. If they are not snug and you can push them in by hand pull out the center mandril and polish it with some 8000grit paper so that it is a hair smaller. If it is still a concern you can use primer/bullet sealer which is basically clear nail polish.

C: I had the same issue when I first started swagging and this is what I figured out. When you are pushing the swag into the case, stop when the case meets the portion that starts to bevel. If you push it any deeper it will put a bevel on the primer pocket and it will be loose and pop out some like you experienced. Or you can switch to a primer pocket trimmer and just barely remove the crimp. Or you can do like some and just try to force the primers in past the crimps, which sometimes doesn't work all that well. Swagging works for some and for some doesn't. I personally like to swag now that I know what not to do.

Thanks for the reply, I did indeed order the EA gauge yesterday just to be safe... my digital calipers work just fine and that is why I can measure the discrepancies I described... shoulders are harder to measure... You may be right on the force applied. What is your average case diameter after sizing? and how deep is your die in?
Yes, indeed crimping does not seem to be necessary, I get a tightly seated bullet :) so I will continue as you mentioned.

I can try primer pocket reamer (not cheap oddly enough~ $30 per size)....or my adjust the swag as you suggested.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 19 Aug 2013, 13:13
by GONRA
GONRA sez: Use RCBS SMALL BASE Dies and Dillon Primer Pocket Swager,
SPT Oil Treatment for the case lube, big strong press and you won't have all these problems.....

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 19 Aug 2013, 13:58
by robinzon
GONRA wrote:GONRA sez: Use RCBS SMALL BASE Dies and Dillon Primer Pocket Swager,
SPT Oil Treatment for the case lube, big strong press and you won't have all these problems.....
I did use the Dillon Super Swagger and I am not sure how SPT will matter... Lee Turret is what I gots.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 19 Aug 2013, 14:03
by panzermk2
RCBS dies have to many problems the most of which is not sizing properly. The go/no go gauge will let you know where the problem is if there is one. Did you watch the how vid on how to use it? Has some great tips.


Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 19 Aug 2013, 14:36
by robinzon
Yes indeed I did, though it was some time ago. Very hepful 3in1 gauge. Now as far as setting the shoulder back with LEE dies
(and I read RCBS reviews and I will stay away even though for 223 / 308 small base are indispensable) I assume that directly relates to
the depth of the die being screwed in, unless with 5.7 there is another parameter that can be changed. I do know that incorrectly
positioned mandrel (though these are new dies) can cause the neck to become too wide but I have not ran into shoulder issued with .223 rounds for example (then again they do not expand like 5.7 so different animal).

Thanks in advance.

BTW: dummy rounds I made with my cases chambered and ejected just fine out of the ps90

panzermk2 wrote:RCBS dies have to many problems the most of which is not sizing properly. The go/no go gauge will let you know where the problem is if there is one. Did you watch the how vid on how to use it? Has some great tips.


Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 20 Aug 2013, 15:01
by robinzon
Just a quick update.. As per some suggestions I reset the die position about 1/2 turn past camover, and lubed the case w/ liquid lube and made a slow stroke... the case width is now .311 or so (there is a taper indeed). So slow and lubed is the way to go. Ordered
a set of Hornady dies (available at Natchezs!!!) just in case.

Will load and shoot some rounds and report back.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 24 Aug 2013, 20:03
by starfury
Sounds like you are doing well!!!

If your die is holding the case diameter within a thousandth around 0.311 or 0.312 you should be fine. If it gets up to 2+ thousandths like it did on mine (http://www.fivesevenforum.com/viewtopic ... &start=120" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) they won't feed from a PS90 mag due to the taper (since the magazine is straight).

I recommend reloading 50 of them – then fully load the PS90 mag and see if it is hard to feed them in or out (as compared to factory ammo). Since I got my die fixed, I have had no issues.

Also, regarding firing primers only, they will many times pop out some since there isn’t any chamber pressure to firmly hold them in place (ie brass swelling up and pushing firmly against the bolt). I have seen this many time regardless of how tight the pocket is from semi autos to revolvers that I have reloaded for and played with firing only primers (sometimes with wax slugs loaded :-) ).

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 25 Aug 2013, 18:28
by robinzon
starfury wrote:Sounds like you are doing well!!!

If your die is holding the case diameter within a thousandth around 0.311 or 0.312 you should be fine. If it gets up to 2+ thousandths like it did on mine (http://www.fivesevenforum.com/viewtopic ... &start=120" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) they won't feed from a PS90 mag due to the taper (since the magazine is straight).

I recommend reloading 50 of them – then fully load the PS90 mag and see if it is hard to feed them in or out (as compared to factory ammo). Since I got my die fixed, I have had no issues.

Also, regarding firing primers only, they will many times pop out some since there isn’t any chamber pressure to firmly hold them in place (ie brass swelling up and pushing firmly against the bolt). I have seen this many time regardless of how tight the pocket is from semi autos to revolvers that I have reloaded for and played with firing only primers (sometimes with wax slugs loaded :-) ).

So I finally loaded a small batch (30) of my once fired brass with 40gr V-max and True Blue 5.5 gr (I really wanted to be super conservative). My OAL is around 1.589-1590 on these. I loaded them into the mag. The feed in and out by hand fine, I also cocked and hand ejected the entire mag out of the PS90 w/o a hitch. Will try them out this week. What a PITA this was! very very tricky round, the shoulders are quite a bit different from factory, I could not get a perfect angle like the factory casings, but they feed well and sit in the breech well also. Not sure if I should get my OAL even less with a boat tail bullet. I saw someone tried the Sierra Varminters, have some of those may try them. Please let me know if you have any other thoughts. There is definitely tapering to the casee .311 to .312 on bottom.

Thanks

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 27 Aug 2013, 15:10
by starfury
Since you cycled them through you are probably good to go but the real proof is when you shoot them and see if anything hangs up. If it hangs pull the mag and inspect if the next round is sitting there in the mag with no real pressure on it. With one thousandths of taper you might see things hang a little when you push it up to 50 rounds level (loading will get tough as you get near the end).

Good luck!

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 01 Sep 2013, 09:48
by robinzon
starfury wrote:Since you cycled them through you are probably good to go but the real proof is when you shoot them and see if anything hangs up. If it hangs pull the mag and inspect if the next round is sitting there in the mag with no real pressure on it. With one thousandths of taper you might see things hang a little when you push it up to 50 rounds level (loading will get tough as you get near the end).

Good luck!
At the range they performed really well, even with fast double taps or 10 rounds in fast succession.. no problems.
I did purchase Hornady dies and the tolerances are much tighter, the casings come out .310-.3015 certianly not .312 like on the Lee die and the shoulder looks considerably better. Also they easily pass the EA Gauge test. There were a couple of rounds that wound up having some coating taken off with this die but the results of resizing are much more impressive, I am not sure what is going on with the Lee dies but I just can't get them to get a better resizing spec even though my rifle has no problems with the rounds even though some do not pass the Gauge test.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 01 Sep 2013, 10:13
by JollyRogers
robinzon - you are not alone. I have had the exact same experiences with my Lee vs Hornady die sets. If I get in a slightly to fast of a rhythm using the Hornady resizing die or a case not lubed well and I'll tend to scrape the lacquer, and with the Lee dies have to set the resizing die just right to get the resized cases to pass in the case gauge. Both sets work, and it is good to have a back up.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 01 Sep 2013, 11:34
by panzermk2
It would suck if LEE is letting things slip with their 5.7 dies. For years they were to go to dies.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 01 Sep 2013, 18:23
by grimmond
I just checked one of my Lee backup sets and it is not as good as my original. It seems to have the same issue.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 01 Sep 2013, 19:20
by fd57
Couple Hornady and couple Lee dies for 5.7x28mm. Both Hornady are better than both Lee :( With respect to shoulder formation attempting to mimic original case.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 02 Sep 2013, 08:21
by panzermk2
grimmond wrote:I just checked one of my Lee backup sets and it is not as good as my original. It seems to have the same issue.

I think it's time for a call to LEE. I would need some hard numbers though.

Re: Case width issue with Lee dies

Posted: 02 Sep 2013, 10:33
by robinzon
Well, the die sizes to .3120 .3125 and SOMETIMES to .3115 if that is what you mean by numbers, as far as .3125 I would say 20% .3120 50% and .3115 30%.... If you get the die to sit JUST RIGHT, that proportion may change, Hornady consistently sizes to .310-.311... I never had a case larger then .311 and all pass the gauge test.