Neck turning with a Lee Collet Die?

prcomte

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Feb 14, 2017
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Okay, so long story short. Ive been chasing Low ES numbers for quite some time now. We know that neck tension plays a large role in ES/SD numbers. For those of you who use a lee collet die, have you neck turned and seen a difference? I shoot a 6 Comp Match w/ H-1000 and 105 Nosler RDF's. I'm typically against neck turning, though I found tonight that with lapua brass turned enough to be consistent (my neck thickness turned out to be .014). I noticed a large difference in my seating force when seating a round (seating pressure more consistent), and also seating depth was more consistent. All within +/- .00125 (.0025 total difference). Ill be testing this set up on Sunday, though i wanted to see if others noticed. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!
 

domdoc

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Feb 17, 2017
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Consistent seating pressure is the best evidence that the neck tension is about the same on all loads. I also like the lightest reasonable neck pressure consistent with the application - very loose for long range single-loaded ammo, and tighter for mag ammo. You can vary the neck tension with the Lee collet/mandrel die by screwing it in farther, or backing it out more. I check after neck sizing, to make sure I cannot seat a bullet with my fingers (too loose). I tried the internet-posted technique of screwing the die in to the point at which the press handle barely cams over, but that damaged my die, so I don't do it now. I did a test with different neck tensions, and the relatively small sample I tested showed about 1 1/2" of vertical dispersion at 100 yards, in a rifle that shoots 1/2". I don't check the velocity, because I'm lazy, and I don't compete any more. I mix turned and unturned necks out to 200 yards, and I cannot see any difference, provided the neck tension feels the same.
 
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kansas

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I've never turned a neck but am a big believer in Lee collet die but I'd say that if you've noticed that seating pressure is consistent then it would be worth it. I'm anxious to hear how this experiment turned out. Let us know but...if it works then I'll be tempted to start turning necks. Just another step in an already long process of reloading. Sometimes I think that a lot of work we do in the search for practical accuracy is more for building our confidence in our ammo than what is necessary.
 

prcomte

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I went out and shot this morning. My Lapua brass I turned performed better than my Peterson brass I turned. I ended up with an ES of 24 and a SD of ~7 it was 7.1 and some change. I don't have my excel spread sheet infront of me anymore. My ES was normally in the 50 fps range, so this cut it in half. Though it really showed up on the targets down range. I think if i was able to shoot without breaks and letting the barrel cool back down my ES would have dropped even more than it did. The range went cold and we all went down to paint up targets and it took about 15 to 20 minutes letting the barrel cool back down and thus causing velocity changes. It was a windy day, but i was able to put sub 1/2 moa groups all the way out to 1250 yards, so ill take it. I think my main problem was doughnuts that formed at the neck shoulder junction, and turning solved that issue but also made my necks more consistent thus allowing for more consistent neck tension thus creating lower ES numbers. 24 still isn't 10, but its workable. Try turning some, it may help you, and it may not, though I did notice a difference.
 

prcomte

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Feb 14, 2017
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That's good to hear! What neck turner are you using?

I am using a K&M neck turner with a carbide cutter to cut the doughnuts out. I really like it. I've used others and I wish id bought it sooner.
 

flashhole

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That's a terrific tool/combo. Inside ream, outside turn at the same time. I use it on my 25-06 reformed brass (30-06 to 25-06) and 221 Fireball re-formed from 223 military brass.
 

ratbuster

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Jan 25, 2018
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I have tested the Collet die against bushings twice so far and both times the Lee Collet Die was the winner in group size and SD. Both tests comprised of 3 series of 6 shots each. Series 1 was LCD, Series 2 Redding FL Bushing die and Series 3 with .001 tighter bushing than Series 2. Bottom line is in separate tests the LCD had lower SD's and smaller group sizes than the bushing die.. The cartridge was 20 Vartarg, Lapua Brass that was neck turned. Only gripe with the LCD is if you have donuts they have to be removed first before sizing because the mandrel in the collet die will not pass through the donut. I was hoping the Redding bushing die was more accurate because with the freebore of my chamber the bullet sits well about the neck shoulder junction and if more accurate the Bushing die sizing would allow me to skip the donut removal step but I will continue to ream out donuts so I can use the LCD for the accuracy gained. One more thing, the LCD ALWAYS produces less neck runout and less runout at the bullet nose than the bushing die.