Die Adjustment

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jack

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I bought some Hornady Locking Rings to use with my Lee dies. If I adjust a die, tighten the lockscrew, it's too tight (against the press) to unscrew by hand. Is there a better way? TIA ..... jack

P.S. I don't like the "by gosh n' by golly" approach to adjusting the crimp on my seating dies.
 

Chief 101

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set the die hand tighten the ring loosen the die and lockring together then tighten the ring screw...screw it back in...takes a few times but once you get it figured out it is easy as pie.
 

Jimbo357mag

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The Lee FCD (factory crimp die) can solve your problem and make getting you seating die set much easier. Make the seating die seat the bullet and the crimp die apply the crimp. ...or not. :D
 

Rick Courtright

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Hi,

If Chief's advice doesn't work for you, Hornady sells a couple of lock ring wrenches, a workaday version for under $10, and a prettied up one for about $25. http://www.hornady.com/store/Miscellaneous-Die-Accessories/

Personally, I like the Lee rings, but it's well known they're a love-hate thing, so there's no need for somebody to come in chanting the "I hate Lee" mantra. I think the biggest problem with them is they require the user to read the instructions first... then follow them! ;)

Rick C
 

nvbirdman

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Tighten everything up. Put a hose clamp around the die and tighten it. Now a few taps on the hose clamp will loosen the die.
 

Rick Courtright

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nvbirdman said:
Tighten everything up. Put a hose clamp around the die and tighten it. Now a few taps on the hose clamp will loosen the die.

Hi,

That reminds me of another tool around here, a plumbing strap wrench, for installing various round items without scratching 'em. Metal handle, braided cloth strap, and has worked nicely on several non-plumbing things.

Rick C
 

Chuck 100 yd

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Hornady lock rings have flats on two sides for use with a wrench. I keep a crescent wrench near the press to snug up and loosen the die's. The clamp screws just tighten the rings diameter and do not even touch the die's threads,a good design. I buy them by the six pack and have them on almost every die I own. The Hornady primer pocket cleaner is also the very best I have found. Made of carbide and very inexpensive,fast and will last forever.

That said, I have never seen a need to replace the lock ring on the Lee FCD. The Lee lock ring,with it's rubber 'O' ring is intended to allow the die to "float" and self align in use and I have never had issue with them coming loose in the press while in use.
Of course YMMV.
 

Lost Sheep

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A slight variation of Chief101's suggestion is to:
1 adjust the die with the lock ring loose and not even snugged up against the press
2 when the die is correct, snug the lock ring against the press, but not so very tight that you cannot loosen it by hand
3 back the die and lock ring carefully out without changing the position of the lock ring with respect to the die
4 Lock the lock ring onto the die (by tightening its set screw
5 reinstall the die, hand-snug against the press
6 re-check the adjustment of the die
7 if the adjustment is off, unscrew the die/ring, loosen the set screw, adjust the ring in the direction needed and repeat, starting at step 5, as necessary

Never install the die so tightly that you cannot loosen it by hand. In this way, you will not change the position of the lock ring, which has now become your reference datum for installation. Do tighten the lock ring sufficiently that you cannot change its position by hand. Then never use a wrench on the die or lock ring again. Only fingers. Thus your adjustment will be maintained.

Note that this is not unlike the Lee "O"-ring system. A degree of care must be taken any time you install the Lee die/"O"ring/lockring assembly so that you do not lose the relative positioning of the die and lock ring. A weakness of the design, perhaps, but not necessarily fatal to use of the idea. In use, the "O" ring squishes into a channel in the lock ring and friction with the press, die and ring holds everything in place...until you unscrew it So you must take care when unscrewing.

Note also that if you want to snug the die/ring against the press with a little more security than just hand-tight, you can put an "O" ring between the lock ring and the press (and adjusting the position of the lock ring to compensate). Friction secures the die/ring position pretty well. This is even more like the Lee system, but the position of the lock ring is much more secure than what the Lee system provides.

Clear as mud?

Lost Sheep
 

jack

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For one thing, I've been "overtightening" the lock ring set screw and that makes the entire ring very tight against the press. I'll try some of the tips mentioned above .... just need to figure out an easy way to get it done. Thanks for all replies ...... jack
 

Rick Courtright

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Lost Sheep said:
Note that this is not unlike the Lee "O"-ring system. A degree of care must be taken any time you install the Lee die/"O"ring/lockring assembly so that you do not lose the relative positioning of the die and lock ring. A weakness of the design, perhaps, but not necessarily fatal to use of the idea. In use, the "O" ring squishes into a channel in the lock ring and friction with the press, die and ring holds everything in place...until you unscrew it So you must take care when unscrewing.

Hi,

A Magic Marker and a witness/alignment mark on both ring and threads of the die, followed by tightening/loosening the die as Lee instructs, by the ring only, will put to rest about 99 and 44/100% of the worries about Lee's rings! I'd offer the other 56/100% can be taken care of by holding the top of the die with the other hand and putting a tiny bit of pressure on it in the same direction the lock ring's being turned. That's not a bad idea with ANYBODY'S dies and rings, too... ;)

Rick C
 

mikld

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nvbirdman said:
Tighten everything up. Put a hose clamp around the die and tighten it. Now a few taps on the hose clamp will loosen the die.
WHOA!! There is absolutely no reason to tighten a lock ring (of any sort on any application) so tight that a hammer or anything to add leverage is needed. As a life long machinist/mechanic (50+ years), I have seen hundreds of threads and nuts/bolts (and yes reloading dies) ruined by a ham fisted, gotta be "tighter, tighter", Primitive Petes. A lock ring works, just by being snug, by applying pressure to the bolt's (or die's) threads, increasing the torque necessary to twist the body. If you "need" to tighten a lock ring on a die, just quit messin' around and use an 18" pipe wrench. Then you can ruin your dies quickly (distort the die body threads and round off the nut's corners), and not have to wait with playing around with a "system" of hose clamp and hammer...

Sorry, just seen way too many folks that don't know much about nuts and bolts ruining good tools...
 

Jimbo357mag

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Rick Courtright said:
A Magic Marker and a witness/alignment mark on both ring and threads of the die, followed by tightening/loosening the die as Lee instructs, by the ring only, will put to rest about 99 and 44/100% of the worries about Lee's rings! I'd offer the other 56/100% can be taken care of by holding the top of the die with the other hand and putting a tiny bit of pressure on it in the same direction the lock ring's being turned. That's not a bad idea with ANYBODY'S dies and rings, too... ;)
+1 I have and do exactly the same thing with all my Lee dies. (witness marks on the press, the dies and lock rings) There is no need to tighten down anything with a wrench, the rubber is there to give a little and it holds securely.
 

Chief 101

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me personally I have maybe 25 sets of dies in use and can't think of more than 2 or 3 dies that get locked down for the same adjustment time after time. I can't think of any single load combination that remains the same for long. The o-ring dies always were a quizical thing to me(only have 4-5 sets), but with the marker and witness it makes more sense...I should read instructions sometimes...
 

Chuck 100 yd

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I tightened the die into my Lee press using a 24" pipe wrench and a 3 foot cheater pipe. Now when I raise the ram with a case in the shell holder it hits the bottom of the die and won't enter. What did I do wrong? Can I fix it with a big hammer?
Signed... Bubba
 

jack

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If the BFH doesn't fix it .... get out the cutting torch !! :mrgreen:
 

Chief 101

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when you finger tighten die with split lock ring then tighten lock ring, the die threads become wedged onto the press...this is the tightness we are concerned with in this thread...nobody is talking about abusing their equipment...try it you will then understand
 

mikld

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A lock ring/nut (regardless of split, solid, round, or hex) works by pushing against the frame top, applying upward pressure to the die body, thus increasing friction/pressure against the die body threads making it more difficult to turn. The split ring locking system just squeezes the ring around the die body, regardless of where on the die it's located...
 

Lost Sheep

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mikld said:
A lock ring/nut (regardless of split, solid, round, or hex) works by pushing against the frame top, applying upward pressure to the die body, thus increasing friction/pressure against the die body threads making it more difficult to turn. The split ring locking system just squeezes the ring around the die body, regardless of where on the die it's located...
I would add, rubber to the list. The typical split lock ring you find in ordinary machine applications presses against the threaded base (frame, mount, whatever) and the nut, increasing friction (just as you describe) on the nut and the threads onto which it is screwed (or in the case of a bolt, on the threads into which it is screwed). Lee's rubber "O" ring does much the same thing, only with weaker forces, making a wrench unnecessary.

Interesting discussion, here.

The rubber ring (or, one could use a rubber gasket to achieve the same effect) also provides friction directly between the rubber and the frame and the rubber and the nut as well. This help supplement those weak forces enough to keep one's dies from losing their adjusted positions pretty successfully. Though, the "more is better" crowd probably would disagree.

Lost Sheep

p.s. Who needs a torque wrench? Just lean on it until it can't move no more.
 

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