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Max Online: 16728 @ 03/25/12 08:51 AM
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#5993035 - 10/25/15 07:29 AM Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets
GasGuzzler Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
This is not a thread created to bash Lee. I know some don't like their stuff. That's fine. It's done well for me at a good price. Just looking for any advice regarding my method, etc. I will be sending and edited (non-forum) version of this to Lee Precision.

I bought the .223 Rem pilot a couple weeks ago and my brass never touched the cutter on the 60 or so I tried it on. No biggie, brass was once fired and likely not too long.
I ordered the pilots for 9mm, .357, and .32-20.
I have an issue with all three of them.
All brass was sized using Lee dies on a Lee press.
All brass is once fired or new.


My issue with the 9mm set is the brass fits too tight and the pilot seems a little too short.

Lee's page for the 9mm pilot says the length range is .744-.754". Seems like a wide range to me. My 1X Winchester brass averages 0.750". Here's a picture of how much brass would be cut off if I used this pilot.




No, I don't plan on trimming all my 9mm or even .357 but for the price it seemed like a good thing to have on hand.

My issue with the .357 is the pilot is WAY too short.

Lee's website shows cut length for their pilot at 1.27-1.29". My new Starline brass averages 1.279", perfectly in the range of the cutter and a little short compared to the original spec of 1.29". Here's a picture of how much brass would be cut off if I were to use the pilot I bought.



Mis-marked .38 Special pilot? I don't think so. Here's the pilot inserted into a .38S case.



My issue with the .32WCF pilot is I cannot get it to fit into any but a select few of my cases. Once again, the brass was sized with Lee dies on a Lee press. This cartridge should have a case mouth ID of .312". My brass averages about .301" and the pilot is .304".

Here is a side by side pic. Passes eyeball test on length.



Here's about how far they fit on.



I have a vintage RCBS manual trimmer set up and a whole bunch of pilots. Not sure how to use it, not sure I wanna get all that out every time I wanna trim some brass. I'd like to make this stuff work because it's simple and quick using a cordless drill.

Ideas?
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#5993075 - 10/25/15 08:18 AM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
Ranch Dog Offline
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Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1081
Loc: Cuero
Well heck, what a PIA. The good thing about Lee is all you need to do is call them and they will replace them.

I've experience a couple that were tight but it was always with a specific lot of brass and not others. Of course, you want them to work so I just took some lapping compound on a towel to them and that cured the issue.

As far a length goes and as long as the pilot is short, you can always adjust the length by not threading the pilot in completely. I actually verify a specific cut with all mine using a caliper but I too would find your's unacceptable and would contact Lee. Kind of odd group of cartridges, or what I guess I find funny is that I reload all of these too.

My trimmers are used with the Lyman Case Prep Xpress.


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#5993078 - 10/25/15 08:26 AM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
GasGuzzler Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
Good information. I think there's plenty of room to adjust for the 9mm as you suggest. I surmise this is why the threaded portion of the pilot is split and splayed....to let it stay put even if not threaded all the way in. No way that's working with the .357. I'm guessing the problem on the .32-20 is the sizer die making the brass too small. I'm starting a ticket with Lee as I type.
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#5993125 - 10/25/15 09:07 AM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
BassCat'99 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 921
Loc: Stratford Texas
Thanks for posting this, it's good info. Please keep us posted on their reply. (tagged)
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#5993175 - 10/25/15 09:44 AM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
okie44 Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 612
Loc: Midland TX.
Run the 32-20 brass through the expander die without belling the case mouth or polish the tool with emery cloth.
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#5993253 - 10/25/15 10:43 AM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
GasGuzzler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
Powder through expander die is giving me about 0.005" more, still not enough. The most ID I'm getting out of the expander is 0.309-0.310". I need to load lead at 0.312" so it's not just difference in the pilot and the sized brass. Plus, I'll have to run the brass through the expander twice because that's how I charge them. Then again, I won't be loading many of these very often so I guess it's no big deal.
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#5993606 - 10/25/15 03:24 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
Ranch Dog Offline
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Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1081
Loc: Cuero
Originally Posted By: GasGuzzler
Good information. I think there's plenty of room to adjust for the 9mm as you suggest. I surmise this is why the threaded portion of the pilot is split and splayed....to let it stay put even if not threaded all the way in. No way that's working with the .357. I'm guessing the problem on the .32-20 is the sizer die making the brass too small. I'm starting a ticket with Lee as I type.

I think the same. In fact, if it threads in to easy, I spread them a bit with the flat blade of a screw driver. I have an old Saunder's Archery nock set tool that I use to thread them in. It is a perfect fit plier that will not mar the pilot no matter what the pilot diameter is. That's how tight I like them.

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#5993670 - 10/25/15 04:07 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
GasGuzzler Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
I turned the .32-20 pilot OD down to .304" and it fits most of the cases. Should be better once I polish it. Now that I can get the brass over it I have realized it is too short like the 9mm. I'm going to have to make a shim for the .32WCF and the 9mm that will allow me to tighten the pilot at a longer length. I tried some .32WCF with the pilot screwed out a little and although I had to thread it in with pliers, it's still moving and produces inconsistent trims. I cannot afford to keep feeding hard to find brass so I need a better solution.

No way I'll be able to use the .357 pilot as is or with a shim. It eyeballs to 0.070" too short. I'll measure it at some point.
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#5994073 - 10/25/15 07:34 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
blackcoal Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 7565
Loc: 60 Mi North of DFW
Where is your case holder? Do you have one?
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#5994106 - 10/25/15 07:48 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
GasGuzzler Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
Cole, watcha mean? I have the rest of the set up...shell holders for all and the lock stud. Am I missing something?
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#5995241 - 10/26/15 02:39 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
blackcoal Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 7565
Loc: 60 Mi North of DFW
No, guess you have it all. In several of photos showing the length gauge you never showed the shell holder or lock. Wondered if you had them. March on !!
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#5995472 - 10/26/15 05:17 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
Ranch Dog Offline
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Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1081
Loc: Cuero
I'm with you when it comes to tearing any brass. Sounds like time to email Lee with the pictures and your address.

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#5995661 - 10/26/15 07:18 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
GasGuzzler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
To start the ticket I filled out yesterday morning I had to provide address and phone number. I inserted links to the pics I posted here although the form didn't ask for them. Today I got a reply from a representative from Lee requesting the pics in PDF (the bane of my existence). I cannot convert JPG to PDF on this machine without a patch I'm not willing to research and install so I replied (at least now I had an email address which to reply) with JPGs inserted in the body of the email.

We shall see.

Thanks for the posts and PMs. I got both.
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#5996610 - 10/27/15 10:48 AM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23413
Loc: Texas
I use the same trimmer. I have had similar issues with 45 colt brass and 45-70 brass. Like someone else said it is usually with a specific head stamp and not others.

The biggest problem I have that bugs me to no end is in order to screw some of the trimmer length gauges into the trimmer stud I have to use a vice and pair of vice grip pliers... and no it is not and never has been cross threaded.
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#5997974 - 10/27/15 10:21 PM Re: Lee Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder Sets [Re: GasGuzzler]
GasGuzzler Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
I have an ongoing conversation with Lee. Thanks for the help so far.
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