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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Lee universal decapper useless?

    ....or am I just the nut behind the wheel? I understand it's designed for the mandrel to slip up the collet rather than break the pin, but seriously, do I need to hire the Hulk to tighten the thing for me lol?

    I put the the die upside down in my vice holding the nut, then went to town tightening the thing as much as I could without fearing I was going to break it. The mandrel slips up on almost every case of 223. If this is as good as it gets, this die is useless to me.

    Am I missing something?

  2. #2
    The Gunsmithing Moderator blacksmithden's Avatar
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    Very often, 223 primers are crimped in. This is obviously going to require more force to pop them out. Now, you have to actually deform some metal to get the primer out, not just overcome the friction between the primer and the case. The other thing is, you're going to find it difficult to insert a new primer into those cases without swaging them first. A swaging tool (made by most of the major manufacturers) holds the case, and pushes a pin into the primer pocket with a wedge on the end to push the crimp out a bit. Your solution is to buy a die that doesn't use Lee's "save my decapping pin' collet/friction method of holding the decapping pin rod. At the same time, buy yourself a case swaging tool.
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  3. #3
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    Your not a nutter,

    My personal prefered at this point is the Harvey deprimer, I've been through thousands of military brass along with others and I'm still on the first pin. Currently I'm waiting on a Mighty Armory decapping set up, sounds like it will be another winning unit. As for the Lee or RCBS heavy duty units I can't say I've been anything but unhappy with them and haven't cared since I got the Harvey.

  4. #4
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    Huh, I never heard of the Harvey, I'll have to check it out.

    BSD the brass that was giving me the most trouble was FC .223, I would think military brass would be stamped 556?
    Anyway my workaround was to just whack the top of the die with a hammer whenever the rod came up, worked like a charm, popped the primer right out lol! Got through enough brass to do a batch of reloads for now. Gonna give the die a little alcohol bath later, I'm thinking maybe they're greased up a bit out of the factory causing the mandrel to slip too readily? Will let youse all know.
    Last edited by IJ22; 03-09-2019 at 03:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jay.ec's Avatar
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    I haven't used the Lee decapper, I've been using the sizing/depriming die on my Dillon. (Which has no issues whatsoever popping primers out.)

    I've found that American Eagle brass has their primers crimped in pretty tightly even though it's 223 also. (I ruined a fair few good primers before realising what was going on and buying a primer pocket reamer to fix the issue.) I've kinda been considering buying a hand deprimer and Lyman case prep express so that I can deprime everything that way then run it all through a pocket reaming/depth uniforming and then a couple hours in the tumbler for full cleaning. So that Harvey deprimer looks pretty sweet... Looks a bit easier to use than the Frankford Arsenal version.
    Last edited by Jay.ec; 03-09-2019 at 04:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Rory McCanuck's Avatar
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    The Lee decapper works great, but you need to get it right.
    Screw it into the press to hold it, then put your 3/4" wrench on the flats of the die to stop it from turning.
    Put your 1/2" wrench on the collet and tighten.
    Line the wrenches up so you can squeeze them together like pliers.
    Squeeze until the worls turns purple, that collet needs to be blue-face tight.

    Or, take the pin out, squeeze it in the jaws of a vice just hard enough that the vice jaws give it a bit of 'knurling' for the collet to grab, and see above.

    I was suprised I didn't put the pin through some of the primers in the FC brass they're crimped in so tight.
    Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that clown. Oct 20, '15

  7. The Following 2 Users Like This Post By Rory McCanuck

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  8. #7
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    Check the size of your flash holes vs the size of the pin. I had to file down the pin to fit some of my brass

  9. #8
    Senior Member Grimlock's Avatar
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    What Rory said. Torque it down good. Mine barely moves with berdan cases and I still get at least 5000 cases out of it before an off centre flash hole bends it over.

    It's pretty obnoxious of Federal to crimp 223 the way they do. It's worse than most military ammo.

  10. #9
    Senior Member linung's Avatar
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    I use a Frankfort Arsenal Handheld deprimer. It works good on all 223. I've tried it on many different caliber up to some 50 AE I've picked up at the range.

    The only issues I've found is that Hertenberger cases gets stuck cause the flash hole is too small.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member
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    I've done a couple thousand 223s with the Lee, no problem, like Jay.ec says, AE brass whether 223 or 556 I can't get primers in without swagging.

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