Lee's new bushing-style bullet sizing die and kits.

walterbunning

Administrator
A while back, I posted a question on the Lee Facebook page as to whether anyone had seen or used the new Lee Breech Lock Bullet bushing-style sizers yet. There was no response, and since I needed a .309 sizer anyway, I decided to try the new setup. The ‘old style’ kit is $20, and the new kit is $12 and one bushing is $10 so not much difference. The old style comes with a capture container, the new one does not (more on that later).

Here are my findings:

The sizer kit consists of 3 parts: a new design breech lock bushing made of lighter material than the standard steel type, and this one has a shoulder milled in to retain the sizer bushings. the threaded bottle adapter/bushing stop, and an apparently unnecessary knurled die-lock ring.

The sizer bushing and punch kit comes with those two parts, the bushing and the punch :)

I mounted the system on my Breech Lock Reloader press, which also serves as my decap/bullet sizer and puller station. Overall, I like the system better than the old sizers, with the caveat that it remains to be seen how well it holds up.

Net wins:
  1. inexpensive and easy to store compared to older style sizers.
  2. the .309 sizer I tested was spot on for size.
  3. it’s breech lock, so quick to install/remove on your press.
  4. the size bushing is flared at the ‘entry’ end, making it easy to get bullets started.
  5. the punch fits any standard press ram.
  6. the special breech lock bushing is knurled..easy to install.
Net fails:
  1. The new breech lock bushing it uses seems flimsy to me, compared to the steel type.
  2. Lee website says that “The sizing die is retained in the mounting body with a dual threaded bottle adaptor. “. That was very misleading. I expected to be able to mount a capture bottle to the die with included equipment. Not so. There is another, optional product not even available yet called a “bottle adapter” that you have to get. The part that the kit instructions term “bottle adapter” is actually just the threaded plug that holds the sizing bushing in place. The male threads do not match any bottle I ever saw. I was able to rig up a simple system that will work with the older red capture container.
  3. What the heck is that knurled lock ring for? There’s no place for it to go that serves any purpose, unless it’s going to be needed for the yet-to-be released capture bottle thingy.
Ok.. go check out the photos below for more explanation.

Here's the sizer kit, and the plastic die box it came in. Three parts.. the unnecessary but nice knurled die lock ring, the new special breech lock bushing, also knurled, and the whatchamacallit that Lee says is the bottle adapter, but isn't.
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This is the sizer and punch set for .309. What you see on the right is the sizing bushing and it's specific punch. The bushing goes into the sizing die, and the punch affixes to your press ram just like a shell holder.
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Another view of the sizing bushing and punch for .309, sitting on a primer container for size reference.
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The essential parts of the setup.. top to bottom: the bushing retainer (not really a bottle adapter), the sizer from the sizer set, and the breech lock bushing. Note: that breech lock bushing is different from the steel ones in that it has a shoulder machined in it to retain the sizer bushing.
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The essential parts of the setup.. top to bottom: the bushing retainer (not really a bottle adapter), the sizer from the sizer set, and the breech lock bushing. Note: that breech lock bushing is different from the steel ones in that it has a shoulder machined in it to retain the sizer bushing. The sizer bushing DOES NOT WORK WITH THE OTHER BREECHLOCK BUSHINGS which do not have a retaining shoulder in them to hold the sizing bushing in place.
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My Mickey Mouse capture container adapter. I just drilled out a plastic pipe cap to serve as a bushing/connector, and stuck another piece of plasitc pipe into my older bullet collector.
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Here we are on the press. You can tell from the photo that my container adapter is a bit of a loose fit, but it doesn't come off. It'll do for now.
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A Lee 309-150 F bullet, powder-coated with Eastwood Red Wagon going into the die. These bullets were running .311-.312 after coating and went through the die smoothly with no additional lube.
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walterbunning

Administrator
I subsequently changed the capture container to a 1-lb coffee can. I drilled a 7/8" hole with a step drill, and secured the can to the die body with the supplied knurled lock ring. It works well. Kinda funky to just remove the can to dump it, but it's on a breech lock die, so the whole thing just twists off.

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walterbunning

Administrator
So, after using the .309 kit, I ordered the remaining sizes that I cast for. I like these better than the older style, and better than the NOE. I’ll hold off getting shed of my other dies until I see how well these hold up. So far I’m giving them a thumbs up for simplicity, cost and storage.
 

walterbunning

Administrator
Here's a photo from Lee's website that shows their "bottle adapter" in use on a classic cast press. Their bottle looks kind of small to me. There aren't many bullets in that container.

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But.. here's another of Lee's photos that shows the bottle adapter on the new (also yet to be released) APP press. If you look closely, those are bullets not cases, in the loading tube, and a bullet sizer punch is in place on the top ram, indicating a bullet feeder with bottom-dump system of bullet sizing. That's something we've all been trying to figure out for a while. Most of us have tried just mouning a press upside down with a sizer die, but this looks better other than the small size of the container that would neccessitate frequent dumping. If I were to go that route, I think that I would rig up a non-attached bin to receive the sized bullets.

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