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  #1  
Old 02-08-2021, 01:46 PM
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Default Wrench for die lock nuts

So I have been using pliers to lock my dies in place since I don't have a 1-3/16 or 1-1/8 open end wrench...searched the web and found a small box wrench with both sizes, but it was one off and no longer available...the thought of buying a couple large, expensive wrenches just bugged me , but so did having a bunch of different sized tools laying around the bench. I searched online and came up with this. 8 inches long adjusts up to 1-3/8"...probably cheaply made, but it isn't like i am torquing cylinder head bolts. Arrives tomorrow and I will see how it goes.

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Old 02-08-2021, 01:55 PM
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Looks like a nice little tool to have around. I just hand tighten the nuts on my dies. Have never used a wrench. Works fine. They don't move. Anyone else using a wrench?
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:16 PM
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Guess you haven't seen LEE's newest lock nuts for dies...?

They are knurled, have a locking screw (like on Hornady, not like RCBS) & a rubber O-ring! And there is a designated (as in proprietary?) wrench that fits the knurls available as well...

Cheers!

P.S. I've used an adjustable wrench for dies for years. A big one for the bottoms and a little one for the tops.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:57 PM
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I've always kept a couple sizes of common adjustable wrenches in a drawer near my press. However, for an adjustable wrench that opens wider than common Crescent style wrenches I have automotive wrenches. They pre-date the common kinked Crescent style. Their jaw moves down their handle. I do not have a smaller size handy to measure but to give you an idea my 19" automotive wrench opens to 4 1/2". They are still sold new with Crescent's name on them. You can find them on Amazon searching for automotive wrench. Even though they are U.S. made mine were only a few bucks at a swap meet.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:03 PM
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I have a rather large,ancient crescent wrench I “borrowed” from my dad about 40 yrs ago on my bench
Which reminds me,jr still has my orbital sander!
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeplorabusUnum View Post
Looks like a nice little tool to have around. I just hand tighten the nuts on my dies. Have never used a wrench. Works fine. They don't move. Anyone else using a wrench?
I agree! Finger strength/hand strength is more than enough[unless you're arthritic].
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k22fan View Post
I've always kept a couple sizes of common adjustable wrenches in a drawer near my press. However, for an adjustable wrench that opens wider than common Crescent style wrenches I have automotive wrenches. They pre-date the common kinked Crescent style. Their jaw moves down their handle. I do not have a smaller size handy to measure but to give you an idea my 19" automotive wrench opens to 4 1/2". They are still sold new with Crescent's name on them. You can find them on Amazon searching for automotive wrench. Even though they are U.S. made mine were only a few bucks at a swap meet.

Most old guys, if they ever worked on old cars, would know them as “monkey wrenches”.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:12 PM
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Or adjustable metric wrenches.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:19 PM
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we called them Arkansas socket sets at work!!
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:19 PM
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This Channel Lock is 8" long and opens to 1.625".
Made in Spain but it will work on dies other than 9mm.
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:39 PM
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I never wrench the die tight into the press, so they generally come back out with little effort.
If one does resist removal, I have a crescent wrench that just barely makes the span to loosen the die.

Knurled lock rings are another matter. W/O wrench flats on the die you re left with using a pliers and a strip of leather to avoid marks.

Some older mfg dies have wrench flats cut on the die body above the knurling which is handy. Smaller common wrench size for one thing and you can use knurled lock rings and not have to think about how not to damage the knurling on them.

If the set screw in the lock ring is the allen type (socket), you can sometimes just use the allen wrench for a handle and turn a slightly stubborn die loose.
It won't work with a die that is heavily wrenched down on the press though.
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:52 PM
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There are these things called deep well sockets........just saying.

The need for wrenching on the lock nuts kinda depends upon what kinda of forces you're using and how long your production run is. Sizing dies and seaters seem most needy of a bit more than finger tight. Also kinda depends upon how muscular your fingers are.
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:54 PM
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Go to O'Rielly auto parts. You can buy single wrenches for a reasonable price there - they have a 1-1/8" combo wrench for just over 6 bucks. I snug most of mine down with a wrench too so that they never move accidentally - because I have a separate turret die plate for each caliber.
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjrjar View Post
Most old guys, if they ever worked on old cars, would know them as “monkey wrenches”.
Bob


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Negative. In their day automotive wrenches were a big improvement over monkey wrenches.

For another comparison, my 11" Diamond Tool & Horseshoe Co. automotive wrench opens to about 3 1/4".

I agree with most of the posters. Finger tight is how dies are normally turned into presses.
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Old 02-08-2021, 06:29 PM
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I use a 10" Crescent adjustble wrench I've had forever. It opens just enough to comfortably snug the die nut.
I like to lock my dies with a wrench, because I'm picky about case length and crimp quality. There's enough play in my LNL press that I want to keep out lost motion anywhere I can, and a crimp/seating die is probably the worst place to have it.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:26 PM
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I got this one with a bunch of reloading stuff in an estate. I've never seen one before but its pretty slick. With the handle down at a 90 degree angle you can loosen a snug die. When the handle is up you can spin the die out of a tight spot on a turret head press.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:40 PM
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A 10" Cresent(adjustable) wrench from Harbor Freight for $10 will do all you want to do.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:43 PM
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I use my Grandfather's 1951 blued steel Channel Locks, model #421.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:14 PM
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this has me thinking of a trip out to the shop and get out a piece of 1/8" aluminum or steel and start hacking. The flats on the Hornady hex rings are just a tiny bit smaller than the Lee hex nuts and the teeth in the newer "gear toothed" rings are big enough that a couple teeth cut into the jaws of a wrench made to fit the other rings would make it fit all 3!
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:37 PM
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One of the nice benefits of a Forster Coax press is not worrying about die ring wrenching. Just twist the die to where you want it in the ring and run the grub screw (set screw) in to fix the ring position. Works on either split lock rings or solid rings with set screws and a lead plug. No big wrenches. Forster branded rings have knurling instead of wrench flats. I am an admitted Coax fanboy.
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Old 02-09-2021, 12:10 AM
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I will never part with the Co-Ax that I've had for 42 years but I would not choose one for my only press. While its compound leverage combines with its 180 degree handle stroke to provide the best leverage of all the presses I've used, it is slow. Some die lock rings fit the slot. Some don't. 1970s RCBS ring fit. Early 1980 and later RCBS rings have to be thinned in a lathe. I've never attempted to make Lee's rubber O ring die rings work. Even if they would, how'd you keep the ring in exactly the same position between uses? For priming early Co-Axes use shell holders with the same dimensions as RCBS shell holders except those for the Co-Axe have a larger hole through them. RCBS shell holders can be drilled to make them work. Newer Co-Axe presses have a sliding jaw universal shell holder on top for priming. The Co-Axe is such an unusual press that for $30 I was able to buy a second newer one from a gun store that has been selling used reloading equipment for decades. They did not recognize it as a reloading press. They though it had something to do with plumbing.

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Old 02-09-2021, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeplorabusUnum View Post
Anyone else using a wrench?
I do. I usually use a crescent wrench, even though I have Dillon dies, which are 1”. I bought the Dillon wrench, which is absolute garbage, and I don’t recommend it.


OP, that looks like a nice little tool. Let us know how it works out for you.
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Old 02-09-2021, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjrjar View Post
Most old guys, if they ever worked on old cars, would know them as “monkey wrenches”.
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"Monkey" wrenches are pipe wrenches or stilson wrenches.
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Old 02-09-2021, 01:38 AM
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RCBS make a good one and the price is reasonable IMO.

RCBS Die Locking Ring Wrench
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:14 AM
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Default Sometimes I need a wrench.....

...to get dies loose even after I hand tighten them.
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Old 02-09-2021, 08:46 AM
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I should have mentioned that I use a turret press which makes using a larger wrench awkward and difficult.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:36 AM
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I use a wrench, but don't really wring them down. I remove the O ring from the Lee nuts then turn them upside down to use. I also check them on occasion during use, I don't want them coming loose.

Have a blessed day,

Leon
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:26 PM
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Works fine

Robert
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:33 PM
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Nothing works like a metric adjustable
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Old 02-09-2021, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post
Nothing works like a metric adjustable
Just don't get the newer Chinese metric adjustable wrenches, they're inferior quality. Ask around if any shops have the older Craftsman or Stanley metric adjustable wrenches, perhaps on a back forgotten rack somewhere. Worth a try.

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Old 02-09-2021, 09:21 PM
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this has me thinking of a trip out to the shop and get out a piece of 1/8" aluminum or steel and start hacking. The flats on the Hornady hex rings are just a tiny bit smaller than the Lee hex nuts and the teeth in the newer "gear toothed" rings are big enough that a couple teeth cut into the jaws of a wrench made to fit the other rings would make it fit all 3!



It isn't made for hard use, but is plenty strong enough for spinning those locking nuts. someone with a waterjet could turn these out pretty quick and cheap and with a lot better fit. maybe one end open for the nuts and flats and the other cut in a ring to fit the new Lee rings.
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Old 02-10-2021, 01:19 AM
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DEEP SOCKET!!!!
Enough said, go to NAPA
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:41 AM
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I have an old router wrench that just needed a little file work to fit the lock nuts just fine. I only give it a little seating tweak once I've tightened it down. As an aside, my buddy calls an adjustable wrench "the Polish micrometer".
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Old 02-10-2021, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imissedagain View Post
This Channel Lock is 8" long and opens to 1.625".
Made in Spain but it will work on dies other than 9mm.
Or the Northern Tools version:
Error | DNS Resolution | Northern Tool + Equipment
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k22fan View Post
I've always kept a couple sizes of common adjustable wrenches in a drawer near my press. However, for an adjustable wrench that opens wider than common Crescent style wrenches I have automotive wrenches. They pre-date the common kinked Crescent style. Their jaw moves down their handle. I do not have a smaller size handy to measure but to give you an idea my 19" automotive wrench opens to 4 1/2". They are still sold new with Crescent's name on them. You can find them on Amazon searching for automotive wrench. Even though they are U.S. made mine were only a few bucks at a swap meet.
I work in Army helicopter maintenance as a civilian employee, and was military before that. Some of us older guys have have one or two of the old non-crescent wrenches that are referred to as “Ford wrenches “. Don’t know if that is the proper name or not.
From the looks of them, I’ll bet some of them are 60 to 90 years old ( the wrenches, not the guys ).
Well, SOME of the guys.

Last edited by smoothshooter; 02-10-2021 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raljr1 View Post
So I have been using pliers to lock my dies in place since I don't have a 1-3/16 or 1-1/8 open end wrench...searched the web and found a small box wrench with both sizes, but it was one off and no longer available...the thought of buying a couple large, expensive wrenches just bugged me , but so did having a bunch of different sized tools laying around the bench. I searched online and came up with this. 8 inches long adjusts up to 1-3/8"...probably cheaply made, but it isn't like i am torquing cylinder head bolts. Arrives tomorrow and I will see how it goes.



Robert
Adjustable wrenches make me cringe. Even the good ones don't stay parallel.

I hand tighten as a rule, but once in awhile I need a wrench to take one off. Used ones come up once in awhile on E-Bay, but a deep socket may be the best option. I just bought a 1 1/16" at Home Depot for 7 bucks.
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Old 02-10-2021, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tndrfttom View Post
I got this one with a bunch of reloading stuff in an estate. I've never seen one before but its pretty slick. With the handle down at a 90 degree angle you can loosen a snug die. When the handle is up you can spin the die out of a tight spot on a turret head press.
I have one just like it....these were made specifically for this task , I think by either rcbs or Lyman.
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Old 02-10-2021, 03:51 PM
Drm50 Drm50 is offline
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If you do much loading at all a couple wrenches aren’t going to break you.
I have small drawer full of the stamped wrenches that use to come in dies.
I lent a guy dies one time. He used Channel Locks on them. That tears up and marrs dies. He still walks funny and don’t come around to barrow no more. I also notice that people that aren’t familiar with precision type stuff act like they are torquing bolts on a bulldozer.
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Old 02-10-2021, 04:13 PM
lihpster lihpster is offline
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A good place to buy single open end wrenches for cheap is pawn shops. Usually have boxes of loose tools for sale.
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Old 02-12-2021, 12:10 AM
ggibson511960 ggibson511960 is offline
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If one is tightening die lock nuts tight enough to need a wrench, it is a good idea to make sure the die is centered on the cartridge case. The thread fit between die and press is a running fit that can be wobbled. CoAx presses don't have the issue, but all other conventional "C" or turret presses do. It is a very good practice to tighten the lock nut with a cartridge case part way into the die to make sure the die is coaxial and centered. Fussy? Yes, but when I used to use a "C" press it made a difference on badly bulged brass (SMLE) with a lot of runout I was trying to get to feed again.
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Old 02-12-2021, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggibson511960 View Post
If one is tightening die lock nuts tight enough to need a wrench, it is a good idea to make sure the die is centered on the cartridge case. The thread fit between die and press is a running fit that can be wobbled. CoAx presses don't have the issue, but all other conventional "C" or turret presses do. It is a very good practice to tighten the lock nut with a cartridge case part way into the die to make sure the die is coaxial and centered. Fussy? Yes, but when I used to use a "C" press it made a difference on badly bulged brass (SMLE) with a lot of runout I was trying to get to feed again.

Good,tip, thanks.
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Old 02-12-2021, 08:33 AM
mikerjf mikerjf is offline
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Do they make one big enough?
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Old 02-12-2021, 09:44 AM
zeke zeke is offline
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At one time imagined keeping my lock rings in set position and changed most of them over to knurled with little lock bolts. Know i set/adjust/square the die each time and lock the Knurled rings down with channel locks tighter than i can with my hands. Somewhere there is a box with all the original lock rings.
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Old 02-15-2021, 01:06 AM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
RCBS make a good one and the price is reasonable IMO.

RCBS Die Locking Ring Wrench
I use the same one, and it’s fantastic. A deep well socket often isn’t long enough to do the job but the open top of this wrench makes that a non-issue. I find that on my Dillon RL450 (old-school progressive) the dies will back out if they are only hand-tightened. Nothing like knocking out a few hundred rounds only to realize that your seating die has loosened and the last few boxes are too long to fit in the magazine and all have to be run through the seating die again!
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Old 02-18-2021, 01:12 AM
pasote pasote is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer1911 View Post
I use my Grandfather's 1951 blued steel Channel Locks, model #421.
Exactly! I have a matched set of blue steel jacketed channel locks that I inherited from my father. They are sitting next to my Redding ultramag press. They work beautifully!
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Old 02-18-2021, 02:01 AM
Racer X Racer X is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggibson511960 View Post
If one is tightening die lock nuts tight enough to need a wrench, it is a good idea to make sure the die is centered on the cartridge case. The thread fit between die and press is a running fit that can be wobbled. CoAx presses don't have the issue, but all other conventional "C" or turret presses do. It is a very good practice to tighten the lock nut with a cartridge case part way into the die to make sure the die is coaxial and centered. Fussy? Yes, but when I used to use a "C" press it made a difference on badly bulged brass (SMLE) with a lot of runout I was trying to get to feed again.
Pretty sure this is why Lee dies now use the O ring with the "lock" nut. Just enough wobble allowed for the die and cartridge to line up without side loading anything.
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