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Author Topic: Reloading Die Maintainence  (Read 447 times)

Offline Dutch-Hunter

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Reloading Die Maintainence
« on: December 13, 2014, 08:50:02 AM »
Reloading dies if properly maintained will give years of service. Most dies are hardened and then micro-polished for that mirror internal finish many of the dies exhibit. Many of them are also treated with some type of rust preventative before they leave the factory. So thoroughly clean them before they’re put to use. The first step in taking care of your dies starts when you receive them. Clean all new dies before you begin to use them.

Sizing Dies
Beginning with your sizing dies; take the decapping assembly completely out of the die body. Flush the decapping assembly with a good degreaser and wipe the expander ball clean. The only part of the decapping assembly that should come in contact with your brass is the expander ball and the decapping pin. Pay particular attention to the expander ball, it determines the final interior dimension (bullet grip) of your case neck. Make sure you inspect it after cleaning to make sure that the surface is clean and free of burrs and rust. Next, flush the interior of the die body out with some more degreaser. Using a pistol cleaning rod or a dowel rod, push a couple of wet patches all the way through the die. Then run a couple of dry patches through. Reassemble the sizing die and it should be good to go. Tip: To increase your sizing die’s service length invest in a universal decapping die. This allows you to decap and clean the brass before using your sizing die.

Seating Dies
Taking apart your seater is fairly simple depending on the complexity of your seating die. A standard seater just requires you to turn the seating stem out of the die body exposing the interior of the seater. Flush and clean both the body and seater as described above. Benchrest sliding sleeve (or bushing) seaters such as Forster or Redding Competition Dies and others have a few more parts. Just make sure as you take them apart you know how the spring is oriented and how any other parts such as chamber sleeves or seating plugs are arranged. Any springs or threads should be wiped down with a very lightly coated rag or patch with good quality oil. Make sure you inspect the opening in the seating stem for debris. You can twist a patch and use the end to clean out the smaller caliber stems/plugs.

Regular Cleaning and Storage
Regular maintenance of your dies should include a routine cleaning. Full length sizing dies collect excess lube off the cases and this lube can begin to build up. Dents formed in the case shoulder from the hydraulic compression of the excess lube in the die when the case was sized. Cleaning regiment can vary depending on how frequently the dies are used and the cleanliness of your reloading area. For long term storage of your dies put a light film of oil or rust preventative on them. It’s best to store them in their original boxes if possible or buy die cases. I recommend putting a silicon moisture absorbing packet in the box for storage.

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Offline MichiganLouie

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Re: Reloading Die Maintainence
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 09:17:20 AM »
Ya fergot to tell the student to go reload some ammo!  Safely, of course.

Don't ask the Lord to guide your steps, unless you're willing to move your feet.
NRA Life Member.
Started reloading my own ammo to save money 35 yrs ago.  Should start saving money anytime now.

Offline Jaeger

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Re: Reloading Die Maintainence
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 09:13:04 AM »
Great article!

Question, will spraying the inside of the dies with a rust preventative like Barricade cause problems later?  Should it be cleaned out prior to use?
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Offline Dutch-Hunter

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Re: Reloading Die Maintainence
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 10:19:15 AM »
There are many petroleum based rust inhibiting products on the market. Barricade as you mentioned is great, Rem Oil works great as well, basically any inhibitor will work. The best way to clean the residue oil (rust inhibitor) from the dies is with brake cleaner or if you have a sonic cleaner make a freshh batch of solvent and use it to clean dies. Completely flush the die before and after using. Just remember to re-oil the dies before storing them. PLEASE NEVER USE WD40! It forms a film that is very hard to get rid of.
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