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Old September 26, 2012, 08:05 PM   #1
Gary L. Griffiths
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Join Date: April 7, 2000
Location: AZ, IA, WA
Posts: 1,292
Hornady Die Problems

Having taken up reloading again after a 30+ year hiatus, I finally got my old Rock Chucker press set up and bought two sets of Hornady New Dimension dies for .45-70 and .223, and a can of Hornady One-Shot case lube. I loaded up about 50 .45-70s with no problem, although I was using new unprimed cases. Then I installed the .223 decapping/resizing die according to instructions, sprayed the cases with lube, and on the second case, the depriming pin bent off inside the case, only partially depriming the case. When I removed the case, I discovered the decapping spindle had bent, and the neck expander had split in two.

I returned the dies to Hornady, who replaced the spindle, decapping pin, and expander button. I then resprayed the cases and continued, only to run into a stuck case. To get the case out, I had to remove the zip spindle from the die so I could remove the case with the decapping assembly. I then wiggled the case off of the expander button, only to find that I had again bent the spindle. I fastened it into the jaws of my bench vise, and straightened it as best I could, then operated it for another dozen or so cases until I felt much greater resistance. I eased the case back out of the die, and discovered that the decapping pin had again broken off, and the spindle again bent. I removed them from the die, restraightened the spindle and replaced the decapping pin. I proceeded for about a dozen more cases until I again experienced a stuck case, and again bent the spindle upon removing the case. I re-lubed the cases, spraying them from opposite directions as I had before, then turning them upside down in the loading blocks and lubing them again from two directions. I apparently got the spindle centered just right, and the proper amount of lube, as I had no further problems with the remainder of the cases.

I bought the Hornady dies because Cabela's had them on sale. I have and still use RCBS, Lee, and Herters dies in other calibers, and have never had a problem. Although the decapping spindle on a 22-caliber die is, of necessity, smaller and less robust than on a 30 or 45-caliber die, I would think that the spindle should be made out of tool steel and be sturdy enough that you couldn't literally bend it with your hands. I chalked the stuck cases up to my unfamiliarity with Hornady One-Shot lube, as I have had no issues with it since I now use it as Four-Shot lube. I had about decided to buy a Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive loader, but after my experience with their dies, am not sure that spending the additional $$$ for a Dillon 650 wouldn't be prudent. I intend to replace the Hornady .223 die set with a Dillon 3-die set that has a one-piece decapping spindle/pin, and a stuck case removal feature.

Has anyone else had less than stellar performance with Hornady dies?
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