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Old March 3, 2011, 08:16 AM   #1
chasep255
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Carbide Dies

How do carbide dies work so that you don't need to use any lube?
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Old March 3, 2011, 08:18 AM   #2
Don P
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It is the hardness of the metal.
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Old March 3, 2011, 09:30 AM   #3
wncchester
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"It is the hardness of the metal."

That's the core of it. Sorta.

Carbide is almost as hard as diamond and has a very low friction factor. Plus, for straight wall cases, it only makes contact in a quite narrow ring so the friction is restricted to a small point.

Dillon sells very costly solid carbide sizer dies for .223 and .308 for use by commercial reloaders (well, they will sell the things to anyone wanting them). Those full length rifle dies require lubing same as another others.
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Old March 3, 2011, 10:44 AM   #4
Walkalong
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Lower coefficient of friction due to the slick surface on the harder carbide. If you use lube along with carbide, sizing is effortless.
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Old March 3, 2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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A note carbide dies for bottle neck cartridges still need lube. Just not for straight wall cartridges.
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Old March 3, 2011, 11:48 AM   #6
Sevens
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There's another "carbide" die that still requires lube -- the .30 M1 Carbine sizing die. Try that without lube and you'll get through one, if you are extremely lucky, and you won't be crazy enough to try a second.

Here's another tip on carbide handgun "sets" -- don't be fooled, only the size die is carbide, or has the carbide ring. It's the only place it's needed. The other two dies have no carbide anything.

How this information can help you: Let's say you have a die set for .38/.357 and you load .38 and .357 with it. When you want to flare or seat/crimp, you have to make a major adjustment when going from .38 to .357 or vice versa because of the differing lengths of the case, right? Gets to be such a hassle, changing your settings each time you want to swap calibers, yes?

The solution is to get a second die set so you can leave .357 adjusted and load .38 on the new set. But here's the bonus... don't spend $30 on a new die set.

Next gun show you attend where one or two of the sellers has that ratty old box chock full of old, forgotten and unloved reloading dies, find a non-carbide set for .38 or .357 and pick it up for ten bucks. He knows he can't sell them because almost NOBODY wants a non-carbide die set anymore.

You want them -- you don't need a carbide size die because you already have it. The carbide size die in your set can do .38 and .357 with no adjustments to the settings. So you size all off your brass with your carbide die... then with your new "old" non-carbide set, you can adjust those old dies for mouth flaring and bullet seating and crimping.

Now you've got 5 dies, one carbide sizer, and two each of the flare and seat/crimp die, one for .38 and one for .357.

That old non-carbide size die? Put it on display, on the shelf, because you won't ever need it nor will you ever use it.

You can do this for .32's (S&W, S&W Long, H&R Mag and .327 Federal) and .38/.357, .40 S&W/10mm, .44 Special/.44 Mag and so on.

You can even pick up an old and unloved .45 Auto non-carbide set for cheap and have a whole other seat/crimp die for when you want to use a totally different bullet profile. No need to change settings on your favorite die, simply pick up an old non-carbide set for cheap dough because nobody wants it.

Works for me!
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Old March 3, 2011, 06:10 PM   #7
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When I bought my first set of RCBS carbide dies for 38/357 about 30 years ago, they included a washer whose thickness was equal to the difference in case length between the 38 and 357. To change from 38 to 357, all you had to do is insert the washer under the expander or seater die lock ring to compensate for the longer length of the 357.

I like your idea of buying "obsolete" dies.
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Old March 3, 2011, 07:12 PM   #8
NESHOOTER
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kudos, to the posters on the warning of dies without lube... if you indeed want to try it be sure to buy an stuck case remover.
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Old March 3, 2011, 07:42 PM   #9
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Use lube anyway ..even with carbide dies ......it will make your press run significantly smoother ....

and you won't run the risk of a stuck case ...like someone else said ....
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Old March 3, 2011, 09:59 PM   #10
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Depends on the case length if I use lube or not, even with carbide dies. 45 ACP and .380 I do not lube and use the carbide dies as they are. .357 and 45 Colt I twist the case neck lightly and coat the last 1/16" of the case with lube. .357's almost disappear effort wise and the 45 Colts are so much easier to size. It is worth the time it takes to remove the lube with a damp paper towel.
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Old March 4, 2011, 02:06 AM   #11
Ideal Tool
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Hello, Guys..Just a heads up on some of that "lifetime life" false advertising of a carbide die..They will wear out, just like steel ones..only slower..Your brass will have a sort of oblong look to the case mouth..Took a long time for me to figure out what was going on. Best of luck!
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Old March 4, 2011, 08:54 AM   #12
Sevens
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That's the first I've heard of a carbide sizing die wearing out.

I suppose my next question is... is the body of the case still getting sized? If yes, then doesn't the mouth give little trouble when you flare, then seat a bullet?

Does the "worn out" carbide sizing die screw up the actual reloading of the rounds?
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Old March 4, 2011, 09:25 AM   #13
wncchester
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""..lifetime life" false advertising of a carbide die..They will wear out,.."

Well, anything will wear out eventually I suppose.

Given that the design life of an average carbide sizer is said to be around a million rounds and they really don't cost a lot to start with, I don't think I'll worry much if I do wear one out.
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Old March 4, 2011, 09:27 AM   #14
mc223
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I'm thinkin BS on wearing out a carbide die. You would have to coat your brass with at the very least aluminum oxide.
I have loaded many thousands of 38 Super for IPSC over several years with a carbide die.

Well you are just gonna have to prove that one to me.

This is from Seirra
Quote:
Due to the difficulty in working large pieces of carbide they are extremely expensive, often running in excess of $200 for a sizing die alone. Their use is normally limited to commercial reloaders who need the greater tool life offered by carbide, which is said to be well in excess of one million rounds. Given the fact that few reloaders will resize enough rounds in a lifetime to wear out a set of standard steel dies, carbide rifle dies are mentioned here only as a point of curiosity.

Last edited by mc223; March 4, 2011 at 09:49 AM.
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Old March 4, 2011, 10:18 AM   #15
Don P
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Quote:
""..lifetime life" false advertising of a carbide die..They will wear out,.."

Well, anything will wear out eventually I suppose.

Given that the design life of an average carbide sizer is said to be around a million rounds and they really don't cost a lot to start with, I don't think I'll worry much if I do wear one out.
I would like to meet the person that is reloading for himself that has worn out a carbide die.
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