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Old November 15, 2012, 09:43 AM   #1
tank1949
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Bad dies

Too much run out will affect accuracy. How do you know when rifle dies are worn out? Resizer or seating die???? I shoot 308 (M1A), 30-06 (M1), 223 (ARs) and 300 Win Mag (bolt gun). I trim all cases first with Dillon case trimmers which resizes brass as well. Then I resize (again) and remove old primers with RCBS dies. Except for the 308, all brass is resized with FL. The 308 is SB. With exception of the 308s, and 300 Win Mag resizing, all expansion balls feel real sloppy when I bring expander ball back through bottle necks of 30-06 and 223. The balls are supposed to be carbide, but may not be and worn out???. All of my reloading manuals indicate that for proper die adjustment, I am supposed to lock the expander stem nut when expander ball exerts pressure passing through the bottle neck. This assures proper alignment. Military brass (308, 223 and 30-06(if you can find any)) do provide a lot more resistance when ball passes, but I shoot mostly commercial Winchester brass and some Remington in my firearms. I assume military stuff has greater neck thickness. RCBS indicated that they have experienced this type sloppiness before and for me to not be alarmed over this phenomena. But what about accuracy problems? I have an M1 and a bull barreled AR that consistency give me fliers which I am hoping to eliminate. I just ordered a Hornady concentricity testing device. If the 308 and 223 dies are just worn out, I'd replace. Anyone out there had this problem and found a solution. Or, is there another problem that I am unaware of??????

THX Jim
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:21 PM   #2
wncchester
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I've been reloading over 47 years. I've never seen or even heard of anyone wearing out a die so I haven't a clue what it would look like.
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Old November 16, 2012, 01:11 AM   #3
warningshot
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I dought this is a worn-out die issue. Good Luck.
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Old November 16, 2012, 01:25 AM   #4
jamaica
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Hmmm, don't think you will wear out a die. Brass can't really cut hardened steel and for sure not carbide. Brass is too soft in comparison to the material dies are made of.

Brass thickness and hardness is the reason for the difference in felt resistance when the ball is coming back out of the necks. I have noticed these differences you mention, but it has never caused a problem.

Yes, lock the expander rod lock nut when retracting it and under slight pressure to bring everything into alignment.
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Old November 16, 2012, 02:42 AM   #5
Unclenick
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Actually you can wear out dies. It's not the brass itself, but dirt and little bits of hardened carbon embedded in the brass that does it. It's why you get scuff marks on resized cases: little scratches in the die. Dillon sells solid carbide rifle dies in a couple of calibers for this reason. I have them (.308 and .223) and cases come out looking a lot smoother. They don't wear out in a non-commercial environment.


Tank1949,

Welcome to the forum.

The answer to your question is to measure what's coming out of the dies. Use the SAAMI drawings and a caliper or micrometer to be sure the case diameters don't exceed the cartridge drawing numbers.

Measure the outside of the case necks before seating a bullet and again after seating a bullet. The should grow one or two two thousandths with the bullet in them. If they are growing much more than that, the neck is pretty tight, indicating a worn expander. If the grow very little, then the neck portion of the die is worn for the kind of brass you are using. But the bottom line is does the neck grip a bullet properly. If so, you're good.

If it turns out your necks are OK and the expander is just touching the insides of the necks lightly, that's actually a good thing. Expanders tend to pull necks off axis which can reduce the ammunition accuracy (see this video). Basically, the lighter the touch the better. If you want really straight necks you need either to use the Lee Collet Die for neck sizing, as shown in the video, followed by a Redding Body Die to size the body, or you need to get a bushing type sizing die, like the Redding Full Length S dies, remove the expander (or substitute and undersized one), then select a bushing that gives you the right final neck size for your particular lot of brass without using an expander (and undersized expander will still remove minor case mouth dents on the way in ).

Finally, since full length sizing is when the necks grow, you normally want to do that before trimming. Most chambers have some spare space, so you can often get away with doing it backward. But since cases don't all grow identical amounts during sizing, the practice can make crimps a lot less uniform, if you use them.
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Old November 16, 2012, 02:51 PM   #6
tank1949
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Unclenick

Thanks.


I use Dillon sizers that are also trimmers in a one step operation. I assume these are made of regular steel, not carbide? Then, I deburr brass. Then, I resize again with RCBS to remove primer and streighten case mouth (most of them). I have to run 308s through a SB sizer or they will not feed into my M1A. If I am not doing something correct, chime in. I was really concerned with dies being worn to a point that they would affect perfect seating in the next process and thus provide poor runout and crappy accuracy.


Dillon has carbide 308 SB dies??????? I have several Lee pistol carbide dies. Those are sweet!!!!!!!
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Old November 17, 2012, 08:32 PM   #7
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You have to be cautious with the carbide rifle dies as you can stick a case in them same as steel if you don't lube. The reason the pistol carbide dies don't need lube is the carbide is just a ring so the contact area on the case is small. The rifle dies have the full case profile in them (the reason they are so expensive).
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Old November 17, 2012, 08:57 PM   #8
mete
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I have always first popped the primer ,then washed , then sized the case .Unclenick is right sand especially [like sandpaper] is abrasive and can wear even carbide dies !!
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