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Old August 22, 2012, 03:11 PM   #1
wogpotter
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Press maintenance.

So let me ask a question. How frequently (if at all) do you strip down, clean, lube & re-assemble your reloading press?

I don’t mean wipe down, spray with “Gunscrubber” & apply oil either, but rather a mechanical tear down including pulling the pins & dismantling the linkages & the primer feed & turret systems for service & rebuild.

I usually do a full maintenance cycle very couple of years with routine cleaning & lubing following a reloading session, possibly sooner if I’ve done a lot of volume. I have a single-stage Lyman that is old enough to be gray, not orange & a Dillon “classic” RL450B with the upgrade kit. This gives you an idea how long I’ve had this particular set of tools & literally tens of thousands of rounds have been reloaded on them. Well I switched back from pistol & small primer work to rifle & large primers & this seemed like a perfect opportunity to do a full maintenance cycle.

I should have done it sooner!

I’m absolutely amazed how much grungus & fungus was hiding down inside places like the webs in the main casting next to the primer slide. There were no less than 4 (fired) primers that had somehow flipped themselves there instead of dropping neatly into the catcher. There were several more hidden up inside the compound linkage as well & there was a huge amount of gritty ash residue from depriming, spilt powder fragments & god knows what else. When I re-oiled & reassembled the press & added some dry lube to places like the powder measure slides & the primer slide & catch detent, lubed the ram & cleaned the threads in the head it was like I’d bought a brand new press.

If you have an hour or so to spare I suggest you give it a try, you’ll be amazed at the difference because the binding, dragging & scraping happens so slowly you don’t know how poor it has become till you remove all the crud & it all goes away at once. Do it you’ll not regret a moment or a penny I promise you.
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Old August 22, 2012, 03:44 PM   #2
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How does one tear down a RCBS Rockchucker

I guess that's an answer of sorts...
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Old August 22, 2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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I'll confess to wiping her down and oiling her almost every time we meet...but we don't strip
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Old August 22, 2012, 04:25 PM   #4
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Well, I don't.

But I have an RCBS Rockchucker too, so I figured I'd post and see what can be done. If anything.
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Old August 22, 2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Other than keeping the ram well-lubricated, I don't worry about it. The exception is the shell plate for the Dillon. I need to clean that area occassionally.
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Old August 23, 2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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How frequently? Well, my first press, a Lyman Spar-T, is about 47 years old and I took it apart about fifteen years ago when I converted it to compound toggle linkage. My second press is an RC II bought about 1989 and I just haven't felt the need to disassemble it ... yet.
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:08 PM   #7
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I haven't touched my LNL AP in the two years and 8K rounds or so since I've bought it, other than to grease the zerk fittings on the hydraulic ram- and they were so tight, I could barely get any grease into them...

There's nothing else I can find to clean, and it comes with a nice dust cover that slides over the entire press when not in use.
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:21 PM   #8
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
How does one tear down a RCBS Rockchucker

I guess that's an answer of sorts...
That depends on the version you have.
But, none of them allow for easy removal of the toggle links ("linkage arms") from the frame, or the ram from the toggle.

For the RC IV / "Supreme", just remove the two nuts where the toggle links connect to the toggle (or just one, if that's all it lets you have), and slide the pin out. The ram and toggle drop out the bottom of the press.

If you do want to go further than that, the pin can be driven out of the toggle and ram. And, the pins can be driven out of the frame for toggle link removal. (Drive out the solid pin first, by inserting a long drift or blunt nail through the hollow pin. Then, drive out the hollow pin from the other direction, with a larger drift/punch.)

The older models follow almost the same procedure. The differences being: there should be c-clips in place of the nuts, and the ram-to-toggle connection may also have c-clips on the pin.

If you have one of the "Reloader Special" presses, taking a look at the exploded diagrams may be helpful. (Most models. -Resources for other current models can be found elsewhere on the RCBS website: here and here.)

---

I disassemble my presses for cleaning every year, or so.
On the T-7, it's a piece of cake: a couple c-clips, and I'm done.
The Rock Chucker (IV) is the same thing: 2 nuts, and that's good enough.
For the Dillon 550B... it's a little more complicated above the frame, but essentially the same as the RC IV for toggle, toggle link, and ram removal.

You'd be amazed at what a difference it makes to get all of the built-up crud out of the normally-inaccessible areas.

I lube most pins and much of the linkage with moly grease or regular wheel bearing grease. White Lithium grease could be another (better) option, but I've never tried it. The Dillon also gets grease on its ram; but the other press rams get oiled (their tolerances are tighter and I don't like the thick grease causing resistance).
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:23 PM   #9
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I have a Dillon RL550B that after about 15 years one of the swing arms galled. So I did a complete tear down of the press and cleaned up the damage, lubricated and reassembled. So in that case the grease that the press shipped with had dried out and with thousands of rounds of movement, I went beyond the window for press maintenance.

My RockChucker press have never been disassembled. But I keep the ram well lubricated and even flush out the debris from depriming with an oil flush about once a month.

How often you need to disassemble your press depends on how you use it, how you lube it, how you clean it.
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Old August 24, 2012, 01:46 AM   #10
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I have my dads Pacific press, it's blue and was made way before Hornady made the 007, it's never been torn down, still as smooth as I remember it.

I have a 007 Hornady press that was new in 1982, it's never been torn down, works great as well.

I put a couple drops of oil on the ram before I use them and go to town.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:05 AM   #11
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Right now my Load Master is working so well that I am afraid to touch it. I do the recommended lube prior to long sessions, but otherwise I just blow the dust off of it, and carry on.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:49 AM   #12
serf 'rett
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Quote:
How does one tear down a RCBS Rockchucker?
Response from FrankenMauser:
Quote:
...But, none of them allow for easy removal of the toggle links ("linkage arms") from the frame...
Guess that's the reason the Rocky's Product Instructions say wipe off dust/dirt and apply oil (my summary of their one paragraph) - no mention of disassembling.

Thanks for the response FrankenMauser.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:58 AM   #13
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I have a 550b Dillion that I tore down about a year ago. I drilled out the oil holes, taped them and inserted grease fittings which I grease every so often. I also took out the ram (no way to add grease fittings to it), cleaned and lubed it. I "wet" the ram with oil fairly frequently. I do not know if the new Dillion 550b's come with grease fittings now, or not. If not, they should.
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Old August 24, 2012, 09:22 AM   #14
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Never.
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Old August 24, 2012, 09:24 AM   #15
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I haven't done any "teardown"-type maintenance on my Lee Classic Turret. I just keep it clean so that debris doesn't get into the bearing surfaces, and keep some light oil on the ram and in the linkages.
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Old August 24, 2012, 10:30 AM   #16
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I got my old Lyman Spar-T (used) back in 1969. Aside from taking out the ram to clean and lightly lube occasionally I've never removed any other part. It's still loading just fine. I wipe down the outside of the other moving parts to remove the inevitable buildup of gunk.
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Old August 24, 2012, 11:24 AM   #17
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On my Rockchucker and my Spartan I just lube the ram and the toggle joints occasionally, mostly to prevent rust. The old Spartan doesn't have that much leverage, but it is great for seating primers and bullets.
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Old August 24, 2012, 03:49 PM   #18
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
I do not know if the new Dillion 550b's come with grease fittings now, or not. If not, they should.
They do. Dillon had enough people contact them about galling, that they added a few grease fittings to the design. If you have the problem and complain enough, they'll even send you the new frame with grease fittings, to replace your older version.
But, like you... I'm happy with what I've got. It's not difficult keep lubed.



Quote:
I have my dads Pacific press, it's blue and was made way before Hornady made the 007, it's never been torn down, still as smooth as I remember it.

I have a 007 Hornady press that was new in 1982, it's never been torn down, works great as well.
I used to think the same thing about my presses. I keep them exceedingly clean, and cover them when they are not in use. I thought they were better than new.
Then, I tore the Rock Chucker down for the first time...
It went from what I thought was smooth, to so much more.

It's like working the action on a new Remington 700, which you think is smooth; then being handed a well-worn Krag rifle, that is so silky-smooth it's almost orgasmic.
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Old August 24, 2012, 04:29 PM   #19
wogpotter
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Well thats 2 of us then.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
that is so silky-smooth it's almost orgasmic.
Sounds like some is spending to much time at the loading bench....
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:29 PM   #21
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I clean my dies way more than I clean any press, As lube get in em since I started casting my own. It's lets me take more pride in my Boolits
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Old August 24, 2012, 09:25 PM   #22
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I have a Hornady single stage press and I load in my garage. Seems like every thing out there get a thin layer of dust so I take my press apart and clean it every year or so but some times in the winter the ram is not as smooth so I wipe it down and put a little ballistol's on it and it is good to go. Not sure what you would do with the more complicated progressives.
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Old August 25, 2012, 02:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Sounds like some is spending to much time at the loading bench....
Nah...
I was referring to the Krag rifle.

Smoothest bolt action you'll ever operate, and a masterpiece of machine work.
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
So let me ask a question. How frequently (if at all) do you strip down, clean, lube & re-assemble your reloading press?
Lee Pro 1000. When things start to get flakey, it really helps to take the shell plate carrier apart and clean it.

See "San Francisco Liberal With a Gun"'s youtube channel.
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Old August 26, 2012, 11:53 AM   #25
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Quote:
They do. Dillon had enough people contact them about galling, that they added a few grease fittings to the design. If you have the problem and complain enough, they'll even send you the new frame with grease fittings, to replace your older version.
But, like you... I'm happy with what I've got. It's not difficult keep lubed.
I thought that I had read where they were shipping new 550b's with grease fittings, but did not want to trust my memory.
As I mentioned, I added grease fittings to mine. It was fairly simple, just disasembled the press and used the existing oil holes to start the correct tap-drill for the grease fittings, taped them and screwed in the fittings. I did not like the idea of oil in the bearing surfaces, prefer grease for such duty instead.
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