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Old September 26, 2012, 08:05 PM   #1
Gary L. Griffiths
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2000
Location: AZ, WA
Posts: 1,411
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?
Violence is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and valorous feeling which believes that nothing is worth violence is much worse. Those who have nothing for which they are willing to fight; nothing they care about more than their own personal safety; are miserable creatures who have no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of those better than themselves. Gary L. Griffiths, Chief Instructor, Advanced Force Tactics, Inc. (Paraphrasing John Stuart Mill)
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