The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 28, 2006, 06:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: October 16, 2005
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 291
broke decapper pin off sizer die

I'm really new and trying to go through the process very slowly and deliberately. Been reading books and posts.

The other day, however, after setting up my Lee single press for the first time, I tried decapping and sizing my 6.5x55 shells. After the 3rd one, the decapper pin sheared off and stuck in the flash hole. I had to drive it partway out because where it broke it caused the shell holder to get stuck on the shell.

First, what'd I do wrong, technique-wise? I lubed the outside of the shell (neglected to lube the inside of the neck, but would that cause what happened?).

Second, what's the best way to get back on track?

I bought the die set, in good condition from a guy on Ebay so I can't really get a replacement from them. Will Lee replace it?
Meantime, is there a universal decapping tool that will work for my shells? I can still use the sizer. All I've seen is one for .22 and .30 cal in the Lee catalog and Midwayusa.

If I have to replace the whole thing well... learning experience

O6nop is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 06:09 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 3,926
I have lost track of how many decapper pins I have ruined, that's why they
are replaceable and come in packs of 10. Usually I bend them from not getting them aligned with the flash hole. You said yours sheared off, could be
metal failure, make sure they are locked in the holder against the decapping rod.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 06:13 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: December 21, 2006
Location: FL panhandle
Posts: 547
keep trying, it actually gets to be fun after a while. especially if you can step outside to test a new load
sanson is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 08:16 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: October 16, 2005
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 291

Thanks for the insight... I assumed it sheared off, never thought about it falling out. If you have info about what to look for and where to find these spare pins, I would sure appreciate it!

sanson -

No problem! I'm already having fun! Can't wait to fire off my first reload

O6nop is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 08:24 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: November 13, 2004
Location: PacWest
Posts: 455
A punch and base set is universal and rugged

A punch and base set is universal and rugged - requires a hammer and a sturdy base and runs some risk of spreading lead styphenate. Does a fine job on military brass with crimped primers. Doesn't have to be labeled for reloading, can come from the hardware store.

There are universal decappers around for use in the press and many variations on the Pope plier type de and re-capper.

Don't let it spoil the whole day.
ClarkEMyers is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 08:31 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: July 28, 2005
Location: Pocono Mtns, PA
Posts: 587
If it's a Lee die set, call Lee about it. I recently had a very good experience with Lee and I'm sure they'd replace this for you--you don't need to mention that you got it on ebay. Just tell them you recently set this up and it happened on your third shell. They'll ask you to send them the part and a note. They'll send you a new part. The Lee deprimer pins are supposed to strong enough to be used as a stuck case remover, so this sounds like a metal failure.

One question though. Are the cases you're using reloadable? Many military cases are not due to the way they're primed. I know I can't reload my 7.62x51 due to the priming used, but store bought 308Win cases reload fine. Also if you have any doubts as to your technique, I've found Lee's website video demonstrations very informative.
critters: the other red meat
Live in PA? PA Firearms Owners Association
chemist308 is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 09:05 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 3,926
I buy all of my reloading supplies locally, if you use the catalogs I'm sure
those suppliers carry them.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 09:24 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: February 18, 2006
Location: west central Wi
Posts: 300
decapper break

I agree. Call Lee and advise them of the problem. They are very easy to work with and take pride in customer service. I found out years ago when I first started using surplus brass, that on certain headstamps I had a problem with under sized flash holes and my decapping pins on my rcbs dies would get stuck and pulled out or bend. Check the flash hole to see if they are the right size. Good luck
rrp is offline  
Old December 28, 2006, 10:23 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: January 8, 2006
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 517
I have broken many decapping pins trying to decap .30-06 military crimped in primers for my Garand. I broke down and got a Lee Universal Decapping die that is supposed to be gauranteed unbreakable, and it worked pretty good, but I broke that as well. It seems that when I run into a shell with a particular kind of crimp (looks like someone staked it in three spots instead of the all-around crimp) it is virtually impossible to take that primer out, it breaks every pin I throw at it. Now I just look at the brass and throw it out if it has that kind of crimp. However when you do break one, Lee will replace it for you.
rgitzlaff is offline  
Old December 29, 2006, 10:38 AM   #10
Junior member
Join Date: December 25, 2006
Posts: 443
Lee decapping pins aren't held in place; they're part of the decapper "rod". When you break one off, you send the decapper "rod" back to Lee, and they'll replace it.
Abstract is offline  
Old December 30, 2006, 06:59 PM   #11
Join Date: November 23, 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 36
I use the Lee Decapper and Base for all my reloading. If the Decapper breaks, Lee will replace it free. They come in two sizes: 30-cal and 22-cal (for 223 Remington/5.56mm). The pin is made of some ultrahard carbide material, and breaks under any kind of side load.

I grind my own decapper pins from broken quarter-inch drill bits I scrounge up. Takes a few minutes on a bench grinder and I'm all set.

I do not use a decapper pin with the dies, I only use a separate decapping stage with the Lee tool before cleaning the brass. Since I clean cases by washing, the primer has to be removed first or else the primer pocket will never dry out. It's also a reason for another inspection step, to check for any cracks & dents that requires scrapping the case. I have ruined the die-mounted decapping pins and it also ruins the case. Many times the flash holes are off center, and the pin just punches through before breaking off.

I have removed the decapping pin on all my dies.
C17A is offline  
Old January 1, 2007, 09:01 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: March 5, 2006
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 435
Just recently I noticed something out of the ordinary with my own Lee sizer and decapping die.

Somehow, a spent .22 rimfire case found its way inside a .38spl or .357 case.

When I went to deprime the .38/.357, the pin entered the .22 case and drove right through the bottom of it.

It must have happened some time ago, for the .22 case was nasty and dirty looking when I removed it. The pin was fine.

I never felt it, and I don't recall having any problem decapping any .38/.357 case.

So the pin had to go through the .22 case on its way to decapping the .38/.357.

Tough stuff.
Proud supporter of the NRA
mjrodney is offline  
Old January 1, 2007, 05:32 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: December 29, 2004
Posts: 3,342
If you use dies with seperate decap pins, buy a piece of drill rod of a matching size and just cut off sections with a dremel tool (drill rod will ruin wire cutters).
brickeyee is offline  
Old January 4, 2007, 12:59 AM   #14
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 17,348
Decapping pins

I use mostly RCBS and Lyman dies, and have for decades. Their pins are replaceable (but not interchangable). And I have broken a few pins over the years. But not very many.

I use the Lee decapper sets, (the one for .22 will do everything bigger, and I use the .30 cal for opening up bent case mouths). The trick is to feel the pin enter the flashhole before you use the hammer. they are very tough (hard to break), and they are cheap. You could likely buy another for what it would cost to send a broken one back to Lee, or pretty close anyway.

The most likely cause of a broken decapping pin is an off center flash hole. If the hole is only slightly off center, the pin will usually work ok, but a greatly off center hole could bend or break a pin.

You said you are a beginner, and you mentioned 6.5x55mm Swede, right? Any chance you got a Berdan primed case instead of a Boxer primed one? That certainly would break the best decapping pin. Do you know the difference? US made ammo is Boxer primed, one flash hole in the center of the primer pocket. European ammo is mostly Berdan primed, two (or three) small flash holes, off center of the primer pocket. These cases cannot be reloaded in the conventional manner, they require a special process (and tools) for decapping and repriming.

For calibers where US made cases (or European boxer primed cases such as Norma) are available, Berdan cases are throw aways. They aren't worth the trouble to reload.

When in doubt, use a penlight to look in the case. One large hole, OK. 2 (or more) small ones, throw it away.

Cases with an off center flash hole will load and shoot ok, they just have to be deprimed manually, with a tool like with the Lee decapper. If you have brass like this, and your budget is tight so you need every case, just keep them separate, so you don't break any more pins. If you can afford it, toss them, to avoid future trouble.

Hope this helps.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old January 4, 2007, 08:27 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: December 10, 2002
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 140
I have gotten replacement parts from Lee on a few occassions. They have never asked me to send in the broken parts. Great company to deal with,
in my experience.
skipjack is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:10 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08172 seconds with 9 queries