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Old January 12, 2012, 09:57 PM   #1
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die maintenance

just from reading articles on reloading. so bear with me on this question.

if you need to or should take your reloading dies apart and give them a good cleaning now and then to make sure theres no rust in them, or any powder inside them. just about every company seems to have cleaning agents just for cleaning dies and lubricating them for storage and usage, and so they dont rust together.

then how can the reloader get a press that uses the lock n load bushings or lee quick bushing system and simply set the dies up one time and never ever clean them out?
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:11 PM   #2
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I periodically check my dies to see if they need cleaning. I live in southern NM and due to the dry climate rust is generally not an issue. I inspect the interior of the die for foreign objects that may cause scratches as well as and lube build up. Clean the expander plug/ball if installed on your dies. I clean them with patches soaked in denatured alcohol. It evaporates quickly without leaving a residue.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:41 PM   #3
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For rifle sizing, I use the Redding body dies. After each reloading session I run a patch with CLP through the die.

For rifle bullet seating I don't worry about cleaning. If you live in a humid climate surface rust can occur. No worry to me. YMMV

For handgun sizing I use carbide dies and only polish them with Flitz when they need the carbide cleaned.

For the seating die, if loading lubed lead bullets you have to disassemble the die to clean out accumulated lube. I keep a master cartridge for all my handgun loads to facilitate seating die set up.

I do put a witness mark on my dies to get them close, then I fine tune the adjustment as necessary. I adjust my rifle dies for the shoulder set back I need based on the individual rifle I am loading for. Head space varies by rifle.

A lot of the cleaning needs will depend on the lube you use and how clean your brass is. But the expander in a rifle die will accumulate carbon from the case neck and needs to be cleaned. If you use a water base lube you really need to remove all the lube from the die.
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Old January 13, 2012, 08:21 AM   #4
Don P
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I remove the turret and spry some brake clean into the dies and use Q-Tips to clean them out. In almost 20,000 rounds reloaded I have cleaned the dies twice. They don't get as dirty as you may think they do
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Old January 13, 2012, 08:41 AM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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It's not hard to get to the inside without taking them out of the turret. I cleaned the dies with Eezox when they were new. It leaves a protective layer on the outside and the dies show little/no sign of corrosion. The inside I clean occasionally with a bore mop and/or pull the guts out and wipe them down.
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Old January 13, 2012, 10:59 AM   #6
F. Guffey
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I clean my dies with a towel on a dowel, I adjust my dies to the shell holder (on, off or beyond) every time I use them. I do not secure the lock ring to the die, I secure the die to the press with the lock ring.

BECAUSE? My dies have threads (research ‘incline plain’), when rotating the die to secure to the press the die moves down toward the shell holder, and that changes the amount of sizing (shoulder set-back/bump), I know it sounds cool :”I bump my shoulder back .002 thousands etc.,” anyhow, I verify the adjustment, much easier if the die is adjusted first then secured with the lock ring.

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Old January 13, 2012, 11:28 AM   #7
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I have the lock-n-load system. I take my bushings out of the press and then remove the dies from the bushings and then I disassemble the dies and give everything a good cleaning. I then re-lube the dies the bushing and the press (yes I clean it too) then I put everything back to gather and reset/adjust the dies. The best part is you can do this a much or as little as you want.
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Old January 13, 2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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My dies do not seem to get dirty unless i load cast bullets. Then sometimes there may be a little lube that gets into the seater and crimper.

I wipe this out and spray all of them with Hornady One Shot Degreaser & Dry Lube. I also spray my powder measures with the One Shot.

Unless I spray way too much I do not wipe this off.
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Old January 14, 2012, 12:08 AM   #9
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Yep, that Hornady stuff works well and I have used it. It's hard to come by in the stores here, I had Hornady add some to a customer service order I had once with them but once it was gone I had to move on to something else.
Oh, and a word about the customer service: "they added it free for my inconvenience."
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Old January 14, 2012, 12:35 AM   #10
Tex S
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My dies are clean on the inside and rusty as hell on the outside. I guess the oil from my hands rust the outside. Oh well, they still work like a new shiny set.

By the way, it seems like my Lee dies are the only ones that rust badly.

Anybody else have this problem?
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Old January 15, 2012, 08:55 AM   #11
Peter M. Eick
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Yeah, lee and Lyman rust pretty quickly down here in Texas.

I coat my dies in Triflow when I am done and use the patches that I oil the barrels and wipe down my guns with in the box to coat them. Basically those patches are soaked in oil so I I toss them on the dies in the box and it keeps them from rusting.

Messy but it works.
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Old January 15, 2012, 10:14 AM   #12
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A buddy gave me a set of dies he had that were rusty he had replaced with new ones . I used a drill and a wooden dowel with a thin saw kerf in the end of it to hold a small piece of 3m scotch bright (the grey extra fine) to hone the inside spraying with pb blaster. Finished that off with a piece of t-shirt and mag wheel polish on the dowel and the inside looked like new. This works good if you have let the rust get ahead of you. Still using those dies. Ant nothing much better than free….
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