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"Fix" for pistol dies

geeguygeeguy Member Posts: 1,047
I have "many" old sets of steel dies by way of "lot" purchases of entire reloading set ups. While trying to help a fellow reloader with a used set of 45LC dies I noted that we were getting a gulling effect (lines down the entire brass)during resizing. I cleaned the die(again) and assured we used enough lube, checked for chips in the die with mag glass, but it still was there. I use almost all carbide myself, so I have not seen this before. Two questions:
1. What causes this?
2. Is there an easy polish or "fix" process? Or do we just say to heck with it and buy a carbide resizing die?

The die sets are not valuable and he already ordered a new carbide set, but if there is an easy fix I would do it and keep these dies. The rounds fit and were resized correctly, just looks bad.

Comments

  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 10,812 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The likelihood is that somebody sized nickel-plated cases. Nickel tends to flake off, especially at the case mouth, and nickel is very hard stuff. It embeds in the die and scratches cases forever after. Even die makers can't get those flakes out; they'll invariably toss such a die and replace it.

    So should you.
    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,704 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've had some success in polishing dies such as yours. Take a 3/8" wood dowel 3 or 4" long and cut a slot in it with a hacksaw. Insert a strip of fine crocus cloth in the slot and wind it around the dowel. Insert that into the die and spin it with your electric drill. Sometimes that works and, if it doesn't, you're not out much and you can follow Rocky's advice. (I have found you can't go far wrong following Rocky's advice!)
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    Well... I'm not that * about what my brass looks like, if it chambers and functions fine; and some minor scratches isn't going to be an issue to ME. That said, I've also had good luck with cleaning up older dies by soaking in penetrating oil, scrubbing with a plastic bore brush, de-greasing, then polishing with JB bore paste on a tight fitting cloth patch, then cleaning again. I did this not because of scratches, but because the die was sticky- but it took care of minor scratching too.
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    take a paper towel roll up so it sticks out both ends wet with KROIL let set 48 hours use bore brush and themn polish with 0000 steel wool on wraped around a bore brush and a cleaning rod chucked in a drill.
  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 10,812 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It can't hurt to try polishing them. I use a method similar to perry shooter's, but use a cotton patch and JB or Flitz on an old brass bore brush. I spin it until the die is quite warm in my hand. Be sure to clean any polishing compound residue out of them before you try sizing with them.

    And if the scratches still appear on your brass - toss the die.
    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm with RockyRaab except I'd keep the die to use for something esle, plus it could always be pressed back in to service to load shells.

    With brass prices what they are and decreased case life would buy/pay for an new (set) Lee carbide die(s) in short order.
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 30,899 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A little bit of fine polishing compound on a cotton rag spun in a drill with cutting oil will polish it out most times.
  • geeguygeeguy Member Posts: 1,047
    edited November -1
    Thanks to all. This was a Gimme to a friend, as mine I use are Carbide already. I could chuck them in my small laythe and polish the ID if I had to do so. I have about 40-50 extra steel pistol sets I keep as give away to new loaders to get them started, so I'll have to check them more closely in the future before I give them away. But I have so many "parts" around that I never keep a "bad" one because I'll try to use it. When I take it out to use I want it to work perfect.

    Guess I was really more interested in the cause.

    Again, I appreciate the great input from this group. You guys always (or at least most of the time) have good suggestions.
  • rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,626
    edited November -1
    I understand ammonia attacks nickle (and copper). Would soaking the dies in ammonia help?
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ammonia will not do much to nickel.

    A die that scratches brass may have embedded nickel or grit or the die itself may have been scratched by hard dirt. That can be polished out, well enough to get by. You can do a lot of polishing without making the die too oversize to work.
  • gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by geeguy
    Thanks to all. This was a Gimme to a friend, as mine I use are Carbide already. I could chuck them in my small laythe and polish the ID if I had to do so. I have about 40-50 extra steel pistol sets I keep as give away to new loaders to get them started, so I'll have to check them more closely in the future before I give them away. But I have so many "parts" around that I never keep a "bad" one because I'll try to use it. When I take it out to use I want it to work perfect.

    Guess I was really more interested in the cause.

    Again, I appreciate the great input from this group. You guys always (or at least most of the time) have good suggestions.



    Good on ya geeguy, that first step is usually what keeps a newbie interested enough to take the next step, and then they're hooked!

    Like the old-time barkers used to say,"The first one is always FREE!"
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