Stupid newbie mistake - suggestions, please.


another okie
June 9, 2003, 11:45 AM
Stupid newbie mistake. How to fix it?

I am a very beginning reloader.
I’m using a Lyman four-die set for .45 ACP.
Previously all I had reloaded was .38/.357 and that set of dies did not have a powder charge/expanding die.

The first set of .45s I reloaded went fine, though I set a few bullets too deeply.

This morning I wanted to experiment a little bit with the case mouth expansion. The first few were OK, then one of the brass stayed attached to the stem that screws into the die. To be honest, I didn’t even realize there was such a separate part. (I read the instructions but that fact did not penetrate.)

When I unscrewed the die the stem came out, and I realized that the little set screw in the die had not been all the way in and the stem was not firmly in place, so now I have a brass casing firmly (very firmly) lodged on the stem. I can’t pull it off with pliers and I’m afraid to put the stem into a vise for a firmer hold; I don’t want to damage the stem.

At first I thought I could put the stem back in, secure it, reseat the brass in the shell holder, and use the leverage of the press, but the brass is too far up the stem for the stem to go as deep as it should into the die and be secured.


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Mike Irwin
June 9, 2003, 12:09 PM
Thrown the whole assembly in the deep freeze for at least 12 hours.

Take it out, and working quickly, clamp the stem in a vice (protect the threads with leather pads).

Then, using a blow torch, heat the casing. Don't hold the torch in one place, keep it moving around the case.

Grab the case head with a pair of pliers and tug. It should pull right off.

As I said, you'll need to work pretty quickly, and don't heat the case too much or you'll start expanding the stem too much.

Because the brass is thinner, it should heat and expand a lot more quickly than the steel stem.

If it doesn't work, try it again, only move faster.

Steve Smith
June 9, 2003, 01:13 PM
Mike's idea ought to work like a charm.

Silly newbie, tricks are for kids! lol!

another okie
June 9, 2003, 06:44 PM

June 11, 2003, 01:25 PM
I'm not familiar with this Lyman die, but the term "powder charge/expanding" implies to me that the case has already been primed in preparation for powder charging.

Is so, applying a blow torch flame to the brass case may be a more energetic way of separating the two pieces than you want.

Mike Irwin
June 11, 2003, 05:11 PM
You can do it, but it's a LOT harier that way.

Don't heat the head of the case, heat the sidewalls.

A mini-torch would also work.

Anything to essentially heat the brass quickly, get it expanding, but NOT transfer a lot of heat to the steel stem.

June 11, 2003, 11:35 PM
I'm not sure of the sequence that you load, but if you have already primed the case DO NOT USE A TORCH on the case. The primer will cook off and shoot out of the case with enough force to hurt you.

If it were me I think I would crush the case in the vice to see if that would do it, but the torch trick on an unprimed case should work fine.

Mike Irwin
June 12, 2003, 01:27 AM

The amount of heat needed to expand the case walls to get them clear of the stem should not cause a cook off.

IIRC, to get a primer to cook off, you have to heat it to a minimum of 500 degrees F.

The process I'm talking about won't heat it anywhere near that.

If you put enough heat into the case to cook the primer off, you've already LONG lost your opportunity to get the casing off the stem before it expands.

I've faced this situation several times before, with a primed case stuck onto a sizing stem (normally from the head ripping off) and have used the process described above successfully and without cooking the primer off.

June 12, 2003, 03:29 PM
That's pretty good info. My warning was based on making "inert" primers for display rounds. I put a single primer (no case) on the heating element of a stove, put a cardboard box over it, and turned it on. It cooked off after only a few seconds.

I wasn't trying to torpedo your idea, just being cautious.

And one other advantage of your method, you get to use the case again:D

happy old sailor
June 13, 2003, 12:57 AM
when i do this i just keep body parts away from the direction the primer is pointed. lets call it the muzzle end. have not had one go off, just cautious ole me.

tis pure aggravation, aint it. grrrrrr

another okie
June 13, 2003, 03:20 PM
It worked, thanks again. I was amazed, though, at how much force was required. The case was indeed primed, and I maintained a respectful angle from it. These Lyman dies come four to a set in .45 ACP. The die in question expands the case mouth and is also open at the top to allow powder to be charged while the case is in the die. The die itself works with several calibers; you just have to have a small plunger-type insert for the different calibers.

I don't have an easy way to stabilize the powder dispenser above the die, so it's really just as easy to fill the case at the dispenser and then put in the press. If I was doing quantity and not just experimenting it might be worthwhile to figure out how to do it as designed.

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