Scratched Lee Resizing Die?


March 5, 2008, 07:07 AM
Is it possible to scratch a Lee resizing die? I clean and polish my brass in to separate steps. Currently using a Lee 4 hole Turret press and noticed 3 large scratched on my 357mag brass. Took the Resizing die apart and noticed a small rough surface on the smooth surface of the die. Unable to get it off. I thought Lee dies were to last a lifetime? I put about 3500 round through the die so far. I think the dies are at least 2 years old. Any ideas?

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March 5, 2008, 07:39 AM
Yes, call Lee, explain to them what happened and take from there. :)

Doug b
March 5, 2008, 08:21 AM
Your NAPA store has 2000 grit sand paper.

March 5, 2008, 09:32 AM
Doug is pointing you in the right direction.

All sizing dies will eventually develop some surface galling if used without enough lube. That means small bits of brass cling to the surface of the die as firmly as if it were welded. Each successive pass will add to that intitial deposit and the accumulation will show itself as scratches on the brass.

To remove the galling requires a bit of polishing. A super fine grit sand paper, 400 to 2000 grit of black carborundum paper actually, wetted with a few drops of light oil and wrapped around a split dowel and spun in a hight speed drill will do the job nicely. Don't worry about changing the dimensions of the die, the dies are so hard it takes a diamond abrasive to do much to them. If you just spin it enough to remove the clinging brass you won't have any other effect but your will remove the cause of the case scratches.

Keep your brass clean and lubed to reduce the likelyhood of a recurrance.

March 5, 2008, 11:10 AM
Even when using a tumbler, every now and then a brass case may a bit of sand on it leftover from the range. That's likely what initially scratched your die and made a rough spot. Either polish the spot out yourself or return it to Lee and they'll do it. Either way, not a big deal. Happens to all brands of dies occasionally.



March 5, 2008, 12:01 PM
Doug is pointing you in the right direction. +1
I will bet money the die itself is not scratched.
Brass galling due to lack of lube on one case is all it takes.
Once a speck of brass gets stuck to the die surface, it's all down hill from there.

Just polish the die with some black Wet or Dry paper & oil on a dowel rod in a drill as already suggested.

Then make sure you lube your cases enough to prevent galling in the future.


March 5, 2008, 12:23 PM
+1 On the polishing. But to prevent this from happening before storing my dies and plates away they always get a strong blast of break cleaner, then blown out with my air compressor and they are ready for use next time. I have had a set of 44mag dies since 1981 that are flawless. After this I spray Dillons One Shot lube in the die and let drip dry. No clue how many rounds have been loaded with these dies but every time I sit down with them I have to make my time useful and will not load any less than 350 rounds.

March 5, 2008, 01:09 PM
Is your 357 sizer die carbide? If so it is likely NOT scratched, as stated above it has a build-up of brass on the surface of the carbide ring. Again as stated, you will be able to polish this off the carbide ring WITHOUT affecting the inside diameter of the ring at all. The carbide is nearly as hard as glass/sand, so it's not likely to be scratched. The ring will not be cut by anything less than diamond or ceramic abrasive.

While it's not required to lube cases sized with carbide dies, it does make things slide easier. I've never done it, but I'm curious about how much easier it might be. So next time I fire up the dillon, I'll lube some 357's to see if there's much difference.

March 5, 2008, 01:37 PM
I always lightly lube all pistol cases for carbide die sizing.

Not much, just a light spritz of One-Shot in a bowl full of empties then agitate them by hand a little.
As long as one in ten or so have a little lube on them it's good to go.

Makes sizing straight-wall pistol cases a one-finger deal.
Mags are a little more effort, but not much.


March 5, 2008, 07:17 PM
Thanks for all the good info. Would a Dremel tool be to fast to polish the inside of the die?

tasco 74
March 5, 2008, 08:39 PM
if i was to do this operation a dremel is what i'd use... i never lube before resizing with my lee carbide die... i'll watch closer from now on to see if mine needs to be maintained ..........

March 5, 2008, 11:18 PM
"Would a Dremel tool be to fast to polish the inside of the die?"

Don't. May not be to fast but it may be too agressive. Stick with the black paper and dowel in a drill, it's a known fix. You can safely use the Dremel with a cotton wheel to shine the die surface following the paper and drill but you can't get very deep with it and it really isn't necessary, the paper does well enough. You can't polish carbide tho, not without diamond paste anyway.

March 6, 2008, 12:18 PM
"Would a Dremel tool be to fast to polish the inside of the die?"Yes!
You do not want to "polish" the die, as much as get the brass streaks out of it.

Polishing with a Dremel & felt wheel with polishing compound will just polish the brass streaks and leave them there.
Shiny, but still there.

If you try to use a courser grindstone it will ruin the die.
Contrary to popular openion, you can grind carbide with a common mounted stone. It just takes longer then diamond tooling.

The black Wet & Dry paper on a dowel rod will actually cut the brass off the surface of the die and leave a clean surface once again.


March 6, 2008, 02:37 PM
Yours die is now junk. Take new ones. They are cheap. ;)

March 6, 2008, 04:39 PM
"Contrary to popular openion, you can grind carbide with a common mounted stone. It just takes longer then diamond tooling."

RC, I agree, to a point. I think what's actually happening when hitting carbide with a wheel is that the rough wheel is beating off small chunks of the much harder carbide and making a very rough surface.

Just sematics though, the results for a die would be much the same! :)

March 6, 2008, 05:02 PM
I don't know what you call it either, but I call it grinding.

All I know is, I often sharpen carbide lathe tool bits on a gray (cheap) Aluminum Oxide grinding wheel when I get too lazy to change wheels to the green (expensive) Silicone Carbide wheel.

It grinds carbide to a very smooth & sharp cutting edge just fine.
It just takes longer, and wears out the wheel much faster.


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