Die Rust


May 5, 2009, 11:11 AM
I haven't reloaded in a few years and decided to go check my dies. My 38 special Dillon dies have rust on the outside (comsetic), but there is also some rust on the resizer insides and crimper dies. that worries me.

The outside rust I will just put on a wire wheel grinder. How in the heck am I going to clean the insides of the dies? Steel wool and a wood rod? Am I just wasting my time? Thanks!

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May 5, 2009, 11:16 AM
Get some 400 or 600 black emery paper and slit a wooden dowel rod. Make flaps out of the paper, use oil to prevent the paper loading up, and run the rod on a drill.

Dies are so hard you can't hurt them with emery paper & oil.

If they are badly pitted, you may not be able to save them however.


May 5, 2009, 11:27 AM
If you completely disassemble the dies first, you can then run them one at a time through a case tumbler to remove light rust. Don't put more than one die in the tumbler, so they won't bump against each other. I leave the tumbler running for most of the day and the dies will come out clean and shiny.

I've restored lightly rusted dies I've bought used this way and it works quite well.

Hope this helps.


May 5, 2009, 11:35 AM
Same thing as Fred said. Amazing how it works so well.

And the operation RC recommends is also a good way to knock off the burrs on a new die too.

Both posters get an A+! lol


May 5, 2009, 11:36 AM
Its interesting because the dillon dies are carbide and I thought carbide never rusts. Maybe its just certain components of the dies are carbide. I am assuming just the resizer.

I will give these a try for sure. Thanks!

May 5, 2009, 11:39 AM
carbide dies DO indeed rust. I found some on mine just a few months ago. I keep them nice and oiled from here on in.

May 5, 2009, 12:47 PM

It may be a good reminder to people that they should take care of their dies when not in use to prevent rust.

When I am done with a die set, I clean it and give a spray of CLP if I know I will use them within a few weeks or dunk them in 10W30 if I know it will be longer. My dies are in a drawer in my garage and I live in GA. It is always very humid.

Thank you

May 5, 2009, 01:45 PM
I thought the carbide portion of dies for straight walled cases was a ring of carbide rather than the entire inside of the die.

May 5, 2009, 01:56 PM

You are absolutely correct. It is a small ring within the threaded tube sizer. I just checked mine. That "ring" is perfect with no rust on mine.

I cleaned up the 38 dies, they look good as new. It seems the rust was mainly on the outside of the dies. I did the 600 grit with the wood dowel real quick by hand, and they look beatiful now.

The only die that really had it bad was the powder charger die, the insert nipple/beller was pretty rusty. But no pitting. Little wire wheeling and perfection.

I called dillon this morning after posting and they said technically you can send them back to them but they just bead blast them. I assume that means a small mini sand blast. Go figure.

Now I have to go see what else has surface rust on the 550B itself. I bet the charging plate is dusted with rust.

Note to myself: Please maintain all your equipment idiot!

Thanks for all the help guys!

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