Hornady Die Problems


September 26, 2012, 09:04 PM
Having taken up reloading again after a 30+ year hiatus, I finally got my old Rock Chucker press set up and bought two sets of Hornady New Dimension dies for .45-70 and .223, and a can of Hornady One-Shot case lube. I loaded up about 50 .45-70s with no problem, although I was using new unprimed cases. Then I installed the .223 decapping/resizing die according to instructions, sprayed the cases with lube, and on the second case, the depriming pin bent off inside the case, only partially depriming the case. When I removed the case, I discovered the decapping spindle had bent, and the neck expander had split in two.

I returned the dies to Hornady, who replaced the spindle, decapping pin, and expander button. I then resprayed the cases and continued, only to run into a stuck case. To get the case out, I had to remove the zip spindle from the die so I could remove the case with the decapping assembly. I then wiggled the case off of the expander button, only to find that I had again bent the spindle. I fastened it into the jaws of my bench vise, and straightened it as best I could, then operated it for another dozen or so cases until I felt much greater resistance. I eased the case back out of the die, and discovered that the decapping pin had again broken off, and the spindle again bent. I removed them from the die, restraightened the spindle and replaced the decapping pin. I proceeded for about a dozen more cases until I again experienced a stuck case, and again bent the spindle upon removing the case. I re-lubed the cases, spraying them from opposite directions as I had before, then turning them upside down in the loading blocks and lubing them again from two directions. I apparently got the spindle centered just right, and the proper amount of lube, as I had no further problems with the remainder of the cases.

I bought the Hornady dies because Cabela's had them on sale. I have and still use RCBS, Lee, and Herters dies in other calibers, and have never had a problem. Although the decapping spindle on a 22-caliber die is, of necessity, smaller and less robust than on a 30 or 45-caliber die, I would think that the spindle should be made out of tool steel and be sturdy enough that you couldn't literally bend it with your hands. I chalked the stuck cases up to my unfamiliarity with Hornady One-Shot lube, as I have had no issues with it since I now use it as Four-Shot lube. I had about decided to buy a Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive loader, but after my experience with their dies, am not sure that spending the additional $$$ for a Dillon 650 wouldn't be prudent. I intend to replace the Hornady .223 die set with a Dillon 3-die set that has a one-piece decapping spindle/pin, and a stuck case removal feature.

Has anyone else had less than stellar performance with Hornady dies?

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September 26, 2012, 09:19 PM
could be as simple as you're not getting the case backed all the way in the shell holder...

September 26, 2012, 09:37 PM
I have 2 L'n'Ls and am quite satisfied with them; also have 4 or 5 sets of Hornady rifle dies along with a variety of other manufacturer's sets - never had a problem with any of them BUT, I don't use One-Shot for anything other than pistol brass.


September 26, 2012, 10:09 PM
Sounds like the Zip spindle is set to deep.
The decap pin should only extend 3/16" below the die.
Also, if the spindle lock isn't tight it can cause the spindle stem to wobble.
If you're going to replace the dies I'd go with Redding.

September 26, 2012, 10:27 PM
I use hornady for all my pistol dies and redding for rifle. That's just what I've found to work best after trying them all.

As for the lube, I'm not the only one here who thinks One-Shot might as well be made of superglue. Get a little tub of Imperial and never stick a case again.

September 26, 2012, 10:39 PM
a can of Hornady One-Shot case lube.

In my opinion, the One Shot is part of your problem. While some folks have luck with One Shot on bottle neck cases, others, including me have no luck at all.

Also, I feel One Shot is very expensive to use when compared to other case lubricant systems.

I use RCBS case lube mostly but also Imperial Sizing Wax at times.

I have stopped buying and using Hornady dies but not for same reasons as your problems. I do not like the pistol mouth expander dies. As far as I can tell, you cannot remove the expander button to clean, polish, or modify it. Hornady has several common die bodies for their bullet seater dies. In most cases, the body length is fine, but the 300 BLK seater body does not extend very far into the press engaging only three or four threads. While this is more than strong enough, the die is up into the press and it makes feeding bullets into the die difficult.

I feel Hornady's designs and ideas to save production costs are missing the boat a bit.

September 27, 2012, 12:22 AM
I don't think you would have too many problems with a LNL AP once you know how to set everything up properly. As for dies, I use RCBS Small Base dies for .223 since I only reload it for semi-autos. And like others have already pointed out, you may want to try a different lube. One-Shot isn't cost effective in my opinion and it doesn't work too well for many people. I use Hornady's Unique lube after it was recommened to me. I haven't had any problems since switching from One Shot. Cases go in nice and smooth with Unique and come out perfect. Plus a small tub of Unique should last a loooooooonnnngggg time. I've used it on over 2000 .223 cases now and haven't made a dent in it.

Plus Hornady's "Get Loaded" promotion sweetens the deal if you buy one or their presses.

September 27, 2012, 01:06 AM
It's the lube for the most part.
To size a bunch of brass I use Dillon case lube. It's a non aerosol spray that works wonderfully.
It is pretty much made of 10% anhydrous lanolin and 90% alcohol.
For low volume I use Hornady Unique.

I had the exact same results as you when I first started out with Hornady dies and One Shot.

September 27, 2012, 05:25 AM
Try a little mink oil shoe polish for lube. Works great and seems to work better than the Hornady one shot (which I had tried as well.

September 27, 2012, 05:21 PM
I sure hope this isn't going to be an ongoing problem. I have the New Dimension 7mm dies. I managed to snap the decapping pin on my very first case. I suppose the spindle might have been bent to begin with. I didn't examine it too closely.

To make matters worse, I snapped off the end of the spindle inside the expander ball while trying to straighten it. Note to self: unscrew expander ball before straightening the spindle.

I chalked the stuck cases up to my unfamiliarity with Hornady One-Shot lube, as I have had no issues with it since I now use it as Four-Shot lube.
That's exactly my initial experience using Frankford Arsenal spray lube on 223 cases. Then I read about the baggie method. All it takes is about 1 pump per 75-100 223 cases or about 50-60 .308.

I gotta say, I like the seating die. Only problem is the bullet guide drops down too far for my liking on a SS press. Easy fix with a dozen odd turns of tape around the guide body. Now it drops down just flush with the die mouth.

September 28, 2012, 10:53 AM
Everybody has good suggestions. It is the lube. I've stuck many more cases than I had to do using One Shot. Not a good choice.

I buy the Lee Lube in the toothpaste tube, squeeze it out into a small squeeze atomizer and mix in 90% ISO alcohol to a 1 in 12 consistency. Shake well. Squirt into ziplock bag, maybe 6 squirts, and toss in brass and roll around in there. Empty onto a towel, add more brass, a couple squirts, etc. Never stuck a case this way. The lube either wipes off with a moist paper towel, or I toss the sized cases into the tumbler for 1/2 hour or so and they are all squeaky clean and ready to go.

Cheap and effective. Can lube a thousand cases in about 6 minutes of 223. You can even lube several cases and store them that way in a clean ammo can. Once dry, the lube does not attract dirt or schmutz either. :) Leaves sufficient lube inside the case necks so that you don't experience expander ball drag... no need to buy that silly mica or graphite powder to dip your case necks. Never stuck a case yet.

September 28, 2012, 04:59 PM
It is the lube. I've stuck many more cases than I had to do using One Shot. Not a good choice.

I don't care how many people have stuck a case with spray lubes, even if they followed the directions. The fact that some people are able to use it without any issue means it works, only maybe not quite as directed. :)

I just sized 100 cases of 7mm-08, and I pushed the envelope a little. 1 spray of Frankford Arsenal to prime the bag, and 1 additional pump was all. Usually, I'd throw an additional 1 pump in there for this many 308-sized cases, but all this One Shot bashing got me to be a little more daring than usual. (I realize Frankford Arsenal and One Shot might be completely different, but I kinda doubt it). So 2 pumps in a 9x12 plastic bag. Then I got sidetracked and set up my press. Then in with the whole lot of cases. Then I rolled/kneaded the cases around for 15-20 seconds. I also misted one pump into the die, from a foot away, for insurance because I had just installed a new expander ball.

When I dumped the cases out of the bag, they didn't feel wet, at all. They felt dry and just slightly waxy, right out of the bag. My confidence waned a little, thinking maybe I stretched the lube too far and/or I'd let the bag alone for too long before dumping the cases in. But I forged on. They were already dry, so I didn't even let them sit. I had no problems, at all. Pulling the cases back out over the expander ball took more effort than the sizing.* I even reformed 2 .308 cases to 7mm-08 using this spray lube. I just picked up a little on a Q tip and rubbed it around the case necks and shoulders, since these two cases missed the baggie party.

*Hornady dies are notorious for excessive sizing of the necks, and I don't use inside lube. I think I measured about 0.003" between the diameter of a sized-only neck and an expanded neck; dunno if that is considered excessive or not, but it definitely requires a bit of effort to get the ball out!

So, yeah. I stuck a bunch of cases early on using this lube. But instead of trashing it, I did a little research to figure out why other people could possibly be buying it. And turns out that those other people figured out a thing or two. FTR, Stubbicatt, I tried the Lee lube cut with denatured alcohol and I stuck two cases. That's because I was still trying to spray it directly on the cases, like the instructions for spray lube. It's all in the method of application. The baggie method works.

September 28, 2012, 05:15 PM
...even if they followed the directions.

1 spray of Frankford Arsenal to prime the bag, and 1 additional pump was all.

Spraying the lubricant in a bag is not following the Hornady directions, maybe that is the way to get it work.

Why should we expect directions to be correct?

One aspect I just learned about One Shot, Hornady recommends cleaning out all the old lubricant from the resizing die, then coat the inside of the die with One Shot.

Hornady says other resizing lubricants will diminish the capability of One Shot.

It helps to read ALL the directions sometimes.

September 28, 2012, 05:37 PM
Why should we expect directions to be correct?
Last I checked, the directions for Lee lube said to apply with fingertip. And the directions for Kiwi shoe polish say to apply with a buffing cloth to your shoes. But people find new ways of using things.

Yeah, it's a shame they don't put the baggie method directions right on the bottle, because there'd be a lot fewer stuck cases happening out there. The crazy thing is the baggie method is a heck of a lot faster and easier than standing up cases in a loading block, and it takes a lot less lube! It's win-win-win.

One aspect I just learned about One Shot, Hornady recommends cleaning out all the old lubricant from the resizing die, then coat the inside of the die with One Shot. Yep. The exact same thing is written on the Frankford Arsenal label. I think it's important because the coating you get with the spray lubes is not complete when you spray the cases, directly.

When you mist cases, directly, you get little tiny droplets of lube dispersed around the case, with nothing but dry brass in the 90% of the case between droplets. If you spray the cases direct and didn't coat the die, all it takes is a few dry spots high up on the case body, and blammo. You just stuck a case on your first attempt.

When you use a lube pad or your finger, you know you're getting at least a 360 degree band of lube around the top of the case body that will squeeze and fill in the gaps, coating the die on your first case. Then you might need to lube only every other case, or less. Same concept as with poorly applied (aka following the instructions of) spray lubes, except each case is getting partially lubed, instead of fully lubing just some of the cases. It's enough lube to keep the party going, but not necessarily enough to get it started. Kinda like taking a new die and randomly finger lubing just HALF the case and leaving the other side dry. This will work just fine after the die is primed, but you're going to stick the first case.

September 29, 2012, 10:56 PM
Like "Thump RRR" I like Dillion spray lube. But I apply it with a Q tip which really stretches the bottle a long, long, way. One dip in the lube will lube about 4 - 5 cases and I have never stuck a case.

I would never use "One Shot" simply because I can't control the dispensing rate as I can with Dillon lube, which would mean a lot of waste on an already expensive lube.

September 30, 2012, 01:22 AM
That sounds like an fairly efficient way to lube 4-5 cases. So you can't apply One Shot with a Q-tip to one case at a time? Say it ain't so! :)

September 30, 2012, 03:17 AM
Check the thread in the die body. I had the same problem with a brand new Hornady .223 die. It turned out to be that the threads for the spindle collet had been double cut at the factory and caused the spindle to sit crooked. Hornady sent a brand new die, and I have had no other problems.

After the spindle has been bent once, it will forever be weak in that spot. It will likely bend there again easily. In my opinion, Hornady makes top of the line equipment, and their customer service department is easier to deal with than any other that I have experience with.

One thing that you have to do with One Shot is LET IT DRY! For some reason, it doesn't work when the cases are wet with it. I stuck a couple of cases with it before I realized that they have to be dry. I have since bought a tub of thier Unique lube, and will likely not use anything else again for a couple of reasons. One being, it works. Cases slide through the sizing die like butter. The second reason is that the tub I have may last the rest of my life. I wipe my finger across the surface of the lube, picking up just enough to know I have some there, and rub it around the necks and shoulders of five or six cases.

September 30, 2012, 11:51 AM
I use the One Shot for pistol brass,in the baggie because I got sick of standing all them up, and it works good for that. I tried it with 30-06(my rifle has a big chamber and it requires more resizing) and even put a dozen squirts in after the first couple attempts sizing felt like they wanted to sieze. After more "lube" they still took a lot more pressure than I was used to, so I wiped several cases off and got out my Imperial sizing wax,bingo!!! Half the effort, same result when I smeared some RCBS case lube on them. To sum up, no seized cases with the One Shot(don't know,maybe in time if I kept using it) , but did require A LOT more effort to do the same thing that some of the others, IN THIS CASE. Maybe it will work ok in other calibers(shorter,thinner brass,less sizing required), I only had that batch to do at the time, I just don't see the point in trying anymore when the others work for me. I will still always use it on pistols though.

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