Tumble Lube buildup in seating die


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Packnteacher
December 6, 2013, 12:39 AM
It occurred to me reading some of these threads that here is a problem I need some input on. I noticed in loading my 45's that the OAL was very slowly diminishing. Finally figured out that I was getting a buildup of the tumble lube on the post of the seating die. Turns out that the very first thing I tried as a solvent (mineral spirits) worked like a charm. But it's going to be more than a little cumbersome to hose out the die after every 50 rounds or so. What do you all do? For the time being, I'm pretty much stuck with the tumble system.

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RainDodger
December 6, 2013, 12:45 AM
Every 50 rounds? Wow. I clean mine about once a year and I just use a Q-tip. Works fine.

silicosys4
December 6, 2013, 01:33 AM
Sounds like at least part of the issue is over applying the lube.
I use liquid alox exclusively, and if I warm the bullets and lube up before applying, I can get a thin enough coat that it is barely visible, and still get minimal to no leading. I don't have a lot of buildup of lube on the seating die, but I do have to hose it out with carb cleaner every 5k rounds or so or I start having seating issues. Results may vary depending on bullet profiles. I have noticed my RN seaters build up faster than my flat seaters

plmitch
December 6, 2013, 01:46 AM
Easy on the lube. I've never really had this problem with tumble lubes.

Reefinmike
December 6, 2013, 02:03 AM
Often, on the rare occasion when I load a plated or jhp of a different bullet profile, itll pull out a little alox ring from the seater. you really dont need much alox lube at all. a thing of LLA should last you atleast 5000-7000 bullets.

Dr.Zubrato
December 6, 2013, 05:38 AM
Get some Johnson's paste wax from ace hardware, and make some 45/45/10. It stretches out your alox, less smokey, doesn't leave bullets tacky so it won't gum up your die, and can be pushed to higher velocities than straight LLA without leading. There's a bunch more info on cast boolits, but the idea is to heat up the jpw (outside) to evaporate a good amount of the solvents, mix with an equal amount of LLA and add a little MS for the right consistency which is between peanut butter and 10w30.
It's a pretty big favorite on castboolits and mine too. One dry patch after let's say 400 rds and the bore of my revolver looks mirror polished, no joke.

Foto Joe
December 6, 2013, 11:18 AM
By now you've figured out that you're using too much lube. Assuming that you're using Lee Liquid Alox you definitely want to try out the Docs suggestion of making up some 45-45-10. Although I've switched over to a Lyman Lube Sizer and stick lube I'll still tumble lube revolver boolits for the wifes 38spc.

On the 45-45-10 the only thing I'll suggest is that it's pretty hard to get it too thin. The Dr. suggests a thicker formula than I use. The bottom line is to take the info gained via the forums then use what works for you. As the auto makers have said for decades now, "Your mileage may vary."

jcwit
December 6, 2013, 12:10 PM
The OP's post is the #1 reason I switched to using a Lyman lube sizer.

Never looked back.

GLOOB
December 6, 2013, 04:57 PM
Hosing not needed. Q-tip dipped in solvent every several hundred rounds should be all that's needed. This is one of the reasons I like the quick change bushings for a SS press. On the rare occasion you run into such an issue in the middle of a session, just pop the die out and do what needs to be done. I wouldn't pay a bunch more for the quick change feature, but it pays off every now and then.

I have yet to have a problem, except with the hard blue lube in commercial bullets. Sometimes there are big blobs on top of the bullets. I tumble lube pretty thin, and I use the Alox/paste wax mix. At room temp, it's pretty hard.

cordercorral
December 6, 2013, 09:58 PM
I was loading a few 40's tonight and found the COAL was decreasing. Used a dental mirror and what to my surprise...lube build-up in the seater die. Tried the mineral spirits trick, cleaned right up with a Q tip. Thanks for the tip!

Packnteacher
December 10, 2013, 07:51 PM
Thanks, Dr Z. I will go over to CastBoolits and get some more info on 45/45/10. Thanks all I reckon I have been using too much lube. Just started using more b/c of leading. Gonna have to do more research.

Ifishsum
December 11, 2013, 01:10 AM
I tumble lube all my lead boolits, cleaning the seater stem is necessary after maybe a couple hundred rounds but not a real big deal. I agree that if you have to clean after 50 you're probably using more lube than necessary - I thin the Alox with mineral spirits and coat them just until I can just barely see the coating. They will dry faster too, and less tacky (I still give them at least 24 hrs before loading).

wilbur2
December 11, 2013, 07:44 AM
Dillon sells seating/crimp dies with removable inserts. You can pop out the seating stem and clean it without modifying the settings. Pop it back in, insert the retaining clip, and you are ready to go.

steve4102
December 11, 2013, 09:15 AM
How long are you letting it dry?

The 45/45/10 is a great lube, but you can work with what you have as well. Just thin your Alox with about 10% mineral spirits. It will help with a thin even coat and it will help it dry faster and more complete.

Elkins45
December 11, 2013, 10:51 AM
Lots of good advice in this thread: less lube, try the 50/50 with JPW, use a q tip or nylon bore brush on a short handle with a little mineral spirits in the seater die every few hundred rounds.

Cleaning the seater every few hundred rounds might add two minutes to the total loading time. If you have to clean more often then you probably do need to cut back on the amount of lube. A thick coating really doesn't perform better than a thin, uniform one in my experience.

straight-shooter
December 11, 2013, 10:55 AM
The OP's post is the #1 reason I switched to using a Lyman lube sizer.

Never looked back.

^ +1 to this not to mention after using White Label lubes in the sizer I have absolutely zero leading.

Elkins45
December 11, 2013, 02:14 PM
The OP's post is the #1 reason I switched to using a Lyman lube sizer.

Never looked back.
Individually placing and removing 1000 9mm handgun bullets into the Lyman sizer is the reason I try to always tumble lube handgun bullets when I can.

I run rifle bullets thru the sizer, but for any significant volume of handgun bullets I really try to avoid all that repetitive motion.

blarby
December 12, 2013, 01:31 AM
Just started using more b/c of leading.

More lube rarely fixes this issue. I'd make sure your sizing is correct.

If you are going to tumble lube, LLA thinned 50% with mineral spirits is very difficult to overapply- and a great lube setup regardless.

Much less messy than other styles of lubing, the LLA is commonly available, fairly pleasant smelling as these things go, and very inexpensive. AND 50/50 is hard to mess up- i've seen some guys trying to get that " part this, part this, part this, part this" measured accurately with no small amount of frustration.

If I could ship you the diluted formula without a whole bunch of hassle to test out, I would... but I can't- and I wouldn't even wanna try this time of year !

This is a good price from a great vendor:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/466811/lee-alox-bullet-lube-4-oz-liquid

Just warm the bottle up in a bath of hot water, pour half out into another resealable container, and fill it up with mineral spirits.

Properly applied tumble lube should be just a gentle bronze coating on the bullets- no more !

One of those bottles thinned out easily gets me 10k bullets- and you still have another ready to backup if you run out !


Edit : 10k 9mm, which is what I was last using. My notes for 230g LRN's in 452 state 7000-8000 per diluted bottle. I apologize for any error on my behalf.

Hondo 60
December 12, 2013, 02:13 AM
Sounds like at least part of the issue is over applying the lube.

Yup, +1 or atleast not letting the lube fully dry.
I haven't cleaned any dies in well over a year & I've been casting & tumble lubing since last February.

GLOOB
December 12, 2013, 02:44 AM
AND 50/50 is hard to mess up- i've seen some guys trying to get that " part this, part this, part this, part this" measured accurately with no small amount of frustration.
Oh, I never get this right. But as long as the main ingredients are LLA and paste wax, you can't mess up. My current batch of 45/45/10 was too thick from the start. And the bottle clogged, so I had to cut the top off to get to it. Then I left it out with no top, and whatever was left dried up solid into a big brown crayon. And it still works.

I just scrape out a little and put it in with the bullets in a metal pan. Apply heat with a heat gun, and tumble around. It's best if the bullets are hot from the mold, but cold bullets don't take too long to heat. Once the right temp is reached, the lube is completely liquid. Paraffin wax is almost like mineral oil when it reaches its melting point. The melted lube spreads easy. And it is pretty much hard and dry as soon as the bullets are cooled down.

This is what makes the Alox/paste wax mix so easy to use. It's a pretty thin liquid when moderately hot and almost completely solid and non-tacky at room temp (once the solvents evaporate). You don't even need the solvent carrier if you manipulate the temperature of the bullets.

straight-shooter
December 12, 2013, 10:42 AM
My biggest concern with just using tumble lube is when the bullets come straight from the casting mold their not concentric. This is the reason I choose to run them through a sizer.

I also found that with a 6 gang mold, each cavity isn't equal in size. Over size bullets tend to slightly bulge the brass more when seating but fortunately they still chamber.

I just get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing every bullet ran through a sizer is equal and concentric.

I also found that sizing to .357 for 9mm, leading went completely away versus .356 which seems to be the norm from the manufacturers when ordered.

GLOOB
December 13, 2013, 02:57 AM
when the bullets come straight from the casting mold they're not concentric.
I'm way too lucky. All my barrels are concentric, so I don't need to worry about the bullets.

If the bullet is so messed up it would come out of the barrel lopsided, it will come out of your sizer lopsided, too.

I also found that with a 6 gang mold, each cavity isn't equal in size. Over size bullets tend to slightly bulge the brass more when seating but fortunately they still chamber.
So what makes you think the larger ones are oversize? If it fits in the chamber, it's fine. Revolver shooters try to match the bullet to the cylinder. They might argue that all your other bullets are too small. Reality is that bigger than the bore and small enough to chamber is all that matters for an autoloader when it comes to cast bullets.

I also found that sizing to .357 for 9mm, leading went completely away versus .356 which seems to be the norm from the manufacturers when ordered.
No, you found that bullets of at least .357 don't foul your guns. If you bothered to find the maximum size, you might find .3585 caliber bullets fit your chambers just fine. And they won't lead, either. Furthermore, you might find that you can shoot sized .357 and unsized,un-concentric .3585 caliber bullets... and if they dropped from the same molds with the same alloy, they will shoot the exact same groups!

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