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Carbide Die Question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by schmeky, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. schmeky

    schmeky Well-Known Member

    Several months ago I had problems with my 9mm reloads using my trusty Dillon 550. I bought a new Lee 4-die set with a separate setting die and taper crimp die, the latter having a carbide insert to ensure a properly sized final case dimension. Since then my 9mm loads have been absolutely perfect.

    I have noticed my 45 acp loads don't "seem" to be as consistent as in the past. I'm using my very old RCBS carbide 3-die set I've had for over 20 years. It may be time to "re-die". Does anyone else use the Lee 4-die set with 45? I would "assume" even a carbide insert can wear after 10's of thousands of rounds.
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I suppose you could wear one out, but I have not reloaded enough on any one sizer to do so. Heck, get a new one and see if it helps.
  3. Squeaky Duck

    Squeaky Duck Well-Known Member

    I use Lee Precision carbide dies for 45 ACP and never had a problem with consistency (I reload a LOT too). They cost only $20 or so from Cabela's for the 3 die set. As low cost as they are, you might as well get a new set.

    20 years on a set of dies? You got a lot of mileage out of those.

    OF course it never hurts to lube your cases anyway using carbide dies. The lube reduces stress on the mouth of the cartridges and redues the chance of getting one stuck in the die.
  4. JDGray

    JDGray Well-Known Member

    Lee claims their carbides will not wear out, can't speak for the others. All my pistol dies are Lee carbide, with FCD, all work great:)
  5. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    Tungsten or titanium carbide and titanium nitride dies will last several life times. I've had carbide dies for my pistol calibers that are at least 30 years old and have been used on a single stage and 2 Dillon presses and they are as good as the day I bought them. If the dies are RCBS call them and see if they will replace it. As far as lubing cases with a carbide die,waste of time and lube. I've never,ever had a case stick in a carbide die and don't know of anyone that has.
  6. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    You can buy a Lee Factory Crimp die and just add it to your old RCBS set, no need to buy a complete set of dies or discard a perfectly good set of dies just to get a FC die.
  7. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    22 years and I haven't been able to wear one out yet...Mine are Lee and according to many I should have worn them out by now...
  8. tlen

    tlen Well-Known Member

    What problems are you having with your RCBS dies ? Perhaps all you need to do is to add a Lee FCD.
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Just measure some sized cases and see if the still meet specs.
    If they do, you haven't worn out your dies.

    I'm thinking if you do have a problem, it is being caused by something else besides a worn-out RCBS carbide sizing die.

  10. NavajoNPaleFace

    NavajoNPaleFace Well-Known Member

    I use Lee also and my .45 have (only) loaded over 10,000 rounds. Certainly, and in my case, obviously, not enough to wear it out.
  11. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "I'm using my very old RCBS carbide 3-die set I've had for over 20 years. It may be time to "re-die"."

    Highly unlikely. Carbide dies are capable of sizing hundreds of thousands of cases with little or no change in dimension. It takes diamond tooling to cut or even polish carbide, brass isn't even in that ball park!
  12. Brillo

    Brillo Well-Known Member

    I also doubt that the die is worn out. But if you believe so, take it to a reputable machine shop and measure it with appropriate sized pin gauges to see if it is in spec. before you spend $20 or $30 bucks. Or have Lee measure it for you.

    I lube my brass even with carbide dies. I feel that I get a few more reloads out of them. I suspect it is because less cold work is put into the case upon resizing on account of the greatly reduced friction imparted into the case each time it is resized. To back that up a bit, the surface finish is certainly different between a lubed case and a dry one. I've never conducted a scientific study of it though.
  13. texfed

    texfed Well-Known Member

    Years ago, I had a problem with a Lee .45 carbide set, I'd gotten it used from a friend.
    On a whim , I sent it to Lee and didn't even explain the problem....I forgot to stick the card in the box.....the only id was my return address on the mailer.

    Well, to make a long story short, I just blew it off , figuring my dies were going to be lost.....BIG surprise..10 days later I got a complete new set in the mail...

    I love them guys!
  14. schmeky

    schmeky Well-Known Member

    I use mixed brass, so not all the cases are exactly the same size (i.e. length and case wall thickness). I feel the Lee taper crimp die with the carbide sizing ring will, at the very least, ensure a more consistent finished product.

    I know when I switched to the same Lee set up for 9mm, I have not had a problem round since. Since some cases are longer than others, I would occassionally get a "wrinkle" in the case wall, resulting in a mis-feed.

    This may be what's occurring with the 45 as well.
  15. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

    I doubt you can "wear out" a sizer, especially a carbide.
    How old is your brass? I be more inclinded to think the cases have work hardened over the years from repeted sizeing and are not responding like they use to.
  16. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    I'd agree with everybody else that you can't wear out a carbide die, but you can probably screw it up really good if at some point the carbide ring got knocked hard enough.

    Might be worth sending it back for an inspection, but I have a funny feeling that it costs RCBS less to send you a new die than to figure out if there's anything wrong with your old one.

    If you don't trust your sizer any more, it's probably worth the $15 to just pick up a new one and put your mind to rest. It's no fun to use equipment that you think might not be right, even if it's all in your head.


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