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anyone else ever break a carbide die?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Detritus, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Detritus

    Detritus Member

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    Been meaning to post this since shortly after it happened,

    So here's the story, about two months ago I was making up a new batch of .45 when on about round # 160 up-stroke on sizing feels funny, there's a "ping" that's louder and different from the expected "primer-unseating ping" at the top of the stroke, down-stroke is rough and seating the new primer feels strange (I use an older Lee turret press for pistol ammo), I look down there's some random gray crap about the size and shape of tumbling media on the shell holder (but none in the case, I checked). checked over the now sized and primed case, found a small scratch on one side, and a wire like piece of metal seated next to the primer that pulled out/off when gently rubbed with a screwdriver tip.
    add next case and primer, size/de-prime stroke this time is nasty and now there is gray junk all over the ram when I bring it down, this case is scored all to hell, I shine a light up at the mouth of the die and see the following
    these were obviously taken after I took the die out and was sitting at my desk getting ready to order it's replacement.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  2. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    I haven't broken one, yet. Too firm a contact with the shell holder?
     
  3. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I haven't broke one in the 40 yrs I've been doing this hand loading thing. :)
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have not broken one either. Carbide is very hard but it's also brittle. This is why there is a warning in the instructions not to hit the shellholder. If the contact uws sufficient you will break the carbide ring. (as you have found out)

    Unfortunately it's one of the pitfalls of carbide dies.

    Who did you buy the dies from? Some companies will discount a replacement or even send you one for free. You might want to contact the manufacturer before you pay for a replacement, especially RCBS. (they have amazing support even when it's your fault)
     
  5. Detritus

    Detritus Member

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    The die in the picture is/was a Lee, as noted about 30 years old, was properly adjusted as per the instructions, and had resized untold thousands of cases.

    As for contacting Lee about a warranty replacement. as per their website, after two years from time of purchase "Our lifetime conditional guarantee states that any Lee product of current manufacture, regardless of age or condition, will be reconditioned to new including a new guarantee, if returned to the factory with payment equal to half the current retail price plus shipping." I did the math and " 1/2 retail + shipping (both ways)" came to within less than $5 of new die +shipping from Midway. and going the midway route I had the new day within the week instead of having to wait for it to ship to WI, process through their warranty section, and be shipped back. now I might still send it off to them some day just to have a spare.
     
  6. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I broke one, but it was on purpose. I had a Lee FCD that ruined my carefully sized cast bullets, so punched out (shattered) the carbide ring. I've read, but never experienced, that pressure from the ring contacting the shell holder can fracture the brittle carbide after a while...
     
  7. hdwhit
    • Contributing Member

    hdwhit Member

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    They certainly do.
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Heard of the carbide insert coming out. Never seen one broken though.
     
  9. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    30 years old? I would have to say you got your money's worth.
     
  10. zb338

    zb338 Member

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    Detritus you must have arms like a Gorilla to do that. I'm never going to mess with you.

    Zeke
     
  11. Detritus

    Detritus Member

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    this is what I suspect happened, especially in light of the age of the die and just how many cycles it's been through.

    Yep, I certainly think so.
    Dad bought the original 3-die set sometime around '87 or '88, used it occasionally for about 10 years or so (he didn't own a .45, shooting buddy next door did), then he gave it to me sometime around 2004 when I added a FCD to the setup and used it to make all but the last 400rds or so of 45 I've loaded (last batch were or course with the replacement die).
     
  12. Detritus

    Detritus Member

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    I wish to be clear I never exerted any undue amount of force in running this loading setup. that's one of the things I like about carbide sizing dies, they're relatively smooth, consistent, and easy in that respect. if I gotta lean into it I know somethings wrong.

    but yeah i'm not exactly a little guy by any stretch.
     

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