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Question about carbide pistol dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Grassman, Jan 18, 2009.

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  1. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    I have been loading for pistols for a couple months now, and was wondering about the wear on my dies. I have not purchased a brass tumbler yet, should I? I plan to.. just have not yet. I just clean the brass a little and reload. Is this causing undue wear on my .40 and 9mm RCBS dies? I have reloaded some brass several times,and the build up on the brass is getting worse. Am I doing damage?
     
  2. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Grass Guy -
    At a minimum you should be wiping the grunge off each cartridge case individually OR doing a bulk wash in a strong detergent like Tide or Dawn dish washing liquid. A detergent wash is very good for removing dirt and sand if you recycle brass from an outdoor range. Case cleaning is not to keep from hurting the dies (the carbide is very tough) but to keep from embedding a grain of grit in the carbide that would scrape up each case after that. A long, deep scrape along the axis of the case could lead to a lot of burst cases if it was deep enough and/or simply make for tough going with the press.

    Another thing you can occasionally do is to take a barrel brush and thinner to your dies to remove any buildup of crud inside the dies. This is especially needed on the seater die if you used lubed lead bullets. That excess lube WILL build up in a thick cake.

    As far as general operation, clean cases are simply going to cycle smoother through any press. Another item for you to consider is case lube. Even though you have carbide dies, that does not preclude the use of any case lube. The addition of a very little lube (say every 3rd case) will reduce the strain on your arm significantly.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  3. joneb

    joneb Member

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    Yes
    Semi-auto brass ends up on the ground, putting it through your dies can't be a good thing, the tumbler with also help with the powder/primer residue inside the case.
    When you get a tumbler don't put your 9mm and .40 brass in together, but if you must, put the 40 S&W in first then add the 9mm 5 seconds later.
     
  4. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    Why not together? Because the 9mm always seem to get trapped in the .40?
     
  5. joneb

    joneb Member

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    Yes, and along with a little media they get really stuck :( It may have been rcmodel that suggested adding the larger cases 1st, and once filled with media the smaller diameter shells wouldn't enter the larger ones. I tried this, and it worked :)
     
  6. fecmech

    fecmech Member

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    Clean cases are nice but I would not worry about wear on your carbide dies. I purchased my set of Lyman .38 -357 carbide dies in 1970. I've probably loaded somewhere north of 100 K rds since then with only occasional case tumbling. They have not worn that I can see!
     
  7. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Wear on carbide dies? Not unless you have diamond cases. Carbide is about the next step down the scale in hardness. They use diamond to polish the carbide.

    I doubt you have anything to worry about.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    As long as the cases are clean and free of dirt. Regardless of how hard they are, you will be fine, but if you try to squeeze a bit of dirt in between the die and the brass there is enough pressure there to eventually damage the die.

    A tumbler is something that, while it isn't a necessity, once you get one, you'll wish you had long before. :)
     
  9. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "have not purchased a brass tumbler yet, should I?"

    Eventually, maybe.

    They are nice but..."should" is too strong a way to put it. We reloaded long before tumblers were available. Just clean - wipe - your cases free of any dirt and grit and go. Even if your dies are steel, instead of carbide, you aren't likely to live long enough to wear a sizer out.
     
  10. Shoney

    Shoney Member

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    For three of my five decades of reloading. I didn't have a tumbler. I have either wiped them clean one by one, tossed batches tied into old socks into the wifes washing machine (shhhhsh! She was not home.), used chemical cleaners, and worst of all, steel wooled em. No you don't really need a tumbler.

    After getting into competitive pistol shooting, I got one. When I poured out my first batch, a bright light filled the room, angels were singing, an orchestra with many harps was playing, and life was good.
     
  11. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    Wow. That's great! I've got a tumbler, and have used it for years, but this makes me want to buy another one just for the angels and harps. :D
     
  12. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Yea. The same thing happened to me!! Except I bought a Dillon tumbler. There was blue light everywhere. And one of the Dillon girls appeared and started giving me a massage. And....

    :D
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, tumblers make life nicer.

    I tumble different brass separately from each other. Even putting the larger calibers in first, although it works very well, will get the occasional 9ina40ina45stuckas**** mess.
     
  14. pmeisel

    pmeisel Member

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    I bought the wrong brand. I would like the Dillon girls to show up, instead my wife says "that orange thing is noisy!" So it's in the shed....but the cases look nice.
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    My orange "brand" tumbler is quiet, very quiet, quieter than my 1200 was. My blue tumbler is pretty quiet as well. They are both in the shed though, so it's no big deal
     
  16. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    Serendipity at work!

    Great tip, thanks!
     
  17. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    O.K. now............can ya'll recommend a decent tumbler for under $75? I'm cheap so bear with me........
     
  18. pmeisel

    pmeisel Member

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    The Lyman 1200 is about $65 in the MidSouth catalog, just happened to have it up. There is another called SmartReloader for $30 but I don't know any more about it. The RCBS tumbler is over $75 but not by much.

    I like my Lyman, I just wish it came with the Dillon girls.
     
  19. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "The RCBS tumbler is over $75 but not by much."

    Charging up front is how they pay for all those "free" parts later! :neener:
     
  20. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    The difference is really in the motors. You almost are REQUIRED to have a ball bearing motor to get more than a year out of a tumbler. So I'd ask about motor construction first !!
     
  21. CU74

    CU74 Member

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    No Dillon girls with my Lyman tumbler, but the brass doesn't know the difference. As others do, I tumble OUTSIDE the shop where I reload - no noise, no dust.
     
  22. FM12

    FM12 Member

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    One of the tips I took to heart and began using is to put the cases in a large plastic bag, spray with RCBS spray lube and shake the cases around a little. Makes a BIG difference, especially if using a progressive press.
     
  23. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    I've heard that about letting the larger cases fill with media before putting in the smaller ones and it worked, sort of. There were very few cases stuck together. The problem that quickly became apparent to me was that I had to resort the brass that I'd already sorted once! Ain't doing it again just out of sheer laziness.
     
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