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Reloading Press Maintenance

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AFDoc, May 10, 2019.

  1. AFDoc

    AFDoc Member

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    Good afternoon!

    My reloading equipment has been boxed up and unused for over a year during a reorganization of the homestead. I think it would be nice to set up my reloading room with a freshly cleaned and lubed press.

    On my Redding Big Boss II I’ve never done anything other than oil the rotating joints and grease the ram. What do you guys do when you want to clean, refurbish or refresh your single stage press?

    Thanks for your feedback!
     
  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Brush off the dust and lube it. Make sure any bolts are snug. That's all I would do.
     
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  3. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    All I've ever done to my Lee Turret is 10w-30 on the joints and ram. That's it. No regular interval either, maybe every 500-800 rounds ? Seems to work for me. It's not a high heat, high pressure load, probably just important to coat the moving parts/joints once in while rather than never.

    I supposed I could take it apart once a year and clean every joint ant them lube/reassemble I do not feel the need to do so. Maybe if I already had it down it would be the right time.

    -Jeff
     
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  4. forty_caliber
    • Contributing Member

    forty_caliber Contributing Member

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    I use good old fashioned axle grease on the ram and arms where there is metal to metal contact on my Lyman AA8. I lube the turret axle with a light machine oil when changing heads. Not much to it really.

    .40
     
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  5. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Clean
    Inspect
    Attend to any issues
    Repair if needed
    Lube
    Use
    Repeat
     
  6. lightman

    lightman Member

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    After a marathon depriming session I'll wipe the crud off of the ram and lube it with a light weight oil. About every decade I'll take the linkage apart, clean it up, grease the pins and consider it good for another 10 years.

    They are pretty durable.
     
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  7. Christopher 761

    Christopher 761 Member

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    And if it squeaks, oil or grease it.
     
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  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    I think the newer Big Boss II's already have this feature, but I like to install a grease fitting onto the rams of my presses. I believe "wear" comes from 2 sources: rust and smut. Obviously, a regular coating of grease from any direction or by any method will stop rust. But keeping reloading smut from entering the ram/body joint is more difficult.

    My thinking is... If grease is coming out of the joint, then trash cannot be entering. So the act of applying the grease is also cleaning the joint. This is important because if trash or smut gets embedded in the joint, then only complete disassembly has a chance of removing it.
     
  9. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I tear mine completely down every 10 years or so... in fact, my little RS3 is due this year. I use Rig +P stainless grease on my pivot points and CLP or Tetra on the sliding parts.
     
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  10. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    If in storage for a long time,,, and/or if 'gummy',,, step 1 would be something like WD-40,,, ~Clean/remove~ the gummies before lubing for use.

    Judging by some pics I see online, I guess I clean/lube/clean my stuff a bit more than some. (I'm also fortunate enough to have a climate controlled reload room, and I understand many are not that fortunate)

    RockChucker gets frequent applications of motorcycle 'chain and cable' lube at all locations. (16 oz aerosol left over from my MC days appears like it will last for 'many years')

    LNL AP gets greased,,, eh,,, once a month or so / 'every few odd thousand rounds',,,

    (Should go w/o saying that a good wipe down happens 'before' and all excess removed 'after', w/multiple wipe ups in-between)

    Perhaps I'm odd, but there just something about keeping my stuff operating like a proverbial 'well-oiled machine' that satiates my "gizmo gene"
     
  11. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Oil areas that move. Scrape off rust with a bronze brush or steel wool soaked in oil if you care about looks.
     
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  12. 1976B.L.Johns.

    1976B.L.Johns. Member

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    I love a smooth working piece of equipment or tool. Clean and lube often, especially when one can see dirt or feel resistance in operation.That (cleaning and lubing) makes your tool easier to operate and will prolong having to replace it. My thought is if you take care of it, the tool should out-live you.

    My RCII is going onto a third generation, which it rightfully should due to proper maintenance. It is still smooth as butter!
     
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  13. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    Some presses will require more cleaning/lubing than others, just by their design. For instance, I used to have a Lee Challenger press, that required more frequent cleaning than the Lee Classic Turret that replaced it. The reason is in how the spent primers are handled. On the Challenger, the spent primers drop out of the side of the ram, above the base of the press, so a lot of primer residue ends up in/on the ram. On the LCT, the primers and residue drop through the middle of the ram and out of the bottom, almost none gets on the ram, especially with the drinking straw trick. And since I now deprime everything on the LCT before I wet tumble, I hardly ever have to clean/lube my Dillon press anymore.

    I have taken apart the LCT once, but it probably really isn't necessary to pull the ram out. I like to use WD40 but only as a solvent for cleaning, and like to get all of it off before I apply a proper lube. For the rams, I like to use high temp bearing grease. I like the high viscosity for applications like this. I can tell by the feel when it is time to reapply.
     
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  14. AFDoc

    AFDoc Member

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    Thank-you all for your excellent suggestions.

    Do you have any other advice or thoughts?
     
  15. hdbiker

    hdbiker Member

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    I've had my Rock Chucker combo, Press, dies and shell holder sense the early 70's. I coulden't even guess how many rounds I've put threw it. I believe I've taken it apart a couple times to clean the ram bore and pin bosses and re lube. I broke the plastic spent primer catcher and RCBS sent me a new one, NO CHARGE !!!. I payed 42.00 for it shipped to my house. hdbiker
     
  16. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I spray a little bit of Remoil on the ram and the joints if it's been a while. I also spray the turret itself where it slides in the body. Just wiped it down the other day for the first time in 5 years. This is a Lee turret press.
     
  17. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    Yes, don't forget to oil the rotating joints and grease the ram.
     
  18. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    Regarding the Lee Classic Turret press, it does have grease fittings, they just aren't Zerks. The small holes in the middle of the pivot pins (on the side of the base) are lube channels that go all the way to the ram. I have a grease gun that is used for chain saws, and the last time I cleaned my LCT I shot some grease through those holes.
     
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  19. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    About all I can add;

    Check closely for signs of fatigue at the places where stressed parts pivot. Several years ago I had a well-used Lee “C” press show a small crack at one of the pivot points. I sent it back and they sent me a new press.

    Stay safe.
     
  20. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    This post had a title that sounded strange and alien to me. I know what a Reloading Press is. I know what Maintenance is. But, in 42 years of reloading, I haven't ever done anything in the way of maintenance on my press beyond keeping it clean and lubricated.
     
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  21. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    I've done the same, as well as put the nose of an oil can up there and squirt oil directly into the joint. I've thought it wouldn't take too much to thread that and put a zerk fitting in there. Of course I've never done it either. If I ever tear the press apart for a cleaning and lube maybe that would be a good time to look into it. For now it gets used weekly... :)

    -Jeff
     
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  22. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Member

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    I have a small Wally World vacuum and a paint bush. The presses are cleaned as used. Don't let crap build up. Cleaning this way does away with the primer debris that seems to go everywhere. Presses are lubed with synthetic grease.
     
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