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Cleaned it lately?
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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BillPa
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:49 pm    Post subject: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

Without fail, we shooters spend hours cleaning our firearms being especially careful with those $700 barrels or in my case, also boat load of factory pipes. Brass is cleaned,polished and prep'd to the finest detail. Ah...life is good. But wait, what about the reloadin dies? With all that clean brass they can't be dirty can they? Well, errrrrr, yes!
If I have this procedure down now, I pull my cases out of the cleaner,wipe off any media residue,whip out a set of dies,lube the brass and size away. After umteen hundred lubeing and resizings mabye some crud collected in them and needs cleaned out. Minimum resizing the case? Mabye sizing it more than you think. OK, I grab me favorite goop (Kroil in my case ) a shotgun mop and clean away. Yuck, that stuff was in there? Well its clean now. Or is it?
One of the critical portions of a die is the neck/shoulder area. Even a small amount of built up dust,powder residue and case lube will pack its way securely in this area and push the shoulder back more than you may expect. A quick cleaning may not get it,so now I've found another use for bore brushes. A couple passes with the brush soaked with Kroil followed with some clean patchs usually gets it. Don't forget the neck portion of the die and that depriming/expander stem.
OK, clean dies and now we're ready, NOT! There is another matter called the shell holder. Even a small amount of crud buildup can cause the case to enter the die mis-aligned. It dosen't take much to throw the case a few thousandths. Most shell holders are hardened so a little aggressive cleaning with a small scraper won't damage them. Get in the extractor groove area,top,bottom and sides. Scrape,brush and wipe until all you see is metal using a bright light to check. By the way, ever look at the top of the press ram where the shell holder rests for nastys? Clean that too.
I'm almost obsessed with keeping my dies in good shape. Polished like a mirror and squeeky clean. I have quite a few that I've reworked especially for a rifle.(minimun resizing,bump,etc) Yes, I clean them and if I'm using bushings, those too after each use. After all, my rifle cleaning and case prep in negated if my dies are making bad brass. We won't discuss what it may do to bullet seating alignment.
Ya never know. It may help tighten those groups a smiggin.

Again, many of you may already do this, but ................

Bill
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Flint54
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

Great advice, I'm sure that many don't even give their dies a second thought. I've been cleaning mine for many years and haven't even thought to post it. Thank you for doing so.
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shrpshtrjoe
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

Howdy Bill ya i clean mine as well i mostly use a good solvent. I am gonna have to give that kroil a try i have heard nothing but good about it

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DallanC
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

I clean mine every couple hundred rounds or less. Gotta do something on cold wet rainy days.


-DallanC
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calsibley
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:24 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

If I clean my dies it's as an afterthought. It's not something I'm usually aware of. Every so often I'll run a Q-tip up into one. What comes back out is pretty gungy so I'll clean them all. The one I'm most negligent of is the press itself. I keep it covered when not in use, but still the ram itself and the area around the shellholder get pretty grimey. A lot of stuff I oil just to avoid rust, and the oil itself complicates the problem by picking up all sorts of dirt. There's just no end to it is there? Best wishes.

Cal - Montreal
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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: After every use Reply with quote

I clean and wipe down my dies after every use. My reloading area gets a bit damp so I need to apply a fine film of gun grease inside and out. The dies from 1970 still look like new. All the best...
Gil

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william desmul
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

If you want to try a new use of Kroil try it on your cleaning patch.....gets the crud out as well as helping keep copper fouling under control.
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mc223
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:14 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

Thanks for the reminder. I do most of my loading on a Dillon so die cleaning really gets behind. I also us Kroil a shot gun mop and a nylon brush. After a little soak time, I mop the die and brush some if extra cruddy. I spray them out with Brakleen and when dry recoat them with Kroil for storage.

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guncollector
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

And in case anyone doubts the value of cleaning the dies, I have gotten lazy in the past and allowed some cases to be deformed at the bottleneck because of dirt build-up in the little hole that releases the air pressure in a competition resizing die. You won't often have this problem with standard dies but the competition dies are made to tighter tolerances to begin with.

I find that an occasional blast of compressed air to be a good way to keep the dies clean between serious cleanings.

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Crackshot
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:02 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

I have used brake cleaner for years to clean the presses and dies, it dries clean and leaves no residue, just wait a few minutes and re grease the ram and your ready to go.

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temmi
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:23 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

I do clean the shell holder every time I use it.
SOoo… This is a good time for some feedback. I use the spray “gun de-greaser” in my dies… and that is the only cleaning they get… What do you think?
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Vince
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:44 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

Excellent post Bill.

Like a couple of the others I clean my dies regularly using a small mop, Brakleen and even WD40 spray with a very fine tube attached to the spray nozzle. After claeaning I give them a very light coat of oil, but only a light coat....don't want to replace the problems caused by a buildup of crud with a build up of non-compressable oil.

When loading cast pistol rounds I found that I would quickly get a build up of bullet lube in the seating die; had to clean it about every 50 rounds or so. If you want to see just how much builds up, reload 100 cast rounds then load a jacketed bullet through the die....yuck. Shocked

Welcome back Joe, good to see you again mate. Cheers

Cheers, Vince

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BillPa
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

temmi wrote:
I do clean the shell holder every time I use it.
SOoo… This is a good time for some feedback. I use the spray “gun de-greaser” in my dies… and that is the only cleaning they get… What do you think?

It really doesn't matter what you use as long as it gets crud out. I use a shot of Gun Scrubber on the shellholders, and WD or Kroil on a swab wrapped in a large cleaning patch for the dies. Break-Free is also a great cleaner plus it puts a protective coat of oil inside the die to help prevent rust.

Bill
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Arizona Hunter
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

I was once loading some .38 Spec. wadcutters and noticed that they were getting seated below the case rim....of course it was because the die was full of crud! Cleaned it out, pulled the bullets, and everything was fine. Now I clean the dies even when things are going good-preventive maintenance.
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GSPKurt
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaned it lately? Reply with quote

New reloader here- thanks for the heads-up.

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