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Polishing Dies
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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BillPa
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 10:07 pm    Post subject: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

Sometime ago, we had a discussion on the importance of keeping your dies clean. I also mentioned that I polish all my dies to a mirror finish. I was doing a set of '06 dies tonight and thought I take a few pics of the finished product.
The procedure...
First I use 1500 paper and water at 1500 rpms, just enough to get a good shine being sure to get the shoulder area. Next,using a shotgun swab wrapped with some cotton cloth ( It will compress to conform to the body,shoulder and neck areas), Flitz metal polish, I'll spin the lathe at about 3000 rpms. The cloth will turn black as the compond does its work. I'll change cloths 3 to 4 times during the process,inspecting the finish each time. Finally, I'll clean it with a swap wrapped with a piece of paper towel followed with two or three saturated with Kroil , one saturated with Break Free and finally two dry ones. If the die is being used with an expander button, it gets the same polishing treatment. If for some reason I want an even finer finish, I'll use diamond lap, but usually only neck on bushings.

The difference in effort before and after polishing is apparent. This process doesn't remove any measureable amount of metal and won't change anything dimensionally to the die. If you don't have a lathe, a drill press or drill can be used,set at it's highest rpm,but will take longer.

So, here are some pictures...............


Bill


Last edited by BillPa on Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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calsibley
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

Hello Bill,

It sounds like you did a pretty thorough job of it. I've been tempted several times to do the same, but never felt it was critical in the case of my dies. I do agree strongly however with taking a crack at the expander ball. That's our biggest heartache in reloading. I finally switched to straight line sizing dies that don't use the expander ball, but I think your method is better in the long run. Best wishes.

Cal - Montreal
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shrpshtrjoe
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:49 am    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

Howdy Bill. I just had a buddy drop off a couple sets of dies that show some surface rust i may try your method to clean them up. I will have to use a hand drill though. Thanks for the tips

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sniper
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

I've never felt the need to polish my dies, but I do use a tungsten carbide expander button. It seems to make things go much smoother than even a polished expander.
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Al_Sohlstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

Hi

I've got a Black & Decker RTX rotary tool kit:

I've been using it to dress and polish feed ramps and polish and relieve chambers on my revolvers and pistols.

How important is it to hold the die centered, a'la lathe and drillpress? Do you think I can get away with polishing my dies (ok - my soon-to-be dies) by hand with this thing? How important is the 1500 grit first run?

Thanks for posting this. I'm not reloading yet, but I'm sure thinking about it.

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BillPa
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

The rotory tools usually don't have the reach to get all the was inside the die. A 3/8 drill with a shotgun bore swab wrapped with the paper and cloth is a better choice, just takes longer. The 1500 paper just speeds the process up without changing any measureable internal dimensions of the die.

Bill
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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

Al_Sohlstrom wrote:

How important is it to hold the die centered, a'la lathe and drillpress? Do you think I can get away with polishing my dies (ok - my soon-to-be dies) by hand with this thing? How important is the 1500 grit first run?

Thanks for posting this. I'm not reloading yet, but I'm sure thinking about it.

In any event, the rotary tool has many adapters that would in fact reach. HOWEVER, i warn against using it because while rolling your own ammo may not be the most precise thing, your dies and their tollerences do matter very much (and yes it is very wise to use a very fine grit....like 1500+ and while i'm not sure what grit i use, the Micron Grade is 1/4 which is/may be overkill but i only use between 1/2 and 1/10 Sub Micron Grade diamond lapping compound when i finish my dies).

Polishing the dies can be done and should be from time to time (but not often!) to take off certain surface imperfections, and should be done from a machine shop (OR if you have a lathe at home it helps; which i use a Renzetti rod lathe). And regardless of what ever grit you use, after polishing, you should ALWAYS gage your dies before and after, (and keep track of records) because you ARE REMOVING MATERIAL.

Besides that, and in the world of shooting sports, i have seen MANY strange things as well as happen, and you should ALWAYS use caution no matter how seasoned of a shooter/reloader you are. Cool

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Last edited by 515034s10ring on Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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waumo
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

The only time I polished a die was for my 45-70 Gov. I had lots of problems sizing these cases - they wanted to stick in the die. I had nothing to lose except ruin the die. Polished lightly with 1500 grit and oil then finsihed with some polishing compound (don't remember exactly) to a mirror finish. Used a 3/8" drill and a shotgun swab with cloth wrap.

Problem solved - been using it for years since.
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Crackshot
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject: Re: Polishing Dies Reply with quote

I never polish with emery cloth, I use 0000 steel wool saturated with polish. Used once and ruined the die.

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