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Help - rusted dies

 
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  #1  
Old 07-24-2011, 10:50 AM
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Location: Clovis, NM
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Help - rusted dies

Hi all. Just moved, and I opened the trunk where I had carefully packed all of my reloading equipment to find that just about anything that was metal had rusted to some degree. My old RCBS manual brass trimmer was frozen so bad I couldn't turn the handle, to give you an idea. Most of my dies had rust on them and inside them, a few of them pretty bad.

I used muriatic acid to clean off the trimmer as a test, because I'd heard it takes off rust. It does, very well, though it's caustic and hard to work with, bad fumes, etc. I cleaned it up pretty quickly though and had it back to serviceable in about 5-10 minutes. The acid also takes off any finish, so I oiled it well with Kroil.

Okay, so I want to try this with some of my dies, the ones I think I can save anyway. At least one is so bad that I'll just replace it. Any reason why this would be a bad idea? I know that on some level the die dimensions will be different, but I don't think it will be to a dangerous degree. Opinions?

BTW, this happened simply because I wanted to save a $5 bottle of Scent Killer detergent, and I put it in the trunk because it was convenient at the time. My Hornady 50 BMG powder measure is toast, and maybe one of my bmg dies also. I think I can clean the presses up, we'll see. Hope you all think more than I do before you do things!
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:16 PM
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Re: Help - rusted dies

Get some powdered citric acid at any women's hobby store (e.g. Hobby Lobby) and dissolve some in water. Let set for a few days and the rust disappears.

Before (the universal decapping die on the left)


After (any discoloration you see on it is oil):
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:42 PM
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Re: Help - rusted dies

Thanks Kevin, I can do that. I suppose baking soda will neutralize the acid like anything else.

BTW, who makes those presses? They look great.

v/r, c
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:14 PM
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Re: Help - rusted dies

The presses were made by the Hollywood Gun Shop decades ago, very hard to find today. Especially so in THAT pristine condition!

Muratic acid will, as you found, break down ferrous oxide (rust) pretty quick and will do so the very bottom of any pits. Good stuff! BUT, it has some potentially serious draw backs. And, yes, a baking soda solution kill it. Do that, then wash, dry and oil anything you worked on, quick or it will flash rust.

One, it will eat your flesh too, not to mention what it will do to your eyes and lips! The thick, burning, choking vapors will condense on YOU and in your air passages if you inhale it as surely as if it were spilt. And on anything else it touches. Meaning it's best used outdoors with you standing up-wind. AND, use your baking soda wash down on anything else the vapors may have collected on or you ain't yet seen how fast rust will form on whatever!
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:38 PM
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Re: Help - rusted dies

Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_musk View Post
Thanks Kevin, I can do that. I suppose baking soda will neutralize the acid like anything else.
I didn't worry about any neutralization beyond rinsing in cold water and then letting them soak for awhile in more water.

I read a post elsewhere that powdered lemon aide drink mix is almost all citric acid, but pound for pound, I will bet that the tub is cheaper than packs of Kool Aid.

Quote:
BTW, who makes those presses? They look great.
Thanx. The one in the rear is a Hollywood Universal Model-III Special with three turrets (12-stations). The one in the foreground with the decapper die is a Hollywood Universal Model-B or Model-II, depending on when it was made. This press, due to its unique body shape, is allegedly 1 of 100 made before Lyle Corcoran (owner of Hollywood who bought out the Universal line >WW2) changed the shape. The one on the left that you can barely see is a Hollywood Senior Turret (8-stations). I also own a Hollywood Senior (single-station) that is out of the picture.

And they were all in pretty sad shape when I got them. I disassembled them, degreased, scoured with Scotchbrite pads soaked in Breakfree to remove the rust and crud, then lubed, and reassembled. I didn't add any paint. The presses are so simple in design and well made, they will still be working a 1000-years from now.

I updated the Bench Picture topic with pics of mine.
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Last edited by Kevin Rohrer; 07-24-2011 at 09:05 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2011, 10:02 PM
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Re: Help - rusted dies

Thanks guys. It was worth posting just to find out about those presses! I'm pretty familiar with muriatic from other work, but thanks for posting the safety information - it's probably not responsible of me to post something without fully vetting the hazards also. And yes, if you keep it in your shop (some find it best not to do that), you better have the lid on tight or it will rust anything the vapors get to.
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