Is my full-length sizing die toast?

J-B welder

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I have an RCBS full-length .243 caliber full-length sizing die that was given to me by a friend, and I don't think it's been used in quite a while. The first time I used it in the used Reloader Special (1st generation) I have, it dented the shoulder of the cases I was resizing. I was very careful not to get any case lube on the neck or shoulder of the cases, so I don't think that's causing the dents. Just to be sure, I took out the decapping pin and twisted a clean cotton cloth up into the die to remove any substance that might be up there. Still dented the shoulders. Then I looked inside the die with a flashlight, and I could see what looks like a spot or two of rust around the shoulder cone, which seems like it might be what's creating the dents.

Knowing RCBS has a great reputation for standing behind their products, I sent them an email to see if they could do anything to help, and I got this reply: "I am sorry you are experiencing this issue with your die, However we do not cover any rust nor do any service on any item that has rust damage. I hope this information helps. Thank you for contacting RCBS!"

Not a surprise really, but I thought it was worth a shot. My question at this point is, is there anything that can be done with this die, and if there is, is it going to cost more than just buying a new one? Maybe a gunsmith could ream it out lightly? Thanks for any suggestions.
 

zr600

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Try soaking it in like kroil let it soak while. Then clean it out after you let it soak and look at it. Maybe a scotch bright pad after you soak it in the kroil or what ever penetrating oil you have will get it if it’s just surface rust. If not you might just need a new die. Luckily there not to expensive if you can find them. You don’t use lube on the case neck or shoulder? Didn’t that kind of size hard?
 

243winxb

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Soak, polish, clean. But first, open air vent hole in side of the fl die.
What is the date on the die? Photo of dents in brass.

a VentHoleFlDie.jpg
 

J-B welder

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You don’t use lube on the case neck or shoulder? Didn’t that kind of size hard?
All the reloading manuals I have say to lube the sides of the case but not the outside of the neck or shoulder when full-length sizing, specifically indicating it would cause shoulder denting. I lightly lube the inside of the case neck so the expander button won't bind.
 

J-B welder

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J-B, new dies are relatively affordable. Quality brass isn't cheap and lately difficult to find. Every contact I've had with RCBS customer service has been stellar.
Oh, I'm not faulting them at all. The rust is a result of (possible) neglect on the part of the person who gave me the set of dies, not RCBS. The date on the dies is 1986, so they have been around a while.
 

P7M13

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Please post pictures, of the dents and if possible, inside the dies.
Like @243winxb suggests, clean the die. I'd also suggest cleaning the vent hole with a paper clip.
The way you wrote your OP suggests you're relatively new to reloading, as case lube is one of those learning curve items.
Suggested steps:
  1. Take a *brass* pistol brush and clean out the inside of the die.
  2. Clean wipe it out, then oil it inside with 3 in 1 oil and wipe out any excess.
  3. Take the same rag (presuming clean with light oil on it) and wipe a few cases so they have a film of oil on them - neck, shoulder and case walls.
  4. Film should be light enough that you can feel it with bare fingers but it won't make tissue oily.
  5. Try to size those cases. Move the ram slowly (full stroke in 5 seconds).
  6. If the case is still dented, replace the die. If not, check your lube technique. Plenty of posts here and on the web regarding that.
 

J-B welder

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Please post pictures, of the dents and if possible, inside the dies.
Like @243winxb suggests, clean the die. I'd also suggest cleaning the vent hole with a paper clip.
The way you wrote your OP suggests you're relatively new to reloading, as case lube is one of those learning curve items.
Suggested steps:
  1. Take a *brass* pistol brush and clean out the inside of the die.
  2. Clean wipe it out, then oil it inside with 3 in 1 oil and wipe out any excess.
  3. Take the same rag (presuming clean with light oil on it) and wipe a few cases so they have a film of oil on them - neck, shoulder and case walls.
  4. Film should be light enough that you can feel it with bare fingers but it won't make tissue oily.
  5. Try to size those cases. Move the ram slowly (full stroke in 5 seconds).
  6. If the case is still dented, replace the die. If not, check your lube technique. Plenty of posts here and on the web regarding that.
Here are the best pics I could get with my phone. The one with the dimple in the bottom of the dent is the worst, and is the only one with that little dimple. Some of the dents can be felt more than seen. Couldn't get a good picture of the inside of the die.

20210106_135241.jpg
20210106_135343.jpg


Yes, I am very new to reloading. I've been using the lubrication method shown in the RCBS die instructions I found online, which match the process shown in the Lyman manual, with a slight modification. Both of those sources show a hand placed palm-down on the cases being lubed. I put one case on an RCBS lube pad with RCBS case lube on it, and using my fingernail against the side of the case roll it one revolution across the pad without putting any downward pressure on the case. Basically trying to put as little lubrication on the case as possible but still lube the length of it. Maybe I'm still getting too much on the case though, as there were a few cases that didn't dent. Out of the 15 I sized, I think 7 had dents of varying size and depth.

These are Winchester cases purchased as factory ammunition, fired once and then full-length sized to bump the shoulder 0.002".

Cleaned the vent hole, which did have some lube in it, but nothing solid like grit. Looked fairly dirty, though. Thanks for the suggestions on how to remedy the situation so far. I will try some solvent and soft bristles to see if I can remove the surface corrosion I can see. Mainly I was trying to avoid making it worse by doing something stupid.
 

jdyoung

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To clean my dies, I use an appropriate chamber brush for the caliber. Chuck the brush in a drill, a couple drops of solvent to dislodge the bad stuff and scrub/spin it out. You aren't going to hurt the die with a chamber brush . A bore scope without the mirror on is a great aid to view the inside of the die. Make sure you clean the vent hole . Now, Redding dies don't have a vent hole. They don't seem to believe it matters while Hornady, RCBS, and others do.
 

GatorTrapper

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Dec 29, 2020
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1. Get a new unfired case
2. Drive a self tapping screw into the primer hole.
3. Cut off screw head.
4. Coat the shoulder of case with fine valve grinding compound.
5. Put case in die, decapper removed.
6. Put cutoff screw in electric drill.
7. Run drill at low speed for 30 seconds.
8. Clean die and inspect
9. Repeat 7 if necessary.
 

MagnumManiac

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Feb 25, 2008
Messages
3,150
Soak, polish, clean. But first, open air vent hole in side of the fl die.
What is the date on the die? Photo of dents in brass.

View attachment 239443
^^^^THIS^^^^
Do this and the dent will go away.
After you have run a drill through the vent hole, get a wooden dowel and grind an angle on it that matches your case shoulder and put some flitz or scotch brite on it and clean up the shoulder area. Follow by polishing it there are any scratches.

Cheers.
 

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