Cleaning dies

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by lklawson, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Seems there's a dozen different ideas about how to clean your dies, or even how often you should do so.

    Despite meticulously lubing every case with the Lee Resizing Case lube, and its claim that it "eliminates stuck cases," I've had several which stuck anyway. I think this is because I'm using mixed-bag scrounged range pick-up brass. Some size super easy, some are stiff. The first stuck case was a learning event for me. :blush:

    Anyway, to help minimize those irritating events, I meticulously hand lube every darn one, including inside the case mouth, of course. But I'm concerned that I'll develop a "coating" inside the die and/or collect contaminants (yes, I tumble the cases before sizing).

    I was thinking of just using my small capacity ultrasonic cleaner and cleaning the die as if it were jewelry. However, I want to solicit suggestions from more experienced reloaders: How and how often?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  2. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I use Q tips and brake cleaner. Then use dry Teflon. For a fast clean. I take them apart after about 1000 rds for a good cleaning.
     

  3. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    I do the same as moonz. Brake cleaner and a q-tip followed by a bit of ether to "rinse"
     
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    So the ultrasonic cleaner isn't a good idea?

    I've got brake cleaner & q-tips, of course. Easy enough to use. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  5. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member

    I had bought some used rifle dies with a slight bit of rust on them. I disassembled them and ran them in my dry media tumbler. Used a little 0000 steel wool on the exterior surfaces too.
     
  6. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

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    They didn't say that, they just said they are too cheap to have an ultrasonic cleaner, so they use another method.:p

    Your method is just fine.;)

    Oh...I'm too cheap to have an ultrasonic cleaner too.:rolleyes:
     
  7. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I bought mine from Harbor Freight. ...with a 40% off coupon.

    Yeah, I'm still cheap and Brake Cleaner ain't free either. :rofl:

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  8. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, but if you roll the cost of the cleaner in to the cost of changing your own brakes, you save money there instead of taking it to the shop, and it's a multi-tasker so you get to use it on your dies when you reach your, "maybe I should clean these things" point.

    Save money on your brakes, and clean your dies for "free". Double win...
     
  9. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    I like to take mine apart for a thorough cleaning so I can eyeball everything. Iube built up on the seater will cause the bullets to seat deeper, raising up pressures. I clean with acetone, a nylon brush, and shop rags.
     
  10. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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  11. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

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    That's why they are adjustable. You check the OAL on the first few shells, even on a set up that says you don't need to adjust, and then every so often.;)
     
  12. missiledefender

    missiledefender Supporting Member

  13. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    Gauge mine with dummy rounds before each session. If anything is off, I clean before loading. I'm just not comfortable unless I look them over well, something that's hard to do if you just spray them down and wipe them off. If you have to adjust, something is wrong.
     
  14. GLUGLUG

    GLUGLUG Supporting Member

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    Got a tip on the case lubing. Get a grocery bag, put about 50 .223 in it, lay it on your bench and get all the cases laying flat and evenly spaced, spray a decent amount of Hornaday One Shot on em. Pick up the bag and give it the shake n bake method. Once all the air is mostly gone just kind of use your hand on the outside of the bag to roll the cases around each other. Takes about 15 seconds.
     
  15. histed

    histed Supporting Member

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    If you're using scrounged brass (I do), my guess is that the "hard" resize is from rifles with larger chambers. I have some .308 stuff fired through an AR (not mine - no gots) that are a real bear to size. Makes no difference how much lube I use the buggers stick in Lee or RCBS dies. True PITA. Once done, however, they size very easily after firing through my brother's rifle. BTW - too much lube can be as bad as not enough. I can deform the shoulder or even crease the body - done both. Minor neck creases are no worry, they'll blow out when you shoot. Body creases scare me. Some shoot them, I don't.
     
  16. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member


    Ziplock bags work too.
     
  17. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    For decades now, I just spray heavily with WD40 and wipe inside with a Q tip.
    About once every 2 years, I take apart and clean with WD40. Wipe dry and ready to go.
     
  18. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    This is pretty much my routine, except I probably break mine down a little more often.
     
  19. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member

    I always make and use dummy rounds. Makes change overs much faster and easier.
     
  20. welderman

    welderman Member

    I do the same as greg_r, I use acetone and a q-tip. But I break mine down a little more often. May not be needed but I have the time. Maybe a tuff step-dad and the Army taught me that. I get pretty particular.