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Thread: How often do you guys clean your dies?

  1. #1
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    Default How often do you guys clean your dies?

    I was doing some high volume case preparation this weekend, and I got to thinking that I hardly ever clean my dies. It's true. I've been reloading many different calibers for over ten years, and I can count on one hand the number of dies that I have cleaned. Worse yet, this past year I bought a Dillion progressive press that I have been using to turn out hundreds of rounds in a single reloading session...and I've not cleaned a single die on the case head.

    I'm a pretty conscientious reloader, so I have to ask...am I remiss in not periodically cleaning my dies? How often do you guys clean your dies? How do you decide they need cleaning? How do you clean yours? I have used GunScrubber with the few that I cleaned.

    Thanks in advance,

    Doc

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    To be honest, I've only cleaned my dies when they gave me trouble.

    Sometimes I get lube in the seating dies from seating cast bullets.

    Or, maybe lube build-up in a sizing die.

    Smitty of the North
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    I don't really "clean" them, e.g. no solvents and what not involved, but I do swab them out with a Q-tip on a semi-regular basis ...just to keep grit and other stuff out of them, and I do examine them before use. That's it.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    I don't really "clean" them, e.g. no solvents and what not involved, but I do swab them out with a Q-tip on a semi-regular basis ...just to keep grit and other stuff out of them, and I do examine them before use. That's it.

    Brian
    Same here, just wipe them out when I set up.
    Andy
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    Thanks Smitty, Brian and Andy for the responses...looks like I've been slacking a bit in my preventative maintenance. I already keep a COSTCO-sized box of Q-tips on my bench. Do you guys simply Q-tip the dies or do you do anything else when they need it?

    Doc

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    I do not regularly clean my dies either, but I clean them if I change a seating stem or find any lubricant build up. I normally use a Q Tip and rubbing alcohol or sometimes will use GunScrubber if its really gunked up. If you keep your cases clean and use jacketed bullets I do not think your dies should get very dirty. I have seen dies that others use and wonder how they even work as they are covered in rust and dirt, but they keep loading ammo so I guess dies are durable. If they are kept in a climate controlled room I believe maintenance is very minimal.

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    I usually use my bench rag rolled up to swab them out, but sometimes I use a pistol cleaning tool with a bore swab. I donít use Q-tips, I find they are not very robust so I use a cotton ball clamped in hemostats and isopropyl alcohol when the lube builds up in the seating die as I work.
    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Thanks Smitty, Brian and Andy for the responses...looks like I've been slacking a bit in my preventative maintenance. I already keep a COSTCO-sized box of Q-tips on my bench. Do you guys simply Q-tip the dies or do you do anything else when they need it?

    Doc
    Well, I've sprayed them with brake cleaner before.

    I've also taken them apart, to clean.

    Smitty of the North
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  9. #9

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    I only clean like when they are "gummed up" with bullet lube, or have a coating of rust or gunk. Sometimes I put them in a container of acetone (outdoors) to soak for an hour or so....then air-dry. Wear latex (or equiv) gloves, and eye protection, when handling some of those solvents...they can penetrate skin in seconds. I once got "carb-cleaner" in my eyes...thought I was gonna go blind...hurt like no tomorrow...
    Ain't gonna do that again!


    Marshall/Ak

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    Thanks guys...I was curious about die maintenence, and you all gave me good ideas. I appreciate the info share.

    Happy reloading to you all.

    Doc

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Thanks guys...I was curious about die maintenence, and you all gave me good ideas. I appreciate the info share.

    Happy reloading to you all.

    Doc
    Back "in the day" when I was using RCBS and similar case lubes, I fell into the habit of cleaning the sizing die (brake cleaner) after each session. Since I switched to Imperial sizing wax, I clean them maybe once a year.

    Seating dies used with cast bullets get cleaned after each session: Back out the seating stem and use a dry nylon rifle cleaning brush to clean the die much like cleaning a rifle chamber.

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    Thanks BrownBear...It's good to hear your voice again. I've missed your knowledgable presence around here lately. Hope you're well.

    Doc

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Thanks BrownBear...It's good to hear your voice again. I've missed your knowledgable presence around here lately. Hope you're well.

    Doc
    Thanks, Doc. I've been on the road in the lower 48 the last three months. Nice to be back and see some familiar "voices" around here.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Back "in the day" when I was using RCBS and similar case lubes, I fell into the habit of cleaning the sizing die (brake cleaner) after each session. Since I switched to Imperial sizing wax, I clean them maybe once a year.

    Seating dies used with cast bullets get cleaned after each session: Back out the seating stem and use a dry nylon rifle cleaning brush to clean the die much like cleaning a rifle chamber.
    I think I know whatchewmean, BB.

    How I hate that RCBS case lube, and even more, the lube pads, the combination of which, seems to attract dirt. I never would own one of those filthy looking pads. I made my own by stapling some cloth around a board. Then, I soon found other types of lube to use.

    That reminds me, I still have that green plastic bottle of that awful, sticky stuff. No doubt, it is a collectors item by now.

    I shall track it down, and throw it in the trash, at my earliest opportunity. Then, I'll feel better. My future seems brighter already.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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