View Full Version : Resizing Troubles

12-18-2007, 03:02 AM
Got my Lee Classic Turret Press Sat. for my B-day. Set it up and loaded about 100 .357's. Went to range and shot them all. Now I notice my cases have developed a couple of scratches after I run them thru the Lee resizing and de-capping die. I took the de-capper out and sprayed a little clp break free on a q-tip and wiped the inside down. That made a noticeable improvement, but I can still see a couple of light striations.. Any advice on how to clean resizing dies or is it ruined? Should I stop using it and buy another?

12-18-2007, 03:16 AM
use gun brush with some fine steel wool and some brasso or flitz on it clean your dies before you use them when new you probably got a little grit embedded in your sizer wall

12-18-2007, 03:25 AM
On these resizing dies, is it only the little collar (at the bottom of the die) that touches the case, or does it make contact higher up in the die as well. It looks to me like the little 1/4" collar is all that is touching the case.

12-18-2007, 04:02 AM
it must be a carbide die set these are really hard you could try running a few clean and slightly lubed nickel cases through this may take some of the rough out i had a 308 sizer do this and it went away after a few hundred rounds and never seemed to hurt the brass just looked a little rough for a while

12-18-2007, 04:07 AM
had to go look at my lee sizer dies real quick these are just a collar that is why they only make them for straight walled cartridges

12-18-2007, 12:29 PM
I may be to blame. I used some once fired factory brass that was not cleaned. I took the empty cases straight from my GP-100 and put them back in the box so no sand or dirt ever touched them. I did not have a tumbler at the time, I bought one yesterday. I noticed it when I used some new remington brass yesterday.

12-18-2007, 04:35 PM
I doubt if it was the brass. I think it was just some carbide grit left over from the manufacturing process. All new dies have to be cleaned, qtips and mineral spirits are usually enough, but sometimes you have to get serious if they sat at the factory/dealer for a while and the gunk hardens up. Usually they are pretty clean when they arrive, but I have had similar problems with sizers from three different makers, and now I make it a point to clean all new (and used) die sets thoroughly as soon as I can. Really bad ones go down to my mechanic for a bath in the parts washer, then they get rinsed in mineral spirits, left to evaporate dry, and lightly oiled before use. (They will rust if not protected.) It's not just the sizing dies that need to be checked/cleaned, either. All the others in the set should get the same treatment. It takes a few minutes, but it is time well spent.

It is possible that the grit has scored the inside of your sizing die, but it's not the end of the world (or the die) if it has. As mentioned, Flitz is good stuff. Steel wool on a small slotted dowel will work, though I would apply it with a .45 or .50 cal bore mop chucked in a hand drill. The mops, made for muzzle loaders, are long enough to do the whole die, too. As you surmized, the only carbide is the little collar at the base, but some carbide grit may have embedded in the softer steel of the die body and that is what is doing the scratching of your cases. If you just ignore it, it will probably work itself out eventually. It is a cosmetic issue, not a safety issue, unless the brass is getting deeply scored and not merely scratched.

You do not need to clean brass if you take proper care of it and wipe down with a rag anything that has hit the dirt. I do most of my shooting, rifle and handgun, with range brass, and have been for almost 35years. (Judging by the number of primers I have gone through, I'm well over the 50,000 round mark. I have never owned, nor do I plan to, a case tumbler. They are one of the single biggest sources of airborne particulate lead from the casting and reloading processes and IMO they are not healthy to have around, especially if you have kids in and out of your shop. I have several lots of .357 brass that are more than 20yrs old and have been loaded in excess of 25 times. They have never been cleaned. I will wipe cases down before sizing if I have been shooting a particulary dirty powder, but that's more to keep my hands clean. As long as the brass has no sand or grit on it, it won't cause any problems in your dies. With rifle cases, if FL sized, they have to be wiped down after sizing to remove the sizing lube, unless you lube with Universal Sizing Die Wax, so they get "cleaned" anyway.

12-18-2007, 04:41 PM
i hate to say anything bad about stuff but these are lee after all ihave had good and bad luck with these i would just go with them and try the plated case thing if you can [dont go buy a bunch of these i have never gotten very good life from them] by the way what load are you using ?

12-18-2007, 04:45 PM
ihave found brake cleaner to do a very good job of cleaning out all that old oil and gunk out [remember to wear some eye protection]

12-18-2007, 11:58 PM
Thanks for advice, I tried some very fine steel wool (0000) wrapped around a wore out .22 brush I had. I put in in my drill and cleaned the inside. Seems to have taken care of the problem. I think I can see a very faint scratch, but it could be paranoia... anyway I loaded up some 125gr copper plated x-treme bullets with 5.5 gr of Unique and CCI SPM primer in remington .357 mag cases. I was very impressed how mild and ACCURATE they were. I was shooting them out of a Ruger Speed-Six (fixed sights) and the hit very close to point of aim. I had been having trouble with most factory loads of 38 special and 357 158 gr shooting way high. I did have to use .71 cc disc cavity to get the pro-disc measure to throw 5.5 gr. This was a couple of sizes larger than the info said. I think it depended on the lot of powder available when they did their testing.. who knows..

12-19-2007, 02:49 AM
I did have to use .71 cc disc cavity to get the pro-disc measure to throw 5.5 gr. This was a couple of sizes larger than the info said. I think it depended on the lot of powder available when they did their testing.. who knows..

That's a bit off. Usually one size will catch up with LEE's caution. Which scale did you buy? LEE's Safety Scale can be a pain to set up and read.
On the other hand Unique was reformulated a few years ago and they might not have updated their tables. Tom uses that powder a lot and could tell us about any difference.


12-19-2007, 06:32 AM
The only thing I can say for sure about Unique (and I do use a lot of it) is that it seems to be a lot cleaner burning than it used to be. Anyway, that is a fairly mild load, 9.2gr is the Max. I don't pay much attention to the actual volume, I just set the powder measure with the scale, drop a blockfull, then compare the level in all the cases under a bright light. About the only time I use dippers is when a have a handful of rifle cases to load and I don't want to bother with the measure. But no matter how I'm measuring it, I always check the charges on the scale. As long as you do that, you'll be safe. As you discovered, even data in the loading manuals has to be double checked. Be sure to write down what you learned about the error in the data and leave a note about it in the manual for future reference.

Let me explain a little about revolvers and POI. They don't behave like rifles and Contenders. What makes the biggest difference with a revolver and POI is the amount of time the bullet spends in transit through the barrel. A slower load will generally shoot higher as the gun is farther along in the recoil impulse and the muzzle has climbed more before the bullet exits. Likewise, the faster the load, the lower the POI because the bullet spends less time in the barrel and the muzzle hasn't had as much time to rise from the recoil, even though the total recoil will be more powerful with the hotter load.

If the gun itself is solidly rested, it is not as noticable. The higher the axis of the bore is above your hand, the more pronounced the effect will be. It's one of the things that can make developing handgun loads so challenging. When testing, I rest both wrists only on the sandbag and the revolver held free in both hands so it will rise with recoil the same as it does when shooting offhand, so the POI is generally about the same. If you try to adjust sights when it is solidly rested, the POI will be completely different when you shoot offhand.

The thing is, I will work up one load for a given revolver, then I stick with it, and label the ammo as specifically for that gun. If it has fixed sights (like my m36 S&W carry gun), I will play with the charge weight until the group is right around POI at 10yds. I practice shooting double action only with very mild loads, usually about 100rds of wadcutters, (they impact about a foot high) then finish with two cylinders of the +P SWCHP's that shoot to the proper POI.

If the revolver has adjustable sights or a scope, I still prefer whenever possible to stick with one load after I find the one I need. My target revolver is a m686 S&W with an 8 3/8" barrel and a Leopold 2X. It shoots a cast gas checked 158gr SWC or SWCHP, and it is the only firearm I own that prefers a max load (of Unique). I shoot it single action at 25, 50, and 100yds, and at small to medium varmints when I'm feeling cocky. If I rest the barrel solidly, there is a noticable difference (about 6") in POI at 25yds than when shooting it offhand, so I never shoot it rested. Luckily, both my SWC and SWCHP moulds throw boolits that are the same weight and balistically identical, and I can load them interchangably. When I shot jacketed bullets in it, I would have to change the sights for different special purpose loads, but I always had a hard time remembering what I had last shot out of it.

12-19-2007, 10:46 PM
with my fixed sight guns i usually like to get one good load to hit poa at about 25 yards [about as far as i am really good with a revolver] lets not discuss a pistol, and then make colored marks yellow @ 50 RED @75 and white @100 same load different distances works prettygood i am not really familiar with using volume measurements( although i know a lot of labs and benchrest shooters do this ) iweigh a volume, dillon, and spot check i use a lot of tightgroup.and 2400