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Hornady dies scratching case necks?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 2ndtimer, May 1, 2014.

  1. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    Is it just me, or has anyone else had problems with Hornady dies? I should have known better since I have a Hornady sizing die for 270WSM that makes deep scratches on the sides of the cases, but when I picked up my new .270 Win., they had some Hornady dies in stock so I thought I would give them another chance. Now after sizing fewer than 200 cases, it is leaving deep gouges in the case necks about half way around the necks. My RCBS dies have never done this. Any ideas?
     
  2. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Tighter tolerance perhaps mixed with a dirty die or dirty cases.

    I'd clean everything thoroughly. Lightly oil everything. Then try again using clean lubed casings.

    I've noticed as I get towards the end of the brass to resize there tends to be more scratches in the casings. I think it's just dirt and grime build up causing it.

    I clean my dies in an ultrasonic. Them oil lightly with penetrative oil.
     
  3. My 3 sons

    My 3 sons Bonney Lake Active Member

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    It sounds like it wasn't gouging when you first started using them. If that's the case then Reno is probably right that something has gotten inside the die. If it did it from the start then I would contact Hornady and they will most likely make it right.
     
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Over time dirt, lube and other crap builds up inside the die, after a while it can create small score marks in the die that will begin building up brass (as it scrapes more off). I don't know what kind of lube you're using on your cases, but this may be something to look into.

    Generally, if you're getting scoring and scratching, clean the die. take it apart, and soak it in ammonia, or wipe the inside out with sweets 7.62 (this will dissolve the copper/brass) and then clean it with a chamber brush, and re-lube it. If scratching continues, you will need to polish out the die. I typically do this with a soft-lead lap and grinding compound, I usually want 300-400 grit (400 is finer, 300 removes material more aggressively). This is done by chucking the die in a lathe, and then using a chunk of soft lead wire forced in using the tail stock.

    I don't know about hornady, but RCBS will do this for you. I've never been particularly impressed by hornady dies, in fact their seating dies really piss me off.
     
  5. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I have contacted Hornady via email and they answered by telling me to phone their tech line. Not the response I was hoping for. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy a set of RCBS dies. I have used a bunch of them in different calibers over the years and only had a scratching problem once in many thousands of rounds loaded. I returned that die to RCBS and they polished it up and sent it back and it worked fine after that. (It could have been a new die, for all I know. All I know is the one I got back worked fine and I have had no problems since.)
    And yes, I did take the die apart (Kind of a pain with Hornady dies compared to Redding, RCBS or even Lee) and tried to clean it. But I really haven't used it that much, so I don't think it was a dirt issue. I also tumble my brass with polish prior to sizing so there shouldn't have been any dirt or grit in there. I use RCBS case lube 2 with an ancient RCBS lube pad and have without much issues over the past 30+ years. I should have known better than to buy those Hornady dies, but I thought maybe they were better. Maybe I will try to swap some Hornady 6.5x55 dies for some RCBS .270 win dies. At this point, I would be happy to swap both sets of red box dies for one green box set.
    Thanks again.
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I'll dig around, I might have a set of .270 dies I picked up in one of the lots of reloading gear I bought at an estate sale (I bought like 6-10 lots over the last few years). I'll see what I can find. I might have already sold them though, I think there was a set in there at some point in the past....
     
  7. best defense

    best defense Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    Yup, been there, done that.

    Two things are likely the problem.

    First if you did not clean the brass well enough before you sized it, you will get a build up in the die and that will scratch every piece of brass you try to put thru the die from then on.
    You may be able to clean some, even most of the build up out by putting a round brush on an electric drill and running it slowly into the neck area.

    Don't use any abrasive compound as that will mess up the dimensions of the die. It is OK to use some gun oil on the brush.

    The second thing would be to make sure you use plenty of case lube when you size the brass, even if you only neck size.
     
  8. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    FYI, dug around, no 270 dies, guess I sold them already.
     
  9. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    Thanks for checking. I will give Hornady a call tomorrow and see what they say. I will probably pick up some RCBS dies anyway, but hopefully Hornady will fix mine so I can sell them. I guess it is time to divest myself of their dies and stick with the old reliable.
     
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Once you get a scratch on a case neck from a die, it will only get worse until you clean the die.

    I keep a piece of 3000 grit DRY sandpaper on hand for instances like this. A piece of grit or brass has gotten stuck on the die surface and it needs to be removed. Lately I've taken to cleaning the die bodies in an ultrasonic cleaner than use the 3000 grit sandpaper, rolled in a "tube" to polish out the neck portion and remove any stuck brass or grit.

    Cleaning cases first goes a long way toward preventing this as well as proper lube. Doesn't take much at all on the case neck. Also, it's not a bad idea to give the die a spray of case lube after cleaning and before sizing the first case. ALL dies, regardless of manufacturer can cause scratches if dirt or brass contaminates the surface and sometimes all it takes is lack of lube on a brand new die to start this.
     
  11. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Ammonia compounds aggressively attack copper and it's alloys, that's why you should use that as a cleaning step, to remove the buildup around the area with the scratch. Does nothing to steel. Followed by polishing to make sure you remove the burr. Some years ago I was talking to Dave at CH4D, he told me they don't use anything finer than 600 grit in the shop, and that's the number I've found does a good job of balancing material removal with fineness of finish. If you want really insanely high polish, the stuff to use is called Crocus Cloth, I usually use it wetted with cutting fluid, however this stuff isn't abrasive enough to remove scratches. Usually if you're going to use an abrasive cloth, you want to wrap it around a wooden dowel. Still the best way to polish is on a lathe, however you can use a lead lap with a hand drill.
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    That's not exactly true. Some ammonia compounds are very aggressive and can damage steel. This is why "Sweets 7.62" has the warning to not leave in the barrel more than 30 minutes. Ammonia attracts water and will severely damage carbon steel (non-Stainless).
     
  13. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    This is true, then again, I don't think I've ever been patient enough to leave sweets in my barrel for more than about 5 minutes. However, as you point out, it's the water that does the damage. Also, most modern barrels are chrome-moly, which while it does still rust and oxidize, is a bit more resistant than say A36, which wipe the oil off it, and it turns immediately into a pile of oxide.
     
  14. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    Hey, guys, appreciated the responses and suggestions. Cabelas had a great sale on Lyman Dies, so I ordered a set for the .270 Win for just $23.90 including shell holder. They also had them in .223 Rem and .308 Win. for just $14.88 per set including shell holder, so I grabbed a set of each of those as well. I have tried out the .308 a and .270 sizing dies, and they seem to work fine. I will try to polish the offending Hornady dies, and then try to sell them. Still pretty ticked off with Hornady's lack of customer service. When their only reply to my detailed email was to phone their tech support line so I could wait on hold until I ran out of patience and went away.:mad:
     
  15. eliduc

    eliduc Active Member

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    I cleaned my Dillon sizing die last night with a q-tip and alcohol. Chunks of black crud kept coming out on the Q-tip.
    I went through four or five Q-tips. I'm thinking maybe the plunger is pulling residue out of the inside of the cases. I have been experimenting with powders and loads and have had some un-burned powder. it made a believer out of me for doing routine cleaning of the dies. I clean the cases in a vibrator cleaner before reloading but it must be leaving some crud inside. That's the only place it could have come from. You are not supposed to have to lube pistol cases before sizing in a carbide die but I spray them with a silicone lubricant.
     
  16. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    No, I have Hornady dies in .38 Spl/.357 Mag, 9x19/9x21, .38 Super, .40 S&W, .45 Auto/.45 Win Mag, .44 Rem Mag, .30-06, .30-30, .223, and 7mm TCU and have never had any problems.
    Of course, I clean them and use them per instructions.
    If I did have a problem, I would call Hornady before ever thinking about posting any thing.
    Spray brake-cleaner works well to clean dies, unless you have let things build-up for years.
    Pictures would be good.
    Silicone is not a very good high-pressure lube and has never been considered a good case lube.
    Only time I ever lube a straightwall case is 9x19 and 9x21 when they become difficult to size (rare, but it happens). Then, I lube about every fifth or tenth case.