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RCBS Rockchucker / Dies - Issue with tightening of brass screws

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by John Gault, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So I just sent off an e-mail to RCBS along this line:

    My Rock Chucker Press is less than 1 year old. All dies used are RCBS brand.
    I'm having some issue with tightening of brass set screws on dies. If I set the die to where I want them (any die of any caliber) and then tighten the large die nut to secure to the press and lastly set the brass set screw to hold this setting all works fine until I loosen the die and start to unscrew the die from the press. When I do this the brass set screw does not hold the die nut in place, it's actually loose on the nut to die. My concern is that the press threads may not be in perfect alignment with the die and puts it in a slight bind which when the die loosens is shown in the brass screw to nut to die area.

    I've tightened the brass screws with RCBS wrenches until I've stripped them out at the wrench end and still are loose when the nut is backed off. If I back the nut off just a bit and then tighten brass screw they seem to hold from then on but then I always feel like I'm giving away the fine fine tuning adjustment.

    So what are your experiences?
     
  2. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Those black nuts with set screws suk. I've replaced all mine with Lyman clamp style split rings and am quite happy with them. You may wish to double up your nuts to lock em in and buy Lyman clamp rings for those you've robbed.
     
    John Gault likes this.
  3. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for input. ... All these misc. Items need to be purchased from RCBS direct? I've never seen any "parts" for dies at any local stores. I requested some of the brass screws for "warranty" from RCBS alog with a rod and rod screw for my .40 dies which backed off and stripped threads.. We'll see....

    I'll look into the Lyman parts also.
     
  4. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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  5. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Great ideas guys.

    Trailboss..... The Lyman split rings are round and knurled, what do you use for loosening/tightening? I see a couple other brands that have flats on two sides. Hopefully RCBS sends me some freebies until I find or order some for trial. I only reload for a half a dozen calibers so should be pretty inexpensive trial..

    Nobody thinks the issue at hand is due to machining error on the press itself? I mean if I tighten something and it's "solid" it seems it should stay solid unless it's in a "bind" right? Am I being descriptive enough on this issue?
     
  6. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    nglayton likes this.
  7. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    First - how tight are you tightening the 'large' die nut to secure to the press? Typically hand tightening is all that is necessary and a 'moderate' set of the brass screw is all that is necessary to secure the die. THEN when you want to remove the die, and it does not come loose by hand then a leather wrap in the jaws of a pair of small pliers should pop it free with no change to your brass screw setting. However I CANNOT disagree with the advantages of the later style split dies nuts. They are vastly superior to the solid style and clamp down on the threads as opposed to a small set screw digging into them. Regardless though the die should STILL be able to be removed with a gloved hand or a light twist with pliers - with leather lining. Another think you might want to try is when you have the die set where you want lightly raise the ram until it contacts the bottom of the die and maintain LIGHT pressure while you snug the large die nut (lockring). This sometimes compensates for slight thread differences between the press and die and aligns them better during lockdown..
     
  8. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Tightening with the RCBS wrench for that purpose. Give it a little "snug" pull after hand threading to a stop. RCBSwrench.jpg
    If I don't tighten the brass screws until wrench starts to bend they won't hold a location if the die is tightened using this above method.

    Thanks again for all input.

    RCBSwrench.jpg
     
  9. jluck

    jluck Really,Really, Close to Newport Oregon 97365 Voted #1 Member

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    Hornady die rings are awesome!
     
  10. erslll

    erslll Hermiston OR Active Member

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    This.

    Nothing wrong with your press, the RCBS lock rings just suck. Get the Hornady's and quit worrying about it.
     
  11. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Any of the aftermarket split rings will work fine. You only need to tighten finger tight, they don't go anywhere. Lyman is good, Hornady is good.

    The reason this is happening is because the threaded part of the die where the lock screw touches, is so hard that the screw can't make a depression. Without a depression, it slips on the hard threads. RCBS rings really do suk, I have a box full to prove it.
     
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  12. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Back in the 'day' the RCBS rings had a small lead 'slug' between the brass screw and the hole in the ring and this would 'mash' into the threads on the die and lock it up fairly well but loosening was sometimes a problem. Regardless I agree with the others on changing them out with split rings. I too have a box of the 'old' style!
     
  13. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sent e-mail to RCBS yesterday late Evening. Got reply in mail when I woke up today. Here's the message from their tech support.

    "Just ordered those set screws for you along with some brass buffers to place between die body and set screw.I also ordered you a new decap unit for that pistol die. Thanks for choosing RCBS for your reloading needs."

    I'm guessing the "brass buffers" might be the lead you guy keep mentioning. I'll probably do a change out on a couple of the die but at least they do have quick customer service and No questions asked replacement policy thus far.
     
    F2CMaDMaXX likes this.
  14. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Out of the five calibers I load I have three sets of Lee dies. You think the RCBS are a pain? Try the rubber O-ring locking method Lee uses. I switched to Hornady lock nuts on my seat/crimp dies.

    Even with the Hornady lock ring there's a trick to it. Once you get the die set where you want it, back the die and lock ring off just enough to get the lock ring of the press, without changing the setting, and then tighten the lock ring. If you tighten the lock ring with it tight to the press then you'll need the wrench/pliers to remove it. After that I just tighten pretty much finger tight, no wrench involved.
     
  15. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    That's how I do it with the Hornady rings too, just be sure to turn the lock ring and not the die body.

    I also have a set of Lee dies and those o-rings are atrocious, I only put up with them because it is a 38/357 die set and I'm always going between the two and using different bullet profiles and COL which means a new setup each time.
     
  16. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    Hornady rings are the way to go. If you don't want to spend the cash on them, put a piece of lead shot in between the die and set screw then tighten it down. This method works well but the hornady rings are a lot better.
     
  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Generally, I've never had good luck with the lock rings (jam nuts) doing anything but hold the die in the right place while reloading. I don't consider the set screw a good way to "hold position" of the die when it's not in the press. If you really want to do this, dropping a few pieces of lead shot down the hole will solve that creep issue you're having.

    What happens is when the nut is in the jamming position it's pushing on the top side of the threads in the press side, and the bottom side of the threads in the jam nut position. So tightening the set screw with the die in this position usually will result in irregular placement.
     
  18. SHPD_Retired

    SHPD_Retired Saint Helens Well-Known Member

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    Was reading this post earlier and heard about the Hornady lock rings. Went and bought some and they sure beat the set screws that RCBS comes with. They come in a six pack or individually. I think this is the way to go.
     
  19. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    ok so what I have always done with my dies are use the black lock right only as a reference on how far my die needs to be into my press... I do not tighten the die into the press with that ring nor do I remove the die with the lock ring. I just grabbed the knurled part up at the top... I don't think you are supposed to use the lock right no install or remove the die from the press. its simply a lock ring. it locks the position that the die needs to be in and that's it.
     
  20. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    This is what I was referring to when I mentioned using leather lined pliers previously, to protect the knurled portion of the die. This however became a moot point for me when I became the owner of Bonanza Co-Ax press which has a quick change provision for dies - no screwing in necessary.