Festive Reloading

Christmas Preparations

I run into a spot of bother with my RCBS Neck Sizing Die over the Christmas holidays. My reloading bench was in full swing preparing 6.5×55 brass for the upcoming 2013 season, ‘I am especially looking forward to the 600 Yard Range shoots‘. As I was Neck Sizing freshly annealed cases a few brittle cases cropped up in my batch of once fired Lapua. This caused a few brittle necks ‘approx 10 from 100’ to rip off on the ‘up-stroke’ of the press as the RCBS button on the Die was withdrawing from the case neck where it applied the correct neck Sizing that I required.

Broken Heart, Broken Neck

Luckily the majority of broken case necks were easily removed from the Die button and mandrel with a little ‘gentle persuasion’. You may ask was I not lubing the cases before Sizing or did I Over Anneal the cases? Both questions can be answered truthfully. I Annealed the cases in the same manner as I have been doing for more than 1 year now. All cases under the flame for the same duration and checked with Hornady Tempilaq to ensure case Necks Annealed properly and the Tempilaq goes clear before dropping the case into cold water. Each case was Lubed using RCBS Case Lube before being ‘run’ through the Die.

The Final Stroke

As the laws of reloading science have it; you are only as good as your last sized case. Well you have guessed it, my reloading came to an abrupt stop when a case neck ripped off a small ring of brass and embedded itself inside the RCBS Die. At first inspection I didn’t see the small tight fitting ring of brass embedded in perfect harmony with the inside of the Die Body. I thought it had fallen out during the operation of the Press. So I continued to Size another Case and during the removal of that case from the Die I noticed a lot of deep markings on the case neck and realised something was wrong.

6.6x55 Brass With Scratches On Neck
6.6×55 Brass With Scratches On Neck

I disassembled the Neck Sizing Die and only with a flash light could I see the small tight fitting ring of brass that had ripped of the previous case. This little ring of brass was not moving and had no immediate intention of moving.

Calling Esko On Facebook

A good friend from Finland Esko Lempola a top class Gold Medal Finnish Metallic Silhouette shooter and Firearms expert gave me a quick tip to try, to help remove that little brass ring.

Esko suggested a good dose of WD40 sprayed into the Die Body then place it in a sandwich bag tied with a good knot and placed in the Freezer overnight. The the following day run more WD40 through the Die and gently tap out the brass ring with a Brass punch or a larger calibre cleaning brush, NOT STEEL as that could damage the Die Body. This is what I done and it worked.

Unfortunately the damage to the Die Body had already been done. The jagged edge of the Brass ring marked the interior of the Die Body.

Neck Size Die With Scrapes Inside
Neck Size Die With Scrapes Inside

Ship It To RCBS

I called up RCBS and explained what had happened and the Tool Tech asked me to ship the Die to him with a 5 dollar cheque to cover postage return and 3 sample damaged cases. He said RCBS will polish the Die Body and ship it back to me.

When the Die returns I will post an update on its performance.

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