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Thread: Lee sizer die, sizing without lube

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Lee sizer die, sizing without lube

    I plan to powder coat, but want to put gas check on 1st. I just got the Lee Sizer Die Kit and it states, bullets must be lubed with lee liquid alox or the dies will lead. Can I size and gas check without using lube? Or can I spray bullets with the lanolin/heet mix I use for resizing brass and then clean them with acetone and dry after sizing and gas checks put on?

  2. #2
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    Bzcraig's Avatar
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    Yes, you can size without any lube as long as you're not sizing too much. If anything, and if necessary a little alcohol will help and just evaporate
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    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Odette: I've sized thousands of bullets through Lee sizing dies and Noe bushings for that matter also. As Craig says, Just don't try too much sizing in one pass. I too, like to install the checks before I PC. One thing I'll warn you of and I learned this coating some bullets that had been heat treated and dumped in ice water. If ANY moisture, water, alcohol or acetone gets under the checks when you put them in the oven things start going off like popcorn. lol It's the steam or expanding gas and things get ugly in a hurry. I hate to admit this happening to me but it did, ONCE. Pretty funny actually. GP

  4. #4
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    if I heat treat, it would be ice water after casting. then wait until they are air dried before gas checks. I am waiting for Lee sizer die kits in .411 and .459, but I am going to clean the lube out of my Lyman and my RCBS sizer dies and gas check a few then PC them. I got PC from Eastwood today and getting anxious. It may be several weeks before the new Lee dies come and can't wait that long, lol.

  5. #5
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    My experience with Lee sizers has been mixed but thankfully always smaller than billed. When yours arrive size a couple of boolits and measure with a micrometer. If small do a search here for opening a Lee sizer, there's been a few methods, if too big send back. Before you invest too much in Lee sizers, take a close look at NOE sizers, better QC and cheaper in the long run. Make no mistake, there is a lot of Lee red in my reloading room but some of their stuff just isn't the best deal.
    Last edited by Bzcraig; 01-04-2018 at 12:13 AM.
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same......." - Ronald Reagan

    "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived." - George Patton

    The second amendment is a nail on which hangs a picture of freedom - member Alex 4x4 Tver, Russia

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    After getting into powder coating a few years ago I asked the same question. Since then I have sized a few different calibers without lube without any problems.

    I must warn you though if you have used the die to sized lubed boolits you better clean it first or the lube will get on to your boolits and make powder coating them very difficult.

    Motor

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by odette View Post
    I plan to powder coat, but want to put gas check on 1st. I just got the Lee Sizer Die Kit and it states, bullets must be lubed with lee liquid alox or the dies will lead. Can I size and gas check without using lube? Or can I spray bullets with the lanolin/heet mix I use for resizing brass and then clean them with acetone and dry after sizing and gas checks put on?
    That is my normal way but there are problems. Be prepared to get boolit’s stuck in sizer if you do not polish sizer and do no try to size too much at one time. If you don’t polish the throat and especially where the leade in goes straight you will have problems. I recently tried to use a 3 ft cheater bar to make one go through and broke thr handle on a rock checker. I have tried using lanolin but even that will not help if you try to size down too much in one step otherwise it works like a champ

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by odette View Post
    if I heat treat, it would be ice water after casting. then wait until they are air dried before gas checks. I am waiting for Lee sizer die kits in .411 and .459, but I am going to clean the lube out of my Lyman and my RCBS sizer dies and gas check a few then PC them. I got PC from Eastwood today and getting anxious. It may be several weeks before the new Lee dies come and can't wait that long, lol.
    Heat treating/ quenching boolits before Powdercoating is not effective when you bake the powder coating, you lose any hardness you have gained.

    I have baked PC'd boolits for 1/2 hour, I'm not sure how long you need to heat the lead to get it hot enough for quenching to work sufficiently in hardening the boolit, I'm also not sure how long you can bake PC without damaging it.

    You could do some research and see how hot for how long the boolit needs to be before quenching works
    then see how long it take for the boolit to reach that temperature
    then bake the PC'd boolit for the prescribed amount of time after it's reached that temperature.
    when the boolit has cooled, do a smash test, take pictures and report back here and let us know

  9. #9
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Polish the die entrance with 600 grit paper...it'll only take a minute or two and you'll think your using a different sizer.

    With Pb of 14~15 BHN or less and if your not knocking off more than ~.002" +/_ a smidge you won't need lube, then going to the PC oven the cast will remain clean to coat without the need to wash them in Dawn and hot water rinse.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    FYI - Polishing sizer.
    Wrap 1,000/1,200 grit sandpaper around a dowel, slide dowel and sandpaper through sizer then roll sizer (I do it on my leg) until the inside is shiny.
    take a Dremel tool with a polishing boolit shaped pad and some fine metal polish and polish where the boolit enters the sizing die until shiny.

    [you can also use this method starting with courser sandpaper to enlarge a die checking frequently so as not to go to big. when the size gets close, switch to finer sandpaper and polish to the desired size.]

  11. #11
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    I use a small spray of Hornady one shot, it reduces the friction by 75%. Many here use Aqua lube 5000. As its name states it is water soluble. It will not leave a residue if you are going to put on a second coat after sizing. It is avalable from one of the vendor sponsors here. Hi-performance Bullet Coatings. I buy my Hi-Tek coating from them.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I don't know about heat treating but my boolits hardened by adding Linotype do not lose any hardness from the heat of baking on powder coating. I water quench everything. I do it basically for convenience more than any other reason.

    The alloy I use now is 12BHN and is still very close to 12BHN after powder coating.

    But the fact is you don't need "hard cast" boolits when using powder coating anyway. This is something I learned from practice.

    If you are having trouble sizing boolits you either are trying too size way too much or your alloy is far harder than it needs to be. I also know this from actually doing it.

    Motor
    Last edited by Motor; 01-12-2018 at 10:53 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check