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Thread: Polishing nickel deposits off a carbide sizer

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Polishing nickel deposits off a carbide sizer

    I ran a bunch of nickel plated brass through my carbide 9mm sizing die. Never had a problem before but this batch of 2500 was unusual in that it had turned a gray color after cleaning in citric acid (itís that purple lacquered Winchester training ammo), and there must have been some flaking and nickel deposition on the die because now Iím getting vertical scoring on the cases.

    So, whatís the best way of polishing off the deposits? Rouge? Flitz or JB bore paste? Is a carborundum containing valve grinding compound too aggressive?

    All suggestions and comments welcome.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    I ran a bunch of nickel plated brass through my carbide 9mm sizing die. Never had a problem before but this batch of 2500 was unusual in that it had turned a gray color after cleaning in citric acid (it’s that purple lacquered Winchester training ammo), and there must have been some flaking and nickel deposition on the die because now I’m getting vertical scoring on the cases.

    So, what’s the best way of polishing off the deposits? Rouge? Flitz or JB bore paste? Is a carborundum containing valve grinding compound too aggressive?

    All suggestions and comments welcome.
    I use a little kroil and a bronze brush in a drill.

  3. #3
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    Nickle plated brass never gets the wet treatment in my shop.
    It cleans very well with dry media in a vibratory tumbler.

  4. #4
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    Valve grinding compound is way to aggressive in a die, it will not give the surface finish and actually remove metal. I would try a mild scotch brite pad by hand first. The the flitz or simichrome type polishes. Another Ive had good results with as a cleaner polish is tooth paste. Another to try is rubbing with a hardwood dowels edge as a scrapper, this works better if you can see the deposits.

    If all else fails very fine diamond compound or lapping compound in the 1000 grit or above.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Brassmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dale2242 View Post
    Nickle plated brass never gets the wet treatment in my shop.
    It cleans very well with dry media in a vibratory tumbler.
    This purple stuff is weird. It looks like Nickel plated with a purple tint almost anodized but turns gray steel looking with citric acid wash. With aggressive tumbling the gray comes off and leaves a bronze looking shell.

  6. #6
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    I had the same thing happen on a steel sizing die. Brass brush didnít seem to be working so I wrapped a dowel with crocus cloth and slowly spun it in the die with my drill for 3 seconds. Scratches vanished and brass sized afterwards still slid easily into the chambers / cylinders of my 38ís.
    The damage had occurred after only sizing a few nickel cases. Never again.

  7. #7
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    For metal polishing with out removing metal I have used Comet Cleanser or Bar Keeper's Friend made into a paste with light oil. I have polished several molds, a couple dies and some handgun innards with it. I have never had any nickel cases deposit nickel on any sizing die and I just run them through my dry tumbler less than hour (the wax in my media makes the cases, both brass and nickel,a bit slicker). None of my nickel cases are "purple" (Winchester training ammo)...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  8. #8
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    I’m beginning to think that nylon brushes are better for removing deposits than bronze bushes. Maybe it’s where you buy them or they just aren’t as stiff as they used to be.

  9. #9
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    Thank you all.

    I’ve used scotch brite on expanders but working inside the carbide ring might be problematic. Maybe an appropriately sized wood dowel would help. The ring spins in the die body so unless I can find a way of immobilizing it I’ll get poor scouring/polishing from a drill.

    Bmi48218, was that a fine grit crocus cloth, 320 or thereabouts? Having some Flitz or Simichrome around generally seems a good idea. Comet I haven’t had around since I was a kid, and that was well back in the previous century, but I remember how gritty it felt and how well it cleaned up porcelain. Maybe worth a look around for.

    Many good suggestions: thanks again!
    Last edited by kevin c; 06-26-2022 at 04:21 PM.

  10. #10
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    If the carbide ring is spinning it loose either from wear or a crack. This can be a problem in and of itself. to imobilize it a couple light drops of green loctite or super glue on the seam may wick in to the gap.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    Bmi48218, was that a fine grit crocus cloth, 320 or thereabouts? Ö.
    Kevin, the sheet back says ĎCarborundum Flexback Crocus Cloth R J135Eí
    It is far less abrasive to the touch than the 600 grit paper I have. Donít know if it will work on carbide. My die was steel. Good luck

  12. #12
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    I use what Varmint Al recommends, and I've restored quite a few dies for both myself and friends.

    Here's the link: http://varmintal.com/arelo.htm#Polish

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  13. #13
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    Country gent, thanks for the suggestion. The ring doesn’t look cracked, but I’ve used it to size over 100K cases so wear certainly is a consideration. I’ll try the loctite or superglue; immobilizing the ring should make my polishing attempts a bit more effective.

    Bmi48219, good to get your comparison on grit feel. I’m thinking of trying something really fine to avoid removing metal.

    ReloaderFred, that was a nice read. I’m just a volume pistol shooter who only needs 2” groups at 25 yards, so the ultra detailed approach won’t do much for my shooting. Still, that kind of attention to detail scratches my OC itch, and I have a magpie’s love of shiny stuff, so I see a tube of Flitz on my work bench soon.

    Thanks all!

  14. #14
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    kevin c,

    You can also use J-B Bore Cleaner in place of the Flitz, if you happen to already have some on hand.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    ...there must have been some flaking and nickel deposition on the die because now I’m getting vertical scoring on the cases.

    So, what’s the best way of polishing off the deposits? Rouge? Flitz or JB bore paste? Is a carborundum containing valve grinding compound too aggressive?
    First, a softer metal rubbing hard against a harder metal will cause galling small deposits of the softer on the harder. The galled bits will then score any later parts. Standard sizer dies are case hardened steel so bits of poorly lubed brass cases will adhere to the die walls, especially around the neck and cause scratches; ditto dry carbide sizers will gall. Just a little bit of some sort of lube will do a LOT to avoid case galling/scratching no matter what cases or dies we use.

    Removing the galled bits will require some level of "grinding", polishing with anything won't do much. Fortunately, even steel dies are so hard that it's very difficult to harm them and it takes something with diamond dust to affect carbide at all.

    I've long used homemade tightly fitted wood dowel laps wrapped with Walmart's auto dept 400 and finer grit black (carborundum) abrasive paper chucked in an electric drill to clean and perfectly restore used "scratched" sizers. How long it will take such laps to remove galling from a die depends on how thick the galling is and how fast the drill spins but it commonly takes me from 10 to 25 minutes to clean out an abused die.

    I've found that a dull matt finish in a steel die will better hold a tiny layer of case lube and make work easier than polishing the interior to a mirror finish. Nothing but diamond paste will change or polish a carbide sizer ring.
    Last edited by 1hole; 07-01-2022 at 12:38 PM.

  16. #16
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    You may be right there, 1hole, about polishing not doing much. I just tried both JB bore paste and Flitz on felt pellets chucked into and spun in a drill (after using green thread locker). ‘taint feeling’ the love: the deposits are still there, and the rest of the carbide still has the same haze I saw originally but had ignored (more galling I think [my other used carbide sizers from the same manufacturer are mirror bright], just not as bad as what scratches the cases). I’d tried some 1000 grit on an undersized dowel, hand run, with no change, but, by your description of the process, I probably had too little contact for too little time and with maybe also too fine or soft an abrasive.

    I’ll keep at it.
    Last edited by kevin c; 07-02-2022 at 03:24 AM.

  17. #17
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    Looking at the ones I pulled out during the washing & tumbling process. I wonder if an xrf scan would be of any value. Just what are we dealing with?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #18
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    Don’t know for sure, but I can say that there is brass colored metal underneath and that it’s non magnetic. A sort of chemical tarnish, related to the plating, the lacquer on it and/or the washing process we put it through, but I don’t know what.

  19. #19
    I wonder if any copper removing type cleaner would take off the brass?

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    There is a process known to as scrapping where a small sharp tool is usedto remove high spots slowly and carefully. You might look into this a small 3 cornered file ground into a small scrapper very sharp and polished, go after the deposits one at a time peeling them out. the scrapper wont touch the carbide ring. would be tedious work but it would will remove the build ups. General also makes one of these small bearing burr scrappers.

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