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Thread: Should I clean my dies

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Way up in the Cascades
    Quote Originally Posted by CZbob9 View Post
    DG you got any idea where to get those brushes? Never thought about Kerosene as a cleaner before
    Sorry I didn't get back to this thread for awhile.

    EZ answer, Bob -- try e-bay! Just type in "small bottle brushes" in the search box and you'll find hundreds of them! I put up a photo, below, of what I'm talking about. I've often snagged them out of the factory boxes of new pistols, especially foreign made pistols.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    There are also lots of cotton swabs you can use, but I like these brushes dipped in kerosene and then dry the bore of the die with a regular cleaning patch on a pistol rod.

    As for using kerosene, I became aware of it's many uses when I spent a year in gunsmithing school. Every bench had a gallon jug cut in half lengthwise to make a tub, and it was full of kerosene. The uses are too many to list, and once you start using it more will occur to you. The pluses are that it doesn't harm metal at all, is much safer to use than gasoline, and will leave a very thin, protective surface on the metal which is easily removed. The jugs had a coarse screen in the bottom through which any particles or sediment descended to the bottom below the screen, much like a car parts washer, and the liquid above the screen remained relatively clean. It was much used for hand polishing of metal parts (I did several refinish jobs on pistols) using successively fine grits of wet & dry sandpaper, and as the paper fouled with tiny metal particles it was dipped into the kerosene and swished around to clean it off. The kerosene acts as a lubricant also, washing away some of the particles from the actual area of the work. I believe that a large portion of the original Hoppe's No. 9 solvent is kerosene.


  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy
    LabGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Tallahassee Florida
    Clean them when new to get the manufacturing crud off, and after each use. I clean them with Ed’s Red, light coat of Rem-lube spray. Some Lee finishes are quite thin and the dies will rust. It might be 2 or 3 years before I use the dies again.
    NRA Training Counselor - Instructor
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  3. #23
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Canada, Ontario, Durham region
    Long stick Q-Tips (knock offs by the C.H.Ina Co.) the have larger dia. cotton heads.
    Clean inside & out with Hoppe’s or G96 cleaner. Preserve them with anti rust EEZOX.
    The dies can and do rust mostly where salty fingers have touched them on the outside.
    Before use I swirls a dry Q-Tip up inside tI ensure there isn’t any bulky drips inside them.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    I PROBABLY don't clean dies as often as I SHOULD. When I feel the need, I let them set overnight in 50:50 ATF : Kerosene, rinse them off with brake cleaner in a can, and re-oil, if they're not going to be used immediately.
    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18
    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool become servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29
    ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

    Carpe SCOTCH!

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    I spray my die sets out with Gun Scrubber about once a year.
    I just walk out in the driveway, spray out the dies and then let them dry out. By the time I am done spraying out all my die sets they are generally dry and I give them a shot of One Shot and call it good.
    Dies come out clean and never rust. My reloading room is climate controlled and the die sets are stored in their original boxes along with the appropriate shell holder.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
    TNsailorman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Northeast Tennessee Hills
    I clean my dies at about 2 times a year depending on how much I have used them in reloading. I clean the seating die after each session of lubed cast boolit loading. james

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    barry s wales uk
    Quote Originally Posted by stubshaft View Post
    With the exception of lube buildup in the seating die, I've NEVER bothered in over 55 years of reloading.
    im the same .only clean if there is a problem

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Rapier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    NW Florida
    I fix things before they break, it is the airborne way. You wait until it breaks and you get to meet the ground real quick. With a gun, it only fails when you need it. I clean dies and my guns after use.
    “There is a remedy for all things, save death.“

    “Never give up, never quit.”
    Robert Rogers
    Roger’s Rangers

    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
    Will Rogers

  9. #29
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Clean several times a year with alcohol and Q tips.

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Godzone country ,New Zealand
    got sick of wee dents in shoulder from build up of lube so dropped dies in an icecream container of 2stroke petrol (at current prices I would just about be better off using thinners!!) gave then a bit of a prod n poke in nooks n crannies, and put them back to work...cleaned them up very well.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    sw pa
    my oldest set of dies is a lyman 30-06 set. bought in 1964. educated guess is 4000+ rounds thru them. only thing ever cleaned is ; removing the seating stem to remove a little bullet lube. dies are still perfect and the brass has no scratch marks. oh, i don't clean my brass either. to clean dies after every use ?????????????

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy Liberty1776's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    The Free State of Arizona
    I bought an RCBS Small Base 300 AAC Blackout sizing die to form 300 Blackout from .223 brass. Tedious, but also kinda fun.

    Anyway, I noted some very fine lines on the formed brass and figured the inside of the sizing die had been scratched.

    To polish the inside walls, I bought a .410 shotgun wool mop. I squirted a dab of Flitz polishing compound onto the wool, chucked the mop into my cordless drill and polished the inside of the die.

    Not sure how effective it was, but it certainly cleaned and smoothed the die. It really shines.

    I've decided to be extra careful when I lube the cases from here on out to make sure no grit of any kind adheres to the brass before I force it into the die and actually reform the 223 into 300 BLK.

    I also always decap on my Lee APP press, and wet tumble my brass before sizing. It's very clean before being pushed into any sizing die.

    The idea of sizing dirty brass is really asking for trouble.

  13. #33
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    Yes, I clean my dies on a regular basis, not after each use, but on a regular basis. I use rubbing alcohol.
    This is pretty much my strategy. I use either bore cleaner or brake cleaner followed by lightly oiling them. I always clean new dies before using them. I seldom get anything out of them but the few times that I did keeps me doing this. I use either a bore mop or the corner of a shop rag twisted into a point and screwed into the die.

    I also use a wire "tooth brush" to clean the groove in my shell holders.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Newburgh IN
    I clean them once a year.

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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