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Thread: Checkmaker die set aluminum

  1. #1
    Banned smokyCMP's Avatar
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    Checkmaker die set aluminum

    What is the thickest aluminum you folks have successfully used in your Checkmaker die set?
    I have the opportunity to pick up some .020 thick, cheap, but I think that may be a bit too thick.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have used old gutter which mic's around 0.019"/0.020" so pretty thick. I put the paint side in and lubricate the strips with WD 40 before punching.

    I made the Ed Smith gas check maker and went with the mallet version because I didn't want to over stress my press.

    The Ed Smith check maker is designed for 0.014" thick aluminum IIRC but certainly the gutter aluminum is thick and is drawn into a deeper cup than thinner aluminum would be. With a mallet or an arbor press not a big effort but I think it might be a bit much for a standard loading press. This old gutter aluminum is fairly soft too.

    I'm cheap and I had lots of old gutter so decided I'd go the mallet route and recycle the old gutter material.

    As a comment, my GC bullet moulds have fairly long GC shanks so no problem with the deeper cups but that is something to check to make sure the GC will seat properly, some GC shanks are quite short.

    Longbow

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Even if your die will form them, it doesn't mean they'll fit on the bullets without a fight. Only a few calibers are designed to use checks that thick. You can fail to get the checks seated and crimped on, consistently, using a standard sizing die or lubesizer.

    There are a few hacks for making the GC shank on your bullet smaller, using collets from bullet pullers or rifle FCD's to squeeze the shank to size. I've fabbed custom dies to size the base of bullets to fit custom gas checks.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I like using the aluminum beer cans that look like bottles they are twice as thick as the regular cans .008 .
    I'm mostly use them on 30carbine with Lee 120 grain cast at 1800 FPS my maker is a Pat Marlin .

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The thickness of the material beyond 0.014" does not change the inside or outside diameter of the gas check! The clearances between the punch and die are for 0.014" material (in mine anyway) so anything thicker gets drawn deeper.

    0.014" clearance means that my 0.020" material gets squeezed and drawn so in the end it still fits but has a 0.014" thickness at the walls with same O.D. and I.D. as 0.014" material would have. The base is thicker.

    Using thinner than 0.014" material would result in a loose fit on the gas check shank due to thinner material and spring back off the punch.

    Longbow

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Petander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post

    I made the Ed Smith gas check maker and went with the mallet version because I didn't want to over stress my press.
    A good choice. I broke my good old CH press by making .44 cal gas checks using .018" aluminum sheet. Pretty much right away after getting the checkmaker.

    Then I bought a Redding Big Boss and felt it will break as well... stopped using it.

    In another room there is a Rock Chucker. When I make .30 cal copper checks, things fall from the table,everything falls from the shelves... it's like an earthquake. I guess the Rock Chucker may last for a while -it is getting loose already- but these are really hard to make and expensive gas checks!

    44 check was originally for a certain Mihec mold with a non-standard shank. Haven't loaded a single bullet yet.

    There are videos how people make checks so easily with one hand... I need all of my 6'3" XXL strength.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I made my checkmakers short as possible. I almost cut it too close. The checks barely finish forming before the die bottoms out and runs out of travel. So it all happens close to TDC as possible. Never done thicker than 0.014, but those were not bad at all. Not like the videos of some of the commercial ones.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA mada double acting die set for my Corbin CSP-2 hand press to produce a "gas check like" structure
    directly from 3 mil Al sheet. Product is a "top foil" for Soviet 9mm Berdan Primers containing
    2 GRAINS FA 959 mix (not the common FA956 mix). Shellac holds it all in place when used.....

  9. #9
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I had some 6.5mm GCs custom made by a guy (former member and mold maker), he used .017 for a custom caliber. I'm not sure what die setup he has, maybe it was made by him?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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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