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The Holly Grail of Breakage and its Game Over for the Session...


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When a reloading session is going bad, it's going bad. It's usually because I break something - and the thing I break is usually catastrophic. One of my worst sessions is when I forced and snapped the indexer ring on the ram. It was lights out, game over. I tore the whole thing down and replaced it the next day. I had an extra ring, but what if I didn't? I have a few other incidences, like spills at the powder station, but that's another story for another day.

Tell us about your destructive reloading experiences. Stuck case stories are fine, but only if getting it out didn't work and you destroyed the die or had to send it back to the factory to save it. I figure it's Friday night, what the heck.

Dog

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Sizing a 5.56 case and forgot to lube the batch. Stuck it solid and ripped the head off when I tried to bring the arm back up. Was able to unscrew the decapping pin (RCBS) and fit a brass rod through the hole. Screwed the die upside down into my single stage and used the ram to push the now destroyed case out of the die.

Edited by Poppa Bear
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Had to order a new .223 die because of a stuck case that I still have not been able to get out of the die. (It was lubed and felt slick, I think the inside of the die got scratched earlier by another person who shall remain nameless... :huh: )

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This is related to loading. Had one make it through without a primer. Did not notice when I loaded it into a mag. Firing pin got stuck in the flash hole , locked the gun up and bent the firing pin getting it to come apart. Took care of the match for a stupid reloading error.

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This is related to loading. Had one make it through without a primer. Did not notice when I loaded it into a mag. Firing pin got stuck in the flash hole , locked the gun up and bent the firing pin getting it to come apart. Took care of the match for a stupid reloading error.

It happens. But I have a variation of that mistake, which is failing to prime but charge the case. Creates a huge mess and ruins the fun for awhile. The powder finds its way into all the nooks and crannies of the machine. For some reason when this happens, powder loves to find the grease and oil, i.e., the base of the ram, handle bushings, shell plate, primer indexer. That's why I keep the hex keys handy. Powder should be in the case, measure bar and the dispenser tube. If its anywhere else it can spoil your whole day.

Dog

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I had just started reloading on a 650. Got a brand new Lee universal decapping die installed on my new 650 press, ran the handle down and the platform up on the maiden voyage and SNAP! Broke the decapping pin. Wtf? Must be a spectacularly weak pin! Called Lee, complained bitterly about cheap products that break on the first try and managed to get a free replacement sent out in a week. I'm dead in the water for a week! Ugh. Poor quality crap.

I start tearing down my .223 setup to start loading .45 and noticed a very pronounced and deep divot in the long end of the station 1 locator. I carefully raised the platform and found that the (broken) decapping pin is positioned right over the top of the divot. How can that be? How are the spent primers ejected if this locator is covering the discharge hole?

The instruction manual shows me that the station 1 locator has been inserted backwards. Hmmm. Perhaps what the Lee phone rep doesn't know won't hurt me.

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I had just started reloading on a 650. Got a brand new Lee universal decapping die installed on my new 650 press, ran the handle down and the platform up on the maiden voyage and SNAP! Broke the decapping pin. Wtf? Must be a spectacularly weak pin! Called Lee, complained bitterly about cheap products that break on the first try and managed to get a free replacement sent out in a week. I'm dead in the water for a week! Ugh. Poor quality crap.

I start tearing down my .223 setup to start loading .45 and noticed a very pronounced and deep divot in the long end of the station 1 locator. I carefully raised the platform and found that the (broken) decapping pin is positioned right over the top of the divot. How can that be? How are the spent primers ejected if this locator is covering the discharge hole?

The instruction manual shows me that the station 1 locator has been inserted backwards. Hmmm. Perhaps what the Lee phone rep doesn't know won't hurt me.

My Lee Pins have lasted a long time but all thing break with user error. I snapped two in a day being in a hurry. Ordered 8 and got them in 3 days. $2 a piece is cheap I guess but I like lee dies

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Bein

I had just started reloading on a 650. Got a brand new Lee universal decapping die installed on my new 650 press, ran the handle down and the platform up on the maiden voyage and SNAP! Broke the decapping pin. Wtf? Must be a spectacularly weak pin! Called Lee, complained bitterly about cheap products that break on the first try and managed to get a free replacement sent out in a week. I'm dead in the water for a week! Ugh. Poor quality crap.

I start tearing down my .223 setup to start loading .45 and noticed a very pronounced and deep divot in the long end of the station 1 locator. I carefully raised the platform and found that the (broken) decapping pin is positioned right over the top of the divot. How can that be? How are the spent primers ejected if this locator is covering the discharge hole?

The instruction manual shows me that the station 1 locator has been inserted backwards. Hmmm. Perhaps what the Lee phone rep doesn't know won't hurt me.

Being anything but an expert here, I'll take a shot and then defer to the other pros, I think your shell plate is too tight and it didn't index properly and smashed right into it. Oddly enough, the Lee decap die is a pretty good one, I keep 3 of those in stock at all times. At $10 a pop it's not bad. Even thought I'm a redding die fan, their universal decap unit is mediocre at best. They lock tight their pins in the collet. Insert that pin down on a tight flash hold or military primer, that lock tight becomes "lock loose". Try pulling off a case shell holder with a decap pin stuck in the case. Now that's a show stopper. Sorry I moved the discussion over to a non dillon product, but the lee die moved me from the blue, to red and then green.

Dog

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in over 25 years with a 550 and 10 with 1050's I don't remember breaking decapping pins per se on the downstroke.

Mine break from restraightening out the 20-60 degree bends for the 10tth time!

I have more of a problem with the "E" clips on top of the die holding the decapping assembly in place. Those, being under spring tension break a lot on me and go boing! And then the decapping assembly drops down and is inoperable.

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I have all kinds of stupid reloading errors. The most interesting one was a small batch of .223 that I loaded without resizing.

This happened before I organized and streamlined my 223 loading process. I think that I have a system set up now where this will be much less likely to happen. I figured that I could just remove the decapping rod and stick the loaded round in there and resize it with the bullet in place. I lubed the crap out of it and into the die it went. Stuck Stuck Stuck. Ripped case head off trying to un stick. I took a punch and started beating the bullet back down into the case. Once it got completely inside the case mouth, I found out that I couldn't remove the punch. The bullet was a vmax and the punch went through the polymer tip and was actually going through the middle of the projectile so it wouldn't pull out of the case mouth. There was a little gap around the bullet so I just poured wf-40 into the case about 5 times over the next hour or so. Once I determined that I had the components properly neutralized, I started beating on the punch again to try and drive the case out of the bottom of the die. I hit on it cautiously for 5 minutes or so and at the point that it stopped moving, I got worried. I put on welding gloves and wrapped a heavy blanket around the press. I have a big metal dust pan and I held that in front of the press and die, and put on my eye and ear protection. At this point it only took about three good hard whacks on the top of the punch and BANG, the round detonated.

The case separated about half way up the flat portion and the bottom half shot down into the shell holder. It extruded into the shell holder and stuck there. The top half of the case was stuck in the die. It took another hour or so of hammering a screwdriver down into the case and prying to get the top out, at which point the case was so scarred up, it was un usable. I sent it back to RCBS and I don't know if they polished it or replaced it, but a week later I was back in business.

No more resizing of loaded rounds for me, thank you very much.

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I have all kinds of stupid reloading errors. The most interesting one was a small batch of .223 that I loaded without resizing.

This happened before I organized and streamlined my 223 loading process. I think that I have a system set up now where this will be much less likely to happen. I figured that I could just remove the decapping rod and stick the loaded round in there and resize it with the bullet in place. I lubed the crap out of it and into the die it went. Stuck Stuck Stuck. Ripped case head off trying to un stick. I took a punch and started beating the bullet back down into the case. Once it got completely inside the case mouth, I found out that I couldn't remove the punch. The bullet was a vmax and the punch went through the polymer tip and was actually going through the middle of the projectile so it wouldn't pull out of the case mouth. There was a little gap around the bullet so I just poured wf-40 into the case about 5 times over the next hour or so. Once I determined that I had the components properly neutralized, I started beating on the punch again to try and drive the case out of the bottom of the die. I hit on it cautiously for 5 minutes or so and at the point that it stopped moving, I got worried. I put on welding gloves and wrapped a heavy blanket around the press. I have a big metal dust pan and I held that in front of the press and die, and put on my eye and ear protection. At this point it only took about three good hard whacks on the top of the punch and BANG, the round detonated.

The case separated about half way up the flat portion and the bottom half shot down into the shell holder. It extruded into the shell holder and stuck there. The top half of the case was stuck in the die. It took another hour or so of hammering a screwdriver down into the case and prying to get the top out, at which point the case was so scarred up, it was un usable. I sent it back to RCBS and I don't know if they polished it or replaced it, but a week later I was back in business.

No more resizing of loaded rounds for me, thank you very much.

Gentlemen, this man is a reloading legend. This is what great books and movies are made from.

Dog

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Had my first primer less belling last night. Oops! I literally realized it as it was dropping the powder too. DOH!

Luckily its pretty damn easy to remove the shell plate and clean'er up.

I don't bother cleaning it up, I just keep right on loading. It doesn't hurt a thing.

Edited by Paul-the new guy
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I had just started reloading on a 650. Got a brand new Lee universal decapping die installed on my new 650 press, ran the handle down and the platform up on the maiden voyage and SNAP! Broke the decapping pin. [snip]

I start tearing down my .223 setup to start loading .45 and noticed a very pronounced and deep divot in the long end of the station 1 locator. I carefully raised the platform and found that the (broken) decapping pin is positioned right over the top of the divot. [snip]

The instruction manual shows me that the station 1 locator has been inserted backwards. [snip]

Being anything but an expert here, I'll take a shot and then defer to the other pros, I think your shell plate is too tight and it didn't index properly and smashed right into it. [snip]

No, it was very clearly operator error and I was apparently too subtle in my description. The station 1 locator has a long lead on one side that is supposed to go under the cam. The other end has channels that match up and guide the case right into the shell plate. I had put it in backwards, so the long lead was under the shell plate, obstructing the decapping pin. I did a spectacular job of trying to perforate the aluminum station 1 locator with the decapping pin. No amount of quality control can compensate for massive operator error such as this one.

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Had my first primer less belling last night. Oops! I literally realized it as it was dropping the powder too. DOH!

Luckily its pretty damn easy to remove the shell plate and clean'er up.

I don't bother cleaning it up, I just keep right on loading. It doesn't hurt a thing.

Me either. Although, the first time I tried to vacuum up the spilled powder after finishing reloading I found that the brass station locator pins are mightily attracted to the vacuum nozzle. Luckily I was able to pour them out of the very long vacuum hose after having shut it down in the nick of time.

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Had my first primer less belling last night. Oops! I literally realized it as it was dropping the powder too. DOH!

Luckily its pretty damn easy to remove the shell plate and clean'er up.

I don't bother cleaning it up, I just keep right on loading. It doesn't hurt a thing.

Me either. Although, the first time I tried to vacuum up the spilled powder after finishing reloading I found that the brass station locator pins are mightily attracted to the vacuum nozzle. Luckily I was able to pour them out of the very long vacuum hose after having shut it down in the nick of time.

Did the same thing, but did not react in time and spent the next 20 minutes sifting through lords knows what in my shop vac

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No amount of quality control can compensate for massive operator error such as this one.

If you fix machines for a living for any length of time you will realize there is no such thing as operator proof, only operator resistant. (Another one that fits really well with Murphy's Law. ;) )

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