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Brass shavings on the shell plate


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I've been loading for about 2 years now on my xl650. I do only pistol (9mm, 380 acp, 45 acp, 38 spec/357). I use Lee carbide pistol dies with a FCD from Lee. Oh and I use the Lee auto disk for my powder dropper. I guess my question was is the brass shavings normal? The pics are after about a 1000 rounds loaded. I didn't think anything of it really until someone said that the shavings in no way should be there. I typically use once (or more who knows) fired brass from my local range.

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Are you using plated bullets? If so, I think opening up the bell would eliminate that. Not sure how to do that on Lee dies since the bell is put on by the powder drop die on the Dillon set. I used to get that and adjusting the bell out got rid of it.

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Yeah that happens a little when I uss brand new brass but never had it happen on fired brass. It's an odd one. How much bell are you putting on the case? I'm thinking it may be too much.

Yeah was my thought too so I adjusted the bell down till it was almost shaving the copper plating off the bullets and the brass shavings were still there.

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I had the exact same thing with Dillon 550, dies, etc.

Too much bell.

I went from 125's to 147's where i needed to open them up a little more and that's when the shavings popped up. I had to find that sweet spot from too little to too much.

Good luck.

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Most of my Lee pistol dies would do that. Some worse than others. No amount of adjustment would ever fix it. I ended up switching to Dillon and redding dies. Problem solved. I think its simply a QC issue.

Hmm so let me ask you this, does it hurt anything in the long run for pistol? I haven't seen any ill effects on the loaded rounds or the brass, but then again I don't have the expertise of some on this forum. The main reason I got into reloading was to duplicate the Winchester white box stuff I was buying then found out I kind of enjoyed the whole process and haven't saved a single cent haha.

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It shouldn't effect the final product. I would try to find the answer first. You may get some brassing in the die body and get some sticking problems. Watch out for it by cleaning the die bodies periodically. If you can find the problem you can save a lot of time. Run 10 pieces of brass through one die at a time and see which one shaves the brass. Unscrew the indexing cam on the left side of the press to stop the auto indexing. It'll help with the experiment.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had the same problem on my 550. It was coming from the sizing die. I think my old sizing die had problems. I don't know if they get worn out, or scratched or dinged or what. I switched to a Dillon carbide sizer and like it a lot more. The Dillon brand also has a "snap" sound when it pops out the primer, so, you know it's out. My old die sometimes left the primers in but just undented them.

Also, a big big plus, even though carbide dies "don't need lube" is to lube the cases. I hit all my brass with a little One Shot Case Lube. I have a case feeder. After a light lube, I toss them in the hopper.

Between a new carbide sizer and case lube, the problem went away and it is much much easier running my press.

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I have only seen that in brass that I got from a used brass dealer. The stuff that I process in-house doesn't do that.

I wonder if it has to do with stainless pin tumbling? I do mine with corn cob and I think that the big brass processors use wet tumbling.

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My experience has been that the seating die is removing some of the bell from a case that has been over belled. It's easy to see if that've your problem. Use a caliper to measure the bell before and after the seating die. If it has gotten smaller, back off the bell until the seating die no longer makes contact with it.

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If you're using the Lee Auto disk with their powder thru expander die take a look at the expander. The neck of the expander may need to be polished to remove the machining marks. Be careful if you do this as it is easy to remove some of its flaring potential.

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My experience has been that the seating die is removing some of the bell from a case that has been over belled. It's easy to see if that've your problem. Use a caliper to measure the bell before and after the seating die. If it has gotten smaller, back off the bell until the seating die no longer makes contact with it.

The Mr Bullet feeder powder die is highly recommended.

Same here. Was having to enlarge bell for coated lead bullets without shaving, and the Redding mic seater was shaving brass during seating.

Mr Bullet Feeder die solved problem entirely!

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The MBF die is the bomb! It solves a lot of issues, this being one of them. Money well spent! When you over expand to keep from shaving lead or coated lead and the seating die starts knocking off little chunks of brass these little bits will also get stuck in your taper crimp die and make some very ugly scratches down the length of your brass. I also open up and polish the seating die mouth even with the MBF die to make sure this doesn't happen. Polishing the embedded brass bits out and having to re-set the crimp die is a major pain in the ass.

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If you're using the Lee Auto disk with their powder thru expander die take a look at the expander. The neck of the expander may need to be polished to remove the machining marks. Be careful if you do this as it is easy to remove some of its flaring potential.

Yeah so I finally gor around to trunk all the dies one at a time to see where the shavings we're coming from and it's the Lee powder through expanding die. You can see tiny bits of brass all built up on the expander plug. So I guess I'm gonna try polishing that up first to see if it removes the problem.

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I get the same shavings on my 550. I just keep a can of air and a small tooth brush to clean it all off. I use Dillon dies and lee dies and it does it worse with the lee dies.

Have you seen ant problems with those shavings? I kinda wondered if it wouldn't shorten the brass life, but have yet to see a difference. Other than that just makes a mess mostly in my opinion.

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The only issue I have had with the shaving is when a piece gets stuck under my primer when I'm seating it. It has made a small indent in the primer. I just try to keep a can of air handy and a small brush to clean up. As far as shorten the brass life I haven't noticed any issues with brass casing I more often will crack a nickel case but I don't think it has anything to do with the shavings. This seems to only happen with my Lee dies.

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The only issue I have had with the shaving is when a piece gets stuck under my primer when I'm seating it. It has made a small indent in the primer. I just try to keep a can of air handy and a small brush to clean up. As far as shorten the brass life I haven't noticed any issues with brass casing I more often will crack a nickel case but I don't think it has anything to do with the shavings. This seems to only happen with my Lee dies.

Yeah I thought about switching dies to another manufacture just to see, but then I realized how dumb that was when I could just ask the experts here.

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