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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been handloading ammo for a very short time now, especially compared to others here who have been doing it longer than I have been alive. One of the few things I know is that you have to maintain your reloading dies for consistent performance, but what about the moving parts of the reloading press itself? I notice my Hornady Lock-n-load classic is designed to be disassembled if need be and that the actual piston that lifts the cartridge to the die is steel rubbing against aluminum. Common sense tells us that if the piston were to wear out, the ammo being loaded would be inconsistent. What can I do to prevent premature wear on my press? All I currently do is spray the joints with WD-40 as well as rust prevention chemicals on certain parts.
 

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Use Gun oil instead of the WD-40, which was designed as a 'water displacing' spray.
As long as you do not get a "black staining" on your ram, which should esasily wipe off, you are not getting any wear to speak of on either the ram or the Aluminum Bore. The "black stain' is rubbed off Aluminum Oxide from the bore.

Best Regards,
Chev, William
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help. I was considering using some high quality grease that I have lying around for use on the moving joints. Ill just use oil instead. Out of curiosity, how long has any of your presses lasted?
 

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I bought my Rockchucker in 1976, it's still chugging along. I use powdered graphite on the ram and 30 weight motor oil on the linkage pins. Don't care for oil on the ram since the carbon from depriming could form a lapping compound and wear the ram/casting.
 

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Unless you are doing them commercially, and turning out truck loads, and you have a good cast iron press, I have a feeling you great grand kids will still be loading on it. I have on old Lyman S-T Turret press I purchased probably 45 years ago that has loaded thousands of bullets and a Rockchucker I bought not long after the Lyman that has had a ton of bullets run through it. The Lyman has recently gotten to where the handle will flop down on it's own if you bump it but other than that, it's still going strong and will be the rest of my lifetime. I don't load as many on the Rockchucker but it's had it's fair share and it's still just like a brand new one. I also have a Lee Challenger with the aluminum housing that I take to the range when building loads because it's so light. Not sure how long one of the cheaper aluminum ones like that would last but a good cast iron press, I don't think you will ever wear out.
 

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I use a dry lube on my press ram ( a Rockchucker of 1964 vintage).
Some of the accumulated crud you get around loading presses is primer residue, which can be very hard and abrasive. A wet lube (oil) can suspend that hard stuff into a very abrasive slurry. That's my theory, anyway.
I lube press rams with TefDri, which goes on wet and dries, leaving a waxy type lubricant on the metal.
The linkage, which doesn't get as much of the crud, I don't worry about so much - I use BreakFree on linkage parts.
Leave an old toothbrush next to your press and use it to brush off the accumulated crud occasionally helps, too.
I've never seen much written about press lubing and maintenance, but my old Rockchucker has lasted about a bazillion rounds, and will outlive me, I'm sure.
 

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Thanks for the help. I was considering using some high quality grease that I have lying around for use on the moving joints. Ill just use oil instead. Out of curiosity, how long has any of your presses lasted?
I have a newer RCBS Rockchucker, but I also have my Dad's that I use as well. I'm guessing it's from about 1960. The RCBS factory (Oroville) is not far from me where it was made.
 

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I like to keep mine clean....to a degree. Keep the ram oiled. The linkage needs a drop of oil too or it will start squeeking (wearing). As said, don;t forget the shellholder area.

If you have a lee with a spent primer drop tube, I will clean that whenever it needs it. If ever you have to de-prime any amount of unfired primers, you'll want that tube clean.
 

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My "press" is an RCBS JR-3 'Cast Iron "O" frame' that I bought about 1970-1974 era, to speed up what had been a '310 Tool' hand loading effort to that time. I now also own a Lee Aluminum frame 'hand press' that I use to remove primers and sometimes to 'bell' cases while sitting in my living room at night.

I do still have my '310 Tool' sets as back ups if it ever gets too hard to use the "press".

Best Regards,
Chev. William
 

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All I have is a $25 Lee C frame press. I actually greased the piston a while back with lithium grease. Seems to glide a bit smoother. I would love to upgrade to heavier press but honestly this has served me well for all I do. When I do upgrade this one will serve to seat bullets.
 

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Has anyone ever known anyone to wear out a press?

Has anyone ever measured the force required in each step in each step of the reloading process and the force the press is designed for? It looks to me that they are significantly over engineered for 99.999999% of all reloading tasks they'll encounter.
 

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Has anyone ever known anyone to wear out a press?
Depending on what you call, "wear out".

My first press was a Pacific Power C. Bought the Rockchucker about the same time. In about 2or 3 years the ram had gotten noticeably looser in the Pacific press. Ended up gaving it to a friend. Far as I know he is still using it. The Rockchucker's ram is still tight after 36 years of use.
 

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Has anyone ever known anyone to wear out a press?

Has anyone ever measured the force required in each step in each step of the reloading process and the force the press is designed for? It looks to me that they are significantly over engineered for 99.999999% of all reloading tasks they'll encounter.
I think I agree, and so do John and Richard Lee. In fact, they say they engineered a lot of their equipment to show that a reloader didn;t need this or that much "beef". In the end though, they're making their Classic Cast series of presses and, over engineered or not, I like them that way.
 

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I had the frame on the mentioned above $25 press break on me after about 500 loadings id say it paid for itself. But if its all you have than its better than not having ammo. Also they're great for sizing cast bullets.
 

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I use a good quality grease ( synthetic would be very good ) Quaker state for wheel bearing for disc brakes , this helps avoid the " drip " from oil . I use a computer air can ( Ultra Duster ) to blow loose stuff off as my reload bench is in the house in the TV / train room . Yes , my wife owns the rest of the house ..... but the tv/train room is my man cave beside the wood shop next door .
 

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Lithium grease and most automotive greases are petroleum based, and can dry out by evaporation of the petroleum components over time. They're intended for closed applications.

Reloading presses are wide open, so I didn't want a lube that dries out.

Silicone grease has a far lower vapor pressure than petroleum greases, so that's what I use.

how long has any of your presses lasted? I'm one who has been reloading since before you were born, on a press that was made before I was born! I have a ca. 1950 Hollywood with a large turret to hold 12 dies.

Just keep 'em clean, dry, & lubed.
 

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I recently took my Rock Chucker apart and cleaned and lubed it. Initially, I couldn't get the pins out, I called RCBS, they said beat them out. I got nervous about beating on cast iron, so I took a C-clamp, a small diameter bolt between the C clamp to push on the pin, and a socket between the clamp and pin on the other side, so the pin would have some place to push into. It still took some force, and I could not see any wear on the pins, or linkage, could barely see any shiny areas on the pins where the linkage pivots. I greased them with synthetic grease, cleaned the ram, and put it all back. Noticed a little difference, the handle would drop of its own weight a little sooner in its arc . This is on a 25 year old press, that has probably seen only about a 1000 rounds a year, average. Made me feel better, and it couldn't hurt. Usually just canned air to blow off the surface crud, and an occasional wipe down with a moistened rag with Hoppes, or similar bore cleaner on the ram to keep the abrasives out of the press frame.
 
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