In a previous post here we discussed pulling bullets.
The other day I sat down to load some .30-06 and do a wee write-up. But then all hades sprang forth, and a monster ate the house-guests at Hrothgar. That’s a classic English Lit reference for ya’ll.
Boom. WD-40 is amazing. But it is no replacement for case lube… Long story short, I couldn’t find my case lube. Dummy that I am, I thought I could just replace the lube with WD. Its a great lubricant, after all.
The case lodged in the decapping die and could not be removed. Do not use WD-40 to lube your cases prior to decapping!
At this point you have to resign yourself to destroying the casing. First I drilled a 1/4″ hole through the primer pocket and tapped it, but that didn’t work, so I stepped up to a 5/16″ hole and a 3/8″ coarse bolt thread tap. Be careful when cutting threads. Turn the tap 1/8-1/4 turns and then back the tap up by that amount to clear the shavings. Do not force the tap! Breaking a tap is no joke, and no fun.
Once the threads are cut, get a bolt, large nut, and a washer with a nut for the bolt. I didn’t have this second nut, so I used a fly nut.
Insert the die upside down in the press. Screw it in but leave the case rim below the top of the press by a few threads. Put the nut over the top of the press. Make sure it is big enough for the casing to slide through it. Then the washer, fly nut and bolt go on as is the picture. Use pliars to hold the die. (Grip the knurled part, not the threads on the shank body.) Then use an adjustable wrench to turn the bolt down. The pulling power of a screw is substantial.
This time, it was not substantial enough. Even after an application of magnificent force, nothing would budge. So I did what any man in my situation would do. I broke down and wept.
Just kidding. That’s not very manly.
I left it for a couple of days and thought about it. The great thing about doing odd mechanical work for the last decade or so is that you get to see all the wrong ways to do things. You even get good at those techniques. I have often used heat to get rusty bolts undone. After some reflection, I thought that was a bad idea. When you apply heat to two dissimilar metals, they expand at different rates.
And then it hit me. What is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. Dissimilar metals also contract in cold at different rates… Duh. I want the brass (a softer, less dense material) to come out of the steel. It needs to shrink. So I threw the die in a ziplock bag and tossed it in the deepfreeze over night.
Tah dah! It came out in about 3 turns when I put it back on the press. Brilliant. I am smrt. Very much, thank you, very much.
A little bit of plier work later, and the expander ball was out again. I re-assembled the die, straightened the decapping pin, (it bent slightly during the process) and ran some cases through.
I also found my lube. Sweet mother…