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· Philogynist & Sycophant, Looking For Work
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Tonight, as I set out on a mission to make some ammo for the weekend, I tried installing my RCBS #3 shell holder in the ram; it wouldn't go in! Dang, it's fit nicely - a bit tight, but not awful - since I got it. If I pushed it really hard, it still wouldn't go in, but the semi-circular retaining spring on the ram would pop out of its groove. Weird.

I tried all of my other RCBS shell holders, and they all slipped in place easily. I tried all of my Hornady shell holders, and they fit nicely, as well. A few weeks ago, the #3 unit worked, too, so I was extremely mystified. Close examination of the errant shell holder proved that the #3 has a very slightly thicker retaining ring (that's what I'd call it - the fat part at the very bottom, below the groove).

I also noted that, on the top end of the press ram, the hole from which the retaining spring protrudes has a bit of flash around it, and the groove the shell holder is intended to slide into appears rough. I have no idea what could cause that, but I used a couple of jewelers' files to smooth all the rough bits on the ram. Once I was done, everything fit properly, but I'm still mystified as to how this could happen, and why the #3 shell holder is so much different from the rest of the set.

Given that I've got the thing working now, is there any reason to contact RCBS? Is this just a case of Murphy's Law, Wright's Corollary #2, which states that "occasionally, all component tolerances will add up in the same direction, rendering a perfectly acceptable part unusable?"
 

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Is it possible that the shell holder might have been for a hand-held priming tool instead of for the press?

Just going out on a limb, I know the Lee auto prime shell holders are not to be used in a press, so I've never tried it. I don't know what it is about them that makes the two shell holders different.

I may have to try it out and see today :)
 

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If that shellholder has worked in the past, I'd think that maybe you've got some kind of buildup in the shellholder cut in the ram that's keeping it from seating properly.
Those burrs were probably the culprit. They might've been in the ram since it was new and just now finally worked their way out where they caused a hangup.

I use assorted brand shellholders and I've run into similar situations where the button milled on the bottom was a slightly different dimension than the rest. On those, I did replace or relegate for use only in my priming tool but most of em are still interchangable in all three presses and my (RCBS) priming tools.

If things are working now, I probably wouldn't bother to see about any customer service. If it repeats again, I'd probably check into replacing whichever part is the culprit.
 

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had a similiar problem with a sizing die not fitting in my OLD LYMAN press,,, 10 other RCBS dies fit fine,,, seems someone at the 'factory decided it was OK to pass a die that was .005 lager at the bottom then at the top ??? since i live only 20 miles from them hand carried it back to them, was told and shown the "PRINT" that it was in "TOLERENCE" but they offered to FIX my old not RCBS press .. but that would make my other dies not fit properly ?? offered to sell me a new RCBS press for half price, not a bad deal but nothing wrong with my old press,, just sloppy tolerencing of newer dies !!! was told they could not fix the new die since it was hardened they would have to make a new one but couldnt gaurentee that it would fit !!! hmmmm took it back home put it in my lythe and with a green-wheel kissed off the extra .oo5 from the base and it now works fine,,"but with their multi-million dollar facilities couldnt fix it !!!! aint all this NEW computer controled machines great, and they dont have even ONE old manual lythe left on premises. however will still buy their other products,, just sorry to see all the old technoledgy go away and if it aint on the computer they dont KNOW HOW TO FIX their own screwups,, "THE STATE OF ALL OF OUR NEW MAKE IT CHEAPER AND WITH ALL THE COMPUTERIZED ROBOTICIZED MACHINES PUTTING REAL PEOPLE OUT OF WORK ,,,,?? WHERE IS OUR SOCIETY GOING ???
just another RANT for the day
 

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Is it possible that the shell holder might have been for a hand-held priming tool instead of for the press?

Just going out on a limb, I know the Lee auto prime shell holders are not to be used in a press, so I've never tried it. I don't know what it is about them that makes the two shell holders different.

I may have to try it out and see today :)
rcbs hand prime tools use the same shellholder as the press does.
 

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I would recommend pulling your caliper out and measuring the #3 rcbs against the other shell holders. There is a possability the #3 is a bit different in size and over time because you have forced it that over time is has galled the ram. I am just taking a guess because I can't see it first hand. I would surley measure the #3 against a few others to see if that is it. Also, you may want to just buy another #3 just to see if it goes in easier.

Let us know.
 
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