The sad fact is, I am not mechanically inclined.
(Do NOT ask to hear my "how it cost me $280 to replace the toilet flapper valve" story, it'll break your heart. Can you say 'left hand thread"? Neither can I.)
This can be a problem when I shoot competitively 12 months a year and reload something like 1,000 rounds of ammunition a
"Stuff" wears out. Then I have to replace it. Usually, it's 'small parts'. You would think this wouldn't be a problem, because these small parts are what I refer to as 'consumables' (think of pencils in an office) that you expect to replace from time to time. They don't cost much, and are usually easy to replace/install.
I don't actually have a major problem with installing replacement small parts, as long as their not the kind of thing you need a gunsmith or a Rocket Scientist (not that far apart, in my opinion), but I often have trouble finding them!
Case in point #1: Pistol Decapping pins for my Dillon XL650.
I ask you, how difficult can it be?
- Unscrew the decapping assembly from your Sizing/Decapping die
- Unscrew the knurled decapping pin retainer
- Tap out the bent decapping pin from the retainer
- Insert new decapping pin
- Re-assemble the decapping assembly
- Screw the decapping assembly back into the die
See, I have to do this quite often. All of the ranges here-abouts are covered with pea-gravel, some of it quite small. When we pick up our brass (which has probably been stepped on several times while the whole squad shoots the stage), sometimes we also pick up a tiny piece of rock in the brass case. We don't notice this, and it doesn't always shake loose when we run the brass through the tumbler.
The result is, when you try to resize the case, the rock chip gets between the old primer and the decapping pin, and you have to stop and replace the (bent) pin.
I've had that happen three times in one evening of reloading. Not only does it slow down the reloading process, but it uses up a lot of your 'consumable' replacement pins.
When I phone in an order to Dillon, I invariably ask for a couple of 5-packs of decapping pins. I never remember what the part number is, because it's not in the XL650 parts manual. (I now know the part number is 13753 ... it's on the package in the photo.)
The last time I phoned in an order, I asked for three 5-packs. Dillon was reluctant to sell them to me, stating at first that they were 'out of stock' and then (when I plead dire emergency) they reluctantly agreed to send me what they could spare. That was two 5-packs. I've used up one, I have one left, and I want to order more.
But I don't like to phone in orders, I would rather order them over the Internet, and Dillon's online catalog doesn't include this part.
I had to go search for other on-line sources, finally finding the item at RCBS. At $2.95 a 5-pack, I ordered two (shipping was $4). I could have ordered the 50-pack and got a lot better deal, but I think I'll try the product before I invest the whole $13.95 ... which can probably still ship for $4.)
Okay, problem solved, I found a second source, I'm happy now.
Case in point #2: mounting screws for STI (C-more) scope mounts
This is a little more difficult.
I was shooting a match a couple of weeks ago and having trouble (recurring, maybe solved with a new recoil spring) with feeding. Standing at the safety table with the STI laying in front of me, I happened to notice that I was missing not one, but TWO of the five scope-mount screws.
I know how to buy screws. You take the screw you want to replace to your local Ace Hardware Store and compare it with what they've got, and buy a handful of them. If you're smart, you'll write down the description of the screw. (But you'll lose that piece of paper before you need to buy more.)
In this case, the Ace Hardware Store doesn't carry this screw. I can't tell you off-hand where I bought the last 5-pack of these screws, but I used the last two to replace the two missing screws. And if you'll look closely at the picture, the screws I have used in the past don't all match.
I don't know where to go to look for these. Someone told me to go to Brownell's, and I did, but I couldn't find it on their website. I don't even know what to look for, but I did notice that if you search for 'scope mount screws' you don't find anything that looks like this.
So if someone knows what these screws are, and where I can get them, and what I should ask for ... let me know, okay?
Or maybe I can just put in a standing order of five more screws every six months. Yes, I use Blue LocTite but that doesn't always prevent the "Geek Screw-Loose" aberration.
NOTE: While researching for this article, I finally found the website which defines the differences between the three different kinds of LOCTITE 'Threadlockers':