case prep confusion


April 23, 2007, 12:51 AM
Most say clean your cases decapped. Unless you lube, decap and size dirty cases, you need a seperate decapping die. How come die sets come with a combo decap/size die and not separate decap and size dies? Or are you lubing, decapping, sizing and then cleaning so you get all the lube cleaned off too? :confused:

If you enjoyed reading about "case prep confusion" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 23, 2007, 01:07 AM
Welcome to the forum. I tumble all my brass before decapping and sizing. I do this to make sure they're clean before they go into my sizing dies. I don't want all the crud from the range scratching up my dies.

For cases that I lube, I tumble those again for about 20 minutes in untreated corn cob after sizing to remove the lube and then prime and load.

Hope this helps.


Steve C
April 23, 2007, 01:09 AM
If you use a vibratory case cleaner you would usually decap after cleaning as the media doesn't clean the primer cup well if at all. The corncob or wallnut media will get stuck in the primer pocket and its annoying having to take it out. If you use a chemical cleaner then it may be of benefit to decap before cleaning.

I use a spray lube from Dillon which comes in a pump bottle for the times I need to lube. It leave a very light lube layer on the case and it can just be wiped off with a rag after loading if needed. For rifle ammunition loads I use Imperial die wax.

April 23, 2007, 01:31 AM
I tumble all my brass before decapping and sizing. I do this to make sure they're clean before they go into my sizing dies. I don't want all the crud from the range scratching up my dies.

For cases that I lube, I tumble those again for about 20 minutes in untreated corn cob after sizing to remove the lube and then prime and load.

I do it just the same as ReloaderFred .

April 23, 2007, 02:04 AM
I to do the same thing ReloaderFred. Most people clean their guns but neglect their dies. Some go as far as to polish their dies. I've done it with my 7-30 Waters dies and it does make a difference.

April 23, 2007, 02:22 AM
I make 3 of us that does like Fred.

April 23, 2007, 07:50 AM
Yep, always clean the cases first before resizing. That makes 4 of us.

Navy Vet & SWIFT Boat OIC

April 23, 2007, 09:18 AM
I suspect 99.9% clean cases first.

The Bushmaster
April 23, 2007, 10:15 AM

April 23, 2007, 10:52 AM
I do the same as Fred too but I also clean the primer pockets before the second tumble to remove the lube. Then if the cases are run on my progressive I run a universal decapping die on station #1 to ensure that the flash holes are clean otherwise I check them with a dental pick if I am doing them on a single stage.

April 23, 2007, 10:55 AM
I deprime with the RCBS universal resizing die, then into the vibrator.

Matt Dillon
April 23, 2007, 11:10 AM
After returning home from the range, I dump my brass into the tumbler that contains ground up corn cob. After a couple of hours of cleaning, I then deprime, and place the deprimed brass into the tumbler containing ground up walnut media. This helps in cleaning out the primer pocket, and usually the walnut is so fine that it doesn't clog up the primer hole. MidwayUSA recently had their tumbler on sale for $30.00.

April 23, 2007, 11:19 AM
I've NEVER seen the need to add that extra step...decapping.those granules are too big to clean them tiny little pockets,and of that I am sure.
well..pretty sure.:)
I run a progressive as most folks do so why add 300 extra steps to each shooting outing?
A precision rifle shooter does many many steps I do not do,so they will not do as I do.That is great for them itty bitty groups that they shoot.

April 23, 2007, 11:19 AM
Most say clean your cases decapped.


That's the problem with the internet. If alot of inexperienced people say to do something, and only a couple experienced people say to do something else, an uninformed person is likely to assume that it is best to do what the numerous inexperienced people say to do.


April 23, 2007, 11:38 AM
I use a Lee Universal de-capping die prior to tumbling.

I leave the pin in the sizing die to punch out any stuck media.


April 23, 2007, 12:39 PM

It is neither wrong or right whether you clean you brass decapped or not, it is just personal preference. On cases you have to lube, bottle neck, you should remove the lube before you shoot them and tumbling is the easiest way to do it. Now you can either tumble them immediately after you decap and resize or do as some, do it after they are loaded. I personally load on a progressive and don't like the lube cases on my press so I resize all lubed cases on my single stage Rock Chucker and use a case kicker to speed it up then I tumble before I load and boy do those primmer pocket look clean. These casing have been reloaded about 10 time and the look almost new:

April 23, 2007, 06:19 PM
Thanks everybody. When I reloaded handgun eons ago I cleaned before decap and sizing. I had carbide dies so no lubing. This rifle stuff is new to me. I will be loading .30-30 and .308, possibly .223. Looks like I can do it the same way but just be sure to remove the lube. Think I will clean, lube, decap and resize, trim, chamfer and deburr, clean again, charge, seat, crimp as necessary. I love this board. Already have some good ideas and information on powders, bullets and loads for all 3 calibers.:)

April 23, 2007, 06:55 PM
I'm stuck on this topic also.... and I am brand new, and I'm currently doing low volume as i learn.... so I have two modes of operations for loading .308:

New Brass
- decap and full size to correct crushed necks (no lube since new)
- uniform flash hole
- uniform primer pocket
- case trim
- then progressive for primer, charge, bullet seat

Fired brass
- clean by hand
- lube
- decap and full size
- clean by hand to remove case lube
- case trim
- then progressive for primer, charge, bullet seat

I need to buy a tumbler or two.
I need to buy a single stage since everything is currently done as a single or multi-step operation on the progressive.

Be safe, BSR

April 23, 2007, 07:37 PM

You might want to lube them new cases, otherwise one day you're apt to get one stuck. Don't ask me how I know this.



April 23, 2007, 09:04 PM

Like Dave said you should lube even new cases because there is no guarantee that the cases you bought manufactured to the same tolerance of you resizer die. Anytime you run a rifle case into a resizer die it should be lubed, it's safer to error on the side of precaution when resizing. Nothing can be more frustrating then removing a stuck case.


You shouldn't have any problems with that case prep routine. By the way for for the calibers you listed I wouldn't recommend crimping the bullet unless have a gun with a tubular magazine. The bullet weight and recoil in those guns is not great enough to allow the OAL to change on the rounds in the magazine when the gun is fired, besides crimping only reduces case life and can affect accuracy.

April 24, 2007, 12:02 AM
Idano-Thanks but I am loading for a Win 94 and an M14M1A so I think I need small base dies (I don't see any listed for the 30-30 only the 308, does that mean the reg 30-30 dies are fine for tube mags) flat nose type bullets for the tubular mag on the 94. I have been looking at some of the speer plinkers for the 94 just for fun and some 150 grn fn in remington cases, cci 250s, and maybe some 798, H-335, IMR-4895, AA-2460? If hunting I will probably buy leverlution ammo from Hornady for the 94. Trying to limit the number of powders I buy to 1 or 2 to use in both 309-30 and 308 loads. Is there a Varget load for 30-30? The M14 will be mostly a target gun. Is there a canulerred round recommended for the casual target guy? I don't think I will get into the long range bench specialty crowd with moly tipped bullets etc but never say never and then that may call for a bolt action rifle. What are people using in their match M1As? I see lots of recommendations for varget for the 308 but what bullet? Handgun loads were simple... Do you still think I can get away without crimping for the 94 and the auto loader?

April 24, 2007, 12:52 AM
I shoot lots of lever guns and you do need to crimp for them. The rounds in the tube are under great pressure from the spring being compressed, and when you add in recoil, the bullets can, and will, set back into the case if not crimped. I've seen this happen more times than is necessary. You'll know if this happens, since it usually locks up the gun.

I also shoot two M1A's. I use IMR 4895 powder for all my loads for them. Some swear by Varget, too, but I've found that I can get 1" groups at 100 yards with both my standard M1A and my National Match, using good bullets. I do crimp my loads for the M1A, since the rounds go through a pretty violent transition from the magazine to the chamber.

Hope this helps.


April 24, 2007, 01:01 AM

I doubt you will need small base dies, I personally have never seen a need for them or should I say I haven't ran into a situation where I needed them. I do however, highly recommend the RCBS X-Dies for resizing over any other resizer die for your 30-30. RCBS's big claim to fame with the X-Die is that you only need to trim the brass initially .020" under maximum length and then it will never need to be trimmed again. So far I have loaded some of my .223 brass 7-10 times and it still has never stretched back to it's maximum length so far I am believer. However, the calibers I reload for bolt action rifles like my 22-250 and 30-06 I only neck resize since they don't appear to need any lube since I am using Nu Finish tumbler and they seem to be smooth enough that die doesn't leave any tooling marks. Since the cases aren't being lubed then I need to tumble them the second time and since they are not getting full length resized the case last longer. However, you can only get away with neck resizing if the ammunition is shot in only one gun and it is a bolt action so it won't work for your 30-30 but will work for your .308.

I can't recommend any starting loads for either gun since I haven' loaded for a .308 in over 30 years and I have never loaded for a 30-30. The best advice I could give you is find a load in a reloading manual that calls out the same length of barrel and rate of twist as your guns. Some manuals will indicate which load was the most accurate for that barrel and rate of twist which is usually a good place to start developing a load for your guns. Again just another suggestion I try to pick loads that fill at least 60% or more of the case so it is impossible to have a double load and I like to choose the powder that generates the lowest chamber pressure for that caliber. However, doing so unusually requires you to sacrifice some velocity but generally the most accurate rounds are not at the highest velocities obtainable.

Good luck and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. There are no dumb question only dumb mistakes!

April 24, 2007, 10:04 AM
i shoot a lot of 30-30. i load a lot of 30-30 and have a lot of load data that i have used. Currently i use lee precision dies. Very good dies. reloader fred is correct you have to crimp the rounds or the bullet will be pushed into the case. Another tool you will need to get is a bullet puller. Private message me if you have any questions on 30-30.

April 24, 2007, 08:29 PM
guys I will not go into the, to clean or not to clean, that is covered. But I do know for a fact that if your cleaning media is giving you a hard time in your unprimed clean cases that the small air compressor I use with a blow tip will clean the media completely out of the case in a hurry.

April 25, 2007, 07:35 AM

The only time you are likely to need small base dies for a .308 is if you pick up some machinegun fired brass and want to use it in your rifle.


If you enjoyed reading about "case prep confusion" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!