First case prep session = Fail


March 15, 2008, 10:03 PM
So I've finally gotten all my gear, and got my reloading area all set up. Cleaned my first batch of LC 06 .223 brass with my vibratory cleaner ( RCBS), and after a few hours, they were nice and clean, albeit a little tarnished.

1. I am wanting to make sure that the first round in the case prep is to make sure that all the debris is cleaned off, and the brass is nice and smooth right? I figured I would run them through again with corncob media, and get them polished up after I resized, decapped, and trimmed to length. From what I have read this is how many of you do it?

I then took these to my press ( RCBS Rockchucker), and attempted to set up my die ( RCBS small base X-die). I went with this die because it was my understanding this was a bit preferable to a normal die when using an AR. I adjusted as per the instruction sheet, bringing the press up, and snugging the die down till it touched the shellholder, then lowering, and giving it a little over and 1/8th of a turn, bringing the press back up to lock it down, and tighten the locking ring. I also set my decapping pin.

I then went to lube my brand new lube pad, and boy was that a mess. I squeezed the bottle of RCBS case lube that came with the kit hard enough that the nozzle end came flying off, and about 3/4 of the bottle went on to the pad in about 2 seconds. The next 5 minutes was spent scraping the lube and funneling it back in to the bottle.:cuss::banghead:

Once that was taken care of, I drizzled a little onto the case neck brush for lubing the inside of the case mouth. I also used a small pin to pierce the nozzle on the lube bottle.

I ran the brush into the case, then rolled the case on the pad, making sure not to get any lube on the neck or shoulder. I then placed it into the shellholder, and ran the press up. The primer didn't pop out, and another few minutes was spent re-adjusting the decapping pin, to make sure that went ok. I then ran a few more through the press, and noticed that I was getting dimples on the shoulder.

2. What caused the dimples on the shoulder?

I was unable to resolve the problem. I disassembled the die, and cleaned it out, I found no debris of any kind in the die. I also verified the little vent hole in the die was clear. I did notice that the little vent hole was right where my locking ring was. Unable to resolve this, I took the half a dozen cases that I had run through so far, and decided to give military crimp removal a shot.

I set up my RCBS primer pocket swage die, and while in the process of trying to adjust it to properly remove the crimp, I bent the pin. I think I over adjusted, but I wasn't quite sure of how it should feel to remove the crimp, and wasn't too clear on how they should look with the crimp removed. I think I did one or two right, and then over adjusted and bent it.

3. Could I get some clarification on how these should look when the military crimp is gone?

Sorry this is so long, but the several books ( Speer, Hornaday, and Lee reloading manuals) only tell you so much. I am going to hunt around town and try to find a mentor, but for now I am on my own. Hopefully this doesn't sound too awful bad to you all, I recognize the need for precision and accuracy in the process of reloading a cartridge, and am taking it slow. Thanks for the input and help.

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March 15, 2008, 10:09 PM
It's my understanding that if you use too much case lube... you can get dimples on the case. The pressure of the lube on the case causes this. Try using less lube maybe.

WRT to removing the crimp... you just swage the pocket so the crimp is removed... it's like a tiny lip that you "push" away so the primers seat easier. I use the set up that is used with the Rock Chucker... not sure what pin you bent.

March 15, 2008, 10:58 PM
cleaning after depriming just fills the primer pocket with media.why do that?
re-read the Xdie instructions.Arent ou supposed to trim all the cases to a uniform size,then while the 1st case is inside the die,lower the decap pin until the shoulder on the cappin contacts the mouth of the case?
dimpels is a sign of too much lube.Lube pads will co that,apply lube to the pad THINLY.

March 16, 2008, 12:32 AM
Dimples means to much lube.

March 16, 2008, 12:46 AM
Do yourself a favor and get rid of the lube pad.

Dimples mean too much lube. But more importantly mean you got lube on the outside of the neck or the shoulder of the shell. Air can not escape from those places when you resize and forms a dent. It will shoot out when you fire them if they are small. If the case has creased, it would be best to discard them.

I like Lee lube I just rub it on with my finger. Or get a spray on lube.

When adjusting the depriming pin make sure it goes into the hole in the shell holder slightly. raise ram and adjust with no case.

March 16, 2008, 01:34 AM
I used to use a pad.

Now I use Hornady's "One shot" spray with the 223 cases in a 80 hole RCBS block. Fast, easy, and no dents.

You'll get good at it quickly with just a bit of practice.

March 16, 2008, 06:58 AM
I agree with Sommerled except for the Hornady One-Shot. I long ago ditched that stuff for Frankford's.

I usually place 100 or so .223 cases on a cookie sheet, spray once, give the sheet a little shake and give one more spray. You can immediately start the sizing/depriming.

FWIW I stuck 2 .30-06 cases in Dillon's carbide dies using Hornady's One shot, none with Frankfords.

Dave P
March 16, 2008, 07:09 AM
Plugged vent hole: I get out the dremel and cut a vertical slot thru the vent hole - this allows the pressure to escape around the lock ring - cause they always seem to be covered by the lock ring.

March 16, 2008, 07:39 AM
Case Lubing: You don't need a thick layer.
I don't necessarily agree with the "get rid of the pad" philosophy. Like anything else, experience will teach you how much lube is excessive and how much pressure to apply. Personally, I do not like the Hornady product and find Imperial Sizing Wax to be a superior product.

The RCBS swager:
The pin I beilieve you are refering to is the rod which supports the case web as the swage button pushes up into the primer pocket. RCBS cautions it can be bent if adjusted too far downward. Get a replacement from RCBS and don't expect to get it right the first time. Swage a case, examine, and move the rod down a hair. Repeat process until it is just right, that is, until the crimp ring has been pushed aside. Be aware that primers may still be slightly harder to seat than in "virgin" or commercial brass.

March 16, 2008, 08:19 AM
Thanks for the input everyone, I am going to try it out again today.

March 16, 2008, 08:45 AM
Apply a very thin layer of Imperial sizing lube to case (except shoulder) with fingers, & thin layer to inside neck with Q tip, then size. Wipe off with paper or cloth towel, & inside neck with Q tip. No more dents!

March 16, 2008, 08:51 AM
You have the Dreaded Lube Dents.

Folks make lubing their cases way too complicated. All you need is a 1 gallon freezer bag, and either One Shot or a watered down spray bottle of Lee Case Lube. Squirt a little bit in the bag, toss your cases in there, roll 'em around awhile, pour 'em out on a towel; let dry for 20 minutes, and you are ready to go. You can lube up 1000 223 cases in about 5 minutes.

Best of all, the Lee lube is a dry lube, so you can store it indefinitely in its lubed and ready to go state, so that you just grab and go whenever you are ready, AND you don't have to clean the lube off afterwards if you don't want to... but if you do want to, 15 minutes in the tumbler and you are GTG. Since it is a dry lube, powder doesn't bridge in the case neck or stick to your brass, neither does lint or grit or such things. It really is the best alternative.

After that is the Imperial, which I now use for resizing bullets.


March 16, 2008, 09:33 AM
I then went to lube my brand new lube pad, and boy was that a mess. I squeezed the bottle of RCBS case lube that came with the kit hard enough that the nozzle end came flying off, and about 3/4 of the bottle went on to the pad in about 2 seconds. The next 5 minutes was spent scraping the lube and funneling it back in to the bottle.

Sorry about your poor day but this part made mine feel a little better :D

March 16, 2008, 03:14 PM
When I was in your shoes (a couple months ago), I learned that the directions for sizing die adjustment are useless. After adjusting according to the directions, I found that I was not getting enough sizing going on. I got an LE Wilson case gauge, and found that all my sized cases were coming up over max. It is real easy to get a quick go/no go measurement with that, and you can then know that your cases are being sized properly.

As far as lubing, I put the cases out on a t-shirt, and spray lightly over them with One-shot. Roll them a half turn, and repeat. I angle the spray so that it is getting inside the necks slightly as well. I have not had any problems with dents or anything else.

March 16, 2008, 04:34 PM
Since 1960 I have tried every commercial lube on the maket and some that weren't (ex: STP,and electrical wire pull lube). The absolute best is Imperial Sizing Die Wax. NUFSAID!

Steve in PA
March 16, 2008, 06:14 PM
I've been using a lube pad for almost 18 years now. Nothing wrong with the lube pad as long as you know how to use it. Accidents, such as using too much lube your first time, do happen. Its not the end of the world.

March 16, 2008, 06:45 PM
A little thing that I do w/ lube is get a spray lube and a ziploc bag and chuck the brass in the bag and give it a couple of squirts and jiggle the bag. Works great for me...

As for re-tumbling brass after all is said and done, I don't do that. I retumble AFTER I reload, so the completed ammo goes in w/ corncob to get the lube off and all that.

March 16, 2008, 07:02 PM
Well, the pad soaked up the rest of the lube really well, I went out today and tried some more, and things were working great. I have a Wilson case gauge, and they fit in there like a charm after I resize. I will get a new pin for my swagger this week, and give that a shot. I may try some of the really good lube ideas you all listed later, but am happy for now, now that I'm not bathing them in lube when they roll over the pad :D

Thanks a lot for the information everyone, I really appreciate it.

March 17, 2008, 11:54 AM
I then went to lube my brand new lube pad, and boy was that a mess. I squeezed the bottle of RCBS case lube that came with the kit hard enough that the nozzle end came flying off, and about 3/4 of the bottle went on to the pad in about 2 seconds. The next 5 minutes was spent scraping the lube and funneling it back in to the bottle.

Ditto, you're not alone. :p

March 17, 2008, 12:04 PM
Imperial die sizing wax is wonderful and simple

March 17, 2008, 04:25 PM
As a precaution for too much lube on the neck you could always wipe the necks off before you size them. That should keep you from getting the dents. I use both methods of lubing depending on my mood for the day. I will say that the ziploc and spray method works like a champ. You can also use mica for the inside of your case necks instead of brushing it every time.

Urbana John
March 17, 2008, 05:03 PM
I use a pad and RCBS case lube-2, but then I wash them off with hot soapy water----place on a cookie sheet under a light bulb and let dry-----then re-tumble them again after they're loaded, but that's just me!!!

BUT THE VERY MOST TIME SAVING "TRICK" OF MINE when reloading military brass is----vice mounted on bench---electric vsr drill in vice with a chamfer tool in the drill. this will remove the crimp very quick and easy!!

Don't have to separate the casings or readjust the swagging die.

This works VERY well with ALL military brass----been doing it for years and have reloaded "reloads" many times without any problems.


March 17, 2008, 05:34 PM
Get some spray lube. Easier and cleaner.

March 17, 2008, 05:43 PM
I'm recently new to swaging and have been using the RCBS swager all weekend. You really don't need to use a lot of pressure. Watch the bottom of the shell as it goes into the die. You'll see a very tiny gap between the shell base and the swager. A little pressure will close that gap. It won't go any farther than that. I was worried I wasn't using enough pressure so I pulled ten WCC I had swaged and primed them. Went in nice. Haven't tried any TZZ brass. Those seem to take a slight bit more pressure. These were .45 auto btw.

March 17, 2008, 07:12 PM
I'm going to echo what most have already said but here it goes. Keep in mind I load for 223, 308 and '06 which I use for High Power or John C. Garand matches and use GI brass for all of it.

Lube Pad. I've been using mine for 25 years or so. I use RCBS case lube 2. This stuff wipes off with a damp rag. You don't need a lot of lube....I put a little lube on the pad and work it in with my finger. I then take a few cases and roll them across the pad a few times. I always have to add case lube to the pad when sizing because the cases are too dry. All you need is a light film of lube. When you get dents in the case necks it's because you have too much lube. These dents will fire form out on firing.

Swage: I have the RCBS swage along with the use of a Dillon Super swage. I also bent the rods on the RCBS swage and a phone call to RCBS should get you new rods. I like the "feel" of a swaged pocket over a cut one. The RCBS swage only needs a enough swage to slightly round the edge of the primer pocket. If a primer still goes in hard then swage just a little more. One of these days I'm buying my own Dillon Super Swage. These are light years ahead of every thing else.

Die set up: The X die as I understand it needs a case trimmed to a length RCBS suggests on the first size. For 223 its important you put the ram all the way up, turn you die down until it's firm on the shell holder, lower the ram and give the die another 1/4 turn and then lock the lock ring. You will have "Cam Over" on the press. There should be no daylight between the shell holder and the base of the die when there is a case in the die and the ram is all the way up. Failure to turn the die in far enough down will result in hard to chamber/eject rounds. I found 308 and '06 is not so picky but to have proper size you will still have to set the die as above.

I use Hornaday match bushing dies for my 223 and 308. I get at least 10 loadings out of my 223 before group size starts opening up.

Best money I've found to date for making smaller holes in the target is by uniforming the primer pockets. Plus no high primers. I have a Hollow Possum Which has a cutter on each end. I use the side I'm not using in my drill. You would need a good caliper for set up and the uniformer comes with a chart to set depth.

Don't think for a minute you are alone with the problems you have come across. ;)

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