questions about lee trimmer and oily cases


September 11, 2008, 10:15 AM
okay, these two things don't have to do with each other, but i thought it'd be better to throw both 'noobie' questions in one thread.

1. i bought a Lee cutter + lock stud and a Lee depth gauge + shell holder for my 223 (it says 223 on the package). well, i can't figure it out. the shell holder is a number 3 i think, and it's way too big for 223. the shell holder is supposed to screw onto the lock stud which is then chucked into a drill. the depth gauge is supposed to screw into the cutter? and that's supposed to be held with your hand while you do the trimming? doesn't seem to be working out...

2. i had a stuck case last night so bad i bought another die set. i spent 45 minutes trying and it's not worth the frustration to me. i still have it, but i'll work on it another time. anyway, with the new die, i made sure the cases had enough lube so i used ATF (automatic transmission fluid) just lightly coated them with my fingers and now they are pretty oily after resizing.

should i soak them in hot/soapy water or alcohol to remove the oil? i don't want to dirty up my media by tumbling them again...

thanks so much for all the help!

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September 11, 2008, 10:37 AM
I'll bite on #1...

your description sounds correct. Just keep in mind that the shell holder for the trim system is differnt than what you use in your press.

You just start threading the shell holder onto the lock stud. Then you slip the case head into the slot that's created and tighten the shell holder the rest of the way down....nice and firm. The rim of the shell hoder clamps 180 degrees of the case hard up against the flat lock stud surface.

Can't remember what shell holder number goes with the .223 set, but I can check tonight.

September 11, 2008, 10:40 AM
For your shell holder problem I'd get back with what ever out fit you bought it from (ie Midway USA, Gafs, etc.)

Are you lubing the inside of the case neck? I use Lee paste and swipe some of the access off my finger across the case opening. Seems to be working out fine (resized/decapped about 1000 cases so far).

I don't know what you should do for cleaning you cases, since ATF won't dry (at least not in the time you need it to). I'm sure hot soapy water would do the trick, just dry them quickly so not to get water spots it you care (I care, I preheat the oven to about 175-200 when the wifes away, or set out in direct sun light on a real hot day)

September 11, 2008, 11:36 AM
You could try Dawn direct foam with a teeny bit of water cleaning your cases. The foam eats through grease on my dishes so i'm assuming it will eat much of the oil on your cases.
For future lubing I would reccomend either Dillon case lube (pump) or hornady one shot lube (I believe same as dillon) I take my cases and dump em in a box in a single layer. spray em once, shake, spray again and let em dry. Size and trim, then back in the tumbler. Re-prime and store them in a jug until I intend to load them.

September 11, 2008, 12:19 PM
Imperial Wax for lubing cases is the best advice I've gotten over the years. Lasts a long time as I've loaded about a thousand rifle cases(just started with bottle necks) and have barely made a dent in the can. Just lightly wipe a finger over the wax and it's enough for a case or two.

I took a tip from another loader on the case trimmer. I got tired of constantly screwing and un screwing the shell holder from the lock stud and my old fingers cramping from twisting the trimmer or the case slipping out of the shell holder that was locked in my hand drill. Now I use my drill press on low speed. Chuck the trimmer into the jaws and while it's running, slide the case over the pilot with the pilot in the flash hole and lower onto a flat metal plate. Don't force anything!

I've done hundreds of .223, 30-30, .308 and 30/06 cases that way. It's quick and they all measured out perfectly with out my hand and fingers cramping up..

September 11, 2008, 12:33 PM
thanks for the replies, guys!

i used the one-shot case lube when the case got stuck in my new dimension hornady die. i was real anal about everything and it still got stuck bad. oh well.

September 11, 2008, 12:37 PM
The Lee shell holder for the 223 is a #4. Dont use ATF, it tells you on the container to wash hands after use, it is slightly toxic. Use Dillion spray lube, it is the best I have used. Hot soapy water should clean remove the oil and rinse with hot water. Dawn is great on grease and oil.

September 11, 2008, 12:53 PM
i chucked the cutter/depth gauge into a cordless drill just to see if it would work, but it trims the case too short. i think that shell holder/lock stud stops the small protrusion at the end of the depth gauge from going too far. so, i think i need to run back up to the store and see if they have a #16 shell holder that i can thread the lock stud on?

man, this is getting to be a pain. :fire:

edit- a number 4? that will screw onto the lock stud and i should be good-to-go?

September 11, 2008, 12:53 PM
Continue on your path, and you will have two dies with cases stuck in them!

ATF is no way near satisfactory for case lube. It doesn't have the high film strength necessary to work as case lube.

One-Shot will work perfectly if you use it right.
I just sized 1,000+ GI .223 cases using it without a problem at all.

You must wait for the carrier solvent to completely dry off of it before trying to size however.

I dump a couple hundred cases in a mixing bowl, spray them lightly, stir them around, and spray them lightly again. Then stir them around again.

Then as I pick each one up, I "wipe" them with my lubed fingers to get off any excess and make sure the whole case has a very thin coating.

Enough of them will be standing mouth up in the mixing bowl to keep the expander button lubed.


September 11, 2008, 01:03 PM
i laid about 50 of them out in a perfect row with the mouths facing me. gave them a light even coat, rotated them 180 degrees, and repeated. i waited 5 minutes exactly and rubbed them down with my fingers like you described.

i have no idea what happened. they were all a little tight from the get-go, so i sprayed a few cases a little more and let them dry so they had extra lube. i figured it was because i just cleaned the inside of the die and it was completely void of lube.

i don't think i was using excessive force when trying to get the stuck one out, the rim just snapped off.

believe me, dropping $600 on this reloading stuff made me want to make sure everything was being done thoroughly and properly.

September 11, 2008, 03:37 PM
Where did you get your brass? Is it all 1 headstamp?

September 11, 2008, 04:06 PM
it's assorted. i can get some actual headstamps on here later if you like.

anyway, i got ANOTHER depth gauge+shell holder 'kit'. this one had the right #4 shell holder, the first one i bought had a #3, even though the package said 223.

irritating, but now i'm in business. it is cutting them to 1.750, which is a full tenth shorter than what my reloading manual says, 1.760. is this a problem?

i've got little dimples on the sides of some of my cases, shame on me for using ATF :rolleyes: shouldn't be a huge deal, right? i mean, shouldn't the dimples pop back out when i fire the brass again?

sorry for all the questions, you guys are lifesavers

September 11, 2008, 04:35 PM
1.75" is the standard trim to length.

1.76" is max. length. So you shoot, resize and measure. If longer than 1.76" you need to trim.

I'd call up Lee and tell them their packaging people put the wrong holder in the kit. They should hook you up with some kind of fix.

Here's a great link for loading .223

tiger rag
September 11, 2008, 08:23 PM
What RCMODEL said.

September 11, 2008, 08:58 PM
When you have assorted headstamp range pickup that is fired from lord knows what you will enounter some that are harder to size. I used One-Shot mostly with good results I encountered some brass that required a better lube. It was PPU or similar. The Lee case lube worked better for that. It was either the brass or rifle it was shot from but it was harder & got stuck easier.
Some case lube substitues I have heard that are good is mink oil, lanolin or wire pulling lube. Key word is substitute.
Good luck & let us know what you figure out.

September 11, 2008, 09:08 PM
Try Ballistol

September 12, 2008, 12:25 PM
it is cutting them to 1.750, which is a full tenth shorter than what my reloading manual says, 1.760. is this a problem? 1.750" is the "trim-too" length.

1.760" is the maximum case length. Longer then that and you need to trim.

You sure your loading manual doesn't say that?


September 12, 2008, 02:58 PM
I'd call up Lee and tell them their packaging people put the wrong holder in the kit. They should hook you up with some kind of fix.

a few months ago, I bought a Lee case trimmer at a GS and when I got home I found the threads on the shaft were cut crooked and would not screw into the cutter (I discovered this almost a month after I bought it (also had no receipt). I called LEE and 2 days later I was sent a new case trimmer, and they even threw in a new cutter for my trouble. I was very pleased with their response. worth a try.

September 12, 2008, 08:01 PM
my manual just has a diagram of the case, with a length of 1.760.

but everything worked just fine. i gave the cases a bath in hot water and dish soap, rinsed them off real good and they are sitting out in the sun now.

going to pick up some primers in a bit, so stay tuned for easy-to-answer noobie priming questions!

seriously, thanks a lot guys.

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