Lube Die or Lube Pad?


January 31, 2010, 01:12 AM
Hey Guys

What's the advantage of one over the other?

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January 31, 2010, 02:16 AM
I use Imperial sizing wax manufactured by Redding. It comes in a shoe polish type can. This will last you a lifetime and is not messy.

January 31, 2010, 04:15 AM
A little Imperial wax or mink oil (from the shoe dept) on your fingers works great and lasts and lasts.
Something else I've started using is Teflon spray from Blaster corp. Put brass in a Margarine tub and spray and shake a little. Gives you a dry lube that just wipes off.

January 31, 2010, 04:22 AM
Imperial Die Wax only way to go! Finger applied.....

January 31, 2010, 06:19 AM
I've always used a small amount of Break Free on a pad. Now whether it is better or worse I don't know because I really haven't tried a whole bunch of lubes. It has worked fine for many years and I never screw with success. But.... all I shoot is rifles. Not sure it would be as easy with .38s?

January 31, 2010, 07:31 AM
Imperial lube for years. Tried several brands but always end up coming back to Imerial lube.

Peter M. Eick
January 31, 2010, 08:37 AM
I still use a lube pad because it came with my press and I have still two bottles of rcbs lube to burn up. Since this is at least another 5 years worth of lube, I won't switch to anything else yet.

The key is to figure out what tool you have, can you make it work and why replace something until you use it up. I will probably switch to imperial eventually, but I had to waste what I have already got.

January 31, 2010, 08:47 AM
Back to your original question.

Lube the brass or lube the die.

Lube the brass. All lube systems are designed for this method. It would be tough to spray lube up into the die.

January 31, 2010, 08:58 AM
RCBS Case Lube II or Imperial Sizing Die Wax. Applied with the fingers. Haven't used my lube pad in over 20 years.

Never tried the lube die. I imagine it works well.

January 31, 2010, 09:14 AM
Lyman teflon spray--lube the brass.

January 31, 2010, 09:27 AM
I lube the brass with Hornady One Shot case lube. Been using the stuff for about 15 years with no problems. Yep, you have to shake well before using.

January 31, 2010, 10:18 AM
I posted earlier, but do folks realize just about any slick substance will work? Slick feeling dish washing detergent actually works well.

David Wile
January 31, 2010, 11:42 AM
Hey folks,

Maybe I am wrong, but I think we missed the point of Chagasrod's original post concerning "Lube Die or Lube Pad - What's the advantage of one over the other?" I thought he was asking about the use of a lube die in a progressive press rather than using a lube pad before placing cases into the progressive. Then again, maybe I'm wrong about what he meant.

In any case, I still use a lube pad at times, and I also use spray lube at times when sizing cases using non-carbide dies. However, since buying a progressive LNL press over 12 years ago, I have always wondered how the lube dies worked, but I never bought one to try them. My understanding is that you need more than one size of lube dies to fit a large variety of case sizes. I have never seen any in person, so I wonder how they work. Is there a lube "mop" inside the die which you apply lube to it every so often? I think RCBS sells several sizes of lube dies.

Surely there must be some folks here who use a lube die in their progressive presses. Could someone tells us how they work? Also, could Chagasrod tell us if his original question was about the lube dies I am asking?

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

January 31, 2010, 12:28 PM
I've always used a lube pad and Lee tube lube. No reason to change.


January 31, 2010, 12:35 PM
I have the RCBS lube die. I have used it for .223 on my LnL AP.

I've also used the wax (the Hornady kind, which I presume either is or works just like Imperial wax). The wax is great--far superior to the lube on the RCBS pad, or Hornady one-shot (you pays your money and takes your chances with One-shot).

Anyway, the lube die works shockingly well. It's less messy than wiping the wax on each case w/ fingers, and you can resize a ton of cases *FAST* with the lube die.

I'm working toward being able to reload .223 on my LnL, with the lube die in station 1 (it has a decapping pin too, so I can prime between stations 1 and 2 as per normal), then the RCBS X-Die in station 2 for resizing (the X-die controls case length growth, no trimming), powder drop in station 3, bullet seating in station 4.

When I've used the lube die like this (I have only resized--I'm still getting all the X-die-prepared brass), naturally the lube has to be removed. I've tumbled the cases w/ corncob for about 20 minutes to remove the lube, works fine.

The short version is that I'm quite happy w/ the lube die. Works as advertised, and it's FAST to prep a ton of cases. And w/ the X-Die, you can move right along.

January 31, 2010, 12:38 PM
Just so everyone is on the same page.
RCBS Lube Die instructions:


January 31, 2010, 12:42 PM
I posted earlier, but do folks realize just about any slick substance will work? Slick feeling dish washing detergent actually works well.

While all these guys are painstakingly copping a feel on each and every case applying imperial wax I've already shot, sized and have my cases in the tumbler using a $1.30 can of cheap nonstick cooking spray.

David Wile
January 31, 2010, 06:34 PM
Hey RC,

Thanks for the RCBS Lube Die PDF which I have printed. I don't know how well they work, but this is the most information I have seen on them thus far. I went through the list of rifle calibers, and it seems I could use all four die sizes, and even then they apparently will not do a few other calibers like 30-40 Krag, 303 Brit, and 7.62X54.

Is there anyone here who uses these dies and can give some information on them? If they really worked well, I wouldn't mind buying them.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

THe Dove
January 31, 2010, 06:53 PM
I use both the lube pad and one shot, depending on what mood I'm in. I like them both. Never used the Lube die so I can't speak on it.

The Dove

January 31, 2010, 11:21 PM
Thanks David. I Just wanted to know if the lube dies are somewhat an advantage over the pad.
I'm curious if the lube dies get the job done like the pads.

David Wile
February 1, 2010, 10:51 AM
Hey folks,

When I am working on cases which require lube to be sized, I have been using a lube pad for over 50 years. With the lube pad and regular old messy RCBS lube, I can say that it has been a long time since I have either had a case stuck in a sizer die or had lube dents on the case shoulders. A little experience with the use of a lube pad can result in regular success with resizing cases.

However, I have always disliked the chore of removing the lube from the cases after they were sized, and I refuse to put lubed cases in a vibratory cleaner to remove the lube. Yes, it will remove the lube, but it also ruins the media for actually cleaning the cases, and corn cob media was always too expensive for me to use it to clean lube from cases. Accordingly, I have always cleaned my lubed cases by washing them in a small coffee can of gasolene and letting them dry on a towel. Then they came out with the spray stuff, and it worked like a charm - as long as you made sure the cases were completely covered. Getting them completely covered with the spray stuff was a lot more expensive than doing them on a lube pad. When the spray stuff works, thatís great, but I found I sometimes had problems with some cases that apparently did not get enough lube, and sometimes cases would get stuck.

After a few years of trying the spray stuff and getting cases stuck occasionally, I decided to stick with the old fashioned lube pad which I was good enough to use without getting cases stuck nor getting lube dents. When working on the progressive press with rifle cases, I lube them all on a pad and then feed them to the press for the progressive rotation. When I heard about the RCBS lube die, it seemed like a good idea if it actually worked properly. If so, I could be feeding the cases with a clean hand rather than having to handle messy lubed cases.

If the lube die works, I will still have to remove the lube from the finished rounds, but a gasolene soaked towel would do that job just fine. I just need to know if lube dies actually work well, or if they result in stuck cases every now and then like the spray stuff.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

February 1, 2010, 11:57 AM
Hey David, didn't you get the memo that it is impossible to clean things safely with gas? You gotta buy expensive, specially packaged cleaning solvents, or the whole world will fall apart!:what:

Sorry, just had to do that. Goes along with the cooking spray lube a few responses back.:o

(I fell for that a while back, and now have a majority of a gallon of kerosene left over, as I don't really change the bottle of kerosene I soak things in all that much. Its such a waste, it would have been better to just steal some gas out of a can.)

February 1, 2010, 01:07 PM
I use Imperial on an ancient RCBS lube pad. 1) I find that it evenly distributes a minute amount of lube over the entire case surface. (Just enough to easily see your fingerprints.) This makes a can of Imperial last for-EVER. 2) I don't have to worry about a glob of lube causing a mis-ire or hang-fire. 3) I also find that a lot of the corn cob dust stays on the pad and never makes it to the dies.

The RCBS pad is not my favorite. At one time I had a large 8x10 un-inked stamp pad from a local office supply store. I thought that held the lube better than the synthetic RCBS pad. In another 20 years when this pad gives out, I may go back.

David Wile
February 1, 2010, 04:11 PM
Hey Xcgates,

Yes, I do on occasion have folks tell me my use of gasolene for a cleaning solvent is dangerous, and some have seemed to be certain I am lucky to be alive. Now I don't suggest that gasolene is not a dangerous product, but I would also submit that knives, battery acid, rat poison, gun powder, lighter fluid, and many other products are also dangerous if they are not used in a safe manner. I can tell you that my use of gasolene as a cleaning solvent was learned from my father and his father. Any time some piece of dirty, greasy machinery was torn apart for fixing, we cleaned the parts in gasolene with the use of a stiff bristle brush. Now I am not suggesting anyone use a tub of gasolene to clean things. I use a can about the size of a 3 pound coffee can, half full of gas, and slosh the loaded rounds in the gasolene for a few seconds and then wipe them off on a towel. No sparking tools involved.

I never used any cooking spray to lube cases. It might be fine, but I still haven't finished a case of RCBS lube I purchased maybe 35 years ago. I still have about three or four cans of the regular spray stuff, but like I said before, I am more comfortable with the old lube and pad method.

Hey Wobbly,

I find it interesting that you prefer an ink pad over the RCBS lube pad. When I first started reloading, I did not want to pay for one of the expensive RCBS or other brand lube pads. Instead, I bought a new cloth covered ink pad and used it for maybe ten years until I finally spent the money for an RCBS Lube Pad. When I got that RCBS pad, I thought I had finally arrived. The RCBS pad was a fair bit bigger than my ink pad, and I could roll more cases on it than I could on the ink pad. To this day, however, I still have the ink pad sitting around.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

February 1, 2010, 04:14 PM
I used a lube pad for twenty years very successfully (with RCBS case lube) and then bought carbide sizing dies for my pistol calibers...never lubed a case again!!! Can single-stage press reload 50 rounds of .38SPL in about 30 minutes, start to finish, including primerpocket cleaning with a hand drill turned cleaner.

Rifle calibers, carbide sizing dies and very lightly pad-lubed cartridge cases.

Hope this helps!

Friendly, Don't Fire!
February 1, 2010, 04:27 PM

Lay two or more rows of about ten and roll a couple of times and if you feel a lot of resistnce upon resizing, just roll one or two more times.

I find that you don't want too much lube, or the shoulders of bottleneck cases will start to dent. You can almost go with lube one, one dry, lube next next dry, but not quite.

I never tried two or three "to" one unlubed.

February 1, 2010, 04:56 PM
Imperial sizing wax, only way to go IMO. I started with RCBS pad and lube, what a messy process when compared to the wax.

February 2, 2010, 09:15 AM
Thanks David. I Just wanted to know if the lube dies are somewhat an advantage over the pad.
I'm curious if the lube dies get the job done like the pads.

I guess, judging by the continued posts asking whether the lube dies work, that you all just missed post #15 where I talk about using one.

It works, and works well. I use it for (.223) where I use it in conjunction w/ a resizing die.

I don't know what else people are looking for.

And FWIW: I've found the wax to be excellent, the Hornady One-Shot to be very iffy. But the lube die is fast--as fast as you can resize, you're also lubing. And I haven't had any stuck cases w/ it.

February 2, 2010, 10:35 AM
Mongoos33, how are the cases when they come out. Do they require wiping and/or tumbling?

Shawn Dodson
February 2, 2010, 11:55 AM
I have RCBS lube dies I purchased for handloading .223 and 6.8. I always seem to encounter difficulty in filling the lube die. RCBS Case Lube 2 is pretty thick and doesn't flow well out of the bottle's applicator tip. A lot of squeeze pressure is required on the bottle to get it to flow into the tiny hole in the lube die, and then there's always the question in my mind as to how much lube I actually dispensed.

I finally gave up with the lube dies and now I just throw a handful of cases into a plastic grocery bag, apply a few squirts of RCBS case slick from a pump bottle, and shake the bag to distribute the lube.

I tried Hornady's One Shot pump bottle but I encountered inconsistent results and plenty of stuck cases.

I have an RCBS lube pad that I've never used. I also have Imperial wax.

If I could get better results with the case lube dies I'd use them. Maybe somebody out there has some good dope to share to make these things work better than what I've experienced?

February 2, 2010, 01:46 PM
qajaq59: Yes, they will need to be cleaned with something, either wiped or tumbled.

Shawn Dodson: I had the same problem with dispensing the lube from the bottle until I simply made the hole bigger. Use a tiny drill bit--works well. Then it flows easily.

Shawn Dodson
February 2, 2010, 01:58 PM
Thanks! Should I drill out the hole in the bottle applicator or the hole in the lube die?

February 2, 2010, 02:58 PM
I like Hornady one shot for pistol brass because it's quick and works great.

For rifle, I've had issues with stuck cases when sizing brass when using one shot, so I use Imperial sizing wax for rifle.

A tip with Imperial: A little goes a long ways! If you get too much on the inside of the case necks, powder will stick to it (think 22 caliber) and prevent proper powder flow.

February 2, 2010, 06:51 PM
I am old school, I use lube pad and RCBS case slick. Works great. Just tumble lubed cases for 30 min and ready to go.

February 2, 2010, 11:45 PM
I've been using a RCBS lube pad for the last 4-5 years. I read this thread and saw where some were using mink oil. Well I tried the mink oil tonight and I think I have just found a new way to lube my .308 brass. It went much smoother than the RCBS lube.

February 3, 2010, 12:23 AM
Shawn: Drill out the hole in the tip of the bottle. It only takes one good squeeze, then, to replenish the lube in the die. Maybe 2 seconds.

Shawn Dodson
February 7, 2010, 08:51 PM

Thanks for the tip. I drilled it out using a 5/64" drill bit. The lube dispenses a lot easier now!

With compliments.

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