Decapping question


December 3, 2012, 06:59 PM
I know there are universal cappers...any such thing as a universal decapper?

Reason I ask is I was considering my general process for brass prep. Returning from the range I toss the dirty brass into a vibrating tumbler with corn cob to scrub the general crud off. I then run through the decapping/resizing die on my progressive press additonal step if I gotta lube cases with shoulders inserted there. I then take the decapped brass and liquid tumble to get squeaky clean primer pockets and internals. then back throught the progressive for the remaining steps.

I figured I could save time, corn media, electricity, and pulls on the press handle if I were able to decap the brass by hand and liquid tumble the firing residue then run through the press just once for all other steps. Making any sense?

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December 3, 2012, 07:06 PM
There are universal decapping dies for your press, essentially an empty die body with a pin that pushes out the primer but doesn't touch the case itself. I have one and use it a lot.

But that's another stroke of the press handle. I don't know off hand of an off-press method for doing this.

December 3, 2012, 07:23 PM
I'd suggest tumbling with treated cc/walnut media and quit worrying about clean primer pockets and case innards. I use a Lee universal decapper when decapping rifle brass that I'm going to have to decrimp and trim. I use the RCBS X die after the initial trimming, so I don't have to trim again.

I'd never tumble decapped brass on purpose. I do tumble loaded ammo, just enough to remove the case lube.

December 3, 2012, 11:50 PM
I have a RCBS Universal decapping die. It's basically a hollow die with a spring loaded decapping pin. I've used it on pistol rounds as well as rifle rounds. Works really well.

Additionally, the spring loaded pin is useful in decapping live primers without detonating them.

December 4, 2012, 12:27 AM
Lee has a good Universal Decapping die at a low price.

So does Hornady.

As does Lyman.

Redding has a 2 piece set of Universal Decapping dies.

RCBS sells 2 for large and small cases.

I bought the Lee because I'm cheap and it's not like it needs to be anything special to push out a primer...

December 4, 2012, 12:43 AM
if you don't want to use your press, there's always the lee loader depriming system....basically a hammer and a nail if you're SUPER cheap.....

December 4, 2012, 08:36 AM
Also this thing (

December 4, 2012, 08:40 AM
There used to be a punch and base system for knocking out the primer with a hammer. I think it was part of the Lee Loader kit (aka whack-a-mole). They are probably still available.

But the universal decapping dies for your press is a sexier solution and more quiet. Redding, RCBS, and Lee make them. There are probably some others.

December 4, 2012, 09:52 AM
I love the RCBS decapping die. I have mine set up in my old Lee Challenger press and that stays dedicated to decapping before the brass goes in the tumbler

December 4, 2012, 10:12 AM
The Harvey tool linked by mdemetz looks interesting. In the videos on the site they show it in operation, apparently just launching spent primers into oblivion as it pops them out. Operating the thing upside down over a bin would solve that.

December 4, 2012, 10:19 AM
I was going to get Lee decapper die. But then in a big box' o dies got i found a die with straight walls then found a 22 cal decapp rod, put them together and saved money.

If you have die parts laying around, try and piece one together.

December 4, 2012, 11:01 AM
Why not just use a universal decapper on your progressive press? I do this with my rifle & pistol brass prior to cleaning.

Only if the brass is really filthy does it get cleaned (washed) first. After decapping I use an ultrasonic cleaner,

This cuts out one wash/dry cycle.

FYI -- I found that the Lee universal decapper works best for me (I have an LNL) with regard to not breaking pins even with crimped primer pockets.

December 4, 2012, 11:45 AM
I have one of those little Lee C type presses with one of there universal decapping dies in it, and decap all my brass before tumbling. I shoot several different calibers during a range session, and dump all my spent brass in the same container, along with any range pickup brass I find, and do the sorting just prior to when I go to decap it all when I get home.

December 4, 2012, 12:08 PM
The nice thing about having a dedicated press is that once the die is set all you have to do is change shellholders.

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