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Decapping Military Brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Noveldoc, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Noveldoc

    Noveldoc Well-Known Member

    Always a fun chore. I have done it with a bench press and Lee hand press. But that darned pin kept popping out no matter what I did.

    Friend suggested a solution. Get a hand loader. You put your casing in the holder, put in that very sturdy pin and whack it with a hammer. Works every time and great fun to boot.

  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    What! Pin popped out!

    I have deprimed gallons of military brass. I use a Lee decapping die, a single stage press, and I tighten the heck out of the decapping pin.
  3. fatelk

    fatelk Well-Known Member

    That's one of the reasons that I have shied away from Lee dies over the years. I can't stand the way the decapping rod slides up, sometimes no matter how tight you get it. That and their horrible lock rings. I'm sure they must work great for some folks, but I don't like them.

    Lee does make the little decapper punch. It works pretty good and is a lot cheaper than a Lee Loader.

    Personally I just bought a set of RCBS dies with a threaded decapping rod and never looked back.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I have been using the same RCBS .223, 308, and 30-06 dies for almost 50 years, and they still all have the orginial decapping pins in them.

    I can't even remember the last time I broke one depriming GI brass..

    The Lee unbreakable collet decapping stem needs to be tightened with a pair of wrenches and you should have no problem with it "popping out" either.

    Usually what breaks a pin is it was not properly aligned with the flash hole to begin with.
    (or a Berdan primed case slips through the brass inspection)

    To align:
    1. Run an empty case up in the die.
    2. Screw or loosen the collet and "feel around" for the flash hole as you adjust it down.
    3. Leave the pin in the flash-hole while tightening the lock nut.

    That centers all the thread slop and keeps the pin centered in the flash-hole while it is locked in place.

  5. tlen

    tlen Well-Known Member

    I'd switch to a RCBS sizing die for crimped in primers. Been decapping military primers since the 60s and never had a problem.
  6. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    My biggest problem has been the Lee decapping pin punching right through the crimped in military primers. I have a whole baggie of '06 cases with holes blasted through the primers. Someday I'll get around to digging them out, if I ever get the 5 gallons of good '06 brass loaded up first.
  7. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    Same with me. I have decaped thousands of 223 on a Lee classic turret press with Lee Pacesetter dies and have never had a problem with the pin pushing out. You just have to tighten it enough to keep that from happening.
  8. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Never had that problem with the Lee decapper.
  9. firewall_03

    firewall_03 Member

    I had a problem last night with my RCBS decapping die. The pin kept on popping out on me I just got frustrated and gave up on decapping my brass.
  10. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    +1. That being said, I use a Lyman Universal Decapping Die for removing primers from all my cases.

  11. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    I just decapped about 500 crimped-primer .308 military cases with my Lee universal decapper. YOu just tighten the pin with a wrench. No problems, and if a Berdan one slips in it will slide up instead of breaking.
    Had it happen that session, but it was a spent primer had fallen into a case and it was trying to push a primer through the flash hole from the inside. Stopped. Figured out problem. Reset depriming pin. Went on about the job.

    Did have ONE case (FC 09) that the primer face broke and the rim of the primer stayed in the hole. Looked corroded inside, and the case had been fired in a HK anyway, so I tossed it.
  12. fatelk

    fatelk Well-Known Member

    Not all crimped brass is crimped the same. Some are a lot worse than others.

    I can't remember ever having any trouble with .308 or .223 military brass, but the worst I've ever run across was some WWII USGI 30-06, and then some WWII Canadian 8mm brass. There was just no way the Lee dies would work no matter how tight they were, and some of them just punched through the primer, leaving a ring in the pocket.

    Admittedly, this is some pretty extreme crimping, and I'm sure the Lee dies likely work fine on most other brass, but I was so frustrated at the time that I just started avoiding Lee dies.

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