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Prepping Rifle Cases

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jason977, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Jason977

    Jason977 New Member

    I'm going to start reloading bulk rifle soon: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=662741
    I will have to resize, trim, and process primer pockets before I even start. I think I've settled on just reaming the primer pockets. Works well for me on the occasional crimped 9mm brass that I find.

    I considered the Dillon trimmer but it's pretty expensive, and I still have to chamfer and debur the case mouth. Still maybe not a bad investment if I'm going to trim every time, but if I buy the RCBS X-Die I only have to trim once, right?

    Now I'm considering the RCBS Trim pro w/ 3-way cutter and a drill attached for power. I can resize then trim a large batch of brass once, and from then on I should be able to set up and load progressively in a single process from then on for the life of the brass, right? Or do I still need to wash or otherwise clean the lube off the cases after sizing? For pistol cases, I put them in a box, mist, shake, mist, and forget about it.
  2. YankeeFlyr

    YankeeFlyr New Member

    You'll still need to check length/trim over the life of the cases.
  3. Jason977

    Jason977 New Member

    From what I've read on the RCBS X-die, once the cases are trimmed short initially users have reported getting many loads (10 or so) without the need to trim, and by that point it's time to retire them anyhow.
    No doubt it is still a good idea to spot check, however.
  4. hang fire

    hang fire New Member

    I have found the Lee trimmers to be fine for my needs. But as I shoot cast boolits at low pressures almost exclusively, once initially trimmed, brass stretching is a nonissue.
  5. fguffey

    fguffey Active Member

    “Or do I still need to wash or otherwise clean the lube off the cases after sizing? For pistol cases, I put them in a box, mist, shake, mist, and forget about it”

    There are slide and glide shooters, I am told they lube their cases, others claim they lube their cases to fire form. Me? I want nothing between the case and chamber but air, clean air, not a lot of air, just air. I will not shoot a lubed case, I like the ideal of the case locking onto the chamber and staying there until the pressure drops, so I would suggest you clean the lube, again, you want nothing between the case body and chamber but air, lube could be considered a magnet to dirt grit and grime, again, I want nothing between the case body and chamber but air, clean air.

    I do not fire form except for the most extreme cases, I form first then fire.

    F. Guffey
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Active Member


    Generally, folks do not bother trimming handgun cases. There are exceptions to that statement, but they are few and far between for common stuff like 9x19.

    The RCBS X-die is supposed to reduce the amount of trimming needed for rifle cases. I understand that getting the initial trim correct is the key.

    You should clean resizing lubricant off your cases before inserting them in a chamber. Many folks clean the cases after sizing but before reloading. Some folks tumble the finish rounds for cleaning.

    There are all sorts of cleaning methods that are available. When I first got into reloading I used an ultrasonic cleaner to wash the cases then let them dry before reloading. I already had the ultrasonic cleaner on hand when I started reloading.

    I later got a tumbler, first a rotary drum then later a vibrating tumbler, which cleans and polishes the cases.

    Wet tumbling with stainless pins is another popular method used these days.

    Note, wet cleaning is not appropriate for loaded rounds.
  7. rayatphonix

    rayatphonix New Member

    I'm on my 4th loading of 260 Remington with RCBS X-Dies. So far I can't really detect any difference in length so the system seems to be working. I did the initial trim as directed.
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Active Member

    For my 3 gun rifle ammo I use the Dillon trimmer and do not debur or chamfer, never had any problems and I even use a bullet feeder that just drops the bullet into the mouth of the case (no weight other than a collum of 10 bullets or so).

    I size and trim on a 650, run them through the anneal machine and load on a 1050. Some cases never get touched by hand until getting case gauged at the end of the process. I haven't found a faster way to make quality ammunition in bulk, yet.
  9. 788Ham

    788Ham New Member

    I de-cap the case, clean the primer pocket, and then throw into the tumbler, this is to remove any lube or wax applied to resize the case. I do it this way to be sure the case in question is ready to be primed and then loaded, once this far into the process, we're good to go. I use a single stage press, don't have the fancy progressive setup, this has worked for me for over 35 years now, I'm comfortable with this.
  10. GCBurner

    GCBurner New Member

    I generally batch process a lot of brass at a time, and just load them as needed. For cases that need lubrication for resizing, I lube, deprime and resize, then check the trim length with a Lee trimmer before tumble polishing, which leaves them clean and ready to reprime and load whenever I want.
  11. Jeff H

    Jeff H Active Member

    I understand your reasoning, but these aren't blowback operated guns. The bolt remains locked until the chamber pressure drops so whether there is lube on the case or not really shouldn't matter.

    I don't bother to clean cases that I use One Shot on, there doesn't seem to be much left after you handle the case a few times, but larger cases that I use Imperial wax on definitely get cleaned. That stuff is great and stays on the cases until you clean it off and I don't need lube on my hands when I am out loading mags and shooting.
  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I would personally never chamber and fire a case that has anything on it, especially lube. Blow back action or bolt actions, makes no difference as to the damage it can do to the bolt face and, or, lugs. This is especially so with higher pressure cartridges that need to sieze to the chamber wall. Once you've set a bolt face or lugs back, you'll never allow anything but metal to metal contact in the chamber. Even a light film can interfere with case sieze enough to seriously damage your action.

    Back in the day when I began reloading, about the only resource for instructional purposes was a good reloading book. I read them cover to cover multiple times, and it was clearely stated that lube or any other element on the case needs to be cleaned completely off prior to chambering and firing. I wipe my brass of with acetone after they've been finished.

    Some folks will fire form using lube to help the process along, but doing it dry is always best, in my opinion.
  13. Jason977

    Jason977 New Member


    Your method seems to give the best of both worlds as far as volume and accuracy. From what I understand, the X-Die is not the best for neck uniformity, and thus a person may give up some accuracy with it.

    But I'm thinking for my needs, I will process all the brass once through: Tumble, lube, size/ deprime, trim, process primer pockets. Then I can load straight through with the x-die on my LnL, then tumble briefly to remove lube.

    Thanks for all the pointers.
  14. Doug b

    Doug b Member

    But nickel is a self lubricating metal and we tumble and polish our cases with Nu Finish that leaves an acrylic coating.
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Active Member

    Jason, FWIW the only reason I never looked into the X die is that almost all of my brass is range pick up after matches and it would take longer to keep track than just dump everything in the collators and go.
  16. Jason977

    Jason977 New Member

    Gotcha. 308 isn't very popular at the matches I go to, so I'm unlikely to pick up other guys' brass anyway. But to be sure, I do plan on marking my cases somehow.
  17. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Active Member

    I found a great way to mark my brass. A small triangle file and make a couple side by side marks in the side of the case head. No rifle makes the marks like I do that I have seen.:)
  18. homatok

    homatok New Member

    Factory and/or Full-length-sized (FLS) brass is going to be smaller than the chamber space cut into your firearm. If the chamber space is excessive, the brass is excessivly streched each time it is fired, setting you up for an early case rupture, if it has been FLS (or is new). Damage to the locking lugs can be accumulative over-time with repeated use of greasy cases. In general, I am in complete agreement with those opposed to putting anything into my chambers that is greasy/oily, except if I am fireforming for a firearm with an excessive chamber space, in which case I will leave the sizing wax in place to fireform initially and then FLS or neck-size only thereafter. Leaving the wax in place spreads any streach out more evenly, rather than having it all occur at the junction of the case head and body. In any event, fired cases must be checked for impending separation after each firing.

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