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Old January 26, 2006, 11:22 AM   #1
SMITH910
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Case Lube?

What the heck is case lube and what is it for? I'm thinking about reloading later this year. I heard if you have Carbide dies you don't need this lube, is that true? Please fill me in.
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Old January 26, 2006, 11:48 AM   #2
Ruger4570
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Case lube is needed for the sizing operation of reloading to keep the brass case from being stuck in the die (carbide dies usually don't need lube) The carbide dies are only available for straight wall cartridges. There are many "Lube" manufacturers ie: RCBS, Lyman etc. that make a heavy body petroleum based lube that is put onto a pad and the cases rolled over it to apply the lube. Hornady makes a spray on lube (my favorite) You can also get wax based lubes and some people like plain old Lanolin. They all work well and it is basically a matter of your prefference as to which type you like.
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Old January 26, 2006, 12:12 PM   #3
SMITH910
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So for 9mm and 38 special I can get carbide dies and not have to worry about the lube, but if I reload my .223 I would get regular dies and have to have a lube. Is that a correct assessment? Thank you for your reply!
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Old January 26, 2006, 12:16 PM   #4
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One more thing...

Smith910--Ruger4570 pretty much nailed it--I would add one thing only: Lubes have to be removed before you fire the round, else the case will not grip the chamber walls sufficiently, and will slide backwards and put undue pressure on the bolt face. Not a good thing at all.

Techniques for removing lube vary. I used to use a rag with rubbing alcohol (better solvent than, and dries more efficiently than, water) to de-lube the cases. That was before I started re-tumbling the cases after sizing. The tumbling medium (I use corncob) removes the lube quickly, efficiently, and with no apparent damage to the corncob's usefulness. So that was the end of hand-wiping cases for me.

(Edit to reply to yr last question) You have it right. Straight-wall cases can be sized with (non-lubed) carbide dies. No lube considerations there. Bottleneck cases, if FL resized, need to be lubed, sized, then the lube removed.
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Old January 26, 2006, 01:12 PM   #5
SMITH910
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Thank you, both of you. I learned something. 1 last follow up question. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible, can I reload without a tumbler? Just wipe the cases clean with a rag to keep things from getting too dirty?
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Old January 26, 2006, 01:28 PM   #6
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Removing lube

Smith910--As I said, removing the lube after FL resizing bottle-neck cases is not a "should," it is a "must."

How you get that lube off the case is not as important.

To do so, you can use a plain rag, which will do the job. With a water-soluble lube (I use RCBS Case Lube 2, which says on the label it is water soluble) adding water to the rag--or in my case, rubbing alcohol--serves to dissolve the lube and remove it more efficiently.

So it can certainly be done that way.

Were I you, I'd look into getting a tumbler when I could. Personally, I resisted getting a tumbler for many years, and now that I have had one for some years, feel foolish for having resisted.

But I resisted getting a computer, too.
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Old January 26, 2006, 01:33 PM   #7
keebo52
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No tumbler required.

I reloaded for years before anyone used tumblers. You can just wipe the brass clean, or if you want to wash it you can wash it by hand, run it through the dish washer or it in a cloth bag and wash in the cloths washer. I always just wiped mine clean in the BT (before tumbler) days unless it was really dirty. Just be sure it's clean before you resize it. Grit and debris can scratch and ruin reloading dies.
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Old January 26, 2006, 02:37 PM   #8
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Another beginner question - I am printing all of Lee Precision stuff off the internet to read tonight. Is there 3 dies per "set" and also do you get the "neck" or "full length" sizer for a rifle cartidge???

thanks again!
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Old January 26, 2006, 02:58 PM   #9
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Rifle dies

Smith910--You certainly are asking important questions! A good source to read, whether for newbie or oldster, which has a LOT of excellent how-to and more importantly why-and-why-not-to info, is The ABC's of Reloading put out by Krause Publishing. They are in the 7th edition; the 6th is good too if you run across one. Get it @ yr local sptg gds sto, gun sho, the I'net, or order from the publisher at www.krause.com

As to rifle sizing dies, you may need both a FL (full-length) and a neck sizing die. The neck-sizing die saves wear and tear on the cases, and is useful for sizing just the necks of cases you fired in a bolt action gun which are going back in that same gun. Lee's collet neck sizing die is IMHO as good as it gets. Now, for pick-up brass, or for loading ammo for a self-loader, a pump, or a lever gun, you need to FL size the cases every time, since pickups may be any old size, and for your non-bolt guns, the case gets sprung out enough that it needs the FL treatment every time around.

Even with new-bought so-called "virgin" brass, I check to make sure it all chambers, then run it through the neck-sizing die.

Rifle dies generally come 2-to-a-set, either a FL or a neck sizer, and a bullet seater. Pistol dies generally come in 3's, a FL sizer, a mouth belling die, and a bullet seater. If you order from Lee directly, they will gladly make up whatever set you specify, so for any rifle cartridge they stock, you could get a Collet Neck die, a FL sizing die, and a bullet seater, all @ once. You hear different opinions about some Lee equipment, but AFAIK, nobody knocks their dies.
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Old January 26, 2006, 03:02 PM   #10
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Die Sets

Most rifle reloading die sets consist of just 2 dies. The first one you use is the sizing/decapping die. The second one seats the bullet.

The rifle sizing die sets are available in 3 basic configurations, typically based on what type of rifle you're loading for:

1. Standard, full length dies (Used for most rifles and most applications)
2. Small base dies (Also full length) Required for certain Semi-autos that typically have tighter than average chambers, and some other repeating actions.
3. Neck Sizing die sets. Typically used for bolt action rifles in which you intend the re-use the brass in the same rifle, after it has been fire formed to the chamber of that rifle. You will still need a full length die if you ever intend to reload any brass that has already been fired in some other rifle.

You can typically add a neck sizing die or a small base die to a standard 2-die set, without having to buy the seating die over again.

Several of my rifle die sets consist of all 3 types of sizing dies; the standard, the neck, and the small base. If you want to reload for several different rifles chambered for the same cartridge, you may have to end up with more than 1 type of sizing die.
The small base sizing die will probably suffice for all three configurations, but it will tend to "work" the brass a little more than may be necessary for some of the rifles you want to fire it in. Neck sizing only is the quickest and easiest because you only have to lube (and clean after sizing) the neck of the case, but then it can only be fired in the chamber that it was already fire formed in.
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Old January 26, 2006, 03:24 PM   #11
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You guys are great! I will only shoot the .223 out of the same bolt action rifle everytime and plan on shooting around 500-700 rounds per season, so the brass won't be reused tons of times. So from what your telling me, it sounds like I'd be fine with just a "neck" sizer.

Would a "mouth belling die" be one that opens the top a bit so the bullet gets placed in easier?

Smokey Joe, what do you all reload?
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Old January 26, 2006, 03:29 PM   #12
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Die Set

It does sound like you will only need a neck sizing set for your .223 bolt gun.

The belling operatiion is usually done by the neck sizing die for lead bullets. You should not need to bell the case mouths for the jacketed bullets you'll be loading in the .223 ammo.
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Old January 26, 2006, 04:13 PM   #13
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response

Jclaude has it right re the mouth belling die. I feel you would want a FL sizing die, as well as the neck sizer, to use if you pick up any free range brass. Not so if you get all yr brass by buying factory ammo and shooting it and saving only that brass, or by buying virgin brass.

FWIW, I load target handgun: .357magnum, .38spl, and .45acp. Hunting handgun: .357magnum. Rifle loads: .243Win, .30-'06, .300WSM, 8mmMauser, 7.62x39, .308Win.

I also shoot BP rifle, which of course every round is hand-loaded.
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Old January 26, 2006, 04:41 PM   #14
SMITH910
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Wow Smokey Joe, that's quite a range of ammo to be reloading. Do you use more than one press or do you do a lot of die changing? I was thinking of reloading for .223, 9mm, and .38spl.

Thanks Jclaude for your input too!
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Old January 27, 2006, 12:59 AM   #15
Smokey Joe
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Reloading press

Smith910--@ present I have one press--An RCBS Rockchucker, which gets quite a few workouts. I have a Hornady LNL (a progressive) in the works, which will eventually take over the pistol ammo making, and--I hope--make my life easier. Will still load the rifle ammo on the single-stage.
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Old January 27, 2006, 11:46 AM   #16
SMITH910
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Another question

One more thing, what's the difference between a 3 die and a 4 die set from Lee? We're talking about for pistols here. I can't determine what that extra 4the die does differently or better than the 3 die set. Does it add an extra step that just crimps the case better? Please explain, I think I might by the reloading stuff soon.
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Old January 27, 2006, 10:32 PM   #17
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That's it exactly. The 3rd die is seat only, the fourth is crimp only. This will give you slightly higher quality ammo.

When you seat and crimp as seperate operations, each is done more uniformly. Make sense?
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Old January 27, 2006, 11:05 PM   #18
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Neck sizing is great. It saves wear and tear on the brass, and allows you to skip the lubing step.

However, I think having a Full Length Resizing die is also a good idea. After several reloads, your brass might be pretty tight in the chamber, and need to be FLR'd to push the neck back a bit.

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