The indentations on the shoulders of these cases were caused
by an excessive amount of lubrica-tion. Remember
a little case
lube goes a long way. Use it sparingly.
resizing a case, a lubricant must be applied. There are several
different types of lubes available today, with all intending to
provide the same end result; to allow the easy resizing of a fired
case, without galling or sticking in the resizing die. The three
most popular methods of applying lube to cases today are the case
lube pad, spray on lubes, and hand applied wax lubes.
case lube pad is the oldest, and probably the most commonly used
method of applying lube to cases. In use, a case lube pad is saturated
with lubricant, and the cases are then rolled across the pad. In
doing so, a light film of lubricant will be transferred to the case,
readying it for the resizing process.
the last few years spray lubricants have become popular, largely
for their convenience and ease of use. While instructions will vary
slightly from one brand to another, most require the cases to be
lubed to be spread out on a cookie sheet or similar large tray,
where they can be lightly sprayed with the lube. There are some
differences in the individual brands that must be observed, in regard
to waiting periods after the lube has been applied. Some lubes allow
the cases to be resized immediately after application, while others
must be left to dry for five minutes or so. Follow the
manufacturers instructions for the particular type and brand of
lubricant you are using for best results.
last form of lubes are the wax based lubricants, such as Imperial
Sizing Die wax. These are applied by wiping a small amount on using
the thumb and forefinger. Pulling the case through the fingers with
a slight twisting motion will spread enough lube on the case to
accomplish the job. One advantage to applying lubes in this manner
is the ability to spread lubrication to the case neck and body,
while avoiding areas that should not be lubed, such as the shoulder.
Wax based lubes give especially good results when being used in
case forming operations and other extremely demanding applications.
Whichever type of lube is used, be careful not to overdo it. Excessive
lubrication doesnt make the job any easier; it only makes
it messier, more expensive, and will damage cases by collapsing
the shoulders with lube dents.
of the type of lube, or how it was applied, it must be removed once
the sizing process has been completed. This can be done by simply
wiping them down with a clean rag, or running them back through
the case tumbler. Water soluble lubes can be thoroughly removed
with warm water and a touch of detergent, but make sure the cases
are completely dry (inside and out) before attempting to continue
the reloading process. The cases should be air dried only, and NEVER
dried in an oven. The average kitchen oven can easily reach temperatures
that will anneal brass, rendering the case excessively soft and
extremely dangerous to use. Spreading wet cases out on a cookie
sheet placed in direct sunlight is a safe and effective way to dry
them and is the preferred method. Again, NEVER USE THE OVEN FOR
dies deserve a special mention here. Carbide is an extremely hard
material with an extremely low coefficient of friction. As a result,
it can be used to serve two different purposes in a resizing die;
to reduce or eliminate the need for lubrication, or to greatly increase
the service life of the resizing die. Carbide resizing dies have
become quite common for straight-walled pistol cases, since they
do eliminate the requirement for lubricating cases prior to resizing.
Utilizing a carbide ring that is permanently impressed into the
base of the die, the remainder of the die is made of more conventional
tool steel. This carbide ring is the only portion of the sizing
die that actually works the case.
carbide sizing dies for straight-walled cases do eliminate the requirement
for lubrication, in our lab we have found that a small amount of
lube on the cases will make the cycling of progressive presses much
easier. Considering the vast number of progressive presses in use
today, this has become a major selling point for this type of die.
When using carbide dies in this role, the amount of lubrication
is reduced to a minute fraction of what would normally be used.
We generally lubricate a large number of cases by simply placing
a drop of lube on the thumb and forefinger, and smearing it about
in our hands. With the brass in a dish pan or similar container,
we then handle the brass by running our hands through them, letting
the cases slip through our fingers. This places a minuscule amount
of lube on the cases, and makes the operation of the press noticeably
easier. Again, it should be stressed that the amount of lube on
the case is so slight that it cannot readily be felt to the touch,
and does not need a separate step to wipe it down later. Such is
the advantage of carbide dies for straight-walled pistol cases.
are also carbide dies for bottle-necked rifle cartridges available,
but these are intended for another purpose entirely. Constructed
with a carbide insert that runs the entire length of the die, carbide
dies for bottle-necked cases do require lubrication. Due to the
difficulty in working large pieces of carbide they are extremely
expensive, often running in excess of $200 for a sizing die alone.
Their use is normally limited to commercial reloaders who need the
greater tool life offered by carbide, which is said to be well in
excess of one million rounds. Given the fact that few reloaders
will resize enough rounds in a lifetime to wear out a set of standard
steel dies, carbide rifle dies are mentioned here only as a point