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Case Lube Question

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Post by mikemyers Mon 20 Jul 2020, 22:49

From the first time I ever reloaded, I was using RCBS everything, including their case lube.  My dies are now Redding, and while setting up the Redding 45 ACP dies after cleaning, I used RCBS Case Lube 2 and the lubrication pad.  Everything seemed to work well.  The only die that "struggled" at all was the taper crimp die.

Taking advice from this forum, I had ordered 300 cases of Starline brass.  I did the first 50 cases yesterday.  For lubrication I sprayed on Hornady One-Shot Case Lube, spraying from several different angles so everything would get lubed.  My impression is that it didn't work as well as the RCBS lube.

When I run the case into the crimp die, I hear a "scraping" sound which I assume is from the bell, and after the press has finished the stroke and starts to return, if feels like the case is somewhat "stuck" in place.  It quickly breaks free, and all is well.

I tested a few cases with RCBS Case Lube 2, and while I still had the same effect on the crimp die, it was reduced.  


The Hornady lube is very convenient, and I don't end up with greasy fingers.  I suspect the RCBS "grease" is more effective.  For the next 100 rounds, tomorrow, I think I'll switch back to Case Lube 2.  

Was wondering what you guys think, and what you use?
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Post by REConley Mon 20 Jul 2020, 22:54

I have never ever used any case lube with 45 ACP cases. I have always used RCBS tungsten sizer die.
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Post by mikemyers Tue 21 Jul 2020, 07:55

Either I've been doing something wrong since 1980, or doesn't it make the press run more smoothly, even if it isn't needed?  Of course, back then I didn't have a carbide sizing die, and when I got one, I was already into the habit of using lube.  Nobody ever told me specifically to NOT use it.  

I guess the appropriate thing for me to do today, is to try loading without the lube, and see how it feels.
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Post by Axehandle Tue 21 Jul 2020, 08:52

A little case lube even with a carbide size die makes things just run smoother.  I place my cases in a plastic coffee can, spray them lightly, shake them around and let them sit for a minute before sizing.

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Post by STEVE SAMELAK Tue 21 Jul 2020, 08:56

Besides going thru the press  smoother it makes it easier on my wrist & elbow if I give a shot of One Shot.
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Post by John Dervis Tue 21 Jul 2020, 10:35

I have very limited experience using case lube.  It isn't really necessary on straight wall pistol cases when using Carbide dies so I never used it.  I've loaded a small amount of rifle rounds in my life which need lube and for that I used RCBS lube on a pad.  Recently I have tried some of that One Shot spray lube for the pistol cases just to see if thing would run smoother.  My take away is that it does improve the cycling a little but the spray lube is not nearly as slick as the RCBS lube was. 
 Regardless of the lube you are using, I think would be gone by the time you hit the tamper crimp station.  The hiccup you feel going in might very well be the bell so maybe try adjusting that first.  You should also check the amount of crimp to make sure you aren't crimping it too tight.  If you are, maybe that is holding onto the shell longer than it should which gives you that feel as the loaded round is being pulled out of the die. 

Good luck.
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Post by BE Mike Tue 21 Jul 2020, 11:31

I always use case lube. I use either Lyman or Hornady spray. I spray it on an old t-shirt and dump in the cases. I pull up the corners of the shirt and "massage" the brass. The older I get, the easier I want things to be. Virgin brass is especially hard to size compared to even once fired brass. You didn't make it clear whether the brass was virgin Starline when using the two lubes and comparing.
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Post by fc60 Tue 21 Jul 2020, 13:20

Greetings,

Look closely at your finished taper crimped cartridge.

Do you see little scratches at the case mouth?

Brand new cases; or, cases washed extremely clean, tend to gall/chip weld to the die.

As routine maintenance, you may have to remove the taper crimp die and polish away the built up brass galling with 600 grit, or finer, abrasive paper and a lubricant, kerosene, WD40, Windex, etc.

The above issue also will show up on your expanding plug.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by mikemyers Tue 21 Jul 2020, 20:57

John Dervis wrote:........Regardless of the lube you are using, I think would be gone by the time you hit the tamper crimp station.  The hiccup you feel going in might very well be the bell so maybe try adjusting that first.  You should also check the amount of crimp to make sure you aren't crimping it too tight......
With RCBS lube, the cases seem to stay "lubby" (is that a word?) forever.  The Hornady spray dries off.
Bell is adjusted in the Redding die exactly how the guys at Redding told me to do it - just enough bell so the lead bullet moves a small amount into the case.
Crimp is at 0.468 as instructed by both Terry Labbe and Dave Salyer.

The expansion die is unusual - it does a lot more than "belling".
The depth is adjusted until the "final taper" is large enough for the lead bullet to start to slide in, so it's centered, with no more bell than necessary.

Case Lube Question PremDieSetsForHandgunCartridgesExpander
It took forever to get things to come out looking right.
I completely lost my desire for a combination seating/crimping die - as a gazillion people in the forum had told me.
Not sure how I used it for all those years since 1980....   Now I know better.

Back to this thread - if I load the rounds right after spraying them, the Hornady lube seems to work OK.
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Post by New2BE Tue 29 Sep 2020, 06:25

I too use case lube. Dillon or Hornady one shot for pistol; Redding or Imperial sizing wax for rifle with the exception of 223 which always gets Dillon. I wear Nitrile gloves when using chemicals reduces the exposure.

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Post by mikemyers Tue 29 Sep 2020, 07:31

fc60 wrote:
Look closely at your finished taper crimped cartridge.......Do you see little scratches at the case mouth?........Brand new cases; or, cases washed extremely clean, tend to gall/chip weld to the die............As routine maintenance, you may have to remove the taper crimp die and polish away the built up brass galling with 600 grit, or finer, abrasive paper and a lubricant, kerosene, WD40, Windex, etc..........The above issue also will show up on your expanding plug.


  • Most people have told me they don't use case lube on 45 ACP, so I stopped using it.  Surprisingly, the cases go through my RCBS Pro2000 just as smoothly as they used to using lube.  
  • In a few weeks I'll start reloading 38 Special again; Since their shape is different, is case lube recommended?
  • Dave, regarding your question from July, this is a photo of a round loaded last week.  Do you still see the scratches you referred to?


Case Lube Question Img_3315
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Post by DA/SA Tue 29 Sep 2020, 09:43

There doesn't appear to be any crimp.
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Post by james r chapman Tue 29 Sep 2020, 09:55

DA/SA wrote:There doesn't appear to be any crimp.

++1!
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Post by STEVE SAMELAK Tue 29 Sep 2020, 10:47

I see a different texture or shadow line about 1/8" from the case mouth.
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Post by mikemyers Tue 29 Sep 2020, 11:04


  • The diameter of my Starline cases, is between 0.470". and  0.4715"
  • The diameter of my crimp varies between  0.4665"  and  0.4675" 
  • Dave Salyer suggested 0.468" for my crimp diameter; Terry Labbe approved, but I think he uses something less than that.



That leaves me stuck.  I agree that my photo appears to show no crimp, but I know there is SOME crimp, as I can measure the difference, and "feel" the crimp being applied, but if I crimp more, so it's visible in my photos, it's going to be far less than the 0.468" that Dave told me to do.


Curious - suppose I set the crimp smaller.  At some point, since the case is located on the end of the case, if the crimp is too much, the case will go too far "into" the gun.  What is the goal, to avoid that?
Also, if the crimp is not enough, the round won't pass the "plunk test" that I do with a match barrel for ever round I load.

What crimp are you guys using?
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Post by mikemyers Tue 29 Sep 2020, 11:10

STEVE SAMELAK wrote:I see a different texture or shadow line about 1/8" from the case mouth.
Steve, would that be the point where the crimp just starts, meaning anything "under" that line would not have been squeezed by the crimp die?
I got out four rounds to compare, and I think I see something, now that you've mentioned it.  I'm not sure.  I can photograph six rounds side by side:

Case Lube Question Img_3316

It's not much, but my eyes see 'crimp' with the shells side by side.
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Post by james r chapman Tue 29 Sep 2020, 11:17

Those appear to have adequate crimp
The first looks like it wasn’t crimped at all
Only closed up by the seating die
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Post by mikemyers Tue 29 Sep 2020, 11:45

james r chapman wrote:The first looks like it wasn’t crimped at all
Jim, you can probably blame that on the photographer.  I held my iPhone directly over the cases, and very close to them.  That means that at either end of the photo, one round is "covering up" part of the next round.  My fault.  They all should be close to identical.  You can test this - hold two rounds next to each other, ten inches or so in front of your face, side by side.  Observe the gap from the crimp.  Now, move your hand to your right a foot or so, but make sure the two rounds are parallel to each other and the wall in front of you, just like they were when you held them in front of your face.  The "crimp" wlll gradually  appear smaller and smaller, and eventually will vanish completely as one round blocks your vision of the next round.

I can re-take the photo later, using a real camera, and a longer focal length lens, so the rounds don't "overlap" each other so much in the photo.

I'm still curious - what crimp setting do you guys use for 45 ACP?

And also, is case lube needed for 38 Special?
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Post by cdrt Tue 29 Sep 2020, 11:59

Posts like this one always confuse me, since reloading manuals state, that if you are using carbide pistol sizing dies, you do not need to lubricate the cases. I was always told to clean cases before sizing them to make sure gunk did not accumulate on the carbide ring in the die. By using some kind of lube, this defeats that. For reference, I am looking at the second edition of the Sierra manual, page 14.  So, I have never lubed a pistol case when using carbide dies and have never had a problem.
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Post by mikemyers Tue 29 Sep 2020, 12:14

Very long ago, I read similar things, but I thought they were just telling me that with carbide dies, the case will not be likely to get stuck in the die as if you didn't use lube.  I assumed the lube was to prevent stuck cases.  Back then, I was loading 44 Special and 45.  

The Hornady spray-on lube seemed to make my press easier to operate, so I kept right on doing it - but with 45, I guess it wasn't needed.  If I don't need to use it for 38 Special, that's good news for me.

Saying "you do not need to lubricate the cases" is exactly what I remember.  Way back when, I had no way to clean my cases.  Now they come out of my Thumbler tumbler looking brand new.  It's also dead quiet, so I forget it's even running.  All I do is shake the cases in a "tray" with holes on the bottom so the remaining media drops out, and they're good to go.  I forgot the product name, but can look it up if anyone wants me to do so.  Inexpensive, simple, and fast!
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Post by CR10X Tue 29 Sep 2020, 12:25

Everybody has their own preference.  I had the same questions when I got started years ago.  Since I did the following, I've lubed cases using carbide dies and never had a problem either. 

I did this:

Loaded 1,000 rounds on a progressive press with carbide dies and no lube.

Then loaded 1,000 rounds on the same press with carbide dies and cases that were laid out on a towel and lightly sprayed with Dillon (lanolin/alcohol based) case lube and then lightly rolled around on the towel to remove the excess.   

I know my arm could tell the difference and I got smoother press operation.  So I went with lube and never looked back.  

And to my mind, the more consistent the press operation, the more consistent my rounds will be.  Most people use way too much lube and make a mess of their dies.  If everything is clean going in, then it's just lube above the carbide ring and you clean it out just like you need to clean your dies (resize, seater and crimp) anyway.  So it really didn't make any difference in the cleaning schedule anyway.  

As for die issues?  20+ years with the same Dillon sizer die, couldn't tell you the round count.  Shot a 96-3x / 95-2x / 96-4X long line .45 yesterday so the rounds are still ok. (Not my best ever, but I wish I could do that more often now that I've gotten so old and the wobble doesn't settle down as much as it used to.)
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Post by noylj Tue 29 Sep 2020, 14:09

1) No case lube ever needed for .45 Auto with carbide dies.
2) RCBS Case Lube Pad and RCBS Case Lube has worked perfectly for me for almost 50 years. 
3) Expander dies and bullet seating dies can be difficult if you haven't lightly chamfered the case mouth inside and out and if you remove all the natural dry lube that a fired case has in it. All new cases should be chamfered. All cases you pick up from the range should be lightly chamfered. After trimming bottleneck cases, lightly chamfer the cases.

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Post by PacFltShooter Fri 16 Oct 2020, 15:54

I bought the more expensive carbide dies strictly because I didn't want to lube the brass.  RCBS lube that I started out useing was always so sticky and hard to get off the cases.  The pad got dirty and was impossible to clean.  I hated it.  Found the Lee sizing lube, which is water based and it comes off nicely.  I no longer use a pad and just apply with my fingers.  No more mess!
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Post by farmboy Sat 17 Oct 2020, 08:09

IMHO - It's all personal preference even with carbide dies.  I use wax in the media when I clean my used brass or any extras I might pickup at the range and it makes press operation very smooth.  With new virgin brass I will lightly spray with Hornady Lube or throw them in my tumbler with a little wax depending on how much time I have.
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Post by mikemyers Sat 17 Oct 2020, 10:33

In a dry tumbler, how often should the media be changed?  I assume it eventually wears out, an takes longer to get a good cleaning.  Mine is several years old - I suspect it's time to replace it.  

All the "case lube" and other junk that is cleaned off the cases is now part of my old media.

I'm using a Thumbler's Tumbler, but I think this question applies to all dry tumblers.
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