October 10th, 2017

Slick Tricks: Techniques and Tools for Big-Batch Case Lubrication

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. A while back, the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of case lubrication. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed very efficient procedures for lubricating large quantities of cases. This article reveals the USAMU’s clever “big-batch” lube methods. For other helpful hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page on upcoming Wednesdays.

Rapid, High-Volume Case Lubrication

Today’s topic covers methods for quickly applying spray lube to cartridge cases prior to sizing. A typical order for this shop may be 25,000 rounds, so [speeding up] the lubrication process can be a real time-saver. While your ammunition lots probably aren’t this large, the efficient methods discussed here may help save a considerable amount of time over your handloading career. Our case lubrication rates range from 1500-1600 cases per hour, to 2400-2500 cases per hour, depending on caliber.

This shop uses virgin brass, whereas most home handloaders use fired brass, which necessitates some small changes at times. These will be discussed as they arise. Begin with fired brass that has been tumbled clean.

Ensure as much tumbling media as possible is removed from the brass, as when it gets into a size die, it can dent cases significantly. This is a good time to round out dents in the case mouths using a tapered tool to prevent damage from the decapping stem.

First, dump the clean cases into a large box or reloading bin. Shake the bin back and forth so that many cases are oriented with the mouths up. Next, pick up as many cases as is convenient with the mouths “up”, from natural clusters of correctly-oriented cases. With 7.62mm-size cases, this is usually 3-4, and with 5.56mm cases, this can be up to 8-10. Place the cases into the rack slots, mouth-up. Doing this in groups rather than singly saves considerable time. Once these clusters have been depleted, it will be time to re-shake the bin to orient more cases “up.”.

This photo shows a case lubrication rack made by a USAMU staffer.
accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Naturally, adjust the spacing to best fit the calibers you reload. We have found this size … convenient for handling through the various phases of case lubrication/transfer to progressive case feeders for processing. Note that the 1/2-inch angle does not cover much of the critical case area at the base, just forward of the extractor groove, where most re-sizing force will be exerted. As the USAMU uses virgin brass, less lubrication is required for our brass than would be needed for Full Length (FL) sizing of previously-fired brass.

NOTE: The amount applied using our rack is easily enough for our purpose. If using fired brass, be sure to adequately lube this base area to avoid having cases stick in the full-length sizing die.

Using a spray lube, coat the cases adequately, but not excessively, from all sides. Be sure to get some lube into the case mouths/necks, in order to reduce expander ball drag and case stretching/headspace changes. The spray lube this shop uses does not harm primers or powder, and does not require tumbling to remove after lubing.*

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Take a close look at the photo above. The USAMU shop uses a common kitchen turntable, which allows the rack to be rotated easily. We place this in a custom-made box which prevents over-spray on to floors and walls.

Angled Box Method for Smaller Cases to be Neck-Sized
A refinement of the above method which especially speeds processing of 5.56x45mm cases is as follows. A small cardboard box which holds about 100 cases is fitted with an angled “floor” secured by tape. With the smaller 5.56mm cases, usually about 8-10 cases per handful can be picked up, already correctly-oriented, and placed into the box together. This prevents having to place them into the rack slots, saving time.

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

HOWEVER, note that this does not allow nearly as much lube access to the case bodies as does the rack. For our purposes — neck-sizing and setting neck tension on new brass, this works well. If using this procedure with fired brass, take steps to ensure adequate lube to prevent stuck cases.

As always, we hope this will help our fellow handloaders. Good luck, and good shooting!


*A two-part test performed here involved spraying primed cases heavily, while getting more lube into the case mouth/body than even a careless handloader would likely apply. The second part of the test involved literally spraying considerable quantities of the lube directly into the cases, drenching the primers. After a several-day wait to allow the lube to penetrate the primers, they were then fired in a test barrel. All fired normally; no unusual reports were noted. This bolstered confidence that normal amounts of the lube would not adversely affect our ammunition, and we have been pleased with the results over several years.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 10th, 2017

Hunting 101 — Checklist for Hunting Safety

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter
Elk Hunt with Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

Are you a safe hunter? Go through this checklist to find out. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a helpful Safety Checklist for hunters. This Hunting Safety Checklist was produced as part of the NSSF’s “Hunt S.A.F.E.” campaign which encourages hunters (and all firearm owners) to secure their firearms when not in use, and to focus on safe firearm handling and storage. The Hunting Safey Checklist helps hunters follow good, safe practices in the field and at home.

colorado elk hunting winter hunter
Elk photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“Hunting is a time-honored tradition for many Americans, and the hunting season brings a wave of excitement and activity for all enthusiasts,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “It’s also a good time of year to remind firearm owners about … safe and responsible gun handling and storage.”

Download NSSF Hunting Safety Checklist for Families

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter

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October 10th, 2017

The Company President’s Rifle — Fanciest Savage Ever?

Joseph Falcon Savage Model 1899 99 presentation engraved rifle

This unique Savage 99 rifle was created for Joseph V. Falcon, President of Savage Arms in the 1950s.

Joseph Falcon Savage Model 1899 99 presentation engraved riflePresentation Engraved Savage 99 Rifle
When you run the company, you get some pretty nice stuff — in this case you get what may be the most elegant Savage ever made.

This rifle was created for Joseph V. Falcon, who served as President of Savage Arms in 1956. This highly embellished Savage 99 lever-action rifle is chambered for the .300 Savage cartridge. It features deluxe checkering and gold inlays. This presentation-grade rifle boast deep relief engraving with a golden elk on one side of the receiver and a stalking cougar on the other. This rifle was given to Joseph V. Falcon from his friends at Savage in December of 1967. Falcon later donated the rifle to the NRA. This impressive model 99 is currently showcased at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.

Savage 99 Quick History
Arthur Savage invented the first “hammerless” lever action rifle with the entire mechanism enclosed in a steel receiver. This rifle featured a rotary magazine with a unique counter that displayed the number of rounds remaining. The Model 99, as it became known, was the gun that launched a company. There is an interesting history of the company’s logo which features an Indian chief in feather head-dress. In 1919, Chief Lame Deer approached Arthur Savage to purchase lever-action rifles for his tribe’s reservation and the two men struck a deal. In return for discounted rifles and support, Savage received the tribe’s endorsement. By virtue of that association, Arthur Savage added the Indian head symbol to the company’s commercial trademark and letterhead.

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