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 »
July 29th, 2017

Brass Bonanza — 6000 9mm Cases for $135.60

Monmouth Reloading 9mm luger 9x19mm cartridge brass sale
The Sig Sauer P226 Elite is one of our favorite 9x19mm pistols. Now you can feed your Sig, Glock, HK, or Ruger on the cheap. Monmouth Reloading is offering 6000 9mm cases for just $135.60.

Here’s just what you need for the Zombie Apocalypse, or, for those less doomsday-minded, here’s enough brass to let you shoot 100 rounds a week for an entire year. Monmouth Reloading is offering 6000 once-fired 9mm cases for just $135.60. That’s just two cents per case! (You can also get 3000 cases for $68.99.) CLICK HERE to order.

Monmouth Reloading 9mm luger 9x19mm cartridge brass sale

Just about everyone has a 9mm pistol. With modest recoil, and inexpensive ammo, the 9mm Luger (aka 9x19mm) is probably the most popular centerfire handgun cartridge. Now you can get six thousand (6,000) once-fired 9mm cartridge cases for just $135.60, with free cleaning (a $15.00 value). Find a friend with a Dillon 650 and you could load up enough to last a decade.

Lesser Quantities of 9mm Brass at Great Prices Also
If you don’t don’t really need 6000 pieces of 9mm brass, you can also get 3000 for $68.99, or 1000 for just $23.50. Whatever quantity you choose, that’s a serious bargain. Like the larger quantities, Monmouth is offering free tumble cleaning in corn/walnut media for a limited time. ORDER HERE.

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December 31st, 2016

Get 2000 Pieces of Norma PPC or BR Brass for under $800

Norma Brass Sale Midsouth Supply 6mm BR PPC

Someone is going to snag a heck of a deal. As part of its End of Year Clearance Sale, Midsouth Shooters Supply is offering bulk quantities of quality Norma brass at a huge discount. Right now you can get 2000 pieces of Norma 6mm PPC or 6mmBR brass for just $798.26. You can also get twenty-five .22 PPC cases for just $11.06. There are similar discounts on other products at Midsouth, but we just had to bring this to our readers’ attention. That’s enough brass to last a lifetime. If you are thinking of building a PPC-based or BR-based varmint rifle, such as a 22BR, 2000 cases will see you through a week-long varmint safari. This brass would also make a great item for a youth program.

The Norma brass is outstanding — certainly capable of winning matches. It may not be quite as hard as Lapua brass, but it is nonetheless very high quality stuff. NOTE: This is the last day of Midsouth’s E.0.Y.C. sale, so don’t dawdle. You snooze you loose. You could pick up one of these 2000-count cartons and sell off some to your shooting buddies.

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