April 14th, 2020

Why Cases Can Stick in Dies — And How to Cure the Problem

This article originally appeared in the Sinclair International Reloading Press.

We have all been there…..you place a piece of tumbled brass in the shell-holder of your press, raise it into the die, and suddenly it is like somebody hit the brakes. The case is stuck in the die. Your first instinct is to reverse it out. You crank on the handle, and BANG! The rim rips off the case head and you are looking at a piece of brass stuck in the die.

A stuck case is one of the boo-boos that all of us reloaders have faced from time to time. If proper lubrication is applied, then it should not be a problem. No matter if you are a seasoned reloader or new to it, this situation can happen. Take your time, use the proper procedures, and you will be back in business in no time! This article explains how to avoid stuck cases (through proper lubrication) and how to use a stuck case removal system.

What Causes Stuck Cases
One of the first common mistakes reloaders face is the stuck case. It can be caused by too much or too little lube. Too much and a vacuum can be formed causing the case to become suctioned into the die. Too little lube and friction is the culprit. So what is the cure? There is no exact cure, but the best lube that we have found so far is just a dab of Imperial Sizing Die Wax on your fingers and applied in a thin coat on the body of the case, not the shoulder or neck. Too much of this wax can cause the vacuum effect, or can eventually load your die up with gobs of residue. If it is applied to the shoulder area, or the leftover wax moves up into the shoulder region of the die, you will see dents or dimples in the shoulder. [AccurateShooter.com Editor’s Note: For normal full-length sizing of small cases such as 220 Russian/PPC, 6mmBR, 6.5 Grendel, or 6.5×47 Lapua we recommend Ballistol (aerosol) lube. It is very slippery, goes on very thin, and does not gum up the die.]

A great way to ensure that your dies are clean is to use a simple chamber mop with a dab of your favorite solvent on it and clean out the die. Be sure all of the solvent is out after cleaning by spraying the die out with Quickscrub III or use a clean chamber mop. If you are storing your dies, you can apply a thin coat of a good oil to protect the steel such as TM oil or Starrett M1 Spray.

Using a Stuck Case Removal Kit
If you do stick a case in your die there are a few good stuck case removal kits available. Each one works in a similar fashion. I have found the Hornady kit very effective and easy to use.

Basically what you do is remove the die from the press. Unscrew the decapping assembly and pull it out as far as you can. You then need to drill/tap threads into the stuck case head (this is why it is suggested to unscrew the decapping assembly as far as you can to get it clear of the drill bits). Once this is done screw the die back into the press. You then install the included shellholder attachment on the shellholder ram, and thread it into the case via a small wrench. With some elbow grease you can reverse the stuck case out of the die with the leverage of the press, and not damage the die.

However if the case is stuck….REALLY stuck, you may pull out the threads on the case and you are still left with a stuck case in the die without any way to pull it out. If the case is really difficult to remove even with the use of a stuck case removal kit, do not try to be Hercules with the press ram. Here is a trick that may work. Take the die with the stuck case and place it in your freezer for a couple of hours. Then repeat the removal with the cold die. The freezing temperatures may cause the brass to contract, and make removal easier. If this does not work it is recommended to send it to the die manufacturer. They will be able to remove the case without damaging the die.

Another fix if you can remove the decapping assembly completely is to use a tap hammer and a punch or small wooden dowel to knock the stuck case out. This isn’t the best way since it is very possible that you will damage the die internally or externally on the threads, or both. Send the die to the manufacturer to have this done properly. You will be happier in the long run.

This article appears courtesy Sinclair International. It first appeared in Sinclair’s Reloading Press Blog.

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November 19th, 2019

Forster Co-Ax Press Features Showcased in Video

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. However, right now Midsouth Shooters has Co-Ax presses in stock for $349.99. This price includes a set of jaws. The Co-Ax Single Stage Press accepts any standard 7/8″ X 14 reloading die, but Forster suggests using Forster Cross Bolt Lock Rings for best results. As the Co-Ax is back-ordered at most vendors, you may want to order soon.

If you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video embedded below. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market.

Video Shows Special Features of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Forster Co-Ax Press Video Review
This is a very thorough review of the Forster Co-Ax done by Rex Roach. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

The Co-Ax case-holder features spring-loaded, floating jaws. These jaws have two sets of openings, small and large. This allows the system to adapt to various rim diameters. The jaw plates can simply be reversed to switch from small jaw to large jaw. In the photo above, the Co-Ax is configured with the large jaw openings in the center.

Photos are screen shots from Forster Co-Ax Review by Rex Roach on YouTube.

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November 14th, 2019

Video Demonstrates Lock-N-Load Press Conversion Kit

Lock N load Conversion Kit Die bushing twist lock Hornady

Would you like to swap dies in and out of a reloading press in just seconds, with a quick twist of the wrist? Hornady’s Lock ‘N Load twist-lock hardware makes that possible. This time-saving system uses “die bushings” that screw on to your dies. Don’t have Hornady press? No problem — the Lock-N-Load system can be used with non-Hornady presses via the Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit. This includes three die bushings and one press conversion insert. The adapter will work with RCBS RockChuckers and any other reloading press using a 1-1/4-12 thread. The Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit costs just $15.59 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Watch this video to see how it works.

Product and video tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.

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August 6th, 2019

Lyman Universal Press Stand Review

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($53.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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January 16th, 2019

Cool New Products from Lyman for 2019 — All Winners We Bet

Lyman case trim xpress carbide cutter bushings adjustment wheel Lyman

2019 will be a big year for Lyman. This company is rolling out a number of new products, including three unveiled today: a variable-speed case trimmer, a universal press stand, and a really nice shooting mat. We think all three products offer some very cool features and a lot of performance for the price.

Lyman case trim xpress carbide cutter bushings adjustment wheel Lyman

For 2019, Lyman offers the Case Trim Xpress, a new, affordable variable-speed case trimmer with a razor-sharp CARBIDE CUTTER. Available in either 115V or 230V, the Case Trim Xpress can quickly and accurately trim brass at a rate of approximately 15 cases a minute. The unit has its own power source, and a strong variable-speed motor, so there is no need to use power drills. Using the 10 provided bushings, the unit indexes off the case shoulder — that’s simple, fast and reliable. Plus a precision trim adjustment wheel allows case lengths to be easily “dialed in” to 0.001″ increments. To trim your brass, simply push the case against the carbide cutter until the shoulder stops on the bushing (with precise case OAL set by the wheel). The Case Trim Xpress comes with 10 bushings that fit the most popular bottleneck rifle cartridges, so no pilots are needed. Expected retail price is around $140.00.

  • Fast and accurate — trims approximately 15 cases per minute
  • Variable speed motor and ultra-sharp, long-lasting carbide cutter
  • Utilizes case shoulders for centering and indexing cases (not for straight-walled cases)
  • Comes with 10 bushings fitting the most popular bottleneck rifle cartridges — no pilots needed.
  • Spring-loaded operation allows smooth, chatter-free trims
  • Compact, low-profile design uses minimal bench space

Long Range Shooting Mats HD Lyman

Lyman says that its new Lyman Press Stand is the only press stand on the market that will accept most current single station, turret and progressive presses of any brand. The stand is heavy-duty steel for strength, pre-drilled for common presses. It will elevate your press 9 ¼” above the bench, providing a clear view of all reloading operations while keeping the operator in an upright, back-healthy position. Raising your press can reduce fatigue while giving you extra room (below) to hold bullet boxes and dies.

Press Stand Fits All these Presses and More:
Lyman: All-American 8 Turret, Crusher, Ideal C-Frame, T-Mag, Victory
RCBS: Rock Chucker, Rock Chucker Supreme, RCBS 6 Turret, Pro 2000
Lee: Load Master, Pro 1000, Classic, Value Turret
Hornady: AP, Iron, Lock-N-Load Classic
Dillon: 550, 650, Square Deal
Redding: T7 Turret

Tac-Mat Long Range Shooting Mats

For 2019 Lyman will offer new Tac-Mat Long Range Shooting mats — in both standard and HD padded versions. These mats are long enough for tall shooters, but they still can be rolled into a compact, easy to transport size. The Tac-Mat will be offered in two versions: a basic design in 600D construction with a carry handle and shoulder strap, or the heavy-duty version (HD) in 1000D construction with elbow pads, a built-in bipod stop, carry handle and shoulder strap. We like these new mats — a lot of smart thinking went into their designs and features.

Long Range Shooting Mats HD Lyman

Want more info on all Lyman products? Click this link for Complete 2019 Lyman Product Catalog.

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January 5th, 2017

MEC Marksman Press Review on UltimateReloader.com

MEC Reloading Press Marksman Gavin Gear UltimateReloader

We were impressed when we first saw the new MEC Marksman press. Created by the makers of the popular MEC shotshell reloading systems, the new Marksman combines a sturdy cast-iron frame with a modern