January 14th, 2008

The Universal Decapping Die

A Universal Decapping Die belongs in every reloader’s die inventory. This simple, inexpensive tool allows you to remove primers from any size case, without altering the case body or neck. This die can be useful if you have very dirty brass that you plan to tumble or ultrasonically clean before sizing and loading. If you decap BEFORE ultrasonic cleaning, the ultrasound will clean out the primer pocket. By cleaning before you run the brass in your full-length die, you keep the FL die cleaner and reduce the risk of scratching the inside of the die.

Another benefit of the Universal Decapping Die is that it lets you punch out any occlusions in the flash hole before loading for the first time. Lastly, if you use a progressive press, using a decapping die on the brass first will let you inspect and clean the primer pockets before cycling your brass through the progressive loader.

The LEE Universal Decapping Die is inexpensive and performs as advertised. Right now it is on sale for $7.99 at MidwayUSA. We’ve used a LEE Universal Decapping Die on everything from a 17 Fireball case to a 45/70. However, as delivered with the die, the decapping pin was too large in diameter to fit the small flash-holes on our 6BR brass. Lapua 220 Russian (PPC parent), 6BR, and 6.5×47 brass has flash-holes spec’d at 1.5mm or about 0.059″. The pin can probably be jammed through, but that’s not wise. If your pin is a bit too large you can just chuck the pin in a drill and turn it down slightly with some sandpaper or a stone.