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May 4th, 2008

Tech Tip: Dangers of the Decapping Die

Recently one of our Forum members complained that he wasn’t able to set his primers flush to the rim. He tried a variety of primer tools, yet no matter what he used, the primers still didn’t seat deep enough. He measured his primers, and they were the right thickness, but it seemed like his primer pockets just weren’t deep enough. He was mystified as to the cause of the problem.

Well, our friend Boyd Allen diagnosed the problem. It was the decapping rod. If the rod is adjusted too low, the base of the full-diameter rod shaft (just above the pin) will contact the inside of the case. That shaft is steel whereas your case is brass, a softer, weaker metal. So, when you run the case up into the die, the shaft can actually stretch the base of the primer pocket outward. Most presses have enough leverage to do this. If you bell the base of the primer pocket outwards, you’ve essentially ruined your case, and there is no way a primer can seat correctly.

The fix is simple. Just make sure to adjust the decapping rod so that the base of the rod shaft does not bottom out on the inside of the case. The pin only needs to extend through the flash hole far enough to knock the primer out. The photo shows a Lyman Universal decapping die. But the same thing can happen with any die used for decapping.

Universal decapping die

Whenever you use a die with a decapping pin for the first time, OR when you move the die to a different press, make sure to check the decapping rod length. And it’s a good idea, with full-length sizing dies, to always re-check the height setting when changing presses.

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May 4th, 2008

Sunglasses for When You're NOT Shooting–Serengetis for Under $70.00

Smart shooters know they need a quality pair of ANSI-certified, impact-resistant shooting glasses, the kind we list in our comprehensive Guide to Shooting Eyewear.

But active shooters need MORE than a pair of shooting glasses. Think about a typical out-of-town two-day shooting match–you drive for hours, then spend most of the day standing around in the sun. The actual amount of time you’re shooting the rifle or on the firing line is probably only one or two hours a day, max.

So consider the numbers–you need shooting glasses for maybe 4-5 hours total over the weekend. But you need regular sunglasses for another 20+ hours.

Accordingly, we recommend shooters have a clear or lightly-tinted pair of ANSI safety glasses for shooting, PLUS a second, darker pair of sunglasses for general outdoor use and driving–these should be quality sunglasses, not $7.00/pair junk from a convenience store.

Consider this–If you have a QUALITY pair of driving glasses you will arrive at your shooting match with less eye fatigue. That means you will be able to see better, with less strain, through that $1000+ scope.

There are many quality brands of sunglasses, but we prefer Serengetis with the “Drivers Lens”. Most Serengetis have extremely high-grade, optically-correct lenses. The rose-brown Drivers Lens filters 95% of blue wavelengths. That reduces eye fatigue and increases sharpness — and that’s no BS. Because blue light focuses at a different point than other wavelengths, by filtering it out, far-away objects will appear more sharply focused.

Serengetis typically sell for $100 or more. We’ve found a source, Sunglasses Giant, that sells Serengetis (with Drivers Lens) for just $68.94. We like the Serengeti Summits because they have strong frames, photochromatic (light-adjusting) lenses, and decent side coverage. The Bromos are similar, but with a tortoise-style frame. Optics Planet also has the Summits with Drivers Lens for $71.95. Summits retail for $120.00 elsewhere. NOTE: Summits and Bromos are also available with a rose “Sedona” lens. Avoid that. Intended for snow skiing and mountaineering, the Sedona lens is too dark and too pink.

Serengeti Sunglasses

This editor has tried many of the other name brand sunglasses such as Bolle, Hobie, Maui Jim, Oakley, Smith Optics, and Vaurnet. I’ve owned them all. Serengetis offer a better, sharper lens than any of them. And nothing beats the Serengeti for driving. For fishing, snow-skiing, or boating, polarized SR-91 Kaenons are great–but that’s not what you want for general driving use. Polarization blocks 50-80% of visible light.

If you order the Serengeti Summits or Bromos, remember that these are NOT safety glasses. You need separate ANSI-certified safety eyewear for the relatively short amount of time you’re actually shooting or situated near the firing line.

FYI, Serengeti is a division of Bushnell Outdoor Products, a company that supports the shooting sports.

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