Case prep tools, tricks and tips
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:31 PM   #1
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Default Case prep tools, tricks and tips

I enjoy all aspects of reloading. It increases accuracy, decreases costs and can be just as enjoyable as shooting.

Like most reloaders my least favorite part is the case prep. Here is my current process:

(.223 and .308 primarily)
-dry tumble a large batch of spent casings along with dryer sheets just long enough to get the crud off and spare my dies. Usually a few hours.

-Single stage Full length size and de-prime with my primer pocket brush in my press operating hand. This allows me to clean the pockets before tossing into the "to be trimmed" tray

-Lee lock stud chucked into a cordless drill. Load a case into the lock stud and use Lee cutter to trim to length. 80% of cases typically need some trimming. 20% are short enough already and is verified by the trimmer. Then while still chucked up I hit the case mouth with both ends of the RCBS chamfer/deburring tool. Sized brass gets tossed into a ready for final clean tray.

-Dry tumble with polish for 3-4 hours. This shines them up and removes any sizing lube or brass shavings.

-I then use the lee cutter to clean out the flash holes before sorting by headstamp into separate bins

I would like some suggestions on how to speed the process or at least make it less tedious. Please share any equipment, tricks or tips.

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Old 02-18-2014, 11:43 PM   #2
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Are you gauging flash holes? Case weight is more important than powder weight. Are you turning your neck ODs after trimming? If not the cases are not trued to the axis of the bore. Brass does not flow evenly from the web to the neck. Uneven necks can cause high pressures spikes and poor throat alignment to bore.
Spend less time on cosmetics and more on accuracy related mechanics. My thoughts any way.

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Old 02-19-2014, 12:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by nitestalker View Post
Are you gauging flash holes? Case weight is more important than powder weight. Are you turning your neck ODs after trimming? If not the cases are not trued to the axis of the bore. Brass does not flow evenly from the web to the neck. Uneven necks can cause high pressures spikes and poor throat alignment to bore.
Spend less time on cosmetics and more on accuracy related mechanics. My thoughts any way.

Personally, I'm loading for a lightweight barrel 16" AR and a 20" Rem 700 SPS. Do people that aren't benchrest competitors really true the necks and weigh cases? If so, I'll need to be happy with my current 100-150 brass / hour production rate. I've been satisfied with the accuracy of the ammo thus far.
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Old 02-20-2014, 02:38 AM   #4
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Does anyone have input on the RCBS case prep center? Is it worth the cost over a cordless drill?

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Old 02-20-2014, 03:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by nitestalker View Post
Are you gauging flash holes? Case weight is more important than powder weight. Are you turning your neck ODs after trimming? If not the cases are not trued to the axis of the bore. Brass does not flow evenly from the web to the neck. Uneven necks can cause high pressures spikes and poor throat alignment to bore.
Spend less time on cosmetics and more on accuracy related mechanics. My thoughts any way.
Deburing the flash holes is something any reloader should do if they are reloading for accuracy.
If your a benchrest shooter,or shooting in high stakes matches,I can see weighing your cases,bullets,and going to the extent of turning your necks.
A lot of reloaders get very anal about doing things like that. In the 3+ decades I've reloaded,and shot long range,I've never done any of these things,and I've had great success with my shooting.
Hell,I even use Lee dies/presses for most of my reloading,and shoot those cheap ugly Savage rifles.

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Does anyone have input on the RCBS case prep center? Is it worth the cost over a cordless drill?
You can buy several new batteries for your drill for what that thing cost,and it won't save you much time doing it.
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:06 PM   #6
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Does anyone have input on the RCBS case prep center? Is it worth the cost over a cordless drill?
I love mine!!

I found it saves me lots of time... But, I reform lots of '06 into 7.7 Jap.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:45 PM   #7
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I love my wet rotary tumbler. I don't have to clean the primer pockets with a brush anymore (but do deburr flash holes on my RCBS case prep center.). Basically, I tumble first...then de-prime with a dedicated universal decapping die....then size with a full length sizing die...then trim (if necessary) and deburr.....then wet tumble a final time to clean 'em up. I also have a pocket reamer that I use on the occasional case when the primer does not want to seat (I go by feel on this....only happens occasionally, I don't ream every case). Yeah, case prep is the least amount of fun.

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Old 02-23-2014, 03:44 AM   #8
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I love my wet rotary tumbler. I don't have to clean the primer pockets with a brush anymore (but do deburr flash holes on my RCBS case prep center.). Basically, I tumble first...then de-prime with a dedicated universal decapping die....then size with a full length sizing die...then trim (if necessary) and deburr.....then wet tumble a final time to clean 'em up. I also have a pocket reamer that I use on the occasional case when the primer does not want to seat (I go by feel on this....only happens occasionally, I don't ream every case). Yeah, case prep is the least amount of fun.
What is the downside if you deprimed first then wet tumbled? ( if you use SS pins of the right size they should not get stuck)
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:24 PM   #9
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What is the downside if you deprimed first then wet tumbled? ( if you use SS pins of the right size they should not get stuck)
In my experience, there is no downside to decapping first then wet tumbling with SS pins. In fact this is my standard operating procedure. The SS pins do the work of cleaning the primer pockets, and they do it very well - better than a manual tool.

Happy Tumbling......
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:43 AM   #10
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I re-read my last post and realize that I mis-spoke. I also de-cap before wet tumbling. Decapping first is necessary in order for the pins to be able to clean the primer pockets. And that is why I use a universal decapping die, so I wont get my sizing die "dirty" (because I DO decap before wet tumbling).

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