Quick questions on Rifle Dies

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gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
I've loaded a bunch of pistol ammo over the years but never done any rifle stuff. I know I need to lube the cases and seem to remember reading somewere that you could use Johnsion's spray wax. If I recall correctly you just need to lightly mist them. Is that correct? What do you guys use? Do I need to lube the inside of the case mouth too? If you have any other tips that differ from pistol I'd be glad to hear them. I'm setting up to load 7.62x39 by the way.
It can't be to diffrent from loading pistol other than the fact that the case is longer and the dies aren't carbide. I just don't want to go off half cocked like I know what I'm doing and get a case stuck or some such stupid thing. :roll:

Thanks!!
 

SBH4628

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
929
Location
Indiana
I use Hornady One-Shot, It works great,never a problem with both rifle and pistol. Instructions on can. :D Give it a try.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
I use RCBS case lube.

It's not just that the case is longer and the dies not carbide. It's all the funky angles and stuff on bottleneck cartridges.

You probably don't want to lube the case mouth, as if you get lube inside it could screw up the powder. Lubing the outside of the neck isn't a bad idea.

-- Sam
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
That was quick! You guys are great! I'm doing the Sam's Club meat run this weekend so I'll check out the big sporting goods stores while I'm in the "Big City".
All I could find in the way of primers online was Wolf so I ordered a 1000. It cost me $55.95 shipped. A bit pricey but what's a guy to do. I was glade to find them! :shock:
 

Enigma

Hunter
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
2,523
Location
Houston metro area, TX
I use either powdered graphite or motor mica to lube the case neck. Check Midway (or whoever) for this: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?p ... ber=301357

When reloading rifle ammo, die adjustment is much more critical than with straight-wall revolver cartridges. A case length gauge like this: http://www.sinclairintl.com/product/115 ... pace-Tools is good to use to adjust your sizing die. You want to insure that each and every round chambers without issue, and this will go a long way toward achieving that goal.

Use care when adjusting your seating die. If it's too close to the shell holder, it can cause the case to buckle slightly at the shoulder. That will prevent the round from chambering.

I don't know what brand of dies you're planning to use, but every one that I've seen can benefit from some preparation before use. First, disassemble the dies and clean them out. That prevents any debris from becoming embedded in the die body and scratching your brass. Next, chuck the decapping spindle in your electric drill and polish the expander ball lightly with fine sandpaper. You're not trying to reduce the diameter, just to remove any tool marks. This will greatly ease neck expansion.

When you go to reassemble the sizing die, leave the decapping spindle just slightly loose at first. Size the first case and as you run the press handle down, 'feel' for when the expander ball enters the case neck. Stop at that point, and tighten the decapper's lock ring. It is now perfectly centered - or as close as you'll get it.

Also, be certain to buy a stuck case remover kit. You will need it eventually. Regardless of what lube you use, eventually you'll stick a case in the sizing die.
 

Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
Take it easy with the lube no matter what kind you decide on. Lube on the case shoulder of a bottle-necked rifle cartridge case will result in a lube dent. Which usually doesn't hurt anything - the dent will disappear when you fire the round. But a lube dents are "beginner" marks.
I'd never heard of the Johnson's spray wax trick. I'm old school and just use a case lube pad. I DO lube the insides of case necks with a case neck brush that I've first brushed lightly on my lube pad. Then I either tumble my cases or use a rag wrapped around a small screwdriver to get the leftover lube out of the case necks. I tried graphite on the inside of case necks once, but ended up with more graphite on me and my bench than in the case necks. I also tried the spray-on case lube with the same results.
Like I say, I'm old school. Kinda set in my ways I suppose. On the other hand, I only load rifle cartridges for hunting and target practice. So even counting the fact my wife is an avid hunter too, I probably don't load over 500 rifle rounds in a year's time. But you said you're loading for a 7.62X39. That says "semi-auto" to me, and you might be talking 500 rounds per month. If I was loading that many rifle rounds, or even half that every month, I'd get over being "old school" and find an easier, and faster way to lube cases. :)
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
Yep it's fodder for an SKS....BUT, unlike a lot of folks I'm not in to rattling a fourty round mag at a soda can as fast as I can pull the trigger.
I'm gonna start out with the Lee case cutter guage and see if it's the right length. The system works great as long as the pin is right. I've used it with pistol brass and it works great. I've got a new set of the Lee Pace Setter dies which look to be pretty nice. The factory crimp die should make things a bit easier although it's another step. As I understand it I can use my Pro 1000 if I wanted but I think I'll use my single stage press to start with. Do things the "old school way" for a bit.....ain't nothin wrong with that! :wink:
 

Rusty W

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
109
Location
Muldrow Oklahoma
I started loading for .223 a few years ago. I started with the Lee case lube diluted in water and sprayed on the cases. Things went smooth until about the 5th one. It stuck and stuck good. The Lee die allowed me to take a hammer to it and get it out. I thought maybe I didn't get enough lube on it, so I sprayed them again. Stuck anothern. I promptly bought a RCBS lube pad and case lube. I've been using it ever since and have never stuck another case. I now load for 7 different calibers in rifle. I also use the Lee trimmer for most of those. I have a RCBS X-die for the .223 and .308. Trimming is a thing of the past with those 2 calibers. The Lee system is hard to beat though.
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
Rusty W":nsbqfn82 said:
I started loading for .223 a few years ago. I started with the Lee case lube diluted in water and sprayed on the cases. Things went smooth until about the 5th one. It stuck and stuck good. The Lee die allowed me to take a hammer to it and get it out. I thought maybe I didn't get enough lube on it, so I sprayed them again. Stuck anothern. I promptly bought a RCBS lube pad and case lube. I've been using it ever since and have never stuck another case. I now load for 7 different calibers in rifle. I also use the Lee trimmer for most of those. I have a RCBS X-die for the .223 and .308. Trimming is a thing of the past with those 2 calibers. The Lee system is hard to beat though.

I was wondering about their case lube....Sounds like I might not want to try it. Thanks
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
Boxhead":34kuxgq0 said:
Go with the Hornady One Shot spray and don't look back. I have been using it since it came out with zero problems. It is darn convenient too.
Picked some up today thank you guys very much! I also picked up a pound of Reloader 7 and a 50 count bag of Winchester 7.62x39 shells. I was looking for Vit. N103 powder but none was to be had. Couldn't find any .310 bullets neither. All I'm lacking at this point is bullets so I'll see what I can find at Midway.
Got everything at Sportmans Wearhouse.
Powder was $35 and change
Shells were $19.99 same as Midway
 

GaSidewinder

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
32
Location
Northeast Georgia
I have used the RCBS case lube with a case lube pad for 35 years. Seems like the stuff lasts forever. I did try some Lee case lube one time and haven't used it since. It didn't seem to have the same lubrication properties that I was accustomed to with the RCBS.
 

I_Like_Pie

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Messages
659
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I have been using the same bucket of Hornady Unique Case Lube for what seems to be an eternity. It has worked so well that i haven't even bothered with other products.
 

dmazur

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
62
Location
Pacific NW
The cartridge headspace gauge is an excellent tool to have when setting up your resizing die for a bottleneck rifle cartridge. This measures length to the shoulder datum, which is a completely different thing than the trim length.

Assuming your SKS doesn't have excessive headspace, this gauge will keep you in the "safe zone" between too long (won't chamber) and too short (drastically reduced brass life.)

The really bad headspace length is one that chambers but won't let the bolt close completely...out of battery firing can result. (There were some recalls on .17HMR semi-auto rifles related to this. Even though it is a lowly rimfire round, you don't want it firing with the action partially open.)

So, in the interest of safety, I strongly recommend you read up on headspace and make sure you're going to have a successful reloading experience for your semi-auto rifle.
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
dmazur
I'm glad you brought that to my attention. It jogged some memory about that which led me to realize that I DO need to go back and read up on this stuff again. All I ever cared about was pistol when I started out years ago. Seems like a refresher course would be a good thing.
Good Call!
 

dmazur

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
62
Location
Pacific NW
That's OK.

With the CMP currently out of .30-06, there's quite a few Garand shooters deciding to get into reloading for the Garand.

That rifle not only has concerns about proper headspace, but proper choice of powder, as its long, thin operating rod isn't very tolerant of modern (slow) powders.

I am not experienced with the SKS, but I believe almost all gas-operated semi-auto rifles have similar concerns with headspace and reloading. A rifle can have excessive headspace and shoot milsurp ammo just fine. (This ammo typically has thicker brass or steel cases and isn't subject to repeated firings after surviving being fired once.) It's when you try reloading the brass that you can find out about excessive headspace. Even if you resize correctly, head separations can result after very few reloadings.

For the .30-06, the amount of "stretch" that can be tolerated is around 0.006", if I remember correctly. This is the size of the steps on the cartridge headspace gauge. So, as long as your rifle has headspace that is in spec, the worst case stretch you'll experience is 0.006".

Unlike reloading for bolt actions, where it is common to resize for minimum headspace increase (stretch) to prolong brass life, when reloading for gas rifles, it is generally a good idea to resize to minimum length to guarantee reliable chambering. You just have to live with shorter brass life.

For the Garand, many shooters limit reloads to 3 or 4.

So, you should determine what your rifle's headspace is (with a fired case in the cartridge headspace gauge), then adjust so your resizing die makes a case that is "in spec", probably near the minimum end.

Good luck!
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
Continuing on here, I was looking at my sizing die and it is a full lenght sizer die so as long as it is adjusted correctly it "SHOULD" resize the shoulder of the cartridge were it steps down to the neck each time it is sized. I would think that you would want the cartridge to be as close as possible to factory spec.s on an auto loader. I remember seeing a case profile guage that you set the completed cartrige against to check it's profile to see if it was correct but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Does anybody know where to find one?

Another Question:
The winchester brass I bought isn't annealed. I was wondering if this is something I should do? I'm a plumber by trade so I understand the process for the most part. Is this something that should be done before I size them for the first time?
 

dmazur

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
62
Location
Pacific NW
Here's the site that sells the gauge I was referring to. (Dillon's manual refers to this gauge, but doesn't show a picture of it...) You can also get these from Midway. I see that they make one for 7.62x39, so that's good.

http://www.lewilson.com/casegage.html

Regarding annealing, I believe it isn't necessary on new brass. It's after you work-harden the case after repeated reloading that most find it necessary to anneal.

Most semi-autos are so hard on brass (tearing up rims, denting case mouths, etc.) that you'll probably discard the brass before having to anneal it.

You are correct that a full-length sizing die is the correct one to use, if it is adjusted correctly. Technically, anything with a cartridge headspace length between the steps on the gauge should work. You want to adjust near the lower step for semi-auto rifles to there isn't any question whether the bolt will close or not. (Bolt-action rifles actually have enough "camming" force to do a crush fit and chamber cases that are several thousandths over length.)
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
I should have my primers by the end of the week so I'll size them and prime them.....actually I'll have my bullets by then too. I'll be able to load my first rifle cartridge......COOL! :wink:
 
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