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Thread: Saved by Lee

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan

    Saved by Lee

    I received a batch of nicely cleaned .223/5.56 cases a while back and decided to load them up. I was going to use the 1050 as it swages the primer pocket but I wanted to do some load work ups first. I have four AR's that I have never shot so it seemed prudent to test some different loads before making up a couple of thousand. So I decided to process a number of different test loads using the old single stage.

    I had stuck a case in the sizing die a couple of weeks ago and when I ordered replacement decapping pins I decided to get the Lee Universal decapper on a whim. Not sure why I even mounted it as it seems silly to deprime and then size when it can be done in one operation (and I am lazy). Well, after about 12-15 cases, I found a berdan primer case. Sadly, it was par for this lot of brass. Every 12 -15 cases were berdan.

    If I had been using the 1050, it would have been a disaster. Even sizing separately, I may have bent a decapping pin. The Lee unit worked and saved a lot of frustration.

    I wish I could remember who I purchased those cases from. I can accept a couple of cases slipping through but 6-8% is not acceptable. The money is a minor issue but the pain caused is avoidable.

    ALL military cases that are bought from others will be deprimed with the Lee die to make sure they are boxer primed. I sort by manufacturer and have found that I get a brain phart and sometimes throw a case in the wrong pile. I have even put .308 cases in the 5.56 pile!!! Anyway, the Lee depriming die is a good investment even if it adds another step to an already tedious process. At least you only have to do it once to make sure your cases can be processed on a progressive.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    I used the universal decamped for a while on military brass with crimps also, that idea wore off quickly on the second trip thru for sizing. Only bent one pin on sizing die and it was my fault for using one shot for lube and got stuck case. what brand had benard primers?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Reddirt62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Oklahoma City
    Love mine as well.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    TexasGrunt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Kaufman, Texas!
    I always use my Lyman universal decapper on all my military brass the first time I process it.
    Semper Fi!

    Currently casting for .223, .308, .30-06, .30-40 Krag, 9mm, .38/.357, 10mm, 44 Mag and 45 ACP.

    I like strange looking boolits!

    NRA Patriot Life Endowment member.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Middle of the Mitten
    +1 on the lee universal decapper...I use it on Virtually everything..Not in a Hurrey anyway.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    I have been using a Lee hand punch and base since about 1971. Since using it I have never bent or broken a decapping rod or pin.
    Even it cannot deprime a berdan but it does not break before I figure out that something is wrong. I have lots of spare decapping pins that never get used.

    I typically decap all my brass long before it is ever loaded. Often I decap the next day and store the brass.
    The next cycle is clean and remove all the dirt then size and store

    The next cycle is trim and deburr only if the brass is too long and store. Not much to do here with pistol rounds.

    The next cycle is hand prime and store

    The next cycle is charge powder and seat bullets.

    This way I am never chained to the reloading bench for hours at a time.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    nicholst55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Daegu, Korea
    I once found a piece of .22LR brass inside a case I was depriming with the Lee die! This is after I tumbled them, too.
    Boycott YouTube

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Bayou52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    SE Louisiana
    Steps in the 223 range pick-up case prep process:

    1. Decap with Lee Universal Decapper,

    2. Swage primer pockets with RCBS swage die,

    3. SS wet tumble.

    4. FL size. After SS wet tumbling, the finish is so bright and smooth that even with the thinnest film of case lube, the cases slide in and out of the small base sizing die like butter,

    5. Trim, if necessary then prime and charge...
    NRA Life Member

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    NE Kansas
    I also have the Lee universal depriming die. I would find it helpful from time to time, but never really had a serious need for it. Lately, I have really found it desirable when getting the cases deprimed before the wet cleaning system. I think I "need" to order the tapered expander to smooth out the case mouth of the 223 and will also get a spare rod, just in case.

    One modification I did on the end of the rod was to add just a bit more taper on the end so that it did not catch on the case mouth of the 223's. It is just a little easier to keep going now that it is not hitting that little flat end.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check