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Thread: Case Lube Types Chapter and Verse

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    "...what I'm wondering is, what lube were you using when you stuck a case. And also, has anyone stuck a case while using either unique case lube or imperial sizing wax?"

    Okay, a couple of good, short questions. But, they really don't have short proper answers, it's just not as simple as you appear to surmise.

    First, I've been loading a loooong time and have used virtually every commercal lube on the market and have tried a LOT of other things as substitutes, just out of curosity. With the commercial lubes I have stuck quite a few cases but each one was MY FAULT, not the lube's. I mean, IF I properly applied a proper lube I've never had a stuck case. I've made a good number of .22-250 cases from .30-06 cases and know that the lube used makes little real difference if it's used correctly, they all get stuck if not done properly.

    When I started loading, all case lubes were pretty much the same; all were basiccally STP, applied with a pad that was soon "dirty" as well as messy. It worked good but I hated those pads and hated getting my fingers in the goo. So I soon started trying to find a better choice. Ditto the loading companies, so today few of us use the old oily types that can harm both powder and primers.

    Basically, we have three lube types; spray, water soluable and wax. Which we use, or should use, depends a whole lot on the volume and how we prefer to apply it. They all work very well and, so far as I know, none of them are harmful to powder or primers.

    Water soluables, Lee's white stuff, RCBS, etc, are basically soaps. They are easy to apply with finger tips or even a pad if we wish. They are excellant case lubes IF properly applied. Good substitutes include some bath/bar soaps having a high lanolin content. Some "saddle" soaps. The various electrical cable/wire pulling lubracants (soft soaps) such as Gardner-Bender (GB) are sold in quarts at Lowe's, H'Depot and electrical supply houses for very little cost considering the quanity.

    Commerial wax lubes include Imperial and Unique. They are soft enough to touch our finger tips to and transfer the wax to each case as we pick them up. Waxes are clean and easy to remove from both fingers and cases. I really like them. Good substitutes include Kiwi "Mink Oil", "Sno-Proof", "Snow Seal", etc., leather boot treatments, all soft waxes. Pretty good, workable for sure, substitutes include Johnson Paste Wax and others of that type, Kiwi (Neutral) Shoe Wax, the soft wax-lube sticks marketed for lubing auto door latches, Chap-Stick lip balm, Oldham saw blade lube for woodworkers. Some of the toilet wax ring seals sold to plumbers are good too but tend to be more greasy than other waxes.

    Sprays seem to be mostly mixtures of lanolin and alcohol. Sprays are best when doing large quanities of cases, especially so with a progressive press. All of the spray lubes have the lube itself mixed with a rapid drying solvent, the alcohol or another "carrier". They don't stay mixed so it's necessary to shake the containers well before AND during use to keep them mixed. Then allow sufficent time for the carrier to evaporate before attempting to size.

    It appears that many users get failures with sprays because they spray their cases standing in a loading block which effectively shields the lower part from getting much lube in the critical area! That's NOT a good idea! When I use sprays (which is seldom because I'm not a high volume loader) I place the cases on a sheet of newspaper to catch the over-spray and that allows me to spray the entire case, IF I roll them around a little while doing it.

    If the user only shakes the spray once before use the contents will seperate. By the time he gets to the bottom of the can there is ltttle lube left. With only carrier remaining, he WILL get stuck cases. Moral: Shake it up, often, as it's used and cover the full case length.

    No matter the type of lube, WE MUST LUBE THE LOWER CASE OR THEY WILL GET STUCK! Sticking has virtually nothing to do with the internal finish of a sizer die, nor the brand of case, nor how much the case must be sized down; it has to do with a lack of lube where it's needed, period. It's clear that many reloaders over-lube the upper half of their cases and apply too little to the lower part. Excess lube up high makes lube dents on the shoulder, too little on the thicker, harder lower part assures many stuck cases.

    A final factor, especially when a die has been cleaned internally, is to cover the die wall with a good layer of lube before sholving the first few cases home. Doing that is easily achieved by giving the first 2-4 cases an extra thick coat AND then inserting those few cases into the die in a series of 4-5 short strokes, allowing the lube to move around on the die walls a bit before pushing the the cases fully up. I clean my size dies internally prior to each use so this start-up step is VERY important or I will get STUCK CASES, no matter what lube I'm using.

    Bottom line; the type or brand of case lube we use is largely irrelivant but the way we apply it and use it is not.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    I stuck a case using Imperial for the first time two weeks ago. This the first stuck case for me after reloading for a very long time. The end of your post is the reason it got stuck. I cleaned the die very well about a month or longer before this happened. I did not break in the clean die, which by the way I cleaned with Kroil to leave the die with no lubrication whatsoever. I think your method of lubing the die is right on target. After I carefully ran a few cases with a little more Imperial and then went back to the normal amount of lube I have not had a single problem. Excellent post.
    Mark
    Last edited by monkeymt; 03-28-2010 at 01:59 PM. Reason: was not done writing
    Never trust a woman or an automatic pistol - John Dillinger

  3. #3
    Boolit Master zardoz's Avatar
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    George, I don't see why not. Welcome.

    I was just doing a search on this myself.

    One item of note, I have discovered recently. I made my own spray lube using 91% isopropyl, and liquid lanolin obtained online from a vitamin web site. The lanolin did drop out of solution if not shaken regularly.

    Until....I mixed in a few drops of Dawn dish detergent, and shook it up, and the lanolin now seems to stay in solution. I used a little trigger type spray bottle of the type found at Wal-Mart. with the sample size toothpaste and shampoo bottles. About 6 oz. or so. The bottle sat for a whole week after the detergent addition, and no beads of lanolin sank to the bottom.

    I filled with isopropyl, and put in maybe 1/4 oz. of liquid lanolin. Later, the dish detergent, maybe 1/3 teaspoon or so. Cases have a very slick, slimy feel right after spraying.

    It works pretty good on 308 cases so far.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Have used the lanolin and alcohol mix. Works well, but tough to get off. Just tried some RCBS lube and alcohol, about 3/4 oz to 16 oz of alcohol(91%) on '06 cases. Seems to also work well. Put sized cases in a large baggie with hot water and a little dishwashing soap and rinsed with hot water. Seemed to get most of it off the cases.

  5. #5
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    Well, I`m not a closet mad scientist! I have a hard time stirring my coffee and splenda in the morning, so that is why I don`t make my own spray lubes. I buy mine from Dillion, yes I know it isn`t the cheapest way to go. It does what I want it to do and I`m happy with the results. I may be retired and on a short leash for money, but I do know what works for my money. As I recall most makers of lubes tell you to pre-lube your sizer dies before use.Robert

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Hi Fella's,
    I also have been reloading for a loooong time. When I started there were no Carbide dies so you had to lube everything When Carbide dies came out I thought that it was neater than Pop Corn in a Box I stopped reloading rifle cartidges in 86 and have loaded pistol rounds since then and never gave another thought to case lube. Here a couple years ago bought some 45-70 rifles and went back to reloading rifles shells, the 45-70 size easy so I used the old stanard STP, hear a couple months I got a 243WSSM and have used New cases untill here a few days ago, I have a Herters Super O Press and didn't think I would have any problems, well with this back I tried a couple and paid for it dearly So I came here in hopes of finding a lube that will help.
    So I just wanted to post a thank you to 1 Hole and every one else that added there comment.
    Later
    G

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have only stuck one case in my life (so far). When I was in Jr. High I was resizing a bunch of 270 into '06 and didn't get one lubed enough (RCBS lube and pad). What a mess to get out of the die.

    I am currently using the Hornady Spray stuff and have had very good luck with it. I did notice that regular loading blocks don't work well due to missing the bottom 1/2 inch of case as was mentioned before. The other day I was converting a bunch of '06 to 8mm-06 and I had a brain storm. I flipped my Hornady loading block over and set the cases up on the pistol side. The holes are much more shallow, so the only part of the case that does not get covered is the rim. So far I have sized about 300 cases of various calibers (30-06, 8mm-06, and 308) with good results. I hope for good results with the .223, 30 carbine and 300 Savage too. The '06 family of cartidges is the largest head diameter that you can do, others (7.62x54R) are too big for the pistol side.

    Never bothered to clean the lube off, once it dries it isn't sticky, doesn't attract dirt and doesn't stick anything in the chamber, so why bother?

    .02

  8. #8
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    Talking

    I stuck a case once when using Lee case lube. Of course there was none on that particular shell case at all for some unknown reason. So I did what I usually do in those situations. I selected a scape goat from my family and told her that she put an unlubricated shell case in my loading block and would not be forgiven. Period. My children are just as Sicilian as I am. The Mother has some German in her lineage and I have come to call the frequently used solution "The Hitler Option" and it has served us all well.
    Last edited by onondaga; 10-11-2010 at 06:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Just a comment from a new guy.
    I have been loading for a long time, and long ago realized there were only those who have stuck a case and those who will stick a case.
    I like the Dillon spray for most sizing but use Imperial sizing wax for forming say 30 HARET from 30-30 cases. Like some one posted you have to let the spray on lubes dry before starting to size. I use a medium Arco bin and just shake them up a bit to get good coverage. I dont use loading blocks because most of my loading is on progressive presses.
    Bill

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    I have stuck 2 cases so far in about 14 years at the reloading bench.One .223 and one 30-06. Both were my fault so i will not mention the lube i was using. I made my own stuck case remover for the price of the tap ($4.00) the rest of the materials i had lying around in the shop.
    INFIDEL 4 LIFE

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    I was plagued by stuck 223 cases using lees case lube. I would rub a smidge on each case and got tired of it. It was just too labor intensive and not very consistent. Getting stuck cases out was a PITA.

    I read of Hornadys one shot. Using it, I was lubing faster, but found that I was still getting stuck 223 cases. I tried double spraying, turning them upside down, yada yada yada. Still had stuck cases.

    I read some where of mixing lee case lube with Isopropyl alcohol. I tried that and mixed it in a spray bottle. I put the cases in a zip lock bag and sprayed a few shots, and then worked the cases around. The cases got resized with little effort, no more straining to resize, or stuck cases. After resizing, I throw them into a tumbler to clean the lube off and I trim to length and I am done.

    This is my current mode of lubing/sizing/prep/trimming. But you can bet I will put a few drops of soap in there to see how that works out.

    Sean
    Last edited by seanhagerty; 12-18-2010 at 04:15 PM. Reason: grammer and general stoopidity

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold Ficus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanhagerty View Post
    I was plagued by stuck 223 snip
    snip
    snip
    snip

    This is my current mode of lubing/sizing/prep/trimming. But you can bet I will put a few drops of soap in there to see how that works out.

    Sean
    I saw you say you would try soap and wonder how that worked. My concern is that brass may be incompatible with organic acids for long term storage and some soaps in addition to sodium salts of organic acids may contain extra fat and organic acids.

    So... does anyone have experience with using soap in contact with brass?

    Ficus
    NRA Endowment Member

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Here's the story: I have used home mades from fr frogs site and various commercials. There is NOTHING that beats Bag Balm - period. It is 99.9% lanolin. The commericals are lanolin too but diluted in an alcohol solution.

    I do a lot of reforming cases for various calibers. With Bag Balm the cases have never bound in the resizing die ... they just kind of glide down - ever thickwall 348's being squeezed to 45-75's
    A very light finger coating is all that is needed.

    Bag Balm - in your friendly drug store - about 6 bucks in the green square can. Cows love it too!
    Regards
    John

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    "I have stuck 2 cases so far in about 14 years at the reloading bench.One .223 and one 30-06. Both were my fault so i will not mention the lube i was using."

    You do well to avioid mention of what lube you were NOT using in that instance. I've seen a lot of web posts berating this or that lube and then the user admitted he either didn't lube that case or didn't use the lube correctly; that his case got stuck was hardly due to the lube!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Ed in North Texas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Boy View Post
    Here's the story: I have used home mades from fr frogs site and various commercials. There is NOTHING that beats Bag Balm - period. It is 99.9% lanolin. The commericals are lanolin too but diluted in an alcohol solution.

    I do a lot of reforming cases for various calibers. With Bag Balm the cases have never bound in the resizing die ... they just kind of glide down - ever thickwall 348's being squeezed to 45-75's
    A very light finger coating is all that is needed.

    Bag Balm - in your friendly drug store - about 6 bucks in the green square can. Cows love it too!
    I've always known Bag Balm was super stuff, been using it on cuts since a child (though my wife of over 40 years doesn't care for the smell). Now I have another use to add to the list.

    I've been using Midway's spray for some years now, with Imperial for heavy case forming. I spray batches either on paper, or more recently in a large loading block. I bought an RCBS Stuck Case Remover about the time I got married. I'm lucky enough to not having had to use it yet. Probably shouldn't have said that!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Ziptar's Avatar
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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned "Udder Creme" yet.



    I picked up several 2 oz tubes at Dollar Tree a couple weeks ago for $1 each.. It will be with the travel / trial size soaps and shampoos, not in the Women's stuff isle.

    Over the weekend I tried it while full length sizing a handful of 45 Colt cases with the arbor press.

    It seems to work really well and doesn't smell bad at all, actually it hardly has a smell.

    Ingredients:
    Deionized water, stearic acid, Peg-2 Stearate, propylene glycol, isopropyl myristate, dimethicone, lanolin oil, mineral oil, triethanolamine, allantoin, methylparaben, propylparaben, fragrance

    CVS also sells it in 12 oz tubs for $5.99 so its easy to find and fairly inexpensive.

    I want to try that Bag Balm though.

  17. #17
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    I use Alberto V05 Hair Dressing on a case lube pad.

    Gear
    Last edited by geargnasher; 11-06-2011 at 01:25 AM. Reason: remove linked picture

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Great and informative post. I would like to toss out a couple of ideas I have had on using different types of the mentioned lubes over the years.

    First off, for the spray types. As mentioned above they are simply one of the lighter consistency type lubes ejected by a carrier of evaporative base propellant. One of the best ways I have found to apply these or any other spray on lubes is to build a case rack. To do so you simply measure off one of the longer type case blocks, then using a ruler draw out the corresponding pattern of hole centers on a piece of 1x6 or 1x8. Then using a 3/16" pilot tipped wood bit, drill out the corresponding marks and insert a 2" piece of 3/16" dowel rod.

    Once you ahve the dowels inserted you should have a matching peg board of sorts which will match perfectly or close to it, the hole pattern on your loading block. Then you simply load up the pegs with the cases you want to lube, hold them at a 30 or so degree angle and spray one side then rotate it and spray the other side, until you have sprayed from all 4 directions. Allow them 5-10 minutes to dry and your ready to resize them. While the sizing is done you can do one of several things, either set them back on the pegs as they are primed, drop them in the tumbler for a quick clean, or wipe them off and set them into the loading block.

    If your like me, I tumble all my cases prior to sizing, so they are all clean and shiney at this point already. So I will size, seat a new primer, wipe them off with a rag, and set them back on the peg. Once I am done with the 50 or so that fit my peg board, I simply set the corresponding loading block on top so they all fit into the holes, flip it and once removed I am ready to throw powder in them and seat bullets.

    FOr the jelly type lubes like Imperial and such, I simply grab a dollop and rub it into both hands really good, then it's simply a matter of rubbing 3-5 cases at a time between my hands to get them all lubed at once. I add a little lube about every 20 cases or so as needed.

    As was mentioned there are various substitutes out there, and one I have personally used was Mink Oil purchased from Wally world in a pinch, while I was ou in the boonies looking to do some load development. Don't ask me how but I managed to leave not one but two cans of Imperial sitting in two different places at the house as we drove off that morning headed to the farm. I have to say that the Mink Oil did an excellent job on both the batch of cases I worked with and later on my grandsons baseball glove as well.

    Also I would like to add a link, which I think would fit in here just fine. I would also like to graciously thank Fr. Frog for permission to do so. If you haven't visited his site already you owe it to yourself to do so.

    Homemade Firearm Cleaners & Lubricants

    Thanks again Fr. Frog.
    Last edited by 41mag; 07-17-2011 at 04:59 PM. Reason: added link...

  19. #19
    Boolit Master zardoz's Avatar
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    Had another idea today. I had been dissolving liquid lanolin in 91% isopropyl, and always had beads of lanolin on the bottom. I got this to stay in solution for the most part, by adding a few drops of Dawn dish soap to the mix.

    Well, today I wanted to size some more brass, and only had a smidgen of spray left in the bottle. I needed to make more, so I rounded up the liquid lanolin bottle, and suddenly remembered I had a bottle of "IsoHeet" in the basement. This is gas dryer based on isopropryl rather than methanol. So, I put the IsoHeet in a little 12oz glass bottle with screw top, and added maybe not quite a half ounce of liquid lanolin. A quick shake, and it ALL went into solution immediately. No beads at the bottom, and no thrashing about.

    Apparently, any water in your alcohol will prevent the lanolin from dissolving. The IsoHeet is probably as dry and pure an isopropyl alcohol as you can get easily off the shelf.

    So, I tried it on a few cases, and the alcohol evaporates very quickly leaving the thin lanolin film. It dries much faster than the 91%, and just plain seems to work better.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man perimedik's Avatar
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    Hey Guys,
    I've seen a few of these threads so I decided to turn it into a step by step pictorial.

    Step One
    Throw "One Shot" in the garbage because evdentially it sucks (it's a joke guys relax)

    [span style='font-weight: bold;']
    Step Two
    Gather contents -
    Liquid Lanolin (100% pure was $7.00 at the local health food store)
    Isopropyl Alcohol (at minimum 91% $1.19 at the local drug store - 99% is best couldn't find it)
    New or Clean spray bottle (from the "Dollar" store) has ratio markings and ounce markings so it helps


    Step Three
    Warm the Lanolin in warm tap water (110 to 120 degrees F - NO OPEN FLAMES)
    Do the same for the IPA, this will help in the mixing process.


    Step Four
    Pour 2 (two) ounces of the warmed Lanolin into the spray bottle


    [span style='font-weight: bold;']Step Five [/span]
    Pour 16 (or 18 or 20 or 24 to get the consistancy you desire) ounces of the warmed IPA into the spray bottle giving you an 1:8 1:10, 1:12 ratio


    Step Six
    Shake until contents becomes homogonized and label the bottle accordingly (so you don't confuse it with CLP or something)


    then proceed to lube cases as needed. I left some room incase I needed to adjust the ratio depending on the dies and how finiky they may be. work fine for me. I have done countless cases and it was smooth as silk.

    Hope it helps
    The light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash

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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