Mandrel lube question

BuildingConceptsllc

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    I'm new to mandrels. If I just want to run the mandrel through virgin brass , or run through sized brass to get a little better and more consistent neck tension, can I just lube the mandrel amd what kind of lube? I've read so much about it all that I'm just confused now. Dry lube galling, ect...

    I don't want to have to tumble it after
     

    rustyinbend

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    I've heard you "should" ... but I never do on virgin brass and I've never had a problem. Cases are already lubed for sizing so that's not an issue.
     
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    AllenOne1

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    I have been lubing the case neck with dry graphite before sizing with the mandrel. I'm not expanding the neck very much, if you are trying to expanded it too much you may need to go to a case lube type product. I wouldn't remove either of these products before dropping powder but the case lube is questionable I suppose.
     

    BuildingConceptsllc

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    I run black nitride mandrels and don't lube at all.
    In hindsight, I should have planned this all out better, and that's what I'd have done too. I don't intend to run a mandrel on everything all the time. I get great numbers with my bushing die and anealed clean brass. I just need to run quite a few 223 cases that weren't done with a bushing die because the seating force is too much. I also would like to run the mandrel on my 6.5 and 6mm and 308 at times, depending on what I'm preparing the ammo to do
     

    BuildingConceptsllc

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    I have been lubing the case neck with dry graphite before sizing with the mandrel. I'm not expanding the neck very much, if you are trying to expanded it too much you may need to go to a case lube type product. I wouldn't remove either of these products before dropping powder but the case lube is questionable I suppose.
    That's what I had planned on doing, then I started reading about galling and all and got skerred
     
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    BuildingConceptsllc

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    Without lube that SS mandrel will get sticky for sure. Since we are trying to keep everything nice and smooth at this point I think the lube is required to maintain consistency.
    You think if I lube the mandrel with imperial wax it would work and not cause issues if I load it up right after? I have some dry lube just got scared off of it with all the galling claims.

    I'm trying to find the easiest method to lube them and run them through the mandrel without causing myself issues
     

    memilanuk

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    Get a little bit of Imperial die wax on your finger tip, and rub that over the case mouth - it should kind of squee-gee a small amount of lube just inside the lip of the case, right where the mandrel will pick it up as it enters. Gets enough on the mandrel to prevent brass build-up, but not enough in the neck to be a problem for powder.

    One of the many ways to skin that particular cat.
     

    canezach

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    You think if I lube the mandrel with imperial wax it would work and not cause issues if I load it up right after? I have some dry lube just got scared off of it with all the galling claims.

    I'm trying to find the easiest method to lube them and run them through the mandrel without causing myself issues
    I've been using imperial wax on my mandrels for years and I've never had an issue throwing charges immediately after setting my neck tension. I decap, FL size, mandrel for neck tension, throw powder, seat. I use a very small amount of wax on the mandrel and will apply another layer of wax after about 15 to 20 cases
     
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    BuildingConceptsllc

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    I've been using imperial wax on my mandrels for years and I've never had an issue throwing charges immediately after setting my neck tension. I decap, FL size, mandrel for neck tension, throw powder, seat. I use a very small amount of wax on the mandrel and will apply another layer of wax after about 15 to 20 cases
    That's what I was hoping to be able to do right there. I am over thinking it due to all of the reading and threads ect.

    Thanks for the info guys. I have to shoot the 223 rounds first and see what kind of sd I'm getting, then will probably do that. Thanks again
     

    TheOfficeT-Rex

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    I've sprayed lanolin lube on the mandrel for virgin brass then loaded after with no problems.

    I now use carbide or the black nitride mandrels, and don't worry about it, lube or no.
     

    AllenOne1

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    You think if I lube the mandrel with imperial wax it would work and not cause issues if I load it up right after? I have some dry lube just got scared off of it with all the galling claims.

    I'm trying to find the easiest method to lube them and run them through the mandrel without causing myself issues
    Yes it will work fine with no issues.
     

    Lawnboi

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    I use imperial on a q tip spun on the chamfer. Seems to work

    Graphite dosnt stick to annealed necks. Have some galled steel mandrels because of it.

    I have some nitride mandrels as well, they seem to be second best to carbide.
     

    BuildingConceptsllc

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    I use imperial on a q tip spun on the chamfer. Seems to work

    Graphite dosnt stick to annealed necks. Have some galled steel mandrels because of it.

    I have some nitride mandrels as well, they seem to be second best to carbide.
    I will probably end up getting the black carbide ones at some point once I refine exactly how I'm going to do it and when I'm going to do it. I'm not just looking to add any steps but I tend to have to scratch that itch of "it could be a little better" to a certain point too so..... such is the life of a reloader I suppose
     

    Jefe's Dope

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    You think if I lube the mandrel with imperial wax it would work and not cause issues if I load it up right after? I have some dry lube just got scared off of it with all the galling claims.

    I'm trying to find the easiest method to lube them and run them through the mandrel without causing myself issues
    Just be very light with the Imperial Wax. I've loaded after without needing to clean but recently had to run the sized/mandrel brass in the walnut shells because I was getting powder sticking to the neck as I loaded where prior it was not an issue. A little Imperial Wax goes a long way. At least in my experience.
     

    memilanuk

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    Out of curiosity... where are folks sourcing carbide or nitride mandrels these days?

    A few years (or so) back when I started down that particular rabbit hole, carbide mandrels were few and far between, with very limited sizes, and nitride really wasn't an option.
     

    One1Bravo

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    Out of curiosity... where are folks sourcing carbide or nitride mandrels these days?

    A few years (or so) back when I started down that particular rabbit hole, carbide mandrels were few and far between, with very limited sizes, and nitride really wasn't an option.
     

    Lawnboi

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    I've not seen that issue. I anneal my brass after each firing but I don't tumble in either dry or wet media, maybe that is the difference.
    I’m annealing with an amp, they even had to put it in their user FAQ to not use graphite as it dosnt stick.

    Even factory Lapua galled steel mandrels with graphite. After there is some carbon in the neck it becomes much less of a problem.
     

    memilanuk

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    Interesting. The -0.008" below nominal bullet diameter seems a bit snugger than what I was looking for (general neck expansion, not just turning) but it's good to have options (y)
     

    TheOfficeT-Rex

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    Interesting. The -0.008" below nominal bullet diameter seems a bit snugger than what I was looking for (general neck expansion, not just turning) but it's good to have options (y)

    ...That's 8 - ten-thousandths, or about 1K under.

    They also make a turning mandrel that is the more traditional 2k under.
     
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    Bacarrat

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    Never lubed any of my necks and I use a standard SS mandrel. Never have any problems. But before that, cases have been sized to give .002 tension.
     

    BCX

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    Hornady One-Shot on a q tip or nylon brush than mandrel for .002 tension. Never had a issue plus makes seating Bergers more consistent!
     
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    AllenOne1

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    I’m annealing with an amp, they even had to put it in their user FAQ to not use graphite as it dosnt stick.

    Even factory Lapua galled steel mandrels with graphite. After there is some carbon in the neck it becomes much less of a problem.
    Isn't Amp referring to the initial case sizing where you might be sizing the neck down 5-6 thousands? When I use the mandrel I'm only moving the neck out .001 or less just to make sure it is round basically. If you were to move the neck out by .003 with the mandrel I can see that being a problem.

    1658087310840.png
     

    Haney

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    I've not seen that issue. I anneal my brass after each firing but I don't tumble in either dry or wet media, maybe that is the difference.
    I use imperial on a q tip spun on the chamfer. Seems to work

    Graphite dosnt stick to annealed necks. Have some galled steel mandrels because of it.

    I have some nitride mandrels as well, they seem to be second best to carbide.
    I have never witnessed galling of steel mandrels when I have used graphite nor mica . Did you clean the necks after annealing ?
     

    Lawnboi

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    I have never witnessed galling of steel mandrels when I have used graphite nor mica . Did you clean the necks after annealing ?
    No. I dry tumble only as well, so there carbon on there to begin with. Mainly new brass has caused most of the bigger issues.
     

    AllenOne1

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    I sent the question to Amp and they replied that graphite powder on the inside of the neck was fine. They did have an issue using a bushing die on the initial sizing operation using the imperial dry lube with the ceramic balls. The Imperial dry lube did not adhere well to the outside of the case neck.
     

    Haney

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    No. I dry tumble only as well, so there carbon on there to begin with. Mainly new brass has caused most of the bigger issues.
    I had issues with sticky new brass . I dry tumble it now and lube my mandrel instead of the brass . I find mica works best for this . After a few pieces it takes very little effort .
     

    Buzzinga

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    I've never had any luck using any type of case lube on mandrels for sizing. This doesn't make sense to me, but it is what it is. With lube, the case always seemed way too tight and was not smooth at all. Dry tumbled, without lube, seems to size much better. That said, currently, after a good decade of not using the expander BALL that come with FL sizing dies, I've gone back (from neck mandrels) to one-step FL sizing and don't see any loss of precision.

    My whole life, I've been told to not use FL die expander ball, yet every time I do, I get great results. I actually think good old RCBS dies are pretty good.

    EDIT
     
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    Haney

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    I've never had any luck using any type of case lube on mandrels for sizing. This doesn't make sense to me, but it is what it is. With lube, the case always seemed way too tight and was not smooth at all. Dry tumbled, without lube, seems to size much better. That said, currently, after a good decade of not using the expander mandrels that come with FL sizing dies, I've gone back to one-step FL sizing and don't see any loss of precision.

    My whole life, I've been told to not use FL die expander mandrels, yet every time I do, I get great results. I actually think good old RCBS dies are pretty good.
    The OP is talking about expander mandrels , not expander ball being pulled back through the neck when FL sizing . Two very different processes , one push the other pull .
     

    thestoicmarcusaurelius

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    If the Lee Collet Dies can give you the neck tension that you want, they are a good option that don't require lube. They just don't work for everyone if you need to dial in a specific neck tension.
     

    OREGUN

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    You think if I lube the mandrel with imperial wax it would work and not cause issues if I load it up right after? I have some dry lube just got scared off of it with all the galling claims.

    I'm trying to find the easiest method to lube them and run them through the mandrel without causing myself issues
    I usually give the mandrel a light coating of imperial die wax with a cue tip every once in awhile. If resizing fired brass, I spray my lanolin/alcohol case lube at a 45 degree angle over the case mouths from a couple different directions to get some in the mouth. Sometimes, but not always, after sizing and mandrelling, I’ll give the mouths a light swab with a cue tip. It I never tumble again. SOMETIMES, I see a kernel of powder stick in the mouth but I’ve never had any trouble. With all that said, my ammo never sits for more than a couple of days so I’m not sure what year old ammo would be like.

    long story short, lube the mandrel a bit or the mouths a bit or both and don’t worry about residue.
     

    thestoicmarcusaurelius

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    Out of curiosity... where are folks sourcing carbide or nitride mandrels these days?

    A few years (or so) back when I started down that particular rabbit hole, carbide mandrels were few and far between, with very limited sizes, and nitride really wasn't an option.
    I'd be interested in finding carbide mandrels or even pin gauges where you could order to a specific dimension also

    I ended up ordering pin gauges so I could spec them out to exactly the dimensions I wanted and use a forrester collet style bullet puller or the hornady cam lock bullet puller for holding the pin gauges in the press
     
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    Shifty6BR

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    I dip every so other neck into some graphite dry lube (imperial) and go to town.

    Last I thought 21st CT offered carbide mandrels in .0005 increments, no?

    eta
     

    thestoicmarcusaurelius

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    I dip every so other neck into some graphite dry lube (imperial) and go to town.

    Last I thought 21st CT offered carbide mandrels in .0005 increments, no?

    eta
    Yup. You're right. I always forget about them. Just ordered their hydro press while I was on their site. Time to sell the k&m arbor press haha
     

    hafejd30

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    If the Lee Collet Dies can give you the neck tension that you want, they are a good option that don't require lube. They just don't work for everyone if you need to dial in a specific neck tension.
    Lee collet are my go to as well. My 300 PRC I’ll be trying a Redding S bushing die .003” under then a 21st century expanding mandrel
     

    Halfnutz

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    Get a little bit of Imperial die wax on your finger tip, and rub that over the case mouth - it should kind of squee-gee a small amount of lube just inside the lip of the case, right where the mandrel will pick it up as it enters. Gets enough on the mandrel to prevent brass build-up, but not enough in the neck to be a problem for powder.

    One of the many ways to skin that particular cat.
    If lube is the question then Imperial Wax is the answer. Are there others? Yes. But none as idiot proof as Imperial. If you apply it at all its probably enough. If you over do it you might get hydraulic dents. If you get hydraulic dents the idiot proof applies to you.
     

    Lawnboi

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    As far as I know sinclair and PMA are the only ones making carbide expander mandrels.

    Well and SAC but they are specific to their die only.

    Most of my steel mandrels have some amount of brass stuck to them from galling. None of my carbide mandrels do.

    Same can be said for neck bushings. Annealed necks are harder on all that stuff.
     

    Shifty6BR

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    As far as I know sinclair and PMA are the only ones making carbide expander mandrels.

    Well and SAC but they are specific to their die only.

    Most of my steel mandrels have some amount of brass stuck to them from galling. None of my carbide mandrels do.

    Same can be said for neck bushings. Annealed necks are harder on all that stuff.
    Yes, 21st CT is nitride not carbide, my mistake.
     

    CK1.0

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    I always run a mandrel through virgin brass on the first loading/firing, and always lube the inside of the case necks (even though I use a TiN mandrel).

    On virgin cases I lube the inside of the case necks using the same spray-on Lanolin/Alcohol case-lube a lot of us use.

    Just take a minute or so to populate your loading blocks with your new cases, and then spray a few squirts on a couple q-tips while they're on a paper plate or something to catch the spray-over... 1 end of a q-tip wet with lube is good for ~25 case necks, if it starts to get dry, wipe it on the plate or whatever to pick up some more lube... just a quick swirl at the top of the mouth, in and out, is all it takes with the q-tip and you can move through 300 cases in about 2 minutes if you go slow. You end up using such little lube, and since it goes only where you need it, there's no need to tumble or clean up shit.

    I use this same method after I've chamfer the inside of the case necks and before I seat bullets after the powder is done. It works just like graphite, except it doesn't make a mess and is much less of a pain in the ass (IMHO).

    I don't lube before the mandrel ever again for the rest of the case's life... I use the same spray-on lanolin stuff before I size, I use a 1-gallon zip-lock bag and put a bunch of squirts in there and then swirl the cases around to lube them, then crack it open for 10 minutes or so for most of the alcohol to evaporate before I start sizing cases. Obviously, some lube randomly gets into some of the case necks and helps with the next step when the cases see the mandrel, but honestly, I don't think it matters much, since...

    Arguably, if you're as religious about chamfering the inside of your case mouths before you seat bullets as I am, then not using any lube with the mandrel shouldn't do too much harm or be that big of a deal since you are going to strip that peened edge/layer the mandrel crashed into off in the chamfer process anyways...
     
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    BuildingConceptsllc

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    If lube is the question then Imperial Wax is the answer. Are there others? Yes. But none as idiot proof as Imperial. If you apply it at all its probably enough. If you over do it you might get hydraulic dents. If you get hydraulic dents the idiot proof applies to you.
    The rcbs old fashioned pad with their lube is what I normally use for sizing. I had a bad experience with one shot and swore that off and went to the pad so I can do multiple cases at a time and it works great. I do have some imperial though that I tend to use when just needing to do one case or two testing something or whatever, and that's what I thought would work best for being able to apply lube directly to the mandrel.

    I only intend to use a mandrel for some 223 brass I have that wasn't done with a bushing, and for virgin brass, dented case mouth, or similar circumstances. I get very good sd and es with just a bushing die so I wouldn't be using the mandrel for brass that's 2x or more fired/annealed / bushing sized. I just didn't want to have ball powder sticking all inside the neck when dropping powder for those times I will need to use the mandrel.

    This thread has been very helpful for me. I'm still fairly new to loading and have learned enough the hard way if I can help it. (That one shot experience comes to mind.....)
     

    Halfnutz

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    The rcbs old fashioned pad with their lube is what I normally use for sizing. I had a bad experience with one shot and swore that off and went to the pad so I can do multiple cases at a time and it works great. I do have some imperial though that I tend to use when just needing to do one case or two testing something or whatever, and that's what I thought would work best for being able to apply lube directly to the mandrel.

    I only intend to use a mandrel for some 223 brass I have that wasn't done with a bushing, and for virgin brass, dented case mouth, or similar circumstances. I get very good sd and es with just a bushing die so I wouldn't be using the mandrel for brass that's 2x or more fired/annealed / bushing sized. I just didn't want to have ball powder sticking all inside the neck when dropping powder for those times I will need to use the mandrel.

    This thread has been very helpful for me. I'm still fairly new to loading and have learned enough the hard way if I can help it. (That one shot experience comes to mind.....)
    Imperial.is slower for sure. I have used other spray ons and get by with them as well.

    As was mentioned swipe your finger across the Imperial then just wipe across the case mouth.
    After a few, a bit of build up on the mandrel let's you swipe 1 in 3 or 5 or so.I have only used this with carbide or nitride coated mandrels.
     

    Rocketmandb

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    My standard steps for annealing/lubing/sizing:

    - Anneal
    - Size
    - Graphite lube
    - Mandrel
    - Charge and seat

    The lube ensures no galling during the mandrel step and enough stays on to provide significant value during the seating step. Someone mentioned graphite not sticking to annealed cases. I do not see that. In fact, in my Mandrel Musings thread, I prove that it doesn't get impacted (indirectly).
     
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    Threadcutter308

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    You think if I lube the mandrel with imperial wax it would work and not cause issues if I load it up right after? I have some dry lube just got scared off of it with all the galling claims.

    I'm trying to find the easiest method to lube them and run them through the mandrel without causing myself issues
    I use Imperial when I neck turn (egads ! :eek:) my brass and it works fine. A quick "in and out" plunge with a mandrel would be a whole bunch easier/less stress, it would seem. Yes, I do clean/tumble my brass afterwards.
     
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