Mandrel lube question

DownhillFromHere

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Interesting to read how many people lube inside of case necks before running a mandrel into them. I never have, and after thousands of rounds of .223 expanded with a stainless steel mandrel, I have yet to encounter any sticking or galling issues. I have measured the mandrel for wear and have found none. I use a carbide mandrel for 6.5CM, and, as expected, no issues there either.

Perhaps the fact that I anneal and then tumble-clean using corncob media treated with a few capfuls of Lyman Brite Case prior to resizing "lubes" inside the case neck sufficiently. I load on a Dillon RL550 in "hybrid" mode so resize/prime/mandrel get done with each handle stroke.

So many people talk about poor results with Hornady One-Shot spray lube. This puzzles me. After loading 3000+ 6.5CM rounds and nearly double that number of .223, I've never had a stuck case - and I'm about to finish my 2nd can so it's not like I'm drenching the cases.

Fwiw.
 

918v

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Interesting to read how many people lube inside of case necks before running a mandrel into them. I never have, and after thousands of rounds of .223 expanded with a stainless steel mandrel, I have yet to encounter any sticking or galling issues. I have measured the mandrel for wear and have found none. I use a carbide mandrel for 6.5CM, and, as expected, no issues there either.

Perhaps the fact that I anneal and then tumble-clean using corncob media treated with a few capfuls of Lyman Brite Case prior to resizing "lubes" inside the case neck sufficiently. I load on a Dillon RL550 in "hybrid" mode so resize/prime/mandrel get done with each handle stroke.

So many people talk about poor results with Hornady One-Shot spray lube. This puzzles me. After loading 3000+ 6.5CM rounds and nearly double that number of .223, I've never had a stuck case - and I'm about to finish my 2nd can so it's not like I'm drenching the cases.

Fwiw.

You spray your brass with HOS and tumble in media treated with other slick stuff.

I wet stainless tumble so I need to lube the necks with imperial graphite otherwise I get galling.
 
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BuildingConceptsllc

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  • Nov 13, 2020
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    Interesting to read how many people lube inside of case necks before running a mandrel into them. I never have, and after thousands of rounds of .223 expanded with a stainless steel mandrel, I have yet to encounter any sticking or galling issues. I have measured the mandrel for wear and have found none. I use a carbide mandrel for 6.5CM, and, as expected, no issues there either.

    Perhaps the fact that I anneal and then tumble-clean using corncob media treated with a few capfuls of Lyman Brite Case prior to resizing "lubes" inside the case neck sufficiently. I load on a Dillon RL550 in "hybrid" mode so resize/prime/mandrel get done with each handle stroke.

    So many people talk about poor results with Hornady One-Shot spray lube. This puzzles me. After loading 3000+ 6.5CM rounds and nearly double that number of .223, I've never had a stuck case - and I'm about to finish my 2nd can so it's not like I'm drenching the cases.

    Fwiw.
    I always wondered about using s mandrel with a Dillon set up. As soon as I get more room I'm going to be looking into one of thr Dillon set ups
     

    memilanuk

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    Interesting to read how many people lube inside of case necks before running a mandrel into them. I never have, and after thousands of rounds of .223 expanded with a stainless steel mandrel, I have yet to encounter any sticking or galling issues. I have measured the mandrel for wear and have found none. I use a carbide mandrel for 6.5CM, and, as expected, no issues there either.

    For me, it was never an issue with the mandrel 'wearing', so much as it was brass build-up on the mandrel itself. That led to out-of-spec neck IDs, which pretty much defeated the purpose of using the expander (for me). I even had it on the floating carbide expander ball in my Redding Type 'S' F/L sizing die. See below for why.

    That $hit was harder than hell to get off there... usually involving some sort of polishing, either with a patch of JB or steel wool, or both. Yes, it got the brass off. Pretty sure it didn't do the mandrel any good in the long run either. The worst case example was using a Lyman M-die expander - got heavy build ups, and then after I got it clean again, kept it lubed. But then my seating force was way off - too heavy. Finally tracked it down to the wear on the mandrel from my polishing - turned out that damn thing was something softer than normal.

    Perhaps the fact that I anneal and then tumble-clean using corncob media treated with a few capfuls of Lyman Brite Case prior to resizing "lubes" inside the case neck sufficiently. I load on a Dillon RL550 in "hybrid" mode so resize/prime/mandrel get done with each handle stroke.

    I think you hit on the key item there: dry tumbling with media. There is a very slight film of tumbler dust left inside the necks, and it functions as enough of a lubricant to keep things from galling. That, and the necks have a build-up of carbon inside as well, so you're not getting direct metal-on-metal friction. Cleaning the brass down to bare metal, whether by ultrasonic or wet tumbling w/ SS pins, has it's time and place. But the amount of f'ing steps *added* to avoid problems like this (brass build-up on neck expander balls or mandrels). Tumbling in dry media, or not tumbling at all, solves a lot of those headaches.
     
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    DownhillFromHere

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    I always wondered about using s mandrel with a Dillon set up. As soon as I get more room I'm going to be looking into one of thr Dillon set ups
    TLDR: Despite what some people write, you can load good precision ammo on a progressive press. This describes my "hybrid" process. If you don't care, don't waste your time reading this!
    --------------
    My process for precision loading on an RL550 uses two tool heads. The first head has a bushing size die in station 1 (primer is seated at top of up stroke), the mandrel in station 2, and seating die in station 3. Lubed cases proceed around the press as usual but stations 3 and (empty) station 4 don't do anything.

    After resize/prime/mandrel, I clean the lube off the cases, put them mouth-up in loading trays, and then use a q-tip to lightly apply Imperial graphite lube to the inside of the neck. This step may or may not be of much benefit but it takes maybe two minutes to do 100 cases. Then all cases are turned upside down in the tray.

    I then insert the second tool head, which contains a full set of Dillon .223 dies - resize (with expander ball in place) and prime in station 1, powder measure in #2, seat die at #3, and taper crimp at #4. I use this head "as designed" for blaster ammo. For precision, I'm only using the powder measure*, which I set to drop a tenth or two light into an empty case. This powder is dumped into a tray which is placed on an FX-120i scale and the charge is trickled to desired weight. Then a primed case is turned mouth-up and the weighed charge funneled in, and a bullet is set in the case mouth**.

    After all cases are charged as described, I empty the powder measure, and put the first tool head back into the press. Bullets are seated. Done.

    I don't pretend that my approach is fast. That's not my point here. Early on in my precision rifle experience, I was concerned that my 25-year-old progressive press wasn't suitable for precision handloading. But, with rubber o-rings allowing dies to "float" just a bit and several thousand rounds loaded over the last three years, I know I can keep runout under .004" and it's usually better than that (I do not turn case necks; been there, done that, pita to no discernible benefit with good brass, no more).
    ------
    * Of course, for bulk-loading any cartridge, the powder measure must be adjusted for the caliber being loaded. I cheat a little here. For .223, the measure is set to drop a full charge with a full handle stroke as designed. But for 6.5CM, I just swap in a different charge bar which drops the heavier charge and stop the handle short of full stroke when the longer case hits the limit of the charge bar's travel.

    ** I used this approach because, for me personally, it has eliminated the occasional uncharged cartridge I let slip by early on. Hand loading precision rifle cartridges is such a repetitive, brain-numbing task that, if I had 100 empty cases mouth-up in the tray, charged them all, and placed bullets when moving case to the seating die, I would occasionally leave a case without powder. Even when I tried to make myself check cases after charging.
     

    DownhillFromHere

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    That $hit [brass]was harder than hell to get off...
    It's amazing, isn't it? Early in my learning curve, I under-lubed a few cases and galled a couple of case necks. The brass particles seemed welded to the neck of the resize bushing, which scored outside of case necks. Total pita to get the particles off, using steel wool and jeweler's rouge.

    With that said, I've never seen any buildup on the SS mandrel and I do check it every few hundred rounds.

    I think you hit on the key item there: dry tumbling with media.
    I think the Lyman Case-Brite contributes quite a bit as well. After a couple hours of tumbling, the clean cases smell like the liquid.
     

    4O6shootist

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    Virgin, I put a lil unique in the neck, as without it'll leave brass on my carbide mandrels. After once fired/annealed I usually don't need to lube. I clean the cases in tumbler just enough to eliminate case lube, that's it. I've started to eliminate mandrel sizing, just use a bushing to set desired diameter to give the desired neck tension. The only downfall, I now have 50 different bushings. But it does save me a step. After sizing and using a mandrel, brass is work hardened more than just a bushing alone.
     

    Dirtrax

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    Imperial Dry Neck Lube. It’s fine graphite coating ceramic beads. Comes in a little jar. It makes a light coating. Dipping the neck into straight graphite is a mess.
     
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    acudaowner

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    right or wrong I have been using ballistol pump and spray lube big jug for the money pump into a small cup I just touch the case opening to the lube and press till it's sticky then dip the next one usually around 1 dip per 20 presses case is usually dry buy the time I finish a box of brass . I use the same cup and ballistol on my finger then wipe on neck for resizing through the die body . can usually get 1000 cases per the little spray( three pumps) I put into the cup per use .