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Thread: Air press to de-cap and resize

  1. #1
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    Default Air press to de-cap and resize

    I have the parts on hand to build a compressed air press to use for reloading ammo. I plan to use a 4" air cylinder at 90PSI should have 1200 pounds of force. I actually have 2, 4" cylinders I could mound in tandem for a total of 2400 pounds of force.

    I'm wondering how much force my hand press develops. I can place an air cylinder with a pressure gage inside my Lee Precision hand press to see what kind of pressure it develops. Thought I would ask here to see if someone already knows the answer to save me the effort.

    Did some Google research and couldn't find any information on how much force these hand presses can develop.

    Any ideas? Thanks, Jim


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    I got it now. I found a 2" pancake air cylinder, attached an air gage directly to the exhaust port and put the squeeze on with as much pressure as I could on the reloading press. The gage read 60 PSI. Area=r^2 X pie = 3.14 in ^2 3.14" X 60 PSI = 188.4 lb of force.

    The 4" air cylinder should do an awesome job at 1200 lb of force.

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    Jim, your machinist roots are showing again. Or have you begun reloading 105 howitzer ammo?

    A reloading press, at home or in a factory, is designed to put a specific amount of pressure on a brass case, not the maximum amount achievable.

    The reason rifle cases fail is due to excessive pressures and overwork.

    I have been reloading for more than 50 years and the most common problem I have when reloading is the reloading press creating enough pressure to make a case stick in the die! Then you rip the rim off and have to back everything out and hammer the case out and wonder how it got stuck so hard you needed a BFH to get it out just using a little bench reloading tool!

    Just a little bit ago I had to build a stuck case remover to salvage a set of new .223 dies after sticking a case on its first outing.

    I do not think I have ever had an instance when I did not have enough pressure on hand with the mechanical advantage of the press leverage. That includes reforming cases from .308 to .243, from 30-06 down to .270, .256 Winchester magnum from .357 and building some wildcats no one wants to try.

    Last winter I was resizing 300 Win-Mag cases for reloading using a little Lee C press that set me back $30 brand new. I have had that little press for years and I was actually wondering if I could resize the magnum cases without springing the press out of line.

    I can not imagine needing 2/3 tons of force to de-cap and resize cases.

    I normally pop primers out with a wooden mallet and re-prime with a Lee hand priming tool. Most of my full length resizing actually feels like I am using 5-10 pounds of force. If I have to lean on the press there is something wrong!
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    If I have to lean on the press there is something wrong!
    As usual thanks for posting. Lately I'm having trouble sizing and depriming .223 rounds mostly. The casings have been difficult to pull out of the sizing die. I built the air press because I figured I could injure myself leaning on the press handle. After reading your reply I decided to investigate the sizing die and depriming punch. The depriming punch is bent and in bad shape probably binding in the shell case. I think this has been my trouble. So, now I'll make another depriming punch and see if the problem goes away.

    I have the air press finished and ran 4 or 5, .223 casings. I think the air press is still going to be pretty cool. I'll post a picture and a video
    later. 9:50 PM, off to the shop.

    5:00 AM: The new depriming punch helped some but still difficult to remove from the sizing die. I ordered a new decapping die last night.
    Last edited by jim Glass; 08-11-2018 at 06:09 AM.

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    What are you using for case lube? I find that case lube more than any other thing makes resizing easier or more difficult. Especially removal of the case after resizing.

    Are you cleaning the cases before reloading?

    It almost sounds like you are having the same fits with .223 that I was having with .308 last winter. No matter what I did I could not make things work properly. Ever other caliber I have was doing fine and .308 was sticking in the cases and refusing to cooperate.

    I finally solved my problem by purchasing several boxes of surplus .308. It was cheaper than buying the components to reload!

    BTW, you can buy .223 right now for less than $0.20 per shot over at Aim Surplus.

    Now lets say bullets are 10 cents and primers are 4 cents and powder is about 3 cents per shot, then you are saving about 3 cents per shot if you do not count your hours reloading time.

    I reload for my bolt action and single shot .223, but the AR rifles get surplus fodder unless I am doing accuracy testing.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    I use 10 weight oil to lube the casing. I suppose I could use 30 weight oil. Maybe I'll try that. I did buy some new 300 blackout shells at Cabela's. 50 shells for $15. I re-primed them but have yet to reload and fire them. Primers inserted real nice. I'm weeding out my older
    300 blackout cases.

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    I use lanolin to lube cases for resizing, and a very light coating of that. About every fifth case I will scrape the case mouth lightly on the lube pad to get a small amount of lube inside the case. This is sufficient to keep the expander plug lubed. As Krat stated, if there is any inordinate amount of resistance at all, there is something that is not working right.

    Oh, and it is possible to rip a rim completely off of a case and tear a case completely in two leaving various parts stuck in the die using only the press lever, let alone 2400psi.

    Alan

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    The only thing I put oil on is the mechanical joints of the press itself. I do that once every 15 years whether it needs it or not.

    Alan

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    When I started reloading 3 years ago I heard about using lanolin to lube cases but never found any. Where can I buy lanolin?. Last night
    I polished the sizing die and lubed it with "waytac". Still a small amount of sticking pulling the case out of the die. I tried sizing a
    300 blackout and they stick a little coming out as well. I'll have a new 223 sizing die today. I think a little sticking is to be expected.

    The air press has 1000 to 1200 pounds of force, probably five or six times more the force than a hand press has.

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    Google "lanolin anhydrous". Likely an 8 oz bottle (<$10) will last three of four lifetimes (or more). In my experience most sticking of cases in dies has to do with the case sticking on the expander plug. On the up stroke, the case is forced (pushed) past the expander plug and into the die. On the down stroke it is pulled back down around the expander plug which reforms the case neck to the right size from the inside out. That plug has to be lubed or the case will stick and in some cases actually be pulled (lengthened) and even deformed out of correct size. As Krat said, any time you put pressure or tension on brass, you weaken it. This is why (one reason) many reloaders forego full length resizing and only neck size.

    Polishing your dies too much may actually cause them to resize the cases incorrectly (too large for the chamber) or get them out of round. I realize, that as a machinist you already know this. It takes a very long time to put excessive wear on reloading dies if used properly. If used improperly, it takes a very short time.

    I'm sure there are those who do things differently than I do, but,... I take a small amount of lanolin on my index finger (about as much as would constitute twodrops of oil) and rub it across the lube pad. I them spray a quick spray of WD40 across the pad (like one quick spray). This cuts the lanolin and then I smear it around. Since the pad is already soaked with 49 years (actually much more as this is the same pad my grandfather used for many years before I was born. I have replaced the cover but the pad is the same) of lanolin, this is enough to lube lots of cases on the outside. if I get sticking I rub the case mouth across the pad to get a tiny bit of the lube inside the case neck. This keeps the expander plug lubed for about 5 or 6 more sizings.


    Alan

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    You should not have a little sticking and do not expect it. You should have only light smooth resistance as the case resizes, especially a .223 case, and only a bit of drag as the neck passes over the expander button as you pull the case out of the die.

    Almost all of the commercial case lubes are lanolin based but some are better then others. Like Alan said, it only takes a drop to do a thousand cases so the small tube lasts years. And getting a little lube on the inside of the case is needed as Alan also said. Many people forget to lube that expander button and it shreaks as the case is withdrawn.

    I generally use RCBS and have not had good luck with Lee lubes.

    In emergencies I have also used Pam cooking spray on .223 and sometimes if I am having trouble with large cases I use just a touch of STP. I run the cases I have lubed with STP through the tumbler briefly to remove the petroleum from the case before priming.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    OK, I see lanolin anhydrous comes in a gel / grease or oil. Which one should I get, Amazon.com has it? Retooling the air press today to have two stations. I'm thinking I can decap and flare the mouth of 9mm and 45 acp all in one stroke.

    I have never lubed the expander pin

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum.
    I have no money in this contraption. All made with junk already on hand.
    Last edited by jim Glass; 08-12-2018 at 09:35 AM.

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    Count fingers before and after each stroke.

    Alan

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    works quite well:

    Hope this works, my second Youtube upload: https://youtu.be/W7I2mdkc2h8
    Last edited by jim Glass; Yesterday at 07:52 AM.

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    Video unavailable.

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan R McDaniel Jr View Post
    Video unavailable.

    Alan
    This is my second upload, something went wrong on the first one, hope this works:
    https://youtu.be/W7I2mdkc2h8
    Last edited by jim Glass; Yesterday at 07:53 AM.

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    Nah, single, double, triple, nada. I thought I was just not playing on my phone, but it's unavailable on my computer as well.

    Alan

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    And so, then after all the talk and advice, I decide to load some 41 mag today. Pretty straight forward straight walled cases. Twice fired cases in a Model 58 S&W. Harder than hell to resize. Lube smoothed it out but they were tight in the resize die. Hasn't happened before. New dies, probably have less then 500 rounds through them. Shiny as can be inside. Go figure.

    Alan

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