Case Lubrication

Originally written in 1998 I figured it was time to take a fresh look at it.


July 2016


In full length resizing, we all know the role that case lube plays, right? It keeps your cases from sticking in the die and therefore controls blood pressure.


On bottleneck cases, the die, if adjusted according to manufacturer directions, will “move the shoulder back.” This die setting is intended to put your brass to within SAAMI specs so that it chambers easily and maintains an acceptable amount of headspace for the average rifle.


Ideally, if intended for a single rifle, the shoulder should only be moved a couple of thousandths and that’s it. This saves wear and tear on cases and improves accuracy. This can be accomplished by adjusting the die upwards half a turn or so.

I use RCBS “Case Slick” spray for case lubrication. I like the pump better than aerosol because spray volume is easier to control.

I know that over the years, because of “the little things”, my groups have shrunk tremendously, even in calibers that are not notorious for accuracy,


If I had no Precision Mic, or other means of checking “base to datum line” measurements, I would simply do my best to lube each case as nearly the same as possible, regardless of the lube that I use. Further, the case that you initially use to adjust the die should be wiped off and re-lubed between die adjustments. This will help insure that you use the same pattern of lubing when you’re set to go with a batch of cases.


To recap:

1.      Adjust die to nearly touch the shell holder

2.      Back die out half to three quarter turn and lock it down

3.      I square the die in the press by placing steel stock (even a second shell holder flipped upside down (Lee Autoprime shell holders work great)) between the shell holder and die and apply pressure to the press handle while tightening the lock nut. Yes- each time.

4.      Lube case and size

5.      Wipe case off and chamber the empty case

6.      If force is required to close the bolt, turn the die in slightly

7.      Repeat steps 3 through 6

8.      When force is no longer required, lubricate a batch of empties using care to insure consistency, and get started




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Last Modified: January 3, 2012