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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
reloading tech tips

Lube Inside Necks

Author: Ron Spomer / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Dec 15 2005

Do you get extremely rough, tight extraction from neck expander balls on some of your dies? So do I. The case slips into the resizing die easily enough, but on the upstroke – when I lift the handle to pull the case out – the neck expander die chatters, grinds and sometimes hangs up so bad I have to beat on the handle to get it free.

This is not good. It causes excessive neck stretching leading to frequent trimming. Plus it's a bother. The traditional "cure" is to run the necks over a tight brush and down into a dusting of graphite powder. This works with some expanders, but not all. My solution? Grease the neck mouth.

Yikes! We've all been warned to keep all oils out of case interiors to prevent powder and primer contamination. That's valid advice. But I've discovered a bit of discreet neck mouth lubing solves the grabby expander problem without jeopardizing the load. At least it's been working for me.

Here's what I do. After lubing the case bodies and running the necks over a brush to scrape off the bulk of powder residue, I lightly rub or scrape my greased finger over the mouth. This puts just a hint of oil (I'm using an old brand – paste oil from Pacific that looks, feels and smells like mink oil boot waterproofing.) Then I resize as normal, and the expander usually slips right off. Subsequently I trim to length (if required) and then run each case through an RCBS Case Master (clean primer pocket, bevel mouth inside and out and push the case over a stiff brush to further clean the neck and brush off any remaining oil. This seems to do the trick. No misfires yet. But, if you're paranoid, dump those neck lubed cases into a vibrator and give them a good polishing.

If you try this, be sure to check the expander from time to time for lube buildup. Clean and dismantle your dies more often than usual, too, just to be on the safe side. Don't use a thin, runny oil of any kind for this inside neck lubing. Stick with something sticky and waxy as opposed to oily. And remember, easy does it. Put just a touch of lube on the inside edge of the mouth. The expander will take it down and spread it out. Once the expander itself is lubed, you may need to touch up only every second or third neck. Try this at your own risk, fully aware that oil on primers or powder can cause a misfire, and grease in the neck can adversely affect bullet seating tension. You must clean all oily residue from inside necks before loading powder and bullets.