As it goes in life, sometimes, things need a bit of lube. Resizing brass is certainly no exception to the rule, and anyone who’s been reloading for any period of time has a sizing die somewhere on the bench with a case nearly welded to the inside and a bin full of shoulder dented cases.
When I first bought my RCBS RockChucker, I used the included lube pad and liquid lube for resizing brass. I was not a fan for several reasons.
First, the lube made an unholy mess and the lube pad seemed to attract every dust particle in a three block radius. I was frequently having to wash and dry my lube pad to keep from tearing up my dies.
Second, the lube can only be removed from the cases by giving the brass another tumble. That was a minor issue for me as I do a full length resize, trim, and then tumble as part of my loading process. However, for those on a progressive press, that’s a big hinderance.
Last, it’s WAY easy to overlube cases which leads to lots of dented shoulders and ruined cases.
I finally solved my problems by going to Hornady’s OneShot which I’ve been using with great success for the last year. I haven’t had a single dented case shoulder or stuck case since, which makes for a profanity free working environment.
The two problems with OneShot – the price per volume and the fumes. At $9.50/5 oz. can on Amazon Prime, and the several cans a year I go through, it’s a fairly expensive consumable. Sure, not as expensive as Lapua brass, but every penny counts.
More concerning, the need for ventilation in my shop whenever I was lubing cases. Since popping in an AC unit last summer, I’ve enjoyed climate controlled comfort that I don’t like to forego by opening up the roll up door at the end of the building.
Looking through the MSDS from Hornady, its apparent that the majority (93.6%) of the 5 oz weight is Aliphatic Hydrocarbon with a CAS number corresponding to n-hexane which is the same solvent used in brake cleaner, another chemical I have to use outdoors. The remaining 4.5% are “proprietary waxes” and propellent. Essentially, a bit of lube and a solvent to help it get from the can to the case where it can evaporate away.
A bit of internet sleuthing led to a copycat recipe of Dillon’s very popular case lube, which is a non aerosol, environmentally correct lubricant.
The recipe is quite easy – 12 parts 99% alcohol to 1 part liquid lanolin. Mix it up in a spray bottle and get to work. I ordered the following from Amazon.
Spray Bottle – $6.63
99% Alcohol – $8.78
Liquid Lanolin – $8.96
Total cost – $24.37 or roughly 2.5 cans of OneShot. I didn’t weigh my concoction, but I definitely have more than 2.5 cans worth of lube in the bottle. Keep in mind that the spray bottle is a fixed cost and at the 12:1 ratio, I ended up with enough lanolin for another two rounds of mix.
Two things of note. First, you need to go with the highest alcohol content you can find as most drug store alcohol is diluted to a lower concentration with water which is a no go for those of you planning to use this for a progressive loading setup.
Second, you need a spray bottle that delivers a fine mist, something this spray bottle does an excellent job of.
Around the same time that I mixed up my first batch, I took delivery of 500 300 BLK cases. While the company that sold it assured me that every case had been full length resized, I wasn’t about to take any chances. I put all 500 cases in a plastic tub, gave them a couple liberal shots of lube and started cranking on the press.
500 cases later, and I didn’t have a single stuck case. I pulled 25 or so to the side for the start of a load workup and the rest went through the trimmer and into the stainless steel pin tumbler with some dish soap and Lemi-Shine.
One hour later, and after a trip through the oven, I found the only noticeable difference with this method. As you can just barely see above, the cases lubed with HomeBrew are a little dingier than the ones lubed with OneShot. I ran the unwashed ones still slick with HomeBrew through my 300 BLK SBR with zero issues. Other users on the internet indicate that the Lanolin/Alcohol mix has no ill effect on powder or primers.
The only other test left was to see if HomeBrew was a stout enough lube for brass forming. I sprayed down a few nondescript .308 Win cases and ran them through a .243 Win sizing die. A dozen cases later, no dents and easy resizing.
After a few weeks of use and several hundred cases processed, I’m very pleased. The cost is lower than OneShot, the fumes are minimal and dissipate very quickly, and the performance is on par with what I was using previously. My hands are much softer now too.