Posts Tagged ‘5.56 NATO’

Cleaning Reloading Dies with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Disgusting. That’s the word I use to describe my crusty jar of mineral spirits that I use to clean dies. It’s a mess to use, and when I blow dry the dies there’s a fine mist of mineral spirits that you can smell in the shop air. You may know the feeling: the excitement of unboxing dies, and the realization that you’ll need to spend 15-20 minutes cleaning them until they are “de-gunked” of the factory oil and ready to use in your press. I’ll admit, I’ve used dies without cleaning them, and while it may not cause many problems, at minimum they can coat your fingers with oil each time you touch them. It’s not satisfying to use dies that have gummed up factory oil on them: I don’t even like the look of oiled-up dies on my presses. For me, it’s time to turn the page- I’m hoping I’ve found a better way to keep my dies clean. We’ll see!

RCBS-Dies-45ACP

After getting a new RCBS ultrasonic cleaner, I thought I should give that a try instead of my old crusty jar. RCBS has both “Weapons Cleaning Solution” (intended for guns and gun parts) and “Case Cleaning Solution” (intended for brass). Since reloading dies are pretty much like gun parts, I thought I would give the Weapons Cleaning Solution a try. The RCBS Weapons Cleaning Solution comes in a 32 fluid oz. container that has a handy built-in measuring/dispensing chamber. The instructions state that you should use a minimum of 40 parts water to 1 part cleaning solution, up to a maximum of 14 parts water to 1 part cleaning solution. I chose a middle value of 30 parts water to 1 part solution when I mixed the batch used for this article and video.

RCBS Weapons Cleaner

Here’s the video, which shows the setup, cleaning cycle, and drying procedure that I used to clean some brand new RCBS 45 ACP dies:

Here’s how the parts came out of the cleaner (after some drying time):

RCBS Dies Drying

After the parts were completely dry, they felt clean, and according to RCBS they now have a protective film of corrosion protection. Thankfully, this film of protection is not something that’s apparent when you handle the parts. That would defeat the purpose of cleaning new dies wouldn’t it?

I think I’ll go and clean my first batch of brass with this Ultrasonic Cleaner!

Talk to you all soon,
Gavin

Unboxing the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

In preparation for loading 45 ACP on the RCBS Pro Chucker 5, I thought it would be a great idea to “get serious” about my die cleaning setup. Well, I’m about to show you a huge upgrade from my “shake the dies in a can of paint thinner method” that I’ve used for years. I’m pretty excited to “step into the modern era” on this one.

RCBS-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-Box-1200

Enter the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner. This unit is packed with features, and will be great for cleaning dies, cleaning handguns and gun parts, and cleaning brass. In this post/video, I’ll do a live un-boxing (no, I didn’t peek inside prior to shooting the video :)).

Here’s the overview of what’s included:

RCBS-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-Contents-1200

Specifically:

  • Main unit
  • Parts basket
  • Power cord
  • Drain hose
  • Owner’s manual

I’m looking forward to cleaning some dies with this unit- that’s up next. I’ll pick up where we left off here with setup, and we’ll get those 45 ACP dies ready to rock on the RCBS Pro Chucker 5!

Thanks,
Gavin

 

RCBS Pro Chucker 5: Press Assembly Part 2

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

In this post, I’ll continue where we left of in my last post (see RCBS Pro Chucker 5 Press Assembly Part 1) by taking on the assembly of the new-and-improved RCBS Uniflow powder measure. This new version of the Uniflow that’s included with the Pro Chucker 5 features some great updates that include a quick-change metering insert system, and a “universal drum” that’s used for both rifle metering inserts and pistol metering inserts.

Here’s what the new Uniflow powder measure looks like installed on the press:

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 Powder Measure Assembled 500

In the video below, I’ll show the process of assembling the powder measure from the parts and sub-assemblies that come with the press as pictured here:

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 Powder Measure Parts 1200

You can watch here:

Now that we’ve unpacked, mounted, and assembled the press, I think it’s time to start cranking out some ammo! Stay tuned for the next post and video which will cover loading 45 ACP. Can’t wait!

Thanks,
Gavin

RCBS Pro Chucker 5: Press Assembly Part I

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Now that we’ve unboxed and mounted the RCBS Pro Chucker 5, it’s time to finish assembling the press so that we can start reloading some ammo! In this post (and video, see below) I’ll cover the first steps involved in assembling the RCBS Pro Chucker 5. In my next post, I’ll finish press assembly. The RCBS Pro Chucker 5 comes “mostly assembled”, there’s just a few things that are left to the purchaser of the press to do, including:

  1. Installing priming system parts and components
  2. Installing the shellplate and related parts
  3. Installing the spent primer drop tube
  4. Installing the toolhead
  5. Assembling and installing the powder measure (will be covered in the next post)

Here’s what the press will look like when the steps covered in this post are completed:

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 side 550

These assembly procedures are simple and straightforward as you can see in this video:

I’ll admit, at this point I’m starting to feel anxious to start loading with the Pro Chucker 5. But patience pays, and I want to make sure that I’m taking my time so that I can document the process, record my thoughts, etc. We’ll get to loading here soon!

Here’s a view of the top of the press frame, showing the all-new toolhead design that’s implemented on the Pro Chucker 5 (and 7, in a very similar form).

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 with toolhead 600

Next up, we’ll put together the updated-and-improved RCBS Uniflow powder measure. There’s some cool new features that I’m sure you all will find interesting- so stick around!

Thanks,
Gavin

RCBS Pro Chucker 5: Integration with Ultimate Reloader Bench System

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Following-up on my unboxing video for the RCBS Pro Chucker 5, it’s now time for the important task of mounting this new press to the reloading bench. Since many of you have asked about my “Ultimate Reloader Reloading Bench System” I thought I would provide more details and information about how this system works in this article.

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 integrated with the Ultimate Reloader Bench System

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 integrated with the Ultimate Reloader Bench System

When I put together this bench system, there were some important design requirements:

  • The ability to position any press or piece of equipment (including trimmers, vices, etc) at any location along the length of the bench
  • Extremely solid support for the press under hard use (think: using a small base sizer on military 308 brass, or sizing 50 BMG cases)
  • ~60 second press lockdown or removal time
  • Affordability: for the bench itself and for the required parts/materials for each press or piece of equipment that works with the bench system

The design I arrived at included T-Tracks embedded in the bench (based on 3/8″ hex bolts), baseplates made out of wood, aluminum plate, or [future] steel plate. I ordered a bunch of 3/8″ bolts, washers, and “speed knobs”, and have been very pleased with the resultant system. I’ll elaborate more on this system in future posts and videos.

For the Pro Chucker 5, I decided to use a 1.5″ thick (double 3/4″ hardwood plywood) baseplate that I had on hand, and the RCBS Accessory Base Plate #3 for this press.

The RCBS Accessory Baseplate 3 makes mounting the Pro Chucker 5 or Pro Chucker 7 easy

The RCBS Accessory Baseplate 3 makes mounting the Pro Chucker 5 or Pro Chucker 7 easy

This baseplate provides tapped mounting holes for a variety of RCBS equipment including: RCBS Pro Chucker 5, Pro Chucker 7, the Grand shotshell, Rock Chucker Supreme, Summit, Trim Pro-2 Case Trimmers, Trim Pro, Powder Measure Stand, Lube-A-Matic-2, Reloader Special, Rock Chucker, Pro 2000, Turret Press, AmmoMaster, Partner Press and the APS Bench Mounted, Automatic and Priming Tools. You can read more about this baseplate on the RCBS website.

Here’s a video showing the entire process of mounting the RCBS Pro Chucker 5:

As you can see in the video, this press is mounted VERY solid on the bench, just the way I like it. It’s great to “feel” exactly what’s going on with each stroke of the press. A solid press support will also help your press run more reliably as things wont wobble and shake while loading.

Here’s an up close view of the RCBS Pro Chucker press frame – in the Pro Chucker 5 portion of this series we’ll continue with press assembly, so stay tuned!

RCBS Pro Chucker logo closeup 600

Thanks,
Gavin