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.
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:
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!
In a previous post, I demonstrated using machine shop equipment (a metal lathe and milling machine) for rifle brass prep. In this post, I’m following up on a suggestion to show the RCBS Trim Pro 3-Way cutter to collapse thee steps into one.
Here’s the steps that I showed in the original post:
Lube, size, de-prime
Trim to length
Chamfer inside of case mouth
Chamfer outside of case mouth
Ream primer pocket
Using the RCBS 3-way cutter this gets shortened to:
Lube, size, de-prime
Trim-to-length, chamfer inside and outside of case mouth
Ream primer pocket
This means you only need to handle the brass 3 times instead of 5. That’s a huge time saver! So what is the RCBS 3-way cutter? Read on…
RCBS 3-way cutter in .22 Caliber (left) and 30 Caliber (right) – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
This cutting tool features a 4-blade trimmer which trims the case to length, a pilot which centers the case mouth and chamfers the inside of the case mouth, and an adjustable outside trimmer to chamfer the outside of the case mouth. With this tool adjusted properly, you will attain a very high quality finish on your case mouth, and loaded cartridges will feed reliably in semi-automatic rifles due to the contour of the outside of the case mouth. In the close-up picture below you can see the parts that make up this tool:
On the bottom of the side lug you can see an allen screw. This allen screw is used to lock in the outside chamfer adjustment which is fine-tuned using the thumb wheel seen on the outside of the side lug. RCBS sells this 3-way cutter as a drop-in replacement for the cutter used in various RCBS case prep tools, but I checked and it will also work with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Center. In my previous post, I was able to use a standard drill chuck in my milling machine to secure the standard 4-blade case trimming cutter. Due to the side lug on the RCBS 3-way cutter, I had to think differently for the setup used in this post. The challenge is securing the tool by its shank without damaging the threads that extend across most of the shank surface. This is where collets come in handy! I used one of my Morse Taper 3 collets (3/8″ ID is called for here) to secure the cutter, and it worked great.
A 3/8″ collet was used to hold the collet – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
After installing the RCBS 3-way cutter in the milling machine, I dialed it in as follows:
Back out outside chamfer adjustment
Insert previously trimmed case
Lower ram against stop (lowers cutting tool to lower position)
Raise table until case mouth “kisses” cutting tool
Trim case, measure length, adjust table height as necessary
Adjust outside chamfer setting (a good chamfer, but not to the point of “sharpening” the case mouth
Single stage presses are all pretty much the same, right? There are some exceptions like the Forster Co-Ax press, but for the most part these presses have the same basic design. RCBS has recently introduced a new take on the single-stage reloading press: The Summit.
You can see in this picture how the base of the press bolts down to your bench and the die mount actually moves up and down instead of an under-bench ram moving up and down. There are a couple benefits that I can see here:
You don’t need clearance under your bench
The case stays stationary which makes bullets and cases less likely to tip
Here’s some information from RCBS:
Summit Single Stage Reloading Press
Short Handle – Summit Reloading Press
Features & Benefits
Ambidextrous handle operation with compound leverage
Massive 2-inch diameter ram
Full frontal access
Accepts bushings for 1-inch die bodies
Press adapter bushing
Zerk fitting for lubrication
Spent primer catcher
4.50-inch operating window for convenient access
I’m curious about this press. Anyone else have experience with it? Please leave a comment! More information is available from RCBS HERE.
In my last post, I gave an overview of some of the case lube products that I’ve used personally. These are the spray-on and wipe-on products that a lot of reloaders use on a regular basis. But there’s one more product that I use that’s interesting for those that want to load bulk quantities of rifle ammunition on a progressive reloading press- it’s the RCBS Lube Die.
This die will decap and lube in one step. If you’re loading on a 5-station progressive press, you can throw in this die just ahead of your sizing die. You charge the die with the supplied case lube, and it gets applied automatically as a part of the reloading process. Very cool! One thing that you need to carefully control with this setup is the quantity of lube in the die. If you over-do it, you can end up with a mess. What you won’t have is the mess associated with lubricating rifle cases by hand- that can be one of the most time consuming and unpleasant parts of reloading rifle ammo!
Here’s an example 5-station reloading setup that you could employ with this die:
RCBS lube die (lube, decap)
Bullet crimp (optional)
So, if you are reloading a lot of rifle ammo, you may want to give this product a thought…
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