Lube Pads and Lubrication

Lube Pads and Lubrication

Lubrication is most commonly applied with a case lube pad.


Some form of lubrication must be applied to cases before resizing. This task is usually performed with a lube pad. A lube pad is nothing more than an absorbent pad, saturated with a case resizing lubricant. This may be a commercial lube pad made specifically for the purpose, or a common stamp pad available at any business supply store. In use, the cases to be lubed are rolled across the surface of the pad. This will transfer enough of the case lube to the surface of the case to allow it to be resized without sticking in the die.

Within the last few years, spray lubes have also become common, especially with the rise in high volume progressive reloaders. Spray lubes do speed up the lubrication process considerably. By allowing the handloader to spread a large number of cases out in a box or similar container, and give all of them a quick spray of lube, the need to handle each of the cases individually is eliminated.

Cases that are not to be full length resized will still require some lubrication of the case neck, both inside and out. This is normally done with a case neck brush, using either conventional case lube, or a dry lube such as motor mica or graphite. Bonanza offers a bench mounted unit that has three permanently affixed brushes and contains a small reservoir of motor mica. Another method with which we have had good results is to use a small box (about the size of a bullet box) partially filled with small (#7 1/2 or #9 work very well) shot. Powdered graphite is added to the shot before use, and the box is given a quick shake before the cases are processed. Graphite is transferred to the case by simply sticking the case neck into the shot, and giving it a quick twist. When the case is withdrawn, the shot will fall free, leaving a fine coating of dry lubricant on both the inside and outside of the case neck. Neck sizing will be adequately handled by this treatment.

At this time, there are several different types of lubes on the market. These include not only the more conventional oil based lubricants, but also water soluble and wax based lubes as well. Some are better suited to specific tasks than others, so it does no harm to try several before deciding which one is best suited to the particular job at hand. Regardless of which method or type of lube is used, all traces of the lubricant must be removed from the case before firing. Failure to do so will result in raising pressures and bolt thrust to potentially dangerous levels.

Loading Blocks

A loading block is a tray designed to hold a number of cases as they are moved through the respective steps of the reloading process. Normally made of wood or plastic, they provide a convenient method for handling a batch of cases. Loading blocks can be purchased from almost any of the major reloading tool makers, or can be easily fashioned from scrap wood. Most loading blocks will hold 50 or 60 cases. Custom made blocks, of course, can be tailored to fit the reloader’s needs exactly.

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses should be worn during any shooting activity, including hand-loading. Several handloading operations pose potential hazards for the unwary reloader, particularly any operation involving primers. Despite their small size, primers carry a surprisingly potent explosive force, and must always be treated seriously. Other hazardous operations are any form of case trimming, reaming, or turning which produce chips or shavings. This is especially true when these operations are performed with motorized tools that may throw chips violently from the cutter. Safety glasses should be a standard item on every reloader’s bench.

Primer Flippers

A primer flipper tray is used to orient primers for loading into primer tubes. This tray is from Dillon Precision.


After the primers have been flipped, they are loaded into the primer pickup tube by simply pressing the tube over them one by one.

A primer flipper is exactly what the name implies; a small tray used to flip primers over, orienting them to be loaded into the primer tubes. When primers are dumped (gently, please!) into the tray, some will land cup side up, while others land anvil side up. Giving the primer tray a gentle side to side shake caus- es all the primers to flip anvil side up. Place the lid back on the primer tray and turn the tray over. The primers should now be cup side up, and can be picked up with a primer tube. This avoids the necessity of ever having to touch the primers directly, which may risk contaminating and possibly deactivating them.