The proven way to control costs and produce precise ammunition is to prep and condition cases yourself.
Case prep is important to the reloading process because the case acts as both a container for the powder and bullet and as a seal for the gun’s chamber. How well you prepare your cases affect the accuracy and consistency of your ammunition.
When preparing a case, you may not require all of the procedures listed below or complete them in the order shown here. You can start small and add case-conditioning accessories as your reloading needs progress.
As you become more proficient in reloading, you will fine-tune your processes based on available equipment, the firearms you own, and the type of shooting you will be doing most often. Please continue to read, learn and understand various methods and techniques so that you find the system that works the best for your shooting needs.
We like to start with at least 100 cases in a batch. When you start a new case prep procedure, process only three or four cases and then take the time to measure whether the correct results are being achieved.
- Inspect the Brass – Prepare cases for reloading by making sure no case mouths are damaged or split. Remove dirt and debris. A bright ring just ahead of the extractor groove may indicate the case is weak and ready to separate. If you see such a ring, use a straightened paperclip to check the inside diameter for cracks or other weakening. Check to see that primer flash holes are centered.
- Clean the Brass – Remove most dirt or corrosion. Tumbling brass will save wear and protects your dies from potential damage. It also looks great. We really like stainless steel media, even if it’s not for everyone.
- Clean and Ream the Primer Pocket – Check for powder residue in the primer pocket. Ream to remove any nasty crimps from the bottom of military primed cases.
- Ream the inside diameter of the brass case mouth if the brass has thickened or formed a doughnut from repeated firings.
- Trim the Brass – Trim and square off any stretched cases to recommended length. Using a 3-in-1 tool will allow you to combine this step with the next.
- Deburr/Chamfer – Remove burrs and manufacturing debris from new brass or remove sharp corners from the case mouth that result from trimming a case with a traditional case trimmer.
- Clean and Lube the Case Neck – Case graphiter cleans the inside of case necks and lubes the I.D. lightly. Inert, dry white motor mica will not contaminate powder.
- Sort and Label – If there is material variation in the brass, sort the cases by weight, length, internal volume, or other significant attribute.
Safety - Please follow all pertinent safety procedures such as wearing safety glasses, being in a well-lit and well-ventilated workspace, and having all reloading tools in top working condition and no flames, sparks, or static electricity.
Suggested Further Reading
- Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges for Rifles and Handguns, Ken Howell
- The Not-So-Arcane Art of Brass Annealing, Bob Blaine, Sinclair International
- NRA Firearms Sourcebook: Your Ultimate Guide to Guns, Ballistics, and Shooting, Michael E Bussard and Stanton L. Wormley Jr.
- Preparing Case for Long-Range Accuracy, Jacob Gottfredson
- Rifle Brass Prep Basics
- Rifle Round Reloading Guide , Kevin Wilson
- Shooter’s Bible Guide to Handloading: a Comprehensive Reference for Responsible and Reliable Reloading, Wayne van Zwoll
Case TrimmersWe make case trimming and conditioning easy and accurate with our popular and versatile Case Trimmer System.
Collets & PilotsRequired components ordered based on the precise dimensions of your case and bullet, to align the rim and neck of the cartridge along the center axis of the Case Trimmer.
Case Conditioning ToolsAdd any or all of our specialized case conditioning tools to meet your case prep needs.
Replacement PartsCase Trimmer Bases, Stop Collars, and Cutter Shafts for replacement part or special calibers with standard Case Trimmers.
AccessoriesKeep your Forster Products Case Trimmers organized with the Accessory Case and automated with the Power Adapter.
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