The biggest issue with any progressive press is decapping, especially when dealing with brass that has a military primer crimp. If the primer is not fully ejected and flicked off of the decapping pin, there is the potential for “primer pull back.”
Primer pull back is when the primer sticks to the end of the decapping pin, and is then pulled back into the primer pocket when the decapping pin is withdrawn. The primer is pulled back into the brass just far enough to stick. As the shell plate then tries to index, the spent primer is squished between the shell plate and press base. This causes anything from rough indexing to broken parts, depending on the severity and type of operation (manual or auto-driven).
We have spent many hours trying to fix the decapping issue, and after countless trials of different designs, we have finally found the one that works and is, believe it or not, affordable.
For many, if not most, the Lee Universal Decapping Die (LUDD) is the die of choice for production decapping of cases. The issue with the LUDD is that the decapping pin is made of some pretty weak mystery metal, and the rod/tip profile can lead to dented necks, especially the case with .223/5.56 brass. Our part is a direct replacement for their decapping pin.
These will also work in the standard Lee pistol dies as well, but the length will need to be cut down appropriately. We suggest you remove the length from the non-chamferred end or they may cease to function!
– F&FB Decapping Pin Holder for the Lee Universal Decapping Die
Not Included, but required:
– Lee Universal Decapping Die Body (Lee p/n 90292)
– RCBS Large (0.070″) Straight Decapping Pin (Non-Headed, Available in 5 or 50 packs)
1. Thoroughly degrease the F&FB Decapping Pin Holder (including hole) and RCBS Small Straight Decapping Pin using your favorite degreaser (we like brake cleaner, but other solvents will work too).
2. Using Loctite 271 Red Threadlocker, put a dab in the hole of the F&FB Decapping Pin Holder, and coat one half of the RCBS Small Straight Decapping Pin.
3. Insert decapping pin into the pin holder and wipe off any excess Loctite.
4. Wait 24 hours for the Loctite to cure and install into your Lee Universal Decapping Die. If the pin is not securely held in place after 24 hours, then the hole was not properly cleaned of oil.
5. Install pin into the LUDD and tighten collet with minimal tension. Increase tension on collet until Decapping Pin Holder has enough tension to push out primers, but will slide upwards in the event of a jam. Excessive collet pressure will cause the decapping pin to bend/break.
6. Enjoy trouble free decapping.
– Use a propane torch to heat the tip of the F&FB Decapping Pin Holder to negate the 271 Red Threadlocking compound.
– Use a pair of pliers to pull the pin out of the holder. Use some common sense and don’t burn yourself on the potentially hot metal.
– Use a #49 drill bit BY HAND to clean out the remaining threadlocker. Simply insert the drill bit with your fingers and give it a couple of clockwise spins.
- Follow instructions above to install a new pin.
We recommend setting the LUDD using an inch pound torque wrench. Start at 140 Inch Pounds and move upwards 1 inch pound at a time until partial decapping stops.
Since we have been unable to induce a decapping error with the F&FB Decapping Pin Holder and RCBS Large Straight Decapping Pin, we have had to use a more brutal testing method to induce failure. We took a F&FB Decapping Pin Holder and held it vertically in a vice with a pin installed. From there, we bashed the end of the pin with a hammer, once per pin tested. We were unable to damage the pin holder, and could not get a pin to break, only bend, which made it easy to remove and replace.
We hope you have the same success.
Due to the time involved for the Red Loctite to cure, we recommend having a spare F&FB Decapping Pin Holder on hand, in case there is ever a bent pin situation.
If you have a Forcht VFD auto-drive, they offer, but do not advertise a LUDD detection circuit for the VFD that will stop the press when the decapping pin is pushed up. We do not have experience with the Mark7 or Ammobot, and do not know if they have a similar capbility, and we’re sure Forcht does not know either, so please don’t ask him to support other auto-drive manufacturer products.