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  • Writer's pictureJason Stanley

Stuck Case Lemonade

Updated: Mar 20

When life gives you a lemon, make some lemonade. In this case (no pun intended), life didn’t give me anything. I earned this all by myself. It was one of those moments where I rushed and had to pay the price. I could hear Grandma from above; “Haste makes waste.”

When I felt the brass go into the die, I had that sick feeling of ohh sh#t…this isn’t good. The case was stuck so tight that when I tried to extract it, the rim folded, “releasing” the case from the shell holder.

After the temper tantrum subsided, I did what I typically do after messing something up, I called Mike Bigelow in Iowa. Mr. Bigelow has forgotten more about shooting, reloading, and gunsmithing than I will ever know. After Mike quit laughing, he gave me the following procedure. (Yes, I changed it slightly to fit my tools, but I take zero credit for this)

1. Unscrew the die from the press. Take as much off of the die as possible.

2. Use a #7 drill bit and drill out the flash hole.

3. Tap the hole with a ¼-20 tap.

4. Obtain a bolt (roughly 2” long) that will screw into the newly threaded hole.

5. Find a metal spacer(s) that will fit over the case head but still sit flush on the mouth of the die. This can be two nuts, a handful of washers, metal pipe, etc.

6. Thread the die, with case facing up, through the bottom of the die. (This is reverse of how it is normally done.) Use the locking ring to lock the die in place.

7. Insert the bolt through a washer - through the spacers - and thread into the bottom of case until finger tight.

8. Using a wrench, tightening the bolt. This will draw the case up from the die. An audible “snap” will be heard, indicating the case breaking loose from the die.

In this particular instance, the lemon was the stuck case. The lemonade was the valuable lessons that I learned:

1. Slow down when reloading.

2. Don’t force the brass when it feels tight going in.

3. How to get a stuck case out.

4. Use “through bolts” to secure the press.

5. Be mindful of what gets posted on the internet.

That mess up turned out to be pretty darn valuable. Until next time, enjoy the process.

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Mar 31

Well explained. I’ve read the process many times but I like the way this was explained with pictures.

Jason Stanley
Jason Stanley
Apr 01
Replying to

Thank you for positive feedback. If a person reloads long enough it is going to happen.

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