I got done with my 8mmx57 Mauser reloads yesterday. Moving on to 5.56×45 NATO today. There were over 500 clean cases in the “cleaned 5.56 brass” can.

All of it needed to be sized and checked for max case length. The 10th case squeaked when it went in. It didn’t come out, instead the rim ripped right off. DAMN!!!

I’ve been to this rodeo before. It is not fun. The last time I had to do this, I ended up driving the case out with a custom-built drive rod. And then chucking up the case in the lathe to cut the case and extract the resizing rod.

It was a pain in the ass. Something I would rather not do again.

I remembered that there is a case extraction tool you can buy that drills out the primer pocket, threads it and then pulls the case out with a bolt.

Well, I’ve got a lathe, I’ve got tools, I can do this.

First, I figured out a size to use. I picked 1/4″ 20. I really should have gone with 1/4 28, but I didn’t check my part drawer for 1/4″ 28 bolts/screws, so I went with 20 TPI.

I didn’t worry about “perfect”, just chucked up a number 7 drill and used my hand drill. I have complete sets of drills. 1/64 through 1/2″, #1 through whatever, and a-z, plus metric. Machine shop stuff. I have the taps.

No problems drilling and tapping. I screw the cap screw into the case, and then what? I look at levering it out with the claw on a hammer. That doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

Machine shop! I walk over to the lathe and in the junk cutoffs is a slug of aluminum. I drilled a 1/4″ clearance hole completely through. Then I drilled a 1/2″ hole, about 3/4″ deep. 1/2″ is big enough to handle the 5.56 brass. If I need a larger hole for other brass, I’ll either make a different tool or I’ll just make this hole larger.

Back to the vice with the copper jaws, which has a good grip on the die. The slug is too long. Back to the lathe and I face off about 1/4″. Back to the vice.

I screw the cap head bolt in, and it easily pulls that case out of the die. And then stops. With the case lose in the die it just spins instead of being pulled out.

Take the slug/spacer off, screw the decapping pin back in all the way, then slowly screw the cap head back in. Out pops the casing.

With only a $1 worth of scrap aluminum, I was able to make my own brass extractor tool!

Tools used: 12″x5′ South Bend Lathe, $1500, Quick Change tool post, $250, QC toolholder, $75. Toolholder, $75, insert $20. #7 drill, 1/4 drill, and 1/2in drill, about $10 total. Hand drill, $75. 1/4″ 20 plug tap, $15. Starrett tap handle $100.

This proves to my wife that all of those “expenses” to save $27.79.

Machine shop for the win!

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By awa

2 thoughts on “Sometimes it’s nice to have a machine shop”
  1. Things like this is why I stopped reloading 223. I had stuck cases 3 times. Once my fault, unlubed case. Both 2nd and 3rd were lubed, 3rd was carbide die. Thats it, done. I never stuck a .308 or ‘06… I dont shoot much .223 anymore.

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