Review: Brass Butter Reloading Lube

This is a guest article from our reader Mike R. covering Brass Butter, a reloading lube. Thanks, Mike!

I was pretty excited when Tom brought back a product for reloading from SHOT Show 2016: “Brass Butter”. Since he is not a reloader he offered the sample to me (and asked me to tell him what I thought) and I happily agreed.

Background

I have only been reloading for four years I am interested in experimenting with new products. I originally got into reloading during one of the many recent “scares” when ammo was getting really hard to find. I explained to the wife how I would save money by reloading my own cases. 😉

I started with .45 ACP and have never looked back. To date, I have about five thousand rounds logged, ranging from 32 H&R all the way up to 7mm REM MAG (and many between). For my test of Brass Butter I used the common .308 WIN.

Comparison/Observations

To give a fair assessment I used my single stage press as I really wanted to get a feel for the case and die when resizing. Since I needed something to compare against I used Hornady Unique. I have been using Hornady Unique for a couple of years and have had excellent results. I have tried a number of spray lubricants in the past, and none of them have ever provided a consistently smooth feeling while resizing, so I was a little skeptical that Brass Butter would be any different.

For my comparison I used 40 individual brass cases and decided to re-size 20 with Brass Butter, and 20 with Unique. I thoroughly cleaned the resizing die before starting and then again between the transition of the two lubricants. I cleaned the die with my preferred brake cleaner and an old nylon barrel brush.

The cases using Brass Butter went first. Having first disassembled the die for cleaning it was pretty easy to spray the inside before I reassembled it. I checked and did not see any over saturation. Then I sprayed the brass and inspected it. The Brass Butter dried as I assembled the press.

Still skeptical, I started reloading. The first case was placed in the press and re-sized. It was actually WAS as smooth as butter. The following 19 were all the same. When done the die was disassembled and the cleaning process repeated. Then I completed the other 20 rounds.

A brass inspection following the process showed two rounds with indentations in the shoulders of those that were reloaded with the Brass Butter. That is typically a hydraulic effect from too much lubricant. It could have been residual or possibly a user error (in all fairness).

Conclusion

Brass Butter is better than all the other sprays I have used. I threw out the other spray product I had and will continue using Brass Butter. I found it to be about 90% as effective as the Unique (counting the 2 potential failures), and without the problem of having my fingers covered in lube. Despite this, I will not be using it on my larger, harder to find brass–I will stay with my Unique. It is open for discussion if the only problem was user error. I took a picture of the two dented cartridges. Reloaders out there, what say you?

You can find more information about Brass Butter at: http://www.brassguys.com/



Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • John L.

    Photos of the dented cases..?

    • ruinator

      What was edited out was that I chose not to include them as it had the product in front of the dented brass. I did not include as I felt the pick would leave a bad impression of what I found to be a good product. The article was written a few months ago, so I do not have the original pics. I am looking for the brass, but doubt they still around

      • Dougscamo

        I could just about guarantee that they looked fluted on the shoulder….

        • ruinator

          Yup. User error?

          • Dougscamo

            Yes and no….I have a….I’ll go ahead and say it….Pacific Die (do they even make those anymore?) that is the only die to give me this problem….and I think a large part of it (no pun intended) is the die itself. On other caliber, non-Pacific dies, I don’t have this problem yet I have to be veeerrryyy sparing with the lube when I use the Pacific…..and it still happens sometimes. Don’t take it all on your own shoulders….stuff happens. But, as you know, if it will chamber and fire, the problem is gone…until the next time….

          • ruinator

            Thanks Doug.

  • Drew Coleman

    I always wear latex or nitrile gloves when reloading, especially when doing the brass prep.

  • Dougscamo

    I don’t use any sprays, still use the old tried and true lube pad and lube (think the secret ingredient is owl manure) that I bought back in….Get Off My Lawn….you wouldn’t believe me if I told you….
    However, your dented cases are a problem I have only when I load 30-06 rounds and that is in the ONE example of a particular brand of dies that I possess so it could be a combination of both…never had in in the other brands I use…
    With my .223/5.56 cases I use Lee Lube…labor intensive, yes….but I wet tumble them with stainless pin media…since I appear as a brass vulture at the local range on a regular basis and the brass has been rained on/stepped on in the mud/covered in unspeakable things….and the Lee Lube is water soluble…

  • Trey

    Use mink oil myself but if i try a spray I will try to remember this product

    • derpmaster

      Mink oil? It’s all about the whale oil bro. Nothing smoother, and makes for a great omlette too.

      • Dougscamo

        You might be on something but only the Japanese have any whale oil….but it WAS fine enough to use on watch works….when watches had gears….think it would be kinda rough on electronics…..

      • Jake

        Whale oil is so 18th century. Weasel-grease is all I use for my reloading/axle bearing/child delivery needs.

    • ruinator

      Mink oil??? Love it.

  • Jim_Macklin

    Case lube is required on the case body and on & inside the neck. The inside of the neck is best lubed with a brass bristle bore brush of the proper caliber. Removing the powder fouling is more important that the inside lube. The brush should be rolled once over a lube pad to barely transfer any lube.
    The case body requires lube mostly on the web and lower portion of the case. The shoulder does not require any lube since it is just pushed back and not squeezed inward.

    Applying too much lube can be detected by visual or tactile inspection . If you can see lube more than a glossy sheen you have too much. Too much on the case neck will be pushed to the shoulder area and result in the dents.

    When I began reloading 50 some years ago I used RCBS equipment and RCBS case lube. I noticed that RCBS lube looked and felt just like STP Oil Treatment. The STP that didn’t drain out of a can when being added to a JD 520 tractor was just enough to load a new cloth stamp pad, good for a year or more of loading.

    Since most cases are slightly or more tapered very little lube is required above the bottom 1/2 to 1 inch of the case because that is where the case is thick enough to require force to size and therefore where it will stick. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ee904425b615b232b5010525afa3bf49b084a3ca83ead6a6e501f28d52017ae.jpg

    • Dougscamo

      So true and you revealed my secret lube….started loading 54 years ago….and bought a full tube of the special sauce in 1978….and still using it….
      You’ll get no argument from me because you described in detail my loading procedure….but that damn Pacific die will STILL sometimes dent a case….tolerances perhaps because it is a small-base die…

      • Jim_Macklin

        No, not that. A SB die resizes the case just above the shellholder. If some lube is squeegeed down the neck it might build up in the shoulder area of the die.
        Cleaning the die, with some spray carb cleaner and then just lubing a case completely with a thin film will prep the die for use.

        I seem to remember that some company did mack a full length sizing die for bottle-necked cases that had a very small vent hole into the shoulder area. I expect that such could be done with a #80 drill before the die was hardened. Or a laser could vent a finished die.

        Remember the neck is straight and from the shoulder to the base cases taper slightly or a lot. Cases get stuck, sometimes on the expander plug but more often on the solid web when it is being resized..

        Examine the picture and you can see were cases expand [and fail] and the solid web that raises the pressure against the sizing die.. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/31f7e4c969d265d862521d2c63dc356035b5dc261f845748c01c4be23ae7a9c7.jpg

        • ruinator

          Great information gentleman!!

        • Dougscamo

          As I said in my previous post, this Pacific die is the only die that has given me any denting problems so I apparently am lubing correctly…..
          As I only use this die for a 30-06 for a Remington 742 that my father used 25 years ago, I don’t think that I will be using a laser to vent the die….742’s are not made to use at the level of a bolt gun regarding durability….maybe 25 rounds a year for old time’s sake…
          That being said, you pic showing the cutouts DID confirm why I have had the most success and longevity of Winchester-Western and the least with Federal….