Like others said, shiny brass is 99% cosmetic. I reloaded mebbe 12 years before I got a tumbler. I used a rag lightly dampened with mineral spirits to wipe each case as I inspected it prior to loading. No, my dies didn't wear out, and yes, I could spot any defects in the cases. The first year I reloaded mostly range brass, .38 Spec. and did hundreds this way. When I got up to 200 - 300 rounds per week, I decided to get a tumbler.
BTW, you could easily spot the reloaders at the range; they were shooting dull, brown, ammo and picking up all the emptys when they were done. The only shooters using virgin, shiny cartridges were usually new shooters or police...
My Anchor is holding fast!
I've learned how to stand on my own two knees...