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Old July 9, 2005, 02:56 PM   #1
nobby
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How do you "clean" ammo?

Today, I bought 1000 rds of surplus Guatemalan .223 for $100 at a local gunshow. It was in a sealed box so I couldn't inspect it before purchase. When I finally opened it up, the rounds were really dirty. A few were corroded and some had dented cases, so I tossed those. But the remaining 900 or so all have a dry-ish, dirty film on them. None of them are smooth and shiny and I can already tell they will not cycle well if shot as-is.

Is it possible to "clean" loaded ammo? If so, what materials do I need to do the job? Again, not trying to make the cases shiny but I want to get rid of that dirty film that turns my fingers green.

Please let me know.

Nobby
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Old July 9, 2005, 03:30 PM   #2
David Todd
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Nobby, I would suggest you try" Mercury Quicksilver Power tune",
or some other commercial internal engine cleaner.
I have been using it for years to take out fouling from all my rifles, and I am sure what you have is solidified grease on those cases.
if that is the problem, some of the Power tune on a rag should do the trick.
it will be time consuming, but I am sure you will be satisfied with the results.
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Old July 9, 2005, 05:07 PM   #3
Zekewolf
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Put the ammo in a vibratory case cleaner with clean corn cobb or walnut media, one cap of NuFinish car polish diluted with one cap of mineral spirits. Won't take long and won't hurt the ammo.
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Old July 9, 2005, 05:53 PM   #4
David Todd
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Zekewolf, everything i have ever learned or been told says it is an absolute NO NO to put loaded ammo in a tumbler , vibratory or not!
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Old July 9, 2005, 07:25 PM   #5
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I agree with Zekewolf.

Everyone I know puts loaded ammo in a vibratory tumbler for a few minutes to remove bullet lube after loading.

You would have to tumble ammo for a *long* time to affect the powder burning rate, or breakdown the powder. I wouldn't put loaded ammo in a rotary tumbler, even though mfrs do it to perform a final polish on loaded factory ammo.

We're not talking 4 hours here, maybe 10-20 minutes max. If the ammo you bought is really gnarly, run it with the mineral spirits and nufinish and see what 15 minutes does for it. You probably won't have shiny, sparkling ammo, but I would imagine if that's what you wanted, you wouldn't have bought surplus ammo unseen.

I would box the stuff up and take it back to the fellow I bought it from, 100 rounds is way more culls than I would be happy with. Sounds like the dents and funk may be normal, but the corrosion might have been a result of the ammo being wet at one time. If this is the case, it probably won't be consistent when you fire it. You will probably see a few split cases with it.

Unless it was super cheap or extremely hard to find, I would buy something else - even if it cost $10 bucks more a case. .223 is too available to shoot ammo that is so funky you have doubts about it before you even get to the firing line with it.

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Old July 9, 2005, 08:03 PM   #6
itman
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I have to go with David. on this one. If you just damage the coating of the powder you could be done for. Next time you buy ammo like this tells the guy you will buy it only if you can open it and see it. If he will not do that then go to ammoman.com
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Old July 9, 2005, 08:15 PM   #7
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If tumbling ammo hurts the powder then so would driving on a bumpy road. If you ever see what the powder is originally tumbled in then you would laugh at the thought of a normal tumbler hurting it. IT is a MYTH plain and simple. I tumble all my reloads to get the lube off. A lot of people do.
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Old July 9, 2005, 08:49 PM   #8
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On another forum---or was it here--? umm some jamoke decided to find out if tumbling would affect ammo. So he loaded a mess of shells and tumbled a portion 1 week, then 2 weeks, then a month, while keeping some un-tumbled as a control group. Results were NO DIFFERENCE! In any of the shells. They were fired for accuracy as well as over a chronograph, no difference!

Too many paranoid people repeat what somebody says without thinking or trying to find out.
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Old July 9, 2005, 11:36 PM   #9
Don H
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Tumbling is how commercial ammo gets cleaned prior to sale. Same for commercial reloads.

See the following thread:
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/....php?p=1379952
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Old July 10, 2005, 11:05 AM   #10
Zekewolf
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David: You need to expand your sources!
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Old July 10, 2005, 03:37 PM   #11
caz223
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Yeah, Zeke has your solution.
Have no fear, any funkyness present after the fact will be a result of old ammo/poor storage, not as a result of the cleaning operation.
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