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Old April 6, 2011, 08:00 AM   #1
tpcollins
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Must brass be cleaned everytime?

Is cleaning the primer pocket, flash hole, inside of neck, and wiping down the outside of the case sufficient enough to reuse brass or must it be tumbled/vibrated entirely clean before using? Thanks.
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:16 AM   #2
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Nope. They don't have to be tumbled every time.

IF... you get all the sizing lube off them. Carbide dies, no lube? I don't tumble mine but every 5-6 loadings, or if I just get tired of looking at them "tarnished". It's not a "necessary" step.

If they are bottlenecked that you have to lube, and you are concerned about getting ALL the lube off them, then tumble them for a couple hours.
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:34 AM   #3
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Many reloaders do not clean. And, I'll admit it is possible to do good reloads with dirty brass. But, for me, cleaning is an important safety step. It is much easier to see splits and other defects on clean brass. I inspect at every step. And added bonus is clean brass shows pride and care in what you are doing. Most diligent shooters will never use ammo another person had reloaded if it is dirty. Dirty says "this guy doesn't care". And a care-less reloader is a dangerous reloader.
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Is cleaning the primer pocket, flash hole, inside of neck, and wiping down the outside of the case sufficient enough to reuse brass or must it be tumbled/vibrated entirely clean before using?
Yes, what you are doing is sufficient for reloading fired brass.

No need to tumble/vibrate clean before using if you know the history of the brass (not fired brass from unknown source).
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:53 AM   #5
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I tumble ever time but I don't clean primer pockets but ever 4 or 5 reloads. And I doubt if I'm the only one that does it that way or more. I don't think that's being unsafe. My reloads seem to be just fine with that practice.
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:03 AM   #6
twins
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And added bonus is clean brass shows pride and care in what you are doing. Most diligent shooters will never use ammo another person had reloaded if it is dirty. Dirty says "this guy doesn't care". And a care-less reloader is a dangerous reloader.
A tumbled brass is shinier than a wiped-down brass but is it dirtier to the point of unsafe? I don't think so. Your assumptions are very broad stroke.
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:29 AM   #7
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What i wonder is if a the case must be prepped to default settings and so on for the same results as in speed and consistency. Like right now i have a load with a SD of 4.5 and a ES of 10. Very very consistent, but i'm wondering if i have to get my primer pocket perfectly clean to get the same results?
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:54 AM   #8
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NO
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:05 AM   #9
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I went for a number of years without cleaning my brass because I didn't feel like buying a tumbler, getting the media, running it, etc etc. I figured I was doing okay. My ammo worked and it was accurate.

When I finally woke up out of the fog and started tumbling my brass, everything got better. Everything is cleaner, especially my hands from handling all of it during ANY part of the process. And it's a lot easier to inspect the brass which makes my ammo safer and better.

I quit cleaning primer pockets years ago and still don't do it for any of my handgun loads. It's just not necessary -- not EVER, in my experience, for handgun loads.

But I will never go back to not tumbling my brass. If for nothing else, simple pride in my loads.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
Most diligent shooters will never use ammo another person had reloaded.
There. I fixed it for you.

I've been reloading for over two decades and I've never owned a tumbler. Clean? Yes. Shiny? No. I've never seen the benefit in shiny brass.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:13 PM   #11
William T. Watts
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I second Rifleman 1776, I like clean brass when I start the loading process, the cases go in a second time to remove case lube. A plus to that is most of my dies have been around for 30 years or more. Cleaning brass isn't a big thing but pays benefits in that your dies last a long time and your handloads look good, as another poster says you take pride in what you do! William

Last edited by William T. Watts; April 6, 2011 at 03:43 PM.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:27 PM   #12
MOshooter65202
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I also like to work with clean brass,although you can get buy without cleaning brass.
I like to tumble my brass before I run it though my sizer/de-primer after sizing. Next I clean primer pockets trim brass if needed,back through the tumbler again for the final cleaning.I am now ready for primer,gun powder,and bullet seating.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:29 PM   #13
temmi
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Well the answer is... Kinda.


If you are lubeing the brass then yes.


If not them... well... no


BUT

I do clean Primer pockets and tumble all brass every time.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:37 PM   #14
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Curious...
Dumping a load of shells into the tumbler takes no time at all (granted, it takes an hour or two to tumble, but that's not my time)- so why in the world would you want to take the time to "hand clean" all those areas on each piece of brass individually, instead of just throwing them into the tumbler?

Am I missing something?

I never clean the primer pockets, but then again I limit brass to five firings- then set them aside in case of the apocalypse...
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Old April 6, 2011, 01:00 PM   #15
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I prefer clean brass, I had been borrowing aquiaintances tumblers. I've been looking here and there on craigslist for a used one to no avail. The crusty knowledgeable guy at the local black powder guns shop said throw em in a bucket overnight with white vinegar, just make sure they're dry before you reload em.
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Old April 6, 2011, 01:11 PM   #16
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I've noticed that if my fired brass (.38 Specials, lately) still look sort-of clean and I don't tumble them, they resize easier than if they are fresh from the polisher. I think the little bit of soot and film on them acts as a lubricant -- of course they were polished to a high sparkle the previous loading or the one before that, so they are still nice and smooth.
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Old April 6, 2011, 01:25 PM   #17
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rifleman was right on. the only reason i tumble my brass very long is so u can see the defects in the cases easier. other than that you should be good to go without cleaning.
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Old April 6, 2011, 03:08 PM   #18
Rifleman1776
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twins: Re-read my post. I was talking about the person reloading, not the brass as being unreliable.
PawPaw: I would agree with "many", dunno about "most". But, with you leaning more to the safe side of the issue, I won't argue.
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Old April 6, 2011, 03:43 PM   #19
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Reloading dirty brass is like putting your dirty underware back on. It's much better to start out with clean. Its not like its that hard to drop it in the tumbler for a bit.
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Old April 6, 2011, 04:11 PM   #20
zxcvbob
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Quote:
Reloading dirty brass is like putting your dirty underware back on.
I think socks might be a better analogy. (These still smell OK...) Or jeans.
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Old April 6, 2011, 04:57 PM   #21
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I also agree with rifleman, I learned from my Father a long time ago and he never had a tumbler and handloads were accurate but the older I get my eyes are not quite what they used to be and I can see split cases or necks alot better and I like clean and polished handloads just my opinion.
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Old April 6, 2011, 05:53 PM   #22
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I tumble and clean pockets every time.Check case length everytime also. I can't say if it's a pride thing or if it's just the way i was shown to do it.
Like one post said-Tumbling is not my time.
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Old April 6, 2011, 06:10 PM   #23
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Talking straight wall revolver brass here.

No. Brass doesn't need to be cleaned every time (unless shooting Black Powder loads). I used to be anal about it, but found that it really isn't necessary. Yes, after 5, 6 loadings, I will run them through the tumbler.

I no longer clean the primer pockets either. Waste of time for general shooting. Have noted no difference since I stopped several years ago.

Also I use the brass until the case expires. Like a case split, or find a mouth split. Easily noticed.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:47 PM   #24
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It is well known that shiney brass shoots better than grimey brass


Well maybe not, but it looks better


One Distinguished HM, he never cleaned his 308 brass, and never removed the lube. He picked up his M1a brass, rolled the things in a RCBS water soluble saturated towel, added 22 drops of RCBS water soluble, sized the stuff, only trimmed if it felt too long in the die !EEK! I really doubt he ever cleaned his primer pockets. He took his brass an entire shooting season and he won every medal that could be won in CMP competition.
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Old April 7, 2011, 05:12 PM   #25
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Most diligent shooters will never use ammo another person had reloaded if it is dirty. Dirty says "this guy doesn't care". And a care-less reloader is a dangerous reloader.
While I understand the point you're trying to make, I disagree. It's too much of a broad statement.

When I see dirty reloads, I don't think, "Oh, this guy is a slob. Get away before he fires a double charge after a squib."

I simply think back to when I couldn't afford a tumbler, my dad couldn't afford a tumbler, my brothers couldn't afford a tumbler, and the tens of thousands of reloads that were put together with dirty brass. My family has been reloading metallic cartridges since the metallic cartridge came into common use. The first tumbler to be used in my family was purchased in 1997!

After seeing that Dillon tumbler run, my grandfather built his own out of a vacuum cleaner motor, a donut shaped jello mold, a piece of a John Deere tractor frame, and random bits and pieces from his shop. He ran it exactly twice, before deciding dirty brass doesn't matter.

Cleaning brass by hand is a pain in the butt! I'd rather load dirty ammo, than clean everything by hand. ...But I'm like Sevens. Unless my brother repossesses his tumbler*, I won't let any brass touch my reloading bench until it has been cleaned. (Even then, I'd probably buy my own, before I started loading dirty brass again.)

*My brother is unlikely to repossess his tumbler. He loves just dropping off gallon bags of dirty brass and pick-up brass; then having it magically reappear sparkling clean, sorted by type, head stamp, and approximate condition (with all rejects, damaged cases, steel, aluminum, NT, and unsavory head stamps already dealt with).


You don't have to clean your brass every time. It does help a lot, in keeping the overall process cleaner, though. Dies can go longer without cleaning (depending on the lube you're using). Your hands stay cleaner. Sizing effort can be reduced.

I clean primer pockets on rifle ammo, but I've never actually found it to make a difference.

I almost never clean the inside of case necks. I would do it if I remembered... but I keep the brushes in a different drawer than my other case prep tools. So, the step is nearly always forgotten.
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