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Old May 8, 2008, 04:40 PM   #1
G.R.
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Tumbling question

I'm Relatively new to reloading but have a question on some advice I was given
I was told that after reloading, whether it's pistol loads or rifle cartridges that it was good to re-tumble the loaded shells to given them a final cleaning before loading them into your firearm.
I have always wiped my rifle cartridges after loading but never thought to tumble.
Any advice either way? Any chance of them going off?
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Old May 8, 2008, 05:15 PM   #2
BigJimP
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I wouldn't tumble them - but some guys do. Is it dangerous - maybe - but I doubt it / is it prudent ( I don't think so ). I read in one of the gun magazines recently - where a shooter claimed he dropped a spent casing on top of a tub of reloaded cartridges - and it creased the primer just right / the round went off. I'm not saying whether its true or not - but I find it a little hard to believe - yet I wouldn't tumble finished cartridges either ( just in case ).

I use case lube on all my pistol calibers reloads - regardless of the fact that I use carbide dies - it makes the press run a lot smoother. I dump the reloads onto a bench, on a cheap folded up terry cloth bathtowel - rub about 10 at a time on the surface of the towel under my hand - to clean them up a little - then I run them thru a case gague as I box them up. I think that is all you need to do.
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Old May 8, 2008, 06:10 PM   #3
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I don't but have talked to a lot of people that do without problems. The ammo manufactures tumble the ammo after it's loaded and before it's boxed. I don't see how throwing around cases of WWB ammo that's packed loose could be any less dangerous than tumbling loaded ammo. Mainly in the tumbler the ammo is just rubbing against each other not crashing into each other. I only tumble pistol before it's loaded, I use carbide dies so there is nothing to clean off. Rifle ammo I tumble before and after sizing to clean the lube off. I am thinking of tumbling some after they are loaded to see how it works.
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Old May 8, 2008, 06:17 PM   #4
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I only tumble loaded ammo, the cases of which I've lubed. I don't lube cases that I run through carbide dies.
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Old May 8, 2008, 10:20 PM   #5
jmorris
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I have post load tumbled thousands of rounds (it makes it case gauging less of a hassle). I quit worrying about the extra vibration when I thought about my grandfather’s rifle behind the seat of the farm truck (like tumbling for days or weeks). It always worked when it was needed and never blew up. I would bet that the ammo shipped over seas then around the country before being needed, has also had is fair share of “tumbling” along the way.
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Old May 9, 2008, 12:32 AM   #6
btefft
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I use Hornady One Shot case lube and never have seen a need to tumble reloads.

In fact, I read somewhere that one of the potential hazards or tumbling reloads is that it "may" have a bad effect on the surface of the powder inside the case, making it less efficient.

Don't remember where I read it, I think in some leaflet that came with a powder purchase.

Hack
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Old May 9, 2008, 12:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
In fact, I read somewhere that one of the potential hazards or tumbling reloads is that it "may" have a bad effect on the surface of the powder inside the case, making it less efficient.
The warnigs I have read I forget where, exactly) said that tumbling loaded rounds could remove the retartdant coatings on some powders, making them burn quicker, spiking pressures......... unwise, in my book. And unneccessary, I think. Tumble deprimed cases ot clean them. Make sure media does not clog flash holes, before priming. Load and shoot.
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Old May 9, 2008, 05:45 AM   #8
ShootingNut
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Effect of Powder

I did tumble a few, and it is a nice finishing touch. Then I started to wonder about the powder breaking down.
Sent an email to both Hodgdon and Accurate for advice on that issue.
Hodgdon said "I would NOT advise tumbling a loaded round", and Accurate said "Go ahead, it will not effect the powder in any way".
So, there ya have it, does make it easier to make up one's mind, right?
This is one debate that will never go away!
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Last edited by ShootingNut; May 9, 2008 at 05:46 AM. Reason: Effect ON Powder (Title)
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Old May 9, 2008, 07:41 AM   #9
SL1
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Thre have been discussions in earlier threads about tumbing loaded rounds, and some tests that showed (for the powders tested at least) that tumbling for extended periods did not affect the powder in any significant way.

The article about the primer going off from being impacted by a spent casing was in the June '08 issue of Guns & Ammo. Actually, the article siad the impact that set off the primer in the ammo box on the table was hit by an ejected casing on an indoor firing range, where the shell bounced back off the baffle between firing positions. I can belive that, given how fast casings come out of some autoloaders. The article also said that there were occurences of (1) a round in a bag of loose ammo stuffed into a soft range bag discharging when the range bag was dropped on the ground, and (2) a round in a bucket of loaded ammo friring when another laoed round was thrown into the bucket.

That said, I think there is a lot less impact force in a tumbler than in these situations. Still, why tumble loaded rounds?

Another reason NOT to tumble loaded rounds is the polishing agent used to enhance the effect of the tumbling media. This material should not go into your gun, or you will end-up lapping things unintentionally. So, even if you are using plain media in your tumbler when you are tumbling loaded rounds, there will probably be some polishing compounds left in there from the other media and that will get on your ammo. If you need to wipe that off, why not just wipe the lube off?

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Old May 9, 2008, 09:16 AM   #10
G.R.
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Thanks for all the input,
I think I'll just stick to wiping the lube off or at the most re-tumbling the resized brass before loading
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Old May 9, 2008, 09:27 AM   #11
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Old May 9, 2008, 10:12 AM   #12
Hawg Haggen
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I don't tumble loaded rounds. Doesn't take but a second to wipe them off as they're being boxed.
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Old May 9, 2008, 11:46 AM   #13
snuffy
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Quote:
Another reason NOT to tumble loaded rounds is the polishing agent used to enhance the effect of the tumbling media. This material should not go into your gun, or you will end-up lapping things unintentionally. So, even if you are using plain media in your tumbler when you are tumbling loaded rounds, there will probably be some polishing compounds left in there from the other media and that will get on your ammo. If you need to wipe that off, why not just wipe the lube off?
Brass polish is made just hard enough to polish brass. Therefore, it's not nearly hard enough to affect the steel in a gun barrel. Same goes for the abrasive in car wax products, like nu-finish, it's just hard enough to cut PAINT!

This discussion comes up on a regular basis, on this and other forums. A couple of years ago I did a test where I tumbled some 300 WSM shells loaded with R-19 powder. They were taken out at one hour intervals to inspect and photograph the powder granuals, then re-assembled. Since no change had occurred to the powder, the tumbling was suspended after 17 hours. The rounds were then fired over a chrono, at a target, the velocities recorded as well as group size. NO CHANGES IN VELOCITY OR GROUP SIZE WERE NOTED!

Others have done tests where ammo was tumbled for several months! With all 3 different types of powder granuals. (That's spherical, extruded, and flake). No degradation of powder size, or shape, no changes in velocity!

Powder is some tough stuff. It is actually like a plastic in nature. Take a chunk, try to cut/break it. Then it's coated with graphite so it will flow through measures. This lubricates it, so abrasion would be difficult to happen.
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Old May 9, 2008, 12:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
I don't tumble loaded rounds. Doesn't take but a second to wipe them off as they're being boxed.
Yeah, but wiping 4-500 .223 that I just loaded in my dillon 650 gets real tiring. It's so easy to tumble in un-treated tumbler media for 20 minutes, then a trip through a cartridge gauge and into the boxes.
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Old May 9, 2008, 02:32 PM   #15
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Snuffy,

Do you know what the red polish material is in the Lyman walnut media or the green polish material is in the corncomb media.

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Old May 9, 2008, 03:55 PM   #16
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Ragging off your Reloads

I don't know about rifle calibers, but I find with my various hangun loads,
is I don't have to do it anymore. Why, I have found if I start out with a really clean brass casing, make sure it's flaired enough to accept the bullet, the end result really for the most part looks great and is clean enough to chamber. Sure a few need my "finger nail routine" for some lube smear, but it works for me and save me all the "rag time" I used to do. To each his own, right?
Regards,
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Old May 9, 2008, 04:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Do you know what the red polish material is in the Lyman walnut media or the green polish material is in the corncomb media.

SL1
It's a rouge, or a very mild abrasive. Abrasives come in many grades, concerning their hardness, or what they will cut. The rouge thats on the pre-charged media is specifically made to only polish soft brass. So it won't touch tool steel or barrel steel.

Some G-moke over on the AR forum said he would never use a media additive because it would get inside the brass casings, then on the bullet, to get dragged down the barrel. At that time I was using flitz tumbler additive. I put some flitz on a felt fobb an spun it in a dremmel tool. I tried to get it to touch stainless steel table silverware, my loading dies, and an old piece of barrel cut off an old rifle barrel. It cleaned the steel, but would NOT abrade/cut it! It barely removed what was left of the bluing on that chunk of barrel.
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Old May 9, 2008, 05:06 PM   #18
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Snuffy,

Well, I understand the theory.

But, I am a little confused by the combination of the ideas that (1) the rouge is hard enough to cut brass, but not steel and (2) the idea that firing guilding metal jacketed bullets (softer than brass) smooths out a barrel.

It just seems reasonable that the bullets plus rouge would do some additional wear on the barrel.

Without knowing what the rouges are, I can't really comment on how hard they are. But, I use rouges all the time with my Dremel to polish brass, steel and hard rubber. (I don't know what they are, either.)

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Old May 10, 2008, 09:13 AM   #19
The Lovemaster
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I tumble my loaded rounds for 15 minutes, they come out looking absolutely beautiful.
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Old May 10, 2008, 07:12 PM   #20
TEDDY
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tumbling

Good lord this is a he did she said thing.factorys tumble loaded rounds,commercial reloaders tumble.the military rounds are not tumbled as the inspector wants to see the annealing on the shoulder.
powder is celulose and then coated with grafite to lube it thru the loading machines.when are you guys going to stop rumors that are unfounded.
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Old May 11, 2008, 11:15 AM   #21
Sport45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy
the military rounds are not tumbled as the inspector wants to see the annealing on the shoulder.
Absolutely right with your comments.

Military rounds aren't tumbled but that doesn't mean they're not subject to a lot of vibration between point of sale and point of use. If ammo was adversely affected by vibration it could hardly be considered mil-spec. Think of the time military ammo spends in air transport, trucks, trains, etc. No telling how many times the surplus SL55 30-06 I have was moved and it still shoots fine. So I don't think damage to the powder is really a concern.

Abrasive grit left on the bullets? Possibly, but that doesn't make much sense to me either. If your tumbler is leaving abrasives on the brass it would seem that tumbling would be harmful to reloading dies and not recommended before sizing. (I don't use polishes in my tumbler anyway, so it's not a concern for me.) Do you know of anyone who wipes down the brass between tumbling and resizing to remove this abrasive residue?

I believe Lyman also warns against tumbling loaded ammo. I would too if I sold tumblers and had to CMA for anything that might possibly happen.

That said, I do tumble my rifle brass after sizing and trimming to remove the lube. I prep my brass in advance so that when I want to reload (often months later) I can just add powder and a bullet. I keep my prepped and primed brass in ziplock bags. My pistol brass is never lubed.
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