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Old November 7, 2011, 12:17 AM   #1
TennJed
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?

Got a question. I had a large box with about 700 rounds of 22lr in it dump out all over the ground. To make matters worse I was in a lake bottom where the water was down but still muddy as heck. I threw all the rounds in a few zip lock bags and now I have a bunch of 22lr covered in mud, dirt, and clay.

Can I tumble them clean?

I have done some searching and gotten mixed results on tumbling loaded ammo. I have yet to find anything on tumbling loaded .22lr rimfire. Is it safe? How hard does the rim need to be struck before it goes off? Anything else I need to be aware of?

Thanks
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Old November 7, 2011, 01:46 AM   #2
Lost Sheep
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Why tumble them? It is just mud (I think, since you did not describe their current condition). Could you just wash them, rinse them? I would not use soap, as that might let water infiltrate into the cases, but if I could avoid tumbling, I would.

I would not avoid tumbling if it seems necessary. A 22 going off unconfined in a chamber is not so large an explosion as to represent a danger to life, but could present problems, especially if it sets off other rounds. The most likely worst thing to happen is that rounds and tumbling media might be scattered around the room. A prudent precaution would be if you cover the tumbler with a blanket. Even if it is outside, you wouldn't want to lose any live 22 rounds.

I would use less energetic cleaning techniques first and go from there.

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Old November 7, 2011, 05:23 AM   #3
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Ya , what he said !
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Old November 7, 2011, 05:32 AM   #4
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If I can load .22lr into a 10/22 mag without it going off, I don't believe a vibratory tumbler will set it off either. It will remove the lube and/or gilding metal on the bullets.

I agree with the above poster, if your gonna mess with it, take your kitchen colander, dump the cartridges into it, rinse and shake, rinse and shake, etc.

700 rounds, I'm guessing bulk cartridges, is about $20.00 worth in my area. For $20.00, I'd just toss'em. Take a sandwich in to work for two or three days, the duds and problems aren't worth it...
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Old November 7, 2011, 07:11 AM   #5
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For $20.00, I'd just toss'em.
There really is no proper way to simply toss them.

As for the blanket over the tumbler, I like the idea for the purpose of a blast, but that kind of sounds like a fire hazard.

IMO, the best course of action for this problem is a huge popcorn bowl... a damp cloth... and sit down in front of a movie and wipe down each by hand.

After wiping down 700 pieces, each by hand, you might have yourself fully trained to NEVER drop them again!
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Old November 7, 2011, 07:15 AM   #6
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Been there, done that, let them dry out and tossed them in. They came out sparkly clean.

For some dumb reason I had opened a box of .22 ammo before taking it up to the barn. Muddy as heck out that day and and I slipped in the Missouri Grease that we call soil.

It cleaned up well and still shot. No problems with them. I did take my tumbler up to the garage and plugged it in there.
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Old November 7, 2011, 09:15 AM   #7
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Seems to me tumbling them would strip the lube off the bullets.
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Old November 7, 2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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I'd toss them. IMHO there's no way to ensure getting all the grit out of the lube without removing all the lube. My .22 barrels are worth more than 700 rounds of bulk .22lr ammo.

If your range doesn't have a dud bucket just pull the bullets and dump the powder before disposing. Grab the middle of the case with a pair of needle-nose pliers and grab the bullet with a pair of regular pliers. Bend the bullet to the side and it will come right out. Throw the bullet in your scrap lead bin and dump the powder to burn later.

The cases can be tossed in the trash or burnt in a campfire to get rid of the priming compound. Each one has about the same report as a small cap gun.
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Old November 7, 2011, 10:31 AM   #9
chris in va
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Seems to me tumbling them would strip the lube off the bullets.
Not only that, but the dust in the media will stick to the lube. Naaaaasty!
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Old November 7, 2011, 05:07 PM   #10
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As mentioned earlier, the .22LR is externally lubed. This used to be common prior to 1900, externally lubed cases, but the .22LR is about the only commercially available cartridge that is still around.

The lubrication is wax. It is necessary to prevent leading, and it is also helpful in blowback actions. Typically the entire case is waxed and in hot weather the wax melts in the chamber and acts as a lubricant in blow back actions. In cold weather the wax will condense in the chamber and gum up the action in time.

Wax is not soluble in water, but in hot water or soapy water it will come off.

Tumbling will mechanically remove the wax. Bad idea.
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Old November 7, 2011, 10:35 PM   #11
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Ok thanks guys.....what would be the best way to dispose of them. I would rather not toss them in the trash and have one go off when the truck crushes them.

Should I toss them in the bottom of a pond?
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Old November 7, 2011, 11:01 PM   #12
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Hazmat

Most municipal dumps have a hazardous materials disposal section.
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Old November 7, 2011, 11:34 PM   #13
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Moisten a bath towel.
Lay it flat.
Dump the .22s on the towel.
Fold towel over .22s and let sit for a couple minutes, to moisten the mud/clay residue.
Rub around to clean the rounds.

Dump elsewhere, and allow to dry.

Lather, rinse, repeat, until all .22s are "clean enough".


Quote:
I would rather not toss them in the trash and have one go off when the truck crushes them.

Should I toss them in the bottom of a pond?
Either one would be illegal disposal of hazardous waste. Don't go there.
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Old November 7, 2011, 11:49 PM   #14
TennJed
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Either one would be illegal disposal of hazardous waste. Don't go there.
Yeah I firgured with the trash....guess it would be on the farm pond also.....maybe I will just fill a jag with water and the rounds and set it on my reloading bench for a conversation piece
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Old November 8, 2011, 12:11 AM   #15
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Just wipe them off. What's a little dirt?
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Old November 8, 2011, 09:50 AM   #16
serf 'rett
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Wet rag + movie = 700 saved rounds.

Really shouldn't be a problem to wipe them twice during a rental movie and have enough time to smear on some bullet lube if you are inclined to worry about the loss of the "wax" coating. Shoot, if the movie was being shown on TV, you could likely complete the process during the commercial breaks.

I cannot imagine trashing the rounds because they got muddy. If you don’t want to mess with the mess, then find a kid and give them to him for plinking. He will think you’re a great guy!
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