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Old April 3, 2014, 09:50 AM   #1
TylerOutdoorsman
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What's the best media for cleaning loaded ammo?

I have about 1,000 round of 40 S&W loaded up with 155 gr. LRN projectiles. They are a little sticky, I guess from the bullet lube? They were cleaned prior to loading with Lyman Tuff Nut (walnut media impregnated with red polishing rouge). What's the best (fastest) media to use to clean this off real good. Corn Cob or Walnut or something else. Headed to the reloading shop at lunch to get something. Any input would be appreciated.
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Old April 3, 2014, 09:52 AM   #2
rg1
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Clean corn cob media. Walnut tends to have dust that sticks to lube. Corn cob does a quick job with no dust.
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Old April 3, 2014, 10:00 AM   #3
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I would go with the Lyman green stuff.

I avoid your situation by first tumbling in the above-mentioned green stuff to get them clean on the outside for the sake of my resizing/decap die(s).

I then lube, resize/decap, and tumble in a drum wet - with SS pins, Dawn soap, and a pinch of Lemi-shine. This wet tumble removes the size lube and cleans the inside of the brass, and even the primer pockets.

I have nice clean brass when I start the load process. It's more work than most are willing to do. But not me.

But back to your situation: It may be a bit of a pain - especially considering the volume of ammo mentioned - but wiping them with a towel individually is an option. I would probably go with this method if I were in your situation. A: because I can handle tremendous amounts of repetition; and B: tumbling live ammo doesn't sit well with me. But how you do it is your choice, and you'll end up doing what's right for you.

Whatever you choose, I do agree that the residue should be removed.
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Old April 3, 2014, 02:16 PM   #4
andyjr11
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I use the corn cob, put a 100 in at a time and it only need about 1/2 hour.
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Old April 3, 2014, 03:11 PM   #5
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For cleaning off stickiness from loaded rounds, I wouldn't use any abrasive. Just any plain corncob. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of mineral spirits into the corncob before you add the cartridges and let the media run by itself for ten minutes to spread it around and absorb it. Then it should take waxes and oils off pretty fast.
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Old April 3, 2014, 09:22 PM   #6
Ritz
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Over the years I've been told by many folks to never tumble live rounds. If it was me, I'd use an old rag with some acetone or perhaps alcohol to wipe them down.
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Old April 3, 2014, 09:31 PM   #7
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Plus one for UncleNicks post.
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Old April 4, 2014, 08:51 AM   #8
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Ritz,

Vibratory tumblers are no harder on live rounds than driving them around in military vehicles or flying them on propeller aircraft is. Ammunition has been run in a vibratory tumbler for up to six months and fired without issues. See this page and see this experiment with 200 to 300 hour tumbling tests. It's big concrete mixer size rotary tumblers that used to be used in industry (though now largely replaced by Vibradynes and the like) that can cause issues, in particular with exposed lead tips getting smashed flat and cases getting dented and possibly some bullet setback resulting.
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Old April 4, 2014, 01:30 PM   #9
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I went by the reloading shop yesterday and bought fine "treated" corn cob media (that's what they had). The guys didn't know what it was treated with so I don't know what to "recharge" it with. Which did an excellent job on 200 rounds at a time for about 30 minutes. They cam out looking polished and perfect. Thanks guys for your input.
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Old April 4, 2014, 02:43 PM   #10
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I've read where it's not a good idea to tumble live rounds also. The vibration can supposedly change the specification of the powder, ie. change the grain size enough to cause it to burn different.
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Old April 4, 2014, 03:27 PM   #11
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utterly dangerous

I use(d) clean corn-cob media with a splash of mineral spirits.

Yes it's flammable

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Old April 5, 2014, 12:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
I've read where it's not a good idea to tumble live rounds also. The vibration can supposedly change the specification of the powder, ie. change the grain size enough to cause it to burn different.
And I've read where it's extremely dangerous to reload, both for the reloader, and the shooter.

You can read anything......then it's up to you to decide whether what you read is propaganda, intentional or unintentional misinformation, irrelevant, biased, or really true for both the wise man and the idiot. I might add that it is extremely unwise to hand a gun and a loaded cartridge to an idiot.....or a match for that matter. (or the keys to a car?)

What you've never read is that a 30 minute tumble in dry corncob has ever changed powder size or chemistry. No studies or experience have shown that such can light primers & powder, nor change burn time either. But it is a simple, quick & easy way to put a finishing touch on your reloaded ammo.

Since 30 minutes is ample time....not much more to say, except don't tumble loaded rounds longer than necessary........or someone might call you an idiot.

I might add, that some people call us idiots for reloading at all.

Last edited by GWS; April 5, 2014 at 12:28 AM.
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Old April 8, 2014, 07:56 AM   #13
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It's easy to understand how the rumor got started. You want to err on the side of caution about anything you do in reloading, so when someone suggests you do something that's not a standard step in the loading manuals, you are naturally concerned about its safety. And people who've tumbled rocks in abrasive may figure the much lighter, much more elastic powder, even without abrasives, will do the same thing, eventually; get all rounded and lose its surface coatings. And I'm sure it will. But if you've followed my links in post #8, "eventually" turns out to be some unknown time that is longer than six months of continuous vibration.

Again, can you just imagine the vibration experienced by WWII fighter plane ammo that was loaded into trucks with military suspensions at the munitions plant and taken to a stockpile bunker, then later is loaded into another truck and driven to a ship yard, then taken off the truck and loaded onto a ship to cross the ocean, then taken off the ship and loaded on another truck to go to an airfield magazine, then from the magazine its trucked to a P-47 or other propeller driven aircraft that might fly several patrols without firing any of it, vibrating and humming the whole time. Even with half an hour in a vibratory tumbler, would any of your handloads ever even come close to experiencing all that cumulative vibration? And yet, that ammo worked fine.


TylerOutdoorsman,

The treated media obviously worked for you, but you only need to pay for treated media if you want to polish dirty brass (makes it easier to find in the grass). To get excess lube off, plain corncob and mineral spirits is all you need. No point in clogging the pores of the treated stuff with lube because that will make it slower acting when you want to use it to polish. The plain stuff can be found a pet stores and at air blasting supply places. It's used as blasting media for taking paint off of wood or other surfaces not hard enough to withstand sand blasting. It's usually around $25 for a 40 lb bag.
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Old April 8, 2014, 09:45 AM   #14
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Lot of good info shared here.
The only thing I have to add is if the ammo is hollow point be sure your media is not so small as to pack in the hollow points.
Don't ask me ow I know this but it is a real pain to have to pick the media out of the bullets - LOL!
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Old April 8, 2014, 12:14 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the help! I plan to check my local pet store for some untreated corn cob media for this purpose in the future!
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Old April 8, 2014, 01:40 PM   #16
Misssissippi Dave
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Walnut does clean nasty brass much faster than corncob does. For cleaning lube from loaded cases, corncob works best in my opinion. I get mine from Granger and only use the 20/40 size. It comes in 40 pound bags for around $25 and will last a very long time. The bag is paper so dumping it into a trash can with a lid works for me. The 20/40 size is quite fine and doesn't seem to get caught in anything much. There might be a little in the flash hole prior to removing the primer but, it is all pushed out when you remove the old primer.

You can add stuff to the corncob but, even if you don't add a thing it gets the job done. Not shinny enough? Let it run longer. Corncob is all I use any more.
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Old April 8, 2014, 08:37 PM   #17
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Grainger does sell Econoline 20/40 in 40# bags but I've found it cheaper this year at Zoro tools. Today that price is $23....$28 counting $5.00 shipping.

You won't find near the deal or the product at a pet store.

Not sure how much 40# is? Picture below demonstrates: (that's a lot of product for $28.)


Last edited by GWS; April 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM.
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