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Old December 23, 2006, 12:44 AM   #1
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Cleaning Hulls

I am looking for a way to clean shotshell hulls for reloading.

Someone brought me several (1000+) AA hulls they have picked up from a local state park were they dove hunt. They are slightly muddy, and some have the primers rusted (those I throw away) and I am looking for a way of cleaning them. I have heard of guys running them through a washing machine, but I think I would be divorced if I tried that. Not to mention the possibility of water remaining in the shell and rendering the shell a dud.

Any ideas of how to clean many shells at once?
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Old December 24, 2006, 05:01 PM   #2
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I used to put them in a plastic 5 gal barrel with soap and water and keep giving them a good stir up. Then rinse out with a hose and lay them on some burlap to dry, gave them a final dry with a fan heater before processing them ( I used to deprime first as well). You could look round for a used wash machine if you have the room I guess and automate it some.
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Old December 24, 2006, 10:09 PM   #3
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I reload tons of shotgun shells, most I buy, but I am not against picking up some good looking shells. I really don't fool arond with shells that are dirty or mud covered. They are just too cheap to fool around with. Go to shoots at local clubs, many sell the empties cheaply and they are in good shape.I don't have lots of money to burn, but I wil be damned if I am going to wash shells to save a couple of bucks. Do what ever you like though..
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Old December 28, 2006, 11:22 AM   #4
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I am not washing them, I just don't want to chance water in them.

I have a small concrete mixer that I am tumbling them in with silica sand. It cleans the dirt and powder residue off well, but I can only leave them in about 10 minutes tops. That doesn't get the brass very clean. Any longer starts to rough the plastic. After the silica I wipe them with a rag sprayed with silicone lubricant, slicks them right up.
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Old May 2, 2007, 08:11 PM   #5
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fill up a slop sink with warm soapy water and slush around the hulls in it. empty-refil-rinse...repeat until water is clear when sloshed around
deprime after dry and let sit 1 day, water will trap itself in the flash hole ruining the new primer so let it sit a day or two to dry after depriming : D your good 2 go : P
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Old May 3, 2007, 01:11 PM   #6
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For about 45 years I have done the following only with hulls having a one piece formed plastic with brass base:

clean off crud by hand
wash hulls: old nylon stocking in washer when wife isn't home

Using a little common sence on drying time in the sun & wind, I have never had a problem with water in the hull.
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Old May 3, 2007, 02:13 PM   #7
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I never wash hulls. I simply rag off any debris, check the interior for anything like feathers or whatever, and then load ‘em up. They last this way until the crimps are so burned they really don’t work so well anymore, and I simply toss ‘em. Two non-reloading dove hunting friends who pick up their empties will give you a lifetime supply of hulls for absolutely nothing. Baring that, local trap and skeet clubs sell hulls cheap. Cleaning shotgun hulls isn’t worth stirring the ire of the better half, nor needlessly mucking up a perfectly good washing machine.
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Old May 4, 2007, 01:57 AM   #8
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Plastic base wads in the washer are ok, but paper base wads really get mushy.
I toss mine in a tumbler of untreated corn cobb over night, then decap and inspect, then just load em up.
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