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Old December 13, 2007, 02:51 AM   #1
Old Arn
Join Date: March 18, 2006
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 41
First time reloader has a few questions

Hey, everyone,

I just got a box from Midway this afternoon containing most of my reloading gear. I'm starting off with a Lee hand press, 45 ACP carbide dies, scale, trickler, and a few accessories like loading blocks, etc. I've read through most of ABC's of Reloading and lurked on this and other forums to gain as much knowledge about realoading as possible, but there's still a few questions I have.

1) I was lucky enough to get a bunch of once-fired 45 ACP brass from Midway, but it seems like it's quite a mix of different brands. Should I sort them by headstamp, or would the difference in accuracy be negligible? Are there any brands I should toss out?

2) One of the reasons I'm getting into reloading is to minimize lead exposure since I tend to shoot at indoor ranges. I plan on using Rainier or Berry's copper plated bullets. I plan on cleaning the brass, and I'm leaning towards a liquid cleaner like Iosso or the old lemon juice and detergent formula, figuring that it won't be as messy as having lead and media dust floating around. How much lead do you think comes from the primer? How should I safely dispose of the cleaner, and would there be enough lead in it to pose a problem?

3) I'm going to get a bullet puller, but want to get a press mounted collet type like Hornady's. I will probably be bouncing around different apartments for the next few years, so I think the hammer type pullers wouldn't be such a good idea. Has anyone tried a press mounted puller on the hand press?

Thanks in advance, guys. I've learned so much about reloading and firearms in general from just lurking here.

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Old December 13, 2007, 03:15 AM   #2
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Join Date: November 14, 1999
Posts: 1,573
No need to sort for accuracy ... if you are shooting it through a pistol, you'll never notice any difference that might exist. Pay attention to the feel of the press when you are resizing ... I toss anything that feels different ... usually it has the A-merc headstamp when it happens. A-Merc is the ONLY brass that I won't reload.

Berry's bullets are great. I would consider one of the vibrating cleaners ... you can add some carnuba car wax to it to keep the dust down ... BUT ... you will NOT decrease your lead exposure by reloading ... if you really want to do that, then you will buy TMJ rounds already made or you will only use new components ... not once-fired brass. If you are really disciplined, you can avoid increasing your exposure while reloading, but I just don't think that it would be possible to reduce it. Just one opinion ... from one that follows the rules religiously ... no eating, drinking, etc while reloading at my bench.

I have the Hornady bullet puller ... it works really well, even in a hand press, but it can be tough to pull heavily crimped bullets without spilling some powder. This is trivially easy with a mounted press. The hammer style is great to pull one round, but NOT 10 or 20 or God forbid 100

Be safe,
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Old December 13, 2007, 05:39 AM   #3
Join Date: December 12, 2007
Location: The dark forests of scandinavia
Posts: 32
There is some lead in primers, but there are also lead free primers available.
Dont remember the brand but Ive seen a box someplace.
There will be minimal exposure to lead dust when using liquids cleaning your brass. Myself I just put my brass in a sock and toss them in the washing machine with other laundry. Of course I silently and secretly take them out
so that my wife doest see
You may still have to clean the primer pocket after washing brass.
Some soaps effect the primer pocket residue making green/white colored corrosion. That wont harm your brass, just clean it and itll be okay.

IMO there is no noticeable difference when reloading different brand brass.
There is however some real crap brass like the A-Merc mentioned above.
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Old December 13, 2007, 06:13 AM   #4
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Join Date: June 14, 2007
Posts: 108

Get yourself a good tumbler,and use it outside.Put a dryer sheet in it.It will help with the dust.A couple of capfulls of Nu Car Finish will make the brass shinny!Wallnut media is what I use.
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Old December 14, 2007, 11:20 AM   #5
Smokey Joe
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Join Date: July 14, 2001
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 2,106
Cleaning brass

Old Arn--this has been discussed endlessly on this and other fora.

There are eleventy-one Mickey Mouse ways to clean brass without using a vibratory tumbler, and every single way has its adherents who swear by it. The rest of us just clean our brass with our vibratory tumblers and wonder when the others will come to their senses.

You've had some good suggestions for keeping lead exposure down while using a tumbler.

I've BTDT with cleaning brass, including hand-cleaning each piece, washing and drying them with detergent, and using various horrid chemicals to clean the brass. I thought I was being smart and saving the cost of a tumbler. I wasn't. I was wasting my time putzing.

When you dry the brass, either it takes days, or if you do it in the oven, you risk accidentally annealing the brass.

As to chemical exposure, there is some, no matter what method you use, other than pure water and a rag (which would take next to forever!) And speaking of chemical exposure, who wants to wash brass in the same machine that does your underwear???

Just get yourself a vibratory tumbler, follow the suggestions for minimizing Pb exposure, buy a bag of fine-ground corncob lizard bedding @ a pet store (exact same thing as corncob tumbling medium, but cheaper) and be done with it. Wear a surgical mask while filling/emptying the tumbler, if you're still concerned.

(Nota Bene: There is also coarse corncob lizard bedding, which will stick itself inside yr cases and be the very devil to pry out of each case. Get the FINE lizard bedding!!)

You can get a tumbler for ~ $40. Never mind brands; they're all built alike. (Mine is a Berry's, FWIW.) Then while you're cleaning your brass you can also be doing something else much more interesting.
God Bless America

--Smokey Joe

Last edited by Smokey Joe; December 14, 2007 at 11:28 AM. Reason: The usual--Had another thought.
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Old December 14, 2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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Regarding BeenThereDoneThat with the alternative methods, that probably applies to 98% of us that started reloading before there was an Internet ... and to 96% of the more recent crowd I, too, tried the phosphoric acid dip to brighten the cases, the detergent, etc, etc, etc ... and speaking of exposures ... I think that I'd be a lot more afraid of Pb exposure drying my cases in the same oven that makes my dinner, than I would in almost any other scenario except maybe the one where you wash the brass in the dishwasher I think that I have that same Berry's tumbler ... if you go that route, buy yourself a little programmable appliance timer that will let you set it for 6-9 hours so that it has an auto-off mode ... that way you don't have to worry about being home when it finishes.


ps ... I never got around to trying diet Coke as a brass rinse ... IIRC it has a pretty good charge of phosphoric acid in it .... and it doesn't leave things sticky like the regular Coke would On second thought, the tumbler works GREAT!
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Old December 14, 2007, 01:29 PM   #7
Old Arn
Join Date: March 18, 2006
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 41
Thanks for the advice, guys. I guess a tumbler it is. I might go with a rotary rock tumbler like the ones from Harbor Freight instead of a vibratory type since I've heard the noise can be aggravating if you're in the same room.
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Old December 14, 2007, 02:22 PM   #8
Mike Irwin
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 39,097
re Washing brass...

I have several thousand pieces of brass for each caliber I reload.

Washing 500 in a bucket (only when they really need it) and spreading it out to dry on a sheet in front of the dehumidifer still leaves me with far more brass ready to load than I'll ever load at one time.

Plus, I don't have to putz with setting up, taking down, or storing a tumbler or its components, separating the brass from the media, etc.

Shiny brass?

Sure, shiny brass is pretty.

But it's not necessary.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
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