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Marshal Hangtree

Educate me on tumbling brass

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I didn't start reloading until I started SASS shooting about 2 years ago.  So I don't have as much experience in the subject as most of y'all, so please lend some advice that a relative moron can understand.

 

I've been using a regular vibratory tumbler with ground walnut media for cleaning my brass (.44-40 and .45CS).  It seems to do a good  an acceptable job on cleaning the exterior of the brass.  I normally do not de-cap the brass before tumbling because the walnut media gets into the primer pocket very easily on large primer pockets and gets tedious in removal.  This results in eventual crud building up in the primer pockets, making re-priming more difficult.

 

If I were to switch to rotary tumbling with stainless steel media, would that alleviate my problems with cruddy primer pockets?  Is the stainless steel media just as likely to get wedged in the pockets?

 

Overall, I'm just looking for the best way to clean the brass, and at the same time clean the primer pockets to reduce fowling in that area.

 

Please load me up with advice.

 

Thanks, y'all!

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Get rid of the pins and use ceramic media. Or do like I do most of the time and don’t use pins or ceramic media. Use Lemishine, Dawn and Stratosheen.

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The stainless pins do not get wedged in the primer pockets at all. Your brass will come out of the tumbler shiny and looking like brand new never fired brass. I use the Frankford tumbler. I also use a little dash of Dawn and Lemi-Shine in the water. I dry them in the oven after sloshing them back and forth in a "towel hammock".

 

Now... that being said, I don't normally go through all of this for my handgun brass, just rifle. I've been just dry tumbling my CAS empties in walnut, just like you are. I may have to run them through the wet tumbler and see if it helps with the priming... but I don't think it would be necessary for each loading.

 

YMMV, my $.02, and all that stuff... :)

 

Dude

 

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7 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

Get rid of the pins and use ceramic media. Or do like I do most of the time and don’t use pins or ceramic media. Use Lemishine, Dawn and Stratosheen.

 

^ This X 1,000.  Yul clued me into Stratosheen a year or so ago and it's an absolute Godsend.  Brass comes out as shiny as new with no messing around with having to separate pins from brass. Saves tons of time and effort.  

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Marshal,

I tumbled with corn cob or walnut media for more than 20 years but recently switched to wet tumbling.Should have switched long ago.

For me,the benefits far outweigh the extra steps involved.I do de-cap before tumbling because it has eliminated primer set-back in my .45 Colt loads due to dirty primer pockets.

For me,well worth the effort.

Like in all things,YMMV.

Choctaw Jack 

 

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Posted (edited)

Deprime brass. Frankford Arsenal tumbler.  Water.  Splash of Simple Green,  dash of Lemi Shine.  Tumble about an hour.  No pins.

 

1563109967_CleanBrassOctober2019.jpg.53b575c8d29e041c4559e2b2adb05dbc.jpg

 

I smile ever time.  (Inside case and pockets have a little tarnish.)

 

Just upgraded to Lee APP press to decap.

 

1547755659_LeeAPPpress50BMGfunnelMarch2020.jpg.1727bfb1e3cdf49477f0556e315d5d32.jpg

 

Zips right along. 

Edited by Warden Callaway
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Same as warden. I bought a cheap dehydrator to dry the brass in the garage in about an hour.

 

If the primer pockets are really grungy I tumble with pins to make the brass look like new in and out

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16 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

Get rid of the pins and use ceramic media. Or do like I do most of the time and don’t use pins or ceramic media. Use Lemishine, Dawn and Stratosheen.

 

I've read of this combination before, Yul, and thanks for the advice.  What amount of each do you use?

 

Choctaw Jack, I never have any problems with primers backing out when fired.  Is that what you mean by primer "set-back"?  I'm just finding it increasingly difficult to seat the primers at flush or below the head surface without excessive pressure on the handle, or having to stop and press the primer a second time.

 

Thanks.

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Just now, Marshal Hangtree said:

 

I've read of this combination before, Yul, and thanks for the advice.  What amount of each do you use?

 

Choctaw Jack, I never have any problems with primers backing out when fired.  Is that what you mean by primer "set-back"?  I'm just finding it increasingly difficult to seat the primers at flush or below the head surface without excessive pressure on the handle, or having to stop and press the primer a second time.

 

Thanks.

1/4 teaspoon Lemishine, squirt of Dawn, tablespoon of Stratosheen. Load your brass in the tumbler, add water and then the three cleaning agents. Close it up and tumble for an hour or so, open it up, dump the brass into a colander rinse a couple of times with cold water and spread on a cookie sheet out in the sun to kill the covid-19 virus (that’s a joke folks) and dry. Doesn’t get much easier.

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Thanks a heap, Yul.  Be careful out there.

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With .45 Colt, I don't deprime before tumbling, and I've never had any problems as a result.  I keep shooting the brass till it splits.  I've never had a build up of gunk that prevents repriming.   What powder are you using?  Some powders are dirtier than others that may contribute to your problem.  I use Trailboss.

 

For .44-40, I lube, resize/deprime, and then tumble.  Yes, sometimes the walnut shell bits do get stuck in the primer pocket.   I have found that the easiest way to clear them is to again run them through the depriming die.  You don't have to do a full length run, just until the depriming pin knocks the gunk out of the primer pocket.   Much easier than digging the stuff out by hand.   Then I reprime and continue from there.

 

Good luck. 

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40 minutes ago, Marshal Hangtree said:

This results in eventual crud building up in the primer pockets, making re-priming more difficult.

 I never have a problem priming, and I tumble with fired primers in pockets.

 

And I never have "just adequate" results on cleaning the brass with a vibrating cleaner.  My walnut hull media with a little paint thinner and a used dryer sheet cleans brass quite well in about 30 minutes of run time - faster than wet tumbling, and that does not even count time needed to dry the brass before loading.

 

Believe you are worrying about the wrong thing.  Check the press and your priming technique?

 

Good luck, GJ

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6 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

With .45 Colt, I don't deprime before tumbling, and I've never had any problems as a result.  I keep shooting the brass till it splits.  I've never had a build up of gunk that prevents repriming.   What powder are you using?  Some powders are dirtier than others that may contribute to your problem.  I use Trailboss.

 

For .44-40, I lube, resize/deprime, and then tumble.  Yes, sometimes the walnut shell bits do get stuck in the primer pocket.   I have found that the easiest way to clear them is to again run them through the depriming die.  You don't have to do a full length run, just until the depriming pin knocks the gunk out of the primer pocket.   Much easier than digging the stuff out by hand.   Then I reprime and continue from there.

 

Good luck. 

 

I'm using Trail Boss as well, H.K.  I reload using a Lee Classic Turret Press.  I started reloading with a Lee single stage press, which I'll probably remount to my loading table just to use for de-priming cases.

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2 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 I never have a problem priming, and I tumble with fired primers in pockets.

 

And I never have "just adequate" results on cleaning the brass with a vibrating cleaner.  My walnut hull media with a little paint thinner and a used dryer sheet cleans brass quite well in about 30 minutes of run time - faster than wet tumbling, and that does not even count time needed to dry the brass before loading.

 

Believe you are worrying about the wrong thing.  Check the press and your priming technique?

 

Good luck, GJ

 

I'm using a Lee Classic Turret Press, Joe, and I'm following the Lee recommendations.  I notice that new brass primes very easily, but the more I shoot the brass, the harder it gets to fully seat the primer.  Got any ideas?  Thanks.

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5 minutes ago, Attica Jack #23953 said:

I made this for drying the clean brass.   Going to have to try that Stratosheen that has been talked about.

20200308_130511.jpg

 

I thought about making a similar drying rack using a piece of 1x12 board, shot full of finishing nails from a pneumatic nail gun.

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26 minutes ago, Marshal Hangtree said:

 

I'm using Trail Boss as well, H.K.  I reload using a Lee Classic Turret Press.  I started reloading with a Lee single stage press, which I'll probably remount to my loading table just to use for de-priming cases.

 

How are you seating the primers?   Do you have a hand held primer seater, or does your press have a thingee that you put a primer in and use that to push the primer up on the downstroke after depriming?   I usually use the thingee on the press, but I have noticed that it can get out of depth of time and needs to be readjusted on occasion.   I also have a hand held device.   That works well, it's just quicker for me to use the thingee on the press.   

Don't you just love technichal terms?

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9 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

 

How are you seating the primers?   Do you have a hand held primer seater, or does your press have a thingee that you put a primer in and use that to push the primer up on the downstroke after depriming?   I usually use the thingee on the press, but I have noticed that it can get out of depth of time and needs to be readjusted on occasion.   I also have a hand held device.   That works well, it's just quicker for me to use the thingee on the press.   

Don't you just love technichal terms?

 

Yep!  The highly technical terms are impressive, H.K.!  I use the "thingee on the press" to prime on the downstroke.  I didn't realize that you can adjust the depth of primer seating on that thing.  Gotta look that up.  That could be my problem.

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I shoot w231 in most all my pistols.Started using it in .45 acp years ago and since I  had good results with it ,it's what I developed my .45 Colt Cowboy loads with.It does burn a little dirtier than some powders,but cleaner than others also.

I was having problems with failure to fire because of light primer strikes in my 73 and my pistols would lock up occasionally after firing due to high primers. .My gunsmith suggestd that my primers weren't seated fully(I  wasn't cleaning the pockets after every firing).Rifle rounds would usually fire if struck twice.Evidently the first strike would drive the primer into pocket further and the second would set it off.

I started manually cleaning the pockets with a primer pocket brush and the problem went away,but having to clean several hundred rounds one by one added too much time to my loading sessions so I decided to try wet tumbling.

I do use the pins,and it works well for me.

Choctaw

.

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Nah.  None of the above.  Way too much effort for far too little gain.  I shoot BP and APP.  Throw the fired cases inna sink with hot tap water and goodly splash of White vinegar.  Soak 30 Minutes.  Rinse and toss onna cookie sheet and dry them inna oven (180 F) for an our.  Toss em inna walnut media for an hour.  Done.  My 650 de-caps em and caps em.  NEVER and a problem with primers not go BANG.  No, the cases aren not "New Brass" shiny but who cares??  Shoot just fine.  This is the same routine for RIFLE, PISTOL and SHOTGUN (ALL BRASS)

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9 minutes ago, Attica Jack #23953 said:

Just what is stratosheen, and where do you get it?  Could not find it on Amazon......must not exist.

 

Try strat o sheen.

 

Chase

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1 hour ago, Marshal Hangtree said:

Lee Classic Turret Press, Joe, and I'm following the Lee recommendations.  I notice that new brass primes very easily, but the more I shoot the brass, the harder it gets to fully seat the primer.  Got any ideas?

 

Lots of folks using a turret press don't keep the turret head immobile enough to seat primers well.   Me included.  You need to prime the entire batch of shells at one time, after adjusting the turret head so it DOES NOT FLEX.   I've got a Lyman turret press that I use for rifle loading.  I have to PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION to the priming step to ensure primers seat fully, because the turret head flexes unless LOCKED into position by the brace rod at the back of that press's frame.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I guess I’m a little different on my wet tumbling.  I use car wash/wax and a little Lemishine and hot water. I still use SS pins only because I can separate them easily using a magnet. While I separate I check the primer pocket I HAD pins get stuck, easy to get out but I’ve broken a depriming pin when I missed one. One last thing I always deprime before tumbling. 
YMMV 

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52 minutes ago, Chase Randall, SASS #45902 said:

 

Try strat o sheen.

 

Chase

 

1 hour ago, Attica Jack #23953 said:

Just what is stratosheen, and where do you get it?  Could not find it on Amazon......must not exist.

Riogrande.com 

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2 hours ago, Yul Lose said:

1/4 teaspoon Lemishine, squirt of Dawn, tablespoon of Stratosheen. Load your brass in the tumbler, add water and then the three cleaning agents. Close it up and tumble for an hour or so, open it up, dump the brass into a colander rinse a couple of times with cold water and spread on a cookie sheet out in the sun to kill the covid-19 virus (that’s a joke folks) and dry. Doesn’t get much easier.

IF the COVID 19 would go way that easily !!  (sarcasm added for humor). 

This panic is absolutely unfounded.  I understand that any lose of life is a tragedy, but this panic has cost America $200B (and counting) with 48 deaths. More lives were lost building the intercontinental railroad - which cost $60m to build.

Boy have we gotten soft !

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, T-Square said:

This panic is absolutely unfounded.  I understand that any lose of life is a tragedy, but this panic has cost America $200B (and counting) with 48 deaths.

If we in the US mirror exactly what happened in Italy, next week we will have hundreds or even thousands of deaths.  Boy have we gotten unwilling to learn from China and other countries.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

WHY - must every thread turn to this topic?   Good grief,  said Charlie Brown.

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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16 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

WHY - must every thread turn to this topic?   Good grief,  said Charlie Brown.

 

^ Bingo!

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1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

Lots of folks using a turret press don't keep the turret head immobile enough to seat primers well.   Me included.  You need to prime the entire batch of shells at one time, after adjusting the turret head so it DOES NOT FLEX.   I've got a Lyman turret press that I use for rifle loading.  I have to PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION to the priming step to ensure primers seat fully, because the turret head flexes unless LOCKED into position by the brace rod at the back of that press's frame.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

I'm confused. Every turret press I have ever seen primes on the down stroke.  How can the turret cause seating problems?

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3 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

I'm confused. Every turret press I have ever seen primes on the down stroke.  How can the turret cause seating problems?

 

I have the same confusion, SD.  I thought maybe I just wasn't visualizing it correctly.  GJ, can you elaborate please?  Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

there is another product that works great without the pins called Brass Juice

Edited by charlie two feathers
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Posted (edited)

Wet tumbler, Separator & Dryer all Frankfort. (purchased all on Amazon on sale)

* Deprime brass

* Tumble with pins, Fill with water to cover brass (I use water from the dehumidifier) 2 Tbs. of Dawn dish liquid & 1/4 tsp. or less of Lemi Shine for 2-3 hours.

* Rinse in cold water separating most of the pins in the Separator lid.

* Put back in tumbler (w/o pins) filled with enough water to cover brass adding 1-2 Tbs. Car Wash & Wax to coat with wax.

* Rinse and run through Separator to remove the rest of the pins and water.

* Run through the towel quickly to dry most of the outside and put in Dryer for 1-2 hours at around 140 deg. F

Brass and primer pockets come out like new. Helps eliminate scratched dies (as I was getting with Vibratory and Walnut)

It's like loading new cases. It also helps brass pickers find your brass.

 

Good luck.

 

I have tumbled with out pins. Outside clean. Inside and primer pockets not so much.

 

Edited by Ya Big Tree
side note:
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Brass juice works better than any of the other suggestions here, and I have tried them all in my wet rotary tumbler. I shoot BP so I probably have to clean more than most of you, but separating theins is no big deal, just use your rotary separator you probably already have. I just put my brass in the sun for a  few hours, always get dried out just fine. I have just started knocking out the primers before cleaning with my LEE APP press, so we will see how many of the pins get stuck

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4 minutes ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

Brass juice works better than any of the other suggestions here, and I have tried them all in my wet rotary tumbler. I shoot BP so I probably have to clean more than most of you, but separating theins is no big deal, just use your rotary separator you probably already have. I just put my brass in the sun for a  few hours, always get dried out just fine. I have just started knocking out the primers before cleaning with my LEE APP press, so we will see how many of the pins get stuck

If it works so well why use pins? My way works better than yours because I don’t have to mess with pins or ceramic media.

 

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Quote

I'm confused. Every turret press I have ever seen primes on the down stroke.  How can the turret cause seating problems?

 

OK, yes!  You folks are 100% right. The turret looseness does not impact primer seating.   IT does impact any die action - sizing, neck expanding, seating, crimping, when the turret is free to "flop around."

 

I do know my Lyman turret has a very low-leverage when seating primers.   Much more effort on my part has to be applied when seating primers on it than on the Dillon 550 progressive press.  Perhaps that is due to the up stroke on the handle needed for the primer seating, compared to down stroke of die work.   Much easier to put some extra weight on the handle than it is to firmly lift the press handle.

 

Good luck, GJ

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