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Cleaning loaded ammo after reloading

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Key-Hay, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Key-Hay

    Key-Hay North Carolina Active Member

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    So all the ammo I have been loading is straight wall pistol with carbide dies. Only lube I've needed is that from the media polish used when tumbling brass. With rifles it's a different story, Gotta apply some kind of lube or cases stick in the sizing die (learned the hard way)

    So here's my question, How do you get the lube back off. I'm looking at reloading 223 in quantities of 200 or larger. Hand wiping sounds time consuming.
  2. speedtriple

    speedtriple Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    I usually hand wipe it as I inspect each round. Does not take long at all. Some people will tumble it with new, clean walnut for a short time. Trouble with that is, you might have a fair amount of dust left on it.
  3. Silver02ex

    Silver02ex Hillsboro, OR Member

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    After i size it, it goes back in the tumbler for about 1/2 hr. the only problem is the media sometimes gets caught in the flash hole.
    evltwn and misterarman like this.
  4. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    Nice thing about Hornady's One Shot case lube, I don't need to clean it off afterwards and it doesn't effect the brass, that I've seen. But I inspect each round before it goes into the ammo box and if there is something on it that I deem not wanted, I hand wipe it with a small dishrag. 200 round batches wouldn't take you that long to hand wipe
  5. woody06

    woody06 Southern Oregon New Member

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    After sizing I run it through the tumbler for 30 to 45 minutes, then wash it to clean off the dust. Dry it with a towel and let sit overnight to finish drying.
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    There are actually a couple of answers to this. If you lube, size, and load, then you have a loaded round that still has some lube on it. When I have those I just put it in some corncob and vibrate it for about 15 minutes. Works great and it's safe. No more shaking and bumping than what would happen when this type of ammo is transported in the back of a truck or a helicopter.

    For most of my ammo I prefer to clean/polish using Stainless Steel pin media. I'll lube and size my rifle cases and then into the tumbler with pins, soap, water, and some Lemi-Shine. When removed and dried then these "Like New" cases are loaded.

    For volume loading of my .223 I just use a toolhead on my 650 that's set up with a universal de-priming die and a Rapid Trim/sizer. Can de-prime and size about 1,000 cases per hour. Then clean/polish, and dry. When ready to load I change the toolhead and instead of a sizing die in station 1 I slipped a Lee collet die in. That gives me a final check on the case neck and if any nicks or dings from the cleaning, it straightens them right out. No lube required for this die and it also makes sure the case is fully centered in it's position on the shellplate.

    I prep all my brass and box it in advance. My loading sessions are like breaking open a new box of factory fresh cases.
  7. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    Just throw the loaded rounds in the tumbler with corncob for 15-20 minutes and you are GTG, been doing it this way for 30 years.
    gundog10 and nwwoodsman like this.
  8. John Lynn

    John Lynn USA New Member

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  9. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I have a friend who bought some surplus 762 NATO that turned out to be mildly corroded on the brass case; he chucked em-up in a cordless drill and used a Scotch Bright pad to polish the brass. He then let them sit for a few months before he fired em, no problemos, but as always, you buys your ticket and takes your chances! It improves your odds if you have a modern, Safety Breeched rifle which is almost all modern BA rifles besides Mauser based actions
  10. ChiefStealth

    ChiefStealth Graham, Wa. Active Member

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    I also re-tumble after sizing/de-priming. Gets the lube off. Never noticed any problems with dust. Do need to look at primer hole.
  11. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member

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  12. misterarman

    misterarman Vancouver,Wa. USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Good time to deburr the flash hole.
  13. misterarman

    misterarman Vancouver,Wa. USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Throw a dryer sheet in with a cap full of polish. No dust.
    coyotecaller likes this.
  14. JustShoot

    JustShoot Oregon . Hillsborito area Active Member

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    I wait till the end of the reloading process is finished for Bulk quantities .
    After all done and outside of Reloads have case lube on them . I throw Reloads in walnut media, In a Lapidary drum turning about 50-rpm for hour .
    Then when done. I throw into a big terrycloth towel do a quick wipe with rolling them around . Or you can blow them dust free with a compressor .
    Many years and thousands of rounds this way and they look like factory #1 when done .
  15. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    There are various methods to accomplish a goal. But........tumbling or using a vibrator machine to clean loaded ammo brings up many arguments, pro and con.

    Many of the guys on the AR15.com forums say that it is a SAFE practice. They point out an experiment that someone on the forum had done. The guy who conducted the experiment saw no noticeable difference in new powder vs. powder contained in cartridges that had been tumbled/vibrated clean. He has concluded that tumbling live ammo is not a hazard at all.

    I tend to disagree with that broad of a conclusion. Lawyers and all that.......well, I'll go with "Better to be safe than sorry."

    Note: The experiment was not conducted by a ballistician. The powder grains were examined under microscope and although the grains looked intact....... could it be concluded that EVERY powder (even years old surplus or foreign powders) would fair the same without degradation? Then, the major manufacturers of ammo and tumbler/vibrator machines do not recommend the practice. As I recall, RCBS in particular, specifically warns against the practice. And IIRC, even my reloading manual has a warning against it. It could be the lawyers at work. But, "Better to be safe than sorry," has a great history going for it. YOU can choose to ignore warnings at your own risk.

    BTW....IIRC, there is an Internet Post/Story of a revolver blowing up with reloaded ammo that had been tumbled after reloading. The ammo from that lot, had been reloaded with "foreign powder" and it did show degradation and the correct charge weight for the remaining ammo in the cylinder. Though, who can really tell all of the conditions AFTER a cartridge has been fired (but not inspected prior)?

    That being said.......some ammo manufacturers do tumble their loaded ammo to give it that final shine, prior to boxing. But, it is for a "limited time and under controlled conditions."

    So speaking of reloaded .223 ammo. I clean my empty brass prior to running it through my steel decap/resizing die. AFTER that, I'll run it through a bath of cleaner to remove the lube. Then, I'll proceed with the rest of the reloading process.

    BTW.....the brass cases don't have to glint in the sun to be clean enough.

    As for my pistol (straight walled reloaded ammo)....it's "carbide dies" and I don't really care all that much about if it glints in the sun.;)

    Course, as I've said before there are various methods to accomplish a goal. YOU can choose what makes you comfortable.

    Aloha, Mark
    Dyjital likes this.
  16. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    I've always used the RCBS Case Lube that's water soluble. I size a whole bunch of brass, maybe a couple hundred, then just wash them in soap and water and let them dry real good for a couple days. Quick and easy (other than drying time of course). Never had a problem.
  17. PaulB47

    PaulB47 Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    I like RCBS also, although I wipe with a dampened paper towel. But just washing the sized cases seems like it would work just as well (taking care not to ding the necks).

    Tumbling loaded ammo sounds crazy to me. I wouldn't do it.

    I don't care at all if my cases are tarnished. I have a tumbler but never use it. If you load very clean bullets into very clean necks, then let it sit for a few years, you might run into "cold welding" of the necks to the bullets (reported in Precision Shooting magazine a while back). That is very bad. I like my necks dirty. ;)
  18. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    i tumble live ammo. in my vibratory tumbler.no big deal. went 48hrs once just to see what would happen. nothing. super clean. no bullets backed out. no discharges. still accurate. no problem. YMMV!