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cleaning shotshells

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by gunfreak, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    So I've got 2000 or so shotshells from a shooting area up in the woods that people littered on the ground and quite a few of them are dirty inside and out. What is the best way to clean them? I plan on purchasing a Lee load all in the future so they will sit around til then. One more question, are the shells that have an aluminum base reloadable?
     
  2. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Best way is a small cement mixer and hot water with auto dishwashing detergent. Really
     
  3. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    the best way I've found to wash shotshells is in a clothes washer, buy some nylons bags (they are a mesh bag women use for washing stockings in) fill with shells (not overstuffed, but with shells in them) and then run them through the wash cycle on warm. This works best if the primers are removed.

    As far as what types of shells are reloadable, generally if the case has a ribbed feel to it, yea, you can reload it, but I really don't recommend it as they tend to split after 1 or 2 firings. Also, you must have a specific recipe for that shell/wad/shot/primer/powder combination. Shotshell is much more finicky than normal smokeless rifle or pistol reloading and you should not substitute components in a recipe unless you really know what you're doing.

    Also, almost all bases on shotshells are made of steel, this includes the gold-brass colored ones, the black ones, and the aluminum looking ones. Chances are if you put a magnet to it, it will stick.

    The trick to getting good clean shotshells is first washing them (laundry detergent, or dish washing soap both work really good, with lemon dawn being one of the best, **** and span also works good), and then drying them, which is part of the reason I suggest popping out the primer. Both the battery cup (primer) and the rim are usually made of steel, or an iron alloy that rusts, so drying is very important.
     
  4. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    thanks AM, i'll try it out.