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I use it as my primary way to sort buckets of mixed brass. It's still a lot of work but better than any other way I can think of. Pretty much scoop a cup or two of brass into the yellow to sort out 45acp and larger, next color is blue that catches 40's, 10's, 357 sig, 38 spec., 357 mag etc, then the black pan catches 9's. Unless you have the 380 insert, things smaller than 9's drop into the bucket. I suggest the insert to catch 380's. So you can see you still end up sorting each pan because of the mix it catches. I sort lots of brass so the product is worth it. It's not magic but does help work your way thru a large quantity.
Another way to use the pans is one at a time over a bucket. Sometimes I just want to get 45 acp only so I set the yellow pan on top of the bucket and I can quickly "strain" just 45's and let the other brass collect in the bucket. Then you could do just the blue pan and catch all sizes like 40's. This method enables you to dump more at a time. Repeat for each pan until it is all seperated.
One frustrating aspect of sorting are the "hitchhikers" , meaning the smaller brass inserted in the larger brass pieces. 40's in 45's , 9's in 40's ect. They don't shake loose so you have to pull them apart before they will strain thru the pans. I can't blame this on the Shellsorter product just a pain that comes with sorting. Also dust, wear a mask, I don't but "do as I say , not as I do".
I know that this isn't for everyone, but all my loading is done on Dillon 1050 presses. Thus, the best time for me to inspect cases is while sorting them.
I go through the mixed brass when I get back from the range and inspect, deprime and sort the cases at the same time. Once the cases go into the tumbler, they are ready to go into the case feeder. I also have the inexpensive ($25-30) Lee press mounted to remove any slight bulges I notice at this time. This is the one and only time I am actually handling each case, so it is the only time for real inspection.
If there is any media left in a flash hole, it is only a liver of media and will be removed when the cases are resized on the press. I use 20/40 corn so there is never any packed in the primer pocket.
There are a number of machines out there that are similar to how this one works. Mine is a "Ben's Machines" which is now defunct. Scharch makes them too. Scharch also makes some pretty crazy sorting machines which will nearly without fail sort every kind of pistol brass there is. (at least the common stuff .45ACP-.32ACP)