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When To Tumble Brass

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by ssharp, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. ssharp

    ssharp PacNW New Member

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    Pretty new to the reloading thing. I have heard a few different opinions on this, so I'm asking for more now...do you run your brass through the tumbler every time you load it, do you do it every other time or do you have some other way? Maybe a little about why too?
    Thanks in advance! :thumbup:
     
  2. padd54

    padd54 Central Oregon/Cascades Active Member

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    I tumble my brass every time, first I deprime and clean primer pocket using the Sinclair Uniformer then I put in vibratory cleaner using fine walnut shell material overnight. They come out sparkling clean outside and nice on the inside, especially the 357mag cases. I wouldn't use anything else but the fine walnut and corncob that I got from a fellow forum member.
     
  3. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I tumble my brass right after I punch the primers out. I remove the primers with a little LEE primer punch (like a pin punch) and a Lee Anvil (small donut/cup) looking thing that has a recessed area to sit the shell in and a hole in the middle to allow the primer to fall out.

    Works great put the case in the anvil head down put the punch in the case wack the punch with a plastic hammer.

    Then into the tumbler for a few hours of cleaning. After the Tumbling I lube and size the brass. next step is a good washing with very hot water and dishsoap to remove any lube. After the washing the brass is placed on an aluminum sheet standing up and put in the household oven for about an hour at 150-175 degrees to perfectly dry it.

    Then Prime (I use a hand primer) then charge with powder and seat a bullet one at a time weighing each powder charge.
     
  4. giddyupgo55

    giddyupgo55 Vernonia Active Member

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    I do it a bit different. I will tumble first, then size if I am doing pistol. If I'm doing rifle I will tumble first, then size and afterward tumble to remove any lube left on the cases.
     
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  5. speedtriple

    speedtriple Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    The why is....
    Never run dirty brass through your dies. It will wear little grooves into the die, and them start leaving ugly marks on your brass.

    I tumble first thing, then remove the primers. Keeps the media from plugging the primer hole.
     
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  6. sneakboxer

    sneakboxer NW OR Active Member

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    I de-prime with a Lee universal die then tumble. When the case is sized the normal de-prime pin will ensure no media is in the flash hole. It seems to work for me.
     
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  7. ssharp

    ssharp PacNW New Member

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    What would be some reasons to not tumble every time?
     
  8. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    You dont own a tumbler. You didnt pay your power bill so the tumbler does not work and you need ammo right now. Zombies are invading and you cant take the time to do it? You hate the die set you have now and have to ruin the old one so you can ask your mommy for $$ for a new one. :bluelaugh:

    Over time dirt will damage your die, why do that?
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes I will load the brass several times without tumbling. I do a lot of neck sizing only on my brass with a Lee Collet Die. No lube required for this type of die so I just wipe the case down, clean the inside of the neck with an old bore brush and reload.

    When I clean/polish I use Stainless Steel pin media. If I am F/L sizing I wipe the case down well, lube, size, then put the cases "in the bath". After the bath it gets trimmed, chamfered, and deburred using an RCBS 3-way cutter. The cases I am going to neck size only, and it's "bath time" for them, I deprime first with a universal die then clean. They too go through the trimming process just so I keep all cases the same length.

    As long as the case is free of dirt and grit before it goes into the sizing die that's OK. No real requirement to tumble and polish. It is kind of neat to take a box of nice shiny reloads to the range but as Charlie Brown once said, "Sometimes it's like wetting your pants when you're wearing dark slacks. It gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices".
     
  10. Collateral

    Collateral Monmouth Member

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    I ALWAYS tumble used brass. The only reason I can see for not doing this is if you are using new from the box cases or if you have an Ultrasonic cleaner that does a reliable job (I am still experimenting with my $19.99 Harbor Freight model). I had planned to use the Ultrasonic on small batches of rifle brass that I had neck-sized. Once cleaned they would be deprimed and sent for another trip through to clean the primer pocket and more of the insde of the case.

    And I would advise that you should always tumble before depriming, unless you are using an Ultrasonic. It is possible to get a chunk of media, or some other foriegn material, stuck in the flash hole or primer pocket and the depriming pin will just push it out of the way. Unless you are depriming in a seperate step using a 'universal' depriming die, then you will be using your sizing die to do this and if your brass has not been cleaned you run the risk of allowing a piece of grit to scratch your die.

    Because I use Hornady One-Shot on them, I also tumble my finshed .223 rounds as well as all pistol rounds (except lead, which will often have a lube coating). Although One-Shot is a 'dry lube' and many people just leave it I find that they will often look discolored or mottled and re-tumbling for a few minutes cleans them right up.
    All of the other rifle rounds are loaded in a single stage press and are lubed with regular case lube (currently RCBS).
     
  11. BigBluePup

    BigBluePup S.W. Washington New Member

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    Let's through another perspective here contrary to popular belief.

    On a instructional video I watched about making hand loads the instructor talked about NOT tumbling brass every shot.
    The chamber of a rifle is designed to take force of the brass expanding (we can all agree on that I'm sure right?)
    Now the theory behind this is that tumbling your brass every time you shoot it makes it more slippery. Now if the walls of the chamber are designed to take the load of the cartridge being forced outwards and the walls of the brass are to slick more force will be transferred into the bolt which can cause bolt flex and even signs of higher pressure when they are actually not present it's just that the BOLT is taking more then it's fair share of the load.
    And if the bolt IS actually flexing then that will affect consistency in accuracy.

    I also used to tumble mine every time until hearing this. Makes perfect sense to me.
    I tumble, then de-prime, then clean the primer pocket if needed, size, clean the case of all lube and use a neck brush to make sure all is well, re-prime, charge, then seat the bullet.

    Seems to be working ok for me so far.
    I think everyone had there own little procedure they like to stick too. Best just to find what you like and are comfortable with and get good results with and stick to it.
     
  12. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Here's what I have learned: my wife likes shinny sparkley things around her neck and on her hands and I like shinny thing that go into and out of my guns. I probably spend waaaay to much time making sure I am happy in the shinny sparkley category and not enough for my wife. But until her jewlery can shoot bullets I will continue to focus on my shinny sparkley stuff.
     
  13. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    An interesting theory but with problems. The Brass of the case walls is subjected to high pressures averaging around 55,000 psi. That pressure isn't letting the brass "slip" regardless of how shiny it was prior to the moment of firing. There are enough asperities (little rough points) on the chamber surface, even if it looks shiny to your eye, to grip the case under these pressures. The case head is pushed back to the bolt face and then springs forward a small amount after the pressure drops. That's why a fired case gains headspace length and why it's so important that headspace not be excessive. Take a look at a fired case and notice the small ring that forms after multiple firings just above the extractor grove. This is where the greatest stretch occurs in the case when fired.

    As for bolt "flex", all metals flex. They have two limits of "flex", one called the modulus, which is the limit of elasticity. When exceeded the metal no longer will spring back to it's original position. The other is tensile strength and when it's exceeded it suddenly becomes multiple parts.

    The tensile strength of most firearm steels, often referred to as ordnance steel or even "Remington Steel" is over 110,000 psi. The average Modulus about 60 % of that.

    This is simplified and the "Engineers" might have a more detailed description but in short, the case isn't holding any pressure back from the bolt, it's merely being a gasket. If you have a rifle with proper headspace you won't have any problems with shiny, even plated cases. If you have excessive headspace you have a basic problem which not polishing your cases won't fix.
     
  14. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what the instructional video say about people who don't reload and shoot only new brass. Wouldn't that have the same affect?

    But you are right. Find out what works for you and stick with it. I deprime with a universal die, clean out the pocket a bit, ultrasonic/tumble, lube and resize, then a quick ultrasonic to get the lube off. The decapping pin on the resizer die has cleaned every case that had media in the flash hole (I inspect each one as I process it - single stage press makes that easier). But then, I'm not in a big hurry. If I were running a progressive press I would probably still decap on a single stage then after the tumble, manually inspect and clean the flash holes before putting them in the press.


    elsie
     
  15. GuyBMeredith

    GuyBMeredith Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    Every time. I like shiny, purty ammo.
     
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