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Thread: Cleaning primed cases

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Cleaning primed cases

    I have cleaned primed cases in the vibrator.
    Never had a problem.
    I was wondering if I could wet tumble them?????

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abunaitoo View Post
    I have cleaned primed cases in the vibrator.
    Never had a problem.
    I was wondering if I could wet tumble them?????
    No! No! No! No! No!
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    So, don't we clean the brass so we don't get all kinds of **** in our dies?
    WWG1WGA

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting question. I wouldn’t expect that wet tumbling would cause a detonation, and being in the case I don’t think the anvil could be dislodged, so other than the risk that you wouldn’t get them dry afterwards it might just work.

    That said, your brass prep process has to be colossally screwed up if you find yourself needing to clean primed brass. The risks are probably very small, but they can be avoided entirely by using a more traditional approach. I would elect to deprime the brass of it really needed to be recleaned before loading.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    If it's brass for a steel resizing die, I'd wipe off each case with a acetone wet rag.
    Lube and size 20min later. You could probably do it in less then 5min.

    Or are these cases so Badly tarnished, that won't work.

    Then just use a decapping die and then tumble.
    Primers are too cheap to risk one detonating in your tumbler.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy billyb's Avatar
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    I lost a house in a flood. Had a plastic container with primed brass in my closet that stood full of water over night. I pored the water off and it had a very yellow tint to it, I assume from the primer compound. I let this brass dry for a couple of years and tried to fire off the primers, some went bang some did not and some had a very weak report. These were 38 spl. and these were in water for longer than you would tumble them but I would not try wet tumbling primed brass. I did get a few primed brass in a dry tumbler that run over night, I loaded six of them and the worked! Hope this will help you decide. Bill

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    Is it just me? It seems that this is one of those questions that shouldn't have to be asked.
    NRA Benefactor.

  8. #8
    DOR RED BEAR's Avatar
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    All i can say is hummmm.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Well, if you use a grease cutting detergent, some kind of acid to remove tarnish, and the steel pins, I would expect it to have a negative affect on the primer function. Then there is the problem of air flow and getting the primers completely dry again. Perhaps not a great idea to bake them in the oven to speed up drying either.

    I have always been concerned that moisture remaining in the primer area might allow the skirt to weaken at the base and result in the skirt of the primer remaining when the anvil pushes the base of the primer free instead of removing the entire primer. I can not think of a good reason why I would choose to do that.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



    retread's Avatar
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    I have tumbled primed brass in my dry tumbler with walnut media numerous times. I have never had a primer ignite. It takes a sharp impact to set off a primer. Gentle vibration will not do it, nor will the action of them bumping or rubbing together. My experience. Use your own discretion.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I wouldn't clean primed brass in a tumbler wet or dry, not worried about detonation worried about media left in a flash hole, water left in primer pocket, or primers ruined. I have tumbled loaded pistol ammo before in corn cob and noticed no bad effects, gets the sticky off from bullet lube.
    Hell, I was there!

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    "I have cleaned primed cases in the vibrator."
    Sounds like something you tell Father O'Shaugnessy on Saturday afternoon.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I like clean brass for several reasons. That includes the primer pockets. The only way that will happen is if the cases are decapped first. I am probably a little anal about it, but since I am a low volume shooter, it is not much of a stretch for me to take the time to use a primer pocket brush and give the decapped cases a swipe or two with the brush before they are placed into the vibrator cleaner using ground walnut hulls. Since my cases are not range pick up and for the most part are mostly clean before my "cleaning step", they only need 30 minutes or so in the vibrator to be clean enough for me to proceed with case prep. My priming is several steps down in the process after I have checked cases for OAL, case sizing, neck mouth belling, etc. I never put new primed or spent primed cases in my cleaner. To each his own but what I have described works for me.
    Mark 5:34 And He said to her (Jesus speaking), "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

  14. #14
    DOR RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I have tumbled primed brass and loaded ammo for ever never had any problem. If a piece of corn cob ever did get in the flash hole it must not have made any difference. Wet tumbling on the other hand i don't think so. I know that primers are supposed to work when dried out i have not and would not put this to the test. I generally wash brass before it ever gets near my dies and you couldn't believe how long water will stay in the primer area. I have had brass that had been drying for weeks still kick out wet primers.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    The reason I clean primed brass is I've pulled the heads, and resized, on loads that just didn't work out right.
    When working up loads, I load 20 each.
    Sometimes after shooting just 5, I know the load is not going to work.
    Instead of wasting the primers and powder, I pull the heads, and reload for another try.
    I always resize them.
    Want to start at point "A"
    Cleaning them to take off the lube.
    Do it for both rifle and pistol.
    I've deprimed live primers before and never had one go off ............Yet.
    Reused the primer with no problem.
    Was just wondering on the wet tumbling.
    Primers and powder expensive here.
    Plus I'm poor.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I wouldn't have sized them. Just flared and loaded again.
    But, since you did lube and size, could you just wipe them off with a rag wetted in alcohol? Think that'd be my next move.

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sureYnot View Post
    I wouldn't have sized them. Just flared and loaded again.
    But, since you did lube and size, could you just wipe them off with a rag wetted in alcohol? Think that'd be my next move.

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
    This right here! No reason to resize.
    NRA Benefactor.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I would not wet tumble them. I would even hesitate to dry tumble them. On the other hand, I have dry tumbled loaded rounds. If you're just trying to get the lube off, load them back up and spray the loaded rounds with brake cleaner, any other degreaser or just wipe them off by hand.

    You should not have any danger depriming cases with live primers. Just go slow, steady and smooth.

  19. #19
    Banned
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    I will agree. No wet tumbling and I would also hesitate to dry tumble with primed empty rounds . I've tumbled loaded rounds ..no problem. Its just something I don't like about media getting into the primer and possibly a situation where there is partial ignition or no ignition. Generally I ultrasonic clean followed by loading or in the case of rifle rounds sizing followed by a trip to the tumbler to get the sizing lube off before loading.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    If wiping them off with mineral spirits isn’t enough, spin em in a battery powered drill and use OOOO steel wool to shine em up.
    There are only two kinds of men:

    1. Those who know Jesus Christ is both Creator and Sovereign Lord.

    2. Those about to learn that Jesus Christ is both Creator and Sovereign Lord.

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