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Thread: Wet Tumbling 223 Brass

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Wet Tumbling 223 Brass

    I got a 223 case mixed in with some 9mm brass that I was wet tumbling and it got full of pins and it was a pain to get them out!
    Thank goodness I didnít do a tumbler full!
    How do yíall wet tumble 223 brass?

  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
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    All of my bottle necked cartridges get a pin stuck from time to time. I usually just give a few good shakes and they fall out. I have also uses a toothpick to pop them out.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    I use a lyman media separator and spin it for a minute or so and 99 percent of the pins come out

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Never had that problem, have had a pin stuck in a case but no big deal. I use a lyman media separator full of water to rinse the brass and separate the pins.

    Ran a batch of 223 last night without pins, the brass came out plenty clean for realoading, so that’s an option.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltaenterprizes View Post
    I got a 223 case mixed in with some 9mm brass that I was wet tumbling and it got full of pins and it was a pain to get them out!
    Thank goodness I didn’t do a tumbler full!
    How do y’all wet tumble 223 brass?
    I just tumbled a thousand without an issue. Was the primer removed from the case? What tumbler are you using? If that happens remove all the pins from the tumbler and put the case/cases with pins stuck back in the tumbler for a little while let the machine do the work of removing the pins. I have the big F.A.R.T., after dumping the water and shaking out as many pins as I can I refill my barrel and run it for a few minuted to rinse the cases this also pretty much allows any cases filled with pins to empty on their own. After dumping the water and any left over pins out the second time I place a few strips of car chamios in the tumbler with the drained brass. I add a strong magnet either an 1.5" rubber coated puck style or the HF Craft ceramic magnet like this $0.99 one. https://www.harborfreight.com/hardwa...cks-98406.html. I then tumble the brass for a few minutes, this removes 99% of the water on or in the cases and catches most of the stray pins.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I've tumbled thousands of 223 with hardly any problem. Sure, I get the occasional pin stuck but a pair of needle nose pliers makes quick work of it. But I only tumble one caliber at a time. Different calibers will nest together and become one!

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Fine walnut blasting media. This was dirty range pickups, outside so some were muddy, after an overnight run.



    I have a wet tumbler setup and ultrasonic cleaner. To much work and time for no increased accuracy on target.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master mtnman31's Avatar
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    In my experience, the .223 brass requires me to shake the pins out. I grab a handful of cases and shake the pins out. I've tried other methods and separators, but they've all left pins in the cases.

    For me, the worst offenders are .30 carbine cases. They get pins lodged in cross ways and require needle nose pliers to remove. I suppose I could get a slightly smaller pin but I'm already invested in what I've got and I don't do 30carbine that often.
    Last edited by mtnman31; 09-18-2020 at 06:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    The picture of the brass above is pretty much how my brass turns out after vibratory with walnut.

    I de-prime my brass in a separate press with a universal de-prime die, hate getting gunk in my turret press. Quick rinse with warm soapy water and strain.

    Brass goes in a plastic container with lid (peanuts), vegetable oil gets dribbled in and shake for 30 or so seconds. Sure, the brass was still wet. Friction tends to make the water go away, but the dies are still oiled.

    During sizing, I am getting oil on my fingers, I merely swipe my finger over the case mouth, plenty of lube if done every 5 cases.

    Once sized, brass gets warm soapy wash (Dawn cuts grease), then a rinse with soapy water and lemon juice. Strained, not dried.

    Brass goes still damp into tumbler with ground walnut. The moisture causes the walnut to swell and become rough again. Every 1000 or so cases, I put a tablespoon of Turtle Zip Wash in the media. That soap leaves a fine layer of wax on the brass, enough to seal the pores of the brass.

    Tumbler running for an hour, brass is dry as is the walnut, that friction thing again. I have brass I loaded 7 years ago that looks as shiny as the day they were polished. I also have a box of factory that was brand new when I loaded the other rounds. Guess which rounds are no longer shiny?

    My ground walnut gets washed every now and then. Media goes in a zippered burlap bag, soaked in soapy water with occasional agitation. I rinse until the water runs clear then hang the bag outside. I have two burlap bags which are alternated. The wash/rinse causes the walnut to swell and become rough again. Sure, it is stained black but it polishes like new.

    I've probably polished 25K cases using the same media, washing every 5k cases or so. New is cheap (pet store) but a bit of a drive from where I do most of my reloading. Wash and drying media is cheap and effective. I was going to try wet until I started tumbling my wet brass in Zip wash treated media. Didn't have to buy those pesky pins either.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master RKJ's Avatar
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    I've had issues when I put in 223 cases w/o popping the spent primers, The pins get stuck (it seems to me) much more if they still have the primer. I've learned (I hope) to quit putting 9mm cases in with rifle brass as it always gets stuck over a lot of the brass.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    I have wet tumbled 223 brass with SS pins and never had an issue with them - I use a Frankford Arsenal Tumbler. Pins get inside and some stay there due to the water but once the water drys out, they fall right out. I tumble maybe 100 to 150 at a time and after I rinse them _ I have a screen that fits the opening of the number container - I just remove them by hand and lay them out on an old bath towel to dry. As I remove them, I shake them upside down to get as many fo the pins out as I can over the towel. I then pick up the pins with one of the FA hand magnets that has a handle to pull to drop them from the magnet. When the casings are dry, I once again turn them mouth down so any pins that may have been held in by the water fall out - then just pick "em up with the magnet.

    The SS pins I have are small - bought them off of Amazon. Is there a different in sizes of SS pins? I've never given much thought to the possibility of that so if there is and you are going to wet tumble a small bottleneck like the 223, it would pay to buy a couple of pounds of small pins. I also will note that I always deprive my brass before wet tumbling so the primer pockets get cleaned as well.

  12. #12
    Try it without pins. You may be suprised how nice they come out. I am done with the pin battles.

  13. #13
    Easiest way to get rid of stainless steel pins is to run it through a media separator filled with water and go slow, do some counter rotations, and then shake out as much water as you can before setting it on a towel to dry in the sun.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    A little off topic but I feel your pain. I don’t wet tumble. I use corncob media. I ordered some new media and when it arrived I noticed it was rather large. I thought this could be good maybe it won’t get stuck in the primer pocket. Well I was right about the primer pockets, what I didn’t count on was that it completely filled some of the cases and packed it in! I wound up taking a twist drill and twisting it between my fingers to break some of it up to get it out that’s how tight it was! Needless to say I promptly disposed of that batch of corn a cob media! I won’t make that mistake again.
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  15. #15
    Glad I'm not the only that has the carbine pin woes. Seems to be the only cartridge that happens to as well. I'd rather deal with that than the constant dry tumbler media in the flash hole. That was a real pain!

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnman31 View Post
    In my experience, the .223 brass requires me to shake the pins out. I grab a handful of cases and shake the pins out. I've tried other methods and separators, but they've all left pins in the cases.

    For me, the worst offenders are .30 carbine cases. They get pins lodged in cross ways and require needle nose pliers to remove. I suppose I could get a slightly smaller pin but I'm already invested in what I've got and I don't do 30carbine that often.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom22 View Post
    I'd rather deal with that than the constant dry tumbler media in the flash hole. That was a real pain!
    You were using the wrong media if it got stuck in the flash hole. The only time Iíve had fine walnut blasting media stuck anywhere in cases is if I ran it to wet and pulled it out to early. I will typically start it w/ the brass and additives at the same time and let run over night. By that time the media has dried off enough to prevent clumping.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    I think I have solved my problem!

    I bought some stainless steel chips, they are small and I sure hope that they will not get jammed together in the 223 cases! They are like about 1/8” little rocks.
    I will try them soon and post results!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    The more I read about the issues with wet tumbling, the happier I am with my dry, walnut shell media.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master



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    Never had a problem with the pins sticking. I use the separator that spins, dry in low temp oven with a little fan and spin again. Never had a stuck single or multiple pin that way and no lead filled dust from the tumbling media flying about in the room to inhale.

    When I load I also turn the case upside down and tap on the bench to make sure no powder, pins or mice dung is in them.

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub LinotypeIngot's Avatar
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    Perhaps look into getting shorter pins or small chips.

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