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Thread: Depriming for case cleaning

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Depriming for case cleaning

    Hi. I am just getting into reloading, and havenít gotten a lot of equipment yet, so I am using what I got till I can afford something better.
    I picked up an Iosso case cleaning kit for $10 at my local gun shop and it works very well.
    I was reading through my Lyman reloading handbook about reloading pistol ammo, and they suggest for ultrasonic or rotary tumblers that use a liquid cleaning solution, that it is best to use a separate die for strictly decapping fired cases prior to cleaning.
    Well, I do not have a separate die for decapping. I think depriming would be a good idea, so the primer pockets could also be cleaned when using the solution.
    My question isÖ should I resize/decap an uncleaned case, to take advantage of this case cleaner being able to clean the primer pocket as well? Or is it unwise to resize dirty cases. So I should just leave the spent primers in until cases are cleaned?


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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I am not new to reloading!! But I am anxiously awaiting the reasoning behind replies that you are about to get. (I personally tumble in dry media with spent primers in place, unsized).

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'm a dry tumble guy.

    For rifle cases that get done on a single stage press:
    I wash cases first with soap & water to get the oils & dirt off them so there no way the dies can get scratched up.
    Then I size & de-prime. They get washed again so the sizing lube gets washed off to keep the media from getting fouled so fast.
    After that, they go in the polisher/tumbler.
    Then a rinse in lacquer thinner to wash off the abrasives in the media, and on to the loading process.
    There's several different ways that work.
    This is just how I do it.

    Pistol stuff that goes through the progressive:
    They get the initial soap & water wash. Dried, tumbled, then loaded.
    I never had any issues with or from dirty primer pockets, so sooty primer pockets never bothered me too much.

    I went for a couple years without a polisher.
    Other than my reloads not winning any beauty contests, they were fine.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 05-12-2021 at 12:45 AM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master trails4u's Avatar
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    I would not run dirty brass through my dies... Many solutions to that, but to answer your basic question I would absolutely clean in some way before resizing.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by trails4u View Post
    I would not run dirty brass through my dies... Many solutions to that, but to answer your basic question I would absolutely clean in some way before resizing.
    So, more important to clean cases first before resizing, than to have the primer pockets cleaned at the same time. Ok good. Thanks for the input!


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master trails4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironwrx View Post
    So, more important to clean cases first before resizing, than to have the primer pockets cleaned at the same time. Ok good. Thanks for the input!


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    I dry tumble.....and it all gets tumbled twice. Once before sizing/depriming, and again after fully processing. It's just the nature of the beast, not really any shortcuts. Whatever your method, you need to clean before sizing, and you'll probably want to clean after processing.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I throw all dirty cases in the dry tumbler first, for about an hour. Then I size/deprime, clean the case mouth and primer pocket, trim/chamfer/deburr, then back in the tumbler for a couple hours to finish cleaning and take off any oils.

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  8. #8
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    David2011's Avatar
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    Unless you’re shooting benchrest at a very competitive level or shooting at 1000 yards or more, cleaning primer pockets is overrated. I don’t clean primer pockets and groups are good out to 500 yards.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Joe504's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David2011 View Post
    Unless youíre shooting benchrest at a very competitive level or shooting at 1000 yards or more, cleaning primer pockets is overrated. I donít clean primer pockets and groups are good out to 500 yards.
    This.
    Why are you reloading?
    If it's for plinking, or deer hunting under 100 yards, primer pocket cleaning is not really necessary.

    As most have mentioned, it's common to clean, resize/deprime, clean. But, another method is for that second cleaning to be by hand. You can clean the primer pockets/flash holes with a hand tool, then hit the primer pocket with a small brush to get any big chunks of crap out.

    Personally, I do the same as most have mentioned. Clean, resize/deprime, clean again (I use a tumbler we with walnut).



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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use the RCBS primer pocket brushes. Chuck the case in a drill, spin it briefly (literally just pull the trigger and then let it go) with the brush in the pocket, done. The pockets usually come out super bright and clean, but I don't really spend time trying to get them that way. The brush is just effective. I could do the same without the drill, just by twisting the brush in the pocket a few times, but I broke my wrist 20 years ago and doing that motion several hundred times would leave me in pain for days.

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  11. #11
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    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    i havent cleaned a primer pocket in 45 years. Waste of time.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    i decap and trim my brass before sonic clean and dry tumble ,obviously i wipe and check brass before it gets sized.seems to me why would you clean your brass then lube it to size it making it grubby again.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master redhawk0's Avatar
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    I have a universal decapping die. I decap first...tumble in water/SS pins, then I run them through the sizing operation. I get clean primer pockets this way. As said before...it's really not necessary for anything but aesthetics ...it's just how I've been doing it.

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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Removing the primers before you wet tumble does more than clean your primer pockets. It allows a better flow of the solution through the brass, it also allows the solution to leave the brass after removing the brass from the solution, helping with drying. I see that system doesn't use pins but if using SS pins in bottle neck cartridges, if you don't de-prime your going to have a hell of a time getting the pins out. I also see several people who left the primers in and didn't remove them in a timely fashion afterwards report the primers were stuck tight into the brass. I usually use a universal depriming die first then wet tumble my brass.

    Your solution is just a phosphate based dish detergent & water with approx. ph-4.
    https://www.brownells.com/userdocs/M...73_default.pdf

    A 10lb tub of powdered phosphate detergent like Bright and Fresh Dishwasher Detergent would make a lot of that solution for $45

    Many guys are just using citric acid with a squirt of Dawn or car wash soap with wax. Citric acid is about $32 10lbs

    What ever you use be sure to rinse the brass well afterwards.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    I have one of these for de-priming brass. I also have a Lee universal de-primer. I use these because I have damaged a set of .38 spl. dies sizing and de-priming before cleaning. My fault, I agree. Now I de-prime all brass using the Frankfurt tool and then wet tumble. I throw them into the vibratory tumbler after to dry and add New Finish to slow tarnishing.

    I don't think you need the fancy kit. Hot water, citric acid and dawn should do a fair job. If you are handy, check You Tube for DIY rotary tumblers. I built mine using an old windshield wiper motor, 4 inch drain pipe, some 1/4" all thread and inline skate wheels. I built the frame out of scrap wood. Ain't pretty but does the job.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #16
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    I have a Dillon 550 but use a Harvey deprimer to avoid getting any gunk on my press. I also clean with the HF tumbler with stainless steel pins. I didn't care for the way my ultrasonic cleaned. Good luck

  17. #17
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    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    You wanted reasoning - I reloaded for many years with no cartridge cleaning at all, and still use those dies. I think that the fear of damaging a die is overrated. Once I got a vibrating cleaner and Lizard Litter I found I loved bright shiny brass! I had a habit of dumping the Lizard litter into a bucket to get my brass and found myself breathing the dust - and primers have lead stephanite in them. I got a decap die and now decap before I clean the brass because I don't want to breathe the lead in the dust. I also discovered - thanks to this board - used dryer sheets to soak up the dust, and that works well. Between the two I have no problem dumping my Lizard litter into a bucket to recover my clean, shiny brass. This is especially true of pistol/revolver brass.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I run my dirty brass through a dry corn cob tumbler first. Then run it through my sizer/decap die. After that they get a bath with stainless pins and a tablespoon of Lemishine and two caps of Turtle wash and wax. I like shiny!!

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I resize and de prime and then dry tumble. I use the Lee sizing lube to prevent stuck cases. Allow the lube to dry thoroughly before dry tumbling or it will make a mess. I have also learned to periodically dis-assemble and clean the resizing die.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I use the dry media tumbler as well as the wet pin cleaning system. I use the Lee universal deprime die to remove the primers before wet cleaning. It really makes no difference since they are all going to be sized (and deprimed) at the next step in case prep. For those that deal with range brass, it is a lot less of a problem to find those "ringers" in cases before they go into the reloading press than during the reloading process with a progressive press. A "ringer" is when the primer anvil is pushed out, along with the flat portion of the primer cup, and the skirt remains in the case. After wet cleaning, the deprimed cases dry so much faster without any time in an oven. Whatever best serves your needs at the time.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check