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Thread: Depriming for case cleaning

  1. #41
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironwrx View Post
    I do like the idea of drying in an oven. I have a dedicated old toaster oven for just this purpose. Let’s say I have 50 rounds spread out on a mesh tray. How long, at what temperature do you think I would need to bake them for for drying only. I don’t want to affect the temper of (or anneal) the brass. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I used to dry brass in the kitchen oven on the lowest setting but with the door open.
    Ya don't have to cook them, just get them warm in a dry place and the water will evaporate off fairly fast.

    One day,,,, I got in a hurry with a big batch of all my .45ACPs I had on hand,
    and a bunch I had scrounged- some from questionable sources, and hadn't sorted or inspected very well.

    I closed the door on the oven to speed up the process.............
    After the 2nd live round cooked off,,,,,, All reloading activities were banned from the kitchen.
    Now days, I lay them out in the sun on a towel.
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  2. #42
    Boolit Grand Master








    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    sorry guys but no way am i going to spent the time to deprime cases before i load on a progressive press. I chuckle at some that will do that then prime by hand! Why did you even bother with a 800 dollar progressive press. I guess its a matter of how much you shoot. I load many times 500 rounds at a crack and many times have loaded 500 and went out the next day and shot them all and went back and did it again. Im not pulling a press handle 500 more times and hand priming 500 cases. Maybe if i was loading 50 rounds instead of 500. But to me thats just wading in mud. I load to shoot not. I dont hate doing it but if some ammo company offered me free ammo my press would collect dust. I load TO SHOOT i dont shoot TO LOAD. I look for the easiest fastest way to load ammo. Only single stage press use in this house is rifle ammo other then 223 308 and 300 bo. I dont much care if my brass looks like my wifes jewelery either. As long as its clean enough to not damage my dies. It doesnt have to look brand new. I throw it in the tumbler for an hour before i load. If its non carbide die stuff that needs to be lubed i tumble for an hour then lube and size and prime and tumble it for another hour to get the lube off. But for sure i wouldnt waste my time on or even buy something like a 550 or 650 dillon and prime by hand or deprime on a single stage and wouldnt own another progressive that didnt prime reliably (lee) Even wet tumbling doesnt much interest me. My buddy who loads even more then me swears by it. For the reason i gave earlier, it keeps his presses cleaner. Ive got 4 tumblers now that work just fine. Maybe if i was starting out new id consider it but im not buying more stuff to replace stuff that works. That and im not waiting for cases to dry before i load. Ill hose my press off every 1000 rounds with a can of electrical cleaner and keep on loading. Been doing it for 30 years on dillons and it works just fine.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  3. #43
    Boolit Buddy 35isit's Avatar
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    I didn't read but very few of the responses. My reloading mentor from 40 years ago told me correctly or incorrectly I didn't need to clean my brass when I first started. So I size my brass then clean it. I prefer to put clean brass in my gun. I can buy a sizer die cheaper than a new barrel.
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  4. #44
    Boolit Master Baltimoreed's Avatar
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    When I come home from a cas match my brass that was fired and any other from practicing is put in a dry tumbler with walnut or corncob media and cleaned for several hours, even longer if my media is getting old, sorted and stored until itís reloaded. It does create dusty gunk when deprimed but I keep toothbrushes on my bench just for cleaning hard to reach places on my Dillons. Donít shoot or resize dirty brass. Donít get anal about primer pockets. Donít waste your time doing things twice. My time is valuable, Iíd rather spend it on the range not at my bench.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
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    I deprime with a lee loader punch first, tumble clean, dry in sun, lube and store (or size then store), depending on what press Iíll use to load.
    My theory is: you always have to deprime. If youíre going to clean you may as well clean the primer pocket at the same time. Same reason I wash my hair while showering.
    I did scratch a steel sizing die once with a piece of nickel plated 38 brass. I was sizing cleaned 38 brass brass, saw the nickel one on my bench, it hadnít been cleaned but looked ok so I sized it too. Knew it right away when the next few pieces of brass brass I sized came out scratched. Buffed the die out with crocus cloth and learned my lesson.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    For handgun cases, I tumble clean in walnut, blow them off with high pressure air and feed them into the Dillon 550b. I don't shoot to load as I have more brass than I will ever use. Rifle brass is tumbled, fully prepped once, blown off and loaded on the co-ax. My handgun ammo is more accurate than I can shoot so attention to unnecessary detail is avoided. I don't know for sure if the fuss with rifle brass helps much but it only needs done once and I don't shoot it by the thousand.

  7. #47
    Boolit Grand Master

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by TimD View Post
    Lyman would be very happy if you, and everyone else, bought ultrasonic or rotary tumblers, and the recurring supplies needed to clean brass. Selling rotary, vibratory, and ultrasonic cleaners, tumbling media, cleaning solutions, brass separators, stainless steel pins, pin separators, ..... is a great way for them to make $$$ .

    You will not have any issues resizing dirty brass. The only reason to clean brass is if you do not like the look of it.
    When I started reloading I did not have a tumbler to clean cases. I wiped them off and resized.
    Me too. When I waned BBQ brass (high gloss, shiny) I shoved a case on a dowel/mandrel chucked in my drill and polished it with 0000 steel wool and Pledge. But I wasn't concerned with what the shooter in the next lane thought about my handloads, just what happened on my targets.

    I sometimes relate the story about first time I met a reloader; police range, saw two guys shooting 1911s a lot. Got closer and first noticed the targets, one hole about 1 1/2"-2" (50') for a few magazines full. Looked at their gear and saw an ammo can full of loose ammo, and they were brown. They would pick/sweep up their brass and one shooter explained they were "Reloaders". That was before tumbling shiny brass was found to be "necessary" and new reloaders lead to believe that shiny handloads were essential...
    Last edited by mdi; 05-14-2021 at 11:16 AM.
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  8. #48
    Boolit Master
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    I load on a single stage press. I de-cap with a Lee de-cap die or a Lee whack-a-mole de-capper. Then I wash / soak in a mixture of Dawn Dish Soap and Lemi-Shiine. Aggitate for awhile if I feel like it, and rinse several times. Dry on a nail board and / or wipe the primer pocket with a Q-tip. FL size and tumble in a vibrator with walnut shells and "NU-Finish" car wax. Some may scoff, but it's my hobby and that's how I do it.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    I started with a vibrating tumbler with walnut media and a single stage press. Tried ultrasonic with and without decapping before cleaning. Not decapping caused issues when reloading because of moisture still in the primer pocket when I was pressed for time with match ammo. Shiny brass didn't make my groups smaller and neither did a clean primer pocket. Went back to dry tumble but a Lortone rotary tumbler. Way quieter than the vibrating tumbler. Added Star and Dillon progressive presses to speed up my loading. The trapped residue from the priming compound and walnut media caused problems with the priming systems on both progressive presses. I built a rotary brass/media separator and the residue went to about zero. Priming issues are greatly reduced.

    Folks that shoot the smallest groups in the world don't tumble brass or clean their primer pocket or clean the case lube from their brass as they shoot, reload and shoot again at the bench. They stick that brass that they wiped off with rag and finger lubed up in their high dollar die, hand prime into a dirty primer pocket and shoot itty-bitty groups.

    All that other stuff is just to make you feel good.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35isit View Post
    I didn't read but very few of the responses. My reloading mentor from 40 years ago told me correctly or incorrectly I didn't need to clean my brass when I first started. So I size my brass then clean it. I prefer to put clean brass in my gun. I can buy a sizer die cheaper than a new barrel.
    dirty brass unless it is covered in sand isnt going to hurt your gun and sure wont hurt the barrel. Want filth take your ar15 out and shoot 500 rounds out of it. It is a 100 times dirtier then a bolt gun you use brass in that wasnt tumbled. Might wear sizer die out and i have but your talking numbers like 50k to do it.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  11. #51
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    I think what you are reloading for and the volume of your reloading plays a part into the procedure used.

  12. #52
    Boolit Buddy
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    For pistol and rifle cases I decap with a Lee decapper die. Then I use ss pins , water, dawn. and Lemishine and tumble , dry and use

  13. #53
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    I progressed from a Lee turret to a Pro 1000, then added a second Pro 1000, then a Loadmaster and finally a Dillon 650. I kept one of the 1000's and fitted it with an old spare decap/resize die (.357 mag) and made a die to remove boolits from loaded rounds when needed. That's all this press is used for. I run my dirty brass through it to decap first, then into a wet tumbler (with pins). Is it necessary? Maybe not, but it doesn't take long to run them through the 1000 using the case collator and it's amazing how much dirt comes out with the primers.

    Works for me.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    For those of us who will continue to clean our brass I see one major advantage to de-priming after dry tumbling. That is the de-priming pin will push any stuck media out of the flash hole.

    I do remember when I started reloading in the mid 70's that one of the manuals I had stated to wipe brass clean with a dry rag. To me this is more time consuming then throwing the brass in a tumbler and doing something else while it is being cleaned.

    Then again, I don't mind time consuming task...I'm a swager.
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  15. #55
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I came late to Citric Acid brass cleaning. Once I discovered just how quick and effective it could be I invested in a Frankford Arsenal hand depriming unit. This unit uses a plastic sleeve which can be adjusted for size to the brass being deprimed. Once adjusted, slip a brass in, squeeze the handles, primer is popped out and goes into a clear plastic storage container.

    Primer pockets tend to not get cleaned all that well. I just use an ice cream pail, quart or 2 of hot water, tablespoon of dollar store fruit fresh, couple of drops of Dawn dish soap. Swirl well 3 or 4 times. Let soak for 10 15 min. Give it another couple of swirls. Dump in a colander, rinse with hot water twice.

    I then dump the brass in a towel, return to my recliner where I deprimed it. I have a small brush that fits in the primer pocket and give it a twist. Then the brass is rolled on a towel laying on my leg. Any splits or faults catch. That one gets set aside.

    Once they are all clean I put them in a clean dry towel and park them on my kitchen stove pilot warm spot.

    Half an hour and they are clean and dry, ready for sizing dies, flaring and primers.

    I will never put dirty brass in my dies again.

    The inside of the case, you can see brass clear down to the primer pocket flash hole.
    For me this is far enough. So this is where I stop obsessing. Others have other desires.

    But for the minimal cost of a 5 qt ice cream bucket, a dollar store fruit fresh (Citric acid) a few drops of dawn and a few quarts of hot water IMO it can't be beat. Mine don't look like new, but they don't have to. They do look clean.

    Once I move to sizing I like to take maybe 1 brass in 5 or 10 and give it a touch of imperial sizeing wax on the front edge.
    This lubricates inside and out. Is not enough to cause dents. And makes cycling them through on my Lee Hand press super easy.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

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  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    I am very anal about my handloading but not into the super pretty brass movement.

    In picking up brass I get some pretty grungy stuff and will take those and chuck them up in a Lee spinner and take a polishing pad or fine steel wool to those. Otherwise I do some dry tumbling but I am less inclined to do so since the revelations about lead dust from primers being there.

    Mostly I lube, size and wipe!

    I am sure somebody can work with that statement and give me GOOD chuckle!

    Best regards

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  17. #57
    Boolit Master


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    Lloyd, it does not take much time at all to deprime by hand vs on my 550. Sit in front of the TV or on the porch swing and watch the world go by. Rather take the time then gunk up my 550. I am depriming before any cleaning. Personal preferences.

  18. #58
    Boolit Buddy
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    I never deprimed cases i ran through my Dillon 550. I sort of just made sure they didnt have dirt all over them. I only load 45 ACP and 38 special on that machine. I will run those through a tumbler after a couple loadings. Got bored one day when laid up from a surgery and deprimed a bunch and wet tumbled. Its an awful lot of work. For other calibers I load on a single stage Ill deprime with a universal depriming die if I feel like it. But I only shoot 25-50 of those at a time.

  19. #59
    Boolit Buddy
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    When I started reloading, I had not much money. I took a 3 inch long 5/16 bolt, chucked in the lathe, turned it down to fit in a fired 30-06 case, drilled for a pin and used the drill press to punch out primers with a 3/8 nut to receive the dead primer. Now I would get a Lee depriming rod for their universal depriming die and use that. Now I use the Lee universal depriming die to punch out the primers before I citric acid clean cases. I like clean cases.

  20. #60
    Boolit Man Norcal707's Avatar
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    I used a Frankford Hand Deprimer to do over 20k casings from 380 to 300WM. I finally recently bought a Lee APP with the optional Case Collator and after seeing how quickly it deprimes and keeps the mess out of my 550C, am kicking myself for not buying it much sooner. Bought the Swage kit too and can't wait to use it on the 10k+ crimped LC, Wolf Gold, etc. 223 I have.

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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