24 Aug 2010, 9:12am

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Brass Reloading: Cleaning, Preparation And Initial Steps

Successful reloading requires proper preparation and planning. It is important to start with clean brass cases for brass reloading. This article will describe the cleaning process.

Cleaning of the cases is required to prevent bending, jamming and distortions of the reloading dies. Dirt, oil, and grease should be removed prior to reloading. Hand cleaning the cases provides for good casing review.

Proper cleaning to remove dirt and residue of gun powder from the empty brass cases making them appear as new again will keep your reloading dies in good condition for a long time to come.

Gather your brass and nickel plated cases together. To save time and make sure you get all your cases ready for reloading you should place all spent cartridges in a specific location awaiting cleaning.

Next you will want to separate the casings by caliber. You should clean one size at a time to prevent nesting amount the cases.

Identify a location where you can set up the tumbler that is out of the way such as a basement. The tumbler creates a vibrating drug that others in the household may find offensive. The media choice you desire to use or is recommended by the tumbler manufacturer should be utilized. Place the media choice in the tumble following directions of the tumbler. Place the metal casings in the tumble along with the media. Corn Cob is a good media source. Plug the tumbler in and let it start tumbling. Other media choices include crushed walnuts. Some types of media can be obtained at the pet store. This type of media is often labeled as pet bedding.

The tumbler should hold between 100-300 cases. The tumbler time should be between 2-8 hours. Caution should be used to not overfill the tumbler for thorough cleaning. The actual length of time the cases should be tumbled depends various factors such as amount of shine desired on the cases, number of cases in the tub, level of dirtiness, type of media, freshness of media.

After the casings are clean and shiny remove the casings from the tumbler placing them in a staining container on top of a container to catch the media. Containers that are made for this purpose can be purchased wherever reloading supplies are sold. You could use a regular household strainer as long as the holes are big enough to let the media drop through. You want to save the media to be used again.

Another cleaning step you can use is to place cases in a plastic bag filled with about ½ cup of rubbing alchol. This will remove gun powder residue that has been burned on and stuff inside the cases that the tumbling media often fails to clean out. Shake the closed bag to completely soak the cases inside and out. Use a cotton swab or soft rage with a dowel or wooden spoon handle to clean the inside of the case. Make sure the alcohol has evaporated prior to storing the cases. Cleaning with the alcohol in a bag before placing the media can keep the media cleaner longer.

Once the cases are cleaned and dry you are ready to move onto the reloading steps.

The life of the media used in cleaning the cases can be extended by using a revitalize such as Flitz. The revitalize should be biodegradable and contain no ammonia. Ammonia can damage the brass.

Variations to the cleaning process can be made . The biggest advantage from polishing the brass is it removes most of the powder residue and dirt that can cause harm to the dies used for the next steps in reloading.

Wiping the strainer pan, tumbler walls, and tub with a dryer sheet can control the static electricity.

Products that contain ammonia should not be used including polishes, Brasso, and other similar products due to the fact the ammonia will react with the brass cases and potentially weakening the cases.

Keeping the media as clean as possible will extend its life and allow for more baths to be provided for additional cases.

Live primers should never be tumbled for safety reasons. Assembled ammunition should never be tumbled.

Reloading starts with clean casing after which they are ready for the reloading process.’

Working with clean casings can extend the life of the media and also prevent wear and tear on the dies used in the reloader.

Another rather simple approach to cleaning cases is to wash the casings in a solution of 2 TBS of liquid dish washing soap in 1 gallon of warm water. Allow the cases to sit in the water solution soaking for 10 minutes.

Remove the casings from the container of water and detergent A bottle brush can be used to clean the hard to reach inside of the casings. The outside of the casings can be cleaned with a toothbrush.

After the casings have been properly cleaned you can proceed to rinse them and dry them thoroughly. Hand drying is recommended followed by air drying for 45 minutes prior to reloading the ammunition.