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Sorting Brass

hueyville

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Spent the afternoon sorting brass that's been near the very back of the pile for some time. Found two boxes of Lake City once fired that had at sometime tumbled, sized and deprimed just waiting on prepping primer pockets and trimming to be ready for loading. One box had 1,000 cases all with 1970s dates, mostly from 1972 to 1975. Very few newer and saw nothing older. The 500 count box had also been tumbled, sized and deprimed waiting on final prep to be ready to load but both boxes have sat so long brass has lost all its shine and is more brown than brass colored so after trim and prep primer pockets will all have to be polished again, likely use stainless pins.

Found another box (I am finally getting almost to last row of boxes against wall) with 800 once fired commercial 308 cases that are sorted by brand and dates if have dates. If so not have dates are sorted by matching headstamps as some of the Remington is different than others, same with Winchester, etc. Can be relatively sure each bag (lowest count 41 and highest count 191 and most 100 to 120 per bag) is matched the way I had done it whenever. All are polished, sized, deprimed, primer pockets prepped, flash holes deburred and trimmed ready to load and still shiny since all were packed in bags and can tell were nitrogen purged before sealing or would not have that just out of tumbler shine when likely been sitting over twenty years waiting their turn.

308 Once Fired 001.jpg


308 Once Fired 002.jpg


308 Once Fired 003.jpg


Found a box of once fired military brass I bought off the "swappin & selling" forum at castboolits back when once fired military brass was almost free because so much of it and many prefer commercial. Started sorting and a trend emerged real fast every other case was Lake City 1965 Match or 1967 WRA with NATO cross in circle. Occasionally hit a R-P 7.62mm Match or earlier 1960s Lake City Match. Sorted box and had just over 450 Lake City 1965 Match all once fired (original sealed on primers) and whatever rifle it was shot in had snug enough chamber they would go into my 308 case gauge with just a tad of a push. Did not drop right in but did not have to push hard and was not difficult to get them out so my guess is due to a few slightly bent rims and a lifetime of shooting M1a/M14s they were probably fired in a military match rifle or M1a Super or National Match to almost not need sizing. Had just shy of 500 of the 1967 WRA and it fit in chamber gauge almost as easily as the 1965 Match and looked like extractor marks and the one in twenty slightly bent rims would almost bet both lots were fired in same rifle.

Rounding out the count was a mix of just under 100 R-P 7.62mm Match guessing from 1960s as well and the rest were pre 1961 to 1964 Lake City Match or IVI-68, FNM 82-31, HP-74, CAVIM 83 and had exactly two with nothing but date 1946. At first assumed the 1946 was 30-06 but it is 308. There were also just shy of 100 30 Carbine cases marked LC 54 and about a dozen 9mm cases with no headstamps at all but looked old. Was supposed to be 1,200 308 cases in box per note from seller who said he weighed it so over weighed to be sure I was not shorted and signed with his screen name. Total count on the 308 was just 1,292 plus the 83 30 Carbine and 13 9mms.

Plan to see if seller is still active (could be dead by now) as USPS shipping label was stamped as shipped to me in 2003 so box has been sitting at bottom of a pile unopened for over twenty years, guess that means I may be well stocked on 308 brass as have a steel locker store brass that is partially or fully processed and none was in that locker and none will fit. Have several thousand Lake City cases and a few thousand Berdan cases shoved in it been meaning to run for some time but generally run 308 500 at a time if range ammo (sometimes 1,000 or more) and 50 to 250 per session if it's a pet load for driving racks or military AP or API load. 3,700 more once fired 308 cases with the bonus of over 450 1965 Lake City Match now in the system, good thing am well stocked on projectiles and primers but going to definitely need some powder unless get into the canister jugs have for emergency use.

While sorting cases I put a batch of 5.56 cases in the tumbler I use for initial pre processing quick clean as usually do a second polish after all the handling of processing and sizing lube. Called LGS and said I needed a box of walnut shell tumbling media and to get it in on their next order. To my surprise it showed up on my front porch the same day. Was surprised so sent text to my guy who said it was no trouble to stop by Harbor Freight and pick me up a box on his way home and is so cheap there not to worry about cost, would all even out. So have spent enough time sorting boxes of brass in the stacks from the "way back machine" to empty the tumbler as just want to knock any crud off that may scratch a die and not look dirty while doing initial processing. Never seen this before and cannot blame it on humidity as have two dehumidifiers running in gun room and it came out of a sealed bag in a sealed box. All the brass looks like this, insides are packed with red powder that has caked up like concrete. Guess it will take stainless pins now to get it out, have never used anything Harbor Freight always buy name brand from reloading suppliers.

Harbor Freight Crap Media 001.jpg


Some it's just the necks, some it's entire case and some even the rims are packed with this stuff. Anyone ever seen anything like this who uses Harbor Freight walnut media or any media? In nearly fifty years of reloading have never seen such a mess come out of a tumbler. If anyone has seen it and has an easy fix to get it out without trying to go straight to stainless pins could use some tips. May try soaking overnight in soapy water or machinists milk then rinse with warm water but if turns it into real concrete will be upset. Now I know why I never use Harbor Freight tools or consumables. Swapped back to my old walnut shell to knock the grunge off this pile of 1960s 308 till figure out what is going on. Wonder if adding some of the Lyman liquid tumbler media helper in with it and running overnight will keep this from happening??? Baffled by the entire deal, brand new box of walnut shell but an odd color compared to what I normally use.
 

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tommygun2000

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That caked up shit is polishing rouge. I added a small amount to a batch of brass many years ago and it left deposits on everything.....for fucking EVER. It's also finely abrasive
It's like "Never Seize".....it gets on everything and never leaves.
NOTHING RED WAS EVER ALLOWED IN MY RELOADING AGAIN.

I'd soak those cases in boiling hot soapy water, then tumble them in some steel pins and change out the soapy water a couple of times and rinse them multiple times.
 

hueyville

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Have three tumblers two Thumblers Tumbler Ultravibe 18s and one Thumblers Model B. Use Walnut in one of the 18s, corn cob in the other then the Model B is for stainless pins. I usually tumble my once fired brass, especially when buy mixed make/date in bulk. Generally I run it in walnut first to knock off the grime and just get it clean enough to work without scratching a die and able to see any potential issues with a case. I have a Lee Turret press that I bought at age 13 when they were three hole machines and till I was about seventeen it was my only press till I picked up a previously owned but unused Rockchucker and then an in-line progressive.

Once I picked up the Rockchucker did my rifle loading on it and loaded 45 acp on the in-line progressive when it was not acting up. Kept using the Lee for my primary handgun press up into college and when went to college even took it with me as could keep in trunk of car, the ROTC department would let me load ammo in our building as dorm rooms were subject to spot searches for contraband (dry "no alchohol" campus) and first day got busted for a pistol and spent my first six months on probation. Asked and handloading was not allowed, could not even keep my bow in dorm room after my second trip to the dean.

Was dressing to go now hunting (Berry had 35,000 acre campus at time and allowed hunting but not around campus buildings) and saw stunning deer outside my dorm room window, sun was just breaking horizon so took a chance and lunched an arrow out of my second story dorm window and deer ran about fifty yards towards the woods before it dropped. I dragged it into edge of woods, field dressed it, threw in trunk of car and took to a local processor not knowing head RA was up early to study and watched entire event putting me on suspension the rest of my freshman year.

Had a range near campus so had to keep ammo loaded so did use a hotplate and cast metal pot to cast bullets in dorm room but did not want to be caught with press, powder and primers so they always stayed in trunk of car. Whenever I turned on campus would unload and hand a Smith M19 to security officer who put it in lockbox dean had them install as I told them that first day if I had to be unarmed whenever left campus was going to pack up an leave before my dads check was processed. They also kept a couple other pistols in my lock box but never figured out I always had a 1911 under my seat, Colt SP1 AR 15 and bolt rifle in trunk. So entire time I was in college except when went home and had access to my bench all loading was done on that Lee turret press.

Between it being my primary press from age 13 to 16 then all through college the aluminum turrets and top plate were worn to point it was not making good ammo so I got the idea to load a few turrets with decapping/size dies and just use it to decap once fired brass. Set up all dies for minimum sizing (just enough to get them close and ready for trimming but mainly was just decapping) a solid decap and used it till Lee released the four hole conversion kit and now have three turrets set up for decapping and three for reloading handgun cartridges I do not load much and do not need precision loading.

I am always buying five gallon buckets of once fired brass from military or police ranges (some military does not land in the shredder per Obama) where they see the walnut, then primer pockets are uniformed, flash holes deburred, trimmed to length and sorted if have wide variety of brands or say the bucket is 30% Speer, 30% Winchester and 30% Hornady which is common with police pistol cases. By now they have been handled a lot, seen first slathering of lube plus brass shavings and carbon fouling from inside of case lossened so they get cleaned again. Based on how they look and intended use they go in corn cob (most handgun and half the rifle) then any using for nice hand crafted premium rifle ammo goes in stainless pins.

Now it lands in bags or screw top containers and the bags are boxed and stored in lockers and screw top containers on a shelving unit. If I do not have over 10,000 5.56 and 5,000 308 cases in the first prep pipeline I get antsy and start shopiping over at castboolits swappin & selling forum for someone selling by five gallon buckets. When bought my first two 40 Smith pistols on same day had two molds, set of dies, Square Deal B in 40, 5,000 police range cases from one source and 3,000 cases from a indoor range within 24 hours and all went through the clean, decap, primer pocket prep, flash hole debur and trimmer then sorted by brand while I was looking for more brass.

Thus all starts in a fast run through walnut then a second in corn cob or stainless pins but pins are too much work and I have to wait for cases to dry so only my premium loads or really hard to clean brass ever see pins. If I could get away with it would only use walnut and corn cob every time but sometimes I want them looking like new inside and out so pins are the only way to get there. I have tumbled millions of cases going through walnut first, sometimes walnut only and never seen anything like the mess I got from using this Harbor Freight media. Don't even want to introduce to stainless pins as they are as do not want to end up with some concrete mix of red goop and pins.

Have a five gallon bucket in the tub and put a mix of Dawn dishwashing liquid, a little Simple Green industrial cleaner and mixed with enough hot water to get in solution. Poured the cases in waking the wife... then finished filling with hot water (our water heater is set to peel your skin off as wife likes hot showers) and mixed the cases around with a dowel rod till woke wife again so now they are soaking. Am whipped from two days of mainly sitting in a comfortable chair and sorting cases though they all got boxed and boxes piled under benches so was a good bit of bending and where they cut the big timer out is sore like been stabbed in the back. Going to try and pour the first bucket of water out before wife sees it as do not feel like hauling five gallons of water outside while doctors still have me on orders not to pick up anything "heavier than gallon of milk".

A lot of people use vinegar, lemon juice, phosphoric acid, citric acid and other ingredients to wet cleaning but I worry about them reacting with brass and weakening it. A friend copied a online formula for home made brass cleaner found online and entire batch from his first try had more cases separate at case heads than not and majority of the rest seemed to have necks split. A little Dawn and Simple Green in hot water can't hurt them. Plan is pour out the mess turning pinkish brown and keep refilling with hot water then pouring off when gets cold and see how that does. If can get majority out then will let dry well then decap and inspect. 49 years of tumbling brass and never seen a mess like this.

Dang Harbor Freight and since buddy bought it and gave to me for free can't complain but texted him a picture (may have bought some for himself) of the mess and told him if wanted to fool with it box is on front porch if he wants to pick up on way to work and get his money back as I am not trying it again. He said he did not buy himself a box but has a box of Harbor Freight walnut shell at home has been using about a year and had no problems but his is a totally different color than mine. His is brown not pink, almost to point of being able to call it red. Sure covid/Chinese Flu is the cause as everyone blames anything that goes wrong on covid still.
 

hueyville

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Limped to gun room and managed to swap out cases in tumbler, sort some brass and was hurting at half hour and when reached the hour point I was done. Four hours of just sorting brass cooked me yesterday. Did find 400 more 7.62×51 cases cleaned, primer pockets cut to depth, flash holes uniformed/deburred and trimmed to size. Got them in loading blocks on main bench then found a bunch of 30-06 which baffled me as I only shoot surplus 30-06 and modify cases to other calibers. My hydroform die for converting it to 280 AI is at work as work is better environment for hydroforming. If try to convert 30-06 to 280 AI using case forming then they end up just a tad short but hydroforming converts '06 to 280 AI with enough length to trim a bit to square up necks and not be short.

Next box opened found 25 30+06 cases fully sized to 22-250 and necks turned plus 25 more cases sized to 25-06 and unsure if plan for those was to size one more time, turn necks and have fifty 22-250 cases ready to fireform and fit necks exactly to chamber as the chamber cast for the one 22-250 not punched out to 22-250 AI was in the box that had all that stuff. I like to use '06 brass to make 22-250 so I can tailor a perfect fit to chamber and have slightly reduced case capacity. Thicker walls and properly fitted necks last longer and are usually more accurate than commercial 22-250 brass.

Over two years of just piling new components and ammo but not loading and lots of projects was in middle of have gone fuzzy in the grey matter. Am feeling it where the surgeon cut out the tumor "bigger than a baseball". Doctor said after detaching one end of two muscles and slicing 1/3 through another muscle to get that thing out said it would take two years minimum to heal. Since knee began hurting so bad kind of stopped noticing the pain where tumors were removed but today it is screaming at me for overdoing yesterday. Think I will sit in recliner and work on reloading website instead of trying to actually get the ammo machines moving too quickly.
 

FIANNAFAL

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Been doing inventory myself. Found a cardboard box ( Thomas Betts electric fittings) full of 30 carbine ammo. Plus a 500 count box of 110 fmg projectiles to go with it. It's been 30 years since I owned a blue sky piece of crap M1 carbin.
Tumbler is a ice cream machine. Direct drive. Found at a jarage sale
Medium used is rice and some walnut shells.
 

W.E.G.

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GET RID OF ALL CARDBOARD

GET RID OF ALL ROUND "HOMER" BUCKETS

Ammo cans and SQUARE four-gallon buckets for anything that is to be stored for an indefinite period of time.

LABEL, LABEL, LABEL!!!

I have not "de-burred" a flash hole since 1988, and I never will again.
 

FIANNAFAL

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Agreed on cardboard. Also just came across 30/30 rounds with cast bullets from 1979. Neck broke off of one
Spilling powder. Corroded as all get out.
Corrugated paper.
I will hold on to the metal simulac baby formula cans till the day I die.
 

hueyville

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Wife loved her 30 Carbine but I had to use it to sweeten a deal on a trade with promise to find her another. Since then she has grown to love the pair of SKSs I massaged for her, installed tuned Tapco triggers, 20 round steel combloc fixed magazines, soft but pad that increased length of pull as she likes a longer pill than most women but is 5' 9" and rides Harley baggers... Both have tritium sights and was able to get just enough threads on muzzle to mount a flash hider.

I have been reloading copper clad ×39 using 165 grain cast bullets with home punched aluminum gas checks and all my friends and one range owner all know I want any copper clad steel cases plus we have 5,000 new boxer primed cases have never loaded but have unlimited supply of free ×39 cases combined with cast bullets I scrounge most of my lead and my aluminum use to punch checks is free and ×39 is the test cartridge for my repacked primers and one out of every 100 to 200 rounds not lighting wife calls "training at clearing misfires" and like fact is cheapest ammo in the house if she shoots into the bullet traps so I can recover and recast the lead. Using free cases, home made primers, recycled cast lead bullets only cost is a zip of Reloader 7 in each case.

I use cardboard for temporary storage of cases but put plastic liners in them or brass in plastic bags before put it in boxes. I do store empty cases in 2 gallon and five gallon round buckets because they are easy, have handles and are cheap. Can set a two gallon bucket out at range if shooting off a rest and half the cases land in bucket. I always police up all the brass I can at range including rimfire and that others are too lazy to follow range rules and clean up behind themselves.

All loaded ammo gets packed in square plastic boxes then in steel lockers or steel cans. I do use cardboard in steel cans but have a company that sells acid free plain white cardboard ammo boxes that come flat and the loaded round separators are packed flat just push them square and put in box. Have been using same boxes from same vendor forty years and once packed in ammo can then purged with nitrogen never had one fail or cause issues with the ammo. Plastic ammo boxes can take up too much room sometimes when trying to pack as dense as possible.

Wife and I put another 1,000 rounds of 5.56 M855 on stripper clips then in a 30 caliber ammo can with two stripper clip to magazine adapters. Have always been concerned but never had issues with corrosion between case heads and stripper clips. I do not store ×39 ammo on strippers long term because my ×39 is steel case and the ×39 strippers are steel so worry about corrosion. We keep two cans on strippers but is the ammo wife uses to train so it gets rotated often enough corrosion is not an issue.

I debur every flash hole as it only has to be done once and makes me feel better especially when find a batch with super inconsistent flash hole sizes. The mention of 30-30 rounds found five boxes of factory loaded ammo yesterday had no idea I had ever bought. Thought I only had two boxes but only own one 30-30 which is a pre-64 Winchester lever gun that has never been fired call it 99% as has two very small handling marks and still have box and papers that it shipped with. Owner of LGS is constantly nagging me about it and my pre-64 Winchester featherweight 308 bolt rifle which is also unfired. Have been told there were few pre 64s in 308 but not confirmed that. After selling off my 1886 collection to pay medical bills those are the two closest things I have to collectable Winchesters left.

That is why I never worried about 30-30 ammo because I do have 500 new unprimed cases plus enough bullets to stuff them all once. Also one of my 308 bullet swaging die sets makes 170 grain flat points which is the perfect 30-30 bullet and have a "five gallon bucket" of 3/4 length 30 caliber jackets got cheap from an estate sale that would be perfect for 30-30 swaged bullets and they came in the five gallon bucket.

One of my vendors sells once fired 5.56 cases in five gallon metal buckets already stainless pin tumbled in 5,000 to 5,500 count quantities. He just packs the bucket to point lid locks on without mashing cases but they do not rattle horribly in shipping. Since they arrive in the five gallon steel buckets I leave them in them. Five gallon buckets stack nicely in a corner so it's not a huge deal. Most of my empty cases are in round containers unless fully processed and primed. Never had an condensation, corrosion, insect or any other issue with cardboard but am always trying to get to zero cardboard boxes but cannot seem to buy metal fast enough to keep up.

More importantly is fire suppression and water protection. If FD shows they are spraying everything with water. Why all my magazines are stored in fire resistant/water proof boxes. My ammo is in steel boxes or steel lockers and my powder is mostly in an OSHA explosion proof double wall metal locked but at moment have about fifty pounds that won't fit in the locker. Powder locker and ammo lockers have Stat-X automatic fire suppression units mounted in ceiling above them as do my gun safes. Loading benches have a three head Halon automatic fire suppression system salvaged from a restaurant over it and have a ten pound ABC extinguisher on back corner of every bench, two 20 pound pressurized liquid extinguishers at each end of benches and a few 2.2 pound Halitron 2 extinguishers sitting around benches. Even have a five minute breathe pack in case the Halon system goes off as it purges the area of all oxygen in the area. Fire protection needs to be a huge part of your storage plan, if you can knock it down without having to wait for FD to flood what's left when they arrive your 100 times better off.
 

FIANNAFAL

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Traded that piece of crap carbine with a cracked back site dovetail for 2 in grease Yugoslavia sks.
Still grinning on that deal. Used to cast an d reload for skss
Bulk brass stored in clear plastic wall mart shoe boxs. No need to label and they stack well.
 

W.E.G.

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What's wrong with Homer buckets? :unsure:

I always thought I could never have enuff.
Round buckets are a huge waste of storage space unless you just pile clutter around the base of the round buckets.

Square buckets stack right alongside each other with no wasted space, or room for clutter, between buckets.
 

W.E.G.

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I debur every flash hole as it only has to be done once and makes me feel better especially when find a batch with super inconsistent flash hole sizes.
If the flash hole is big enough for a decapping pin to push through it, the hole is plenty big enough for the primer flash to ignite the powder.

In the few years I've been shooting, I have encountered a few "dud" factory rounds that had NO FLASH HOLE.
Every handload that comes out of my shop has had a decapping pin pushed through the flash hole during case processing. If you can see light through it, its good for me.

I'm sure some internet "researcher" has posted some thread where he shot a batch of brass, with half the batch deburred, and the other half not-deburred. And I'm sure he claimed that his testing conclusively proved that the deburred cases provided superior accuracy. OK, sure.

I can make a list of a bunch of things that I've experienced as a cause of diminished accuracy.

Burrs on the inside of the flash hole after the brass has been decapped by a common sizing die is not on my list.

But on my list of "Ways to Waste Time," deburring flash holes appears prominently.

But you do you brother. If it makes you feel better, keep on doing it.
 

W.E.G.

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Harbor Freight Crap Media 001.jpg


Yep, that's a shit show.

I've heard various accounts of people using odd sources for "tumbling media."
Followed by horror stories of how the odd-source media trashed a batch of brass.

I don't doubt that some folks are having great luck with walnut shells and such that are sold as "Lizard Litter" or some alternative application.

I use crushed walnut shells that Midway sells as tumbling media for reloading.

You would be displeased if you saw how dirty I allow my media to get before I change it out.
Truth be told, there is enough spillage when I'm using the tumbler, that I often just "top it off" rather than change it out altogether.

Ten pounds of walnut-shells media from Midway lasts me a REAL LONG TIME.
Yes, the crushed walnut shells from Midway is more expensive than the walnut media you get at the pet store or Farm Bureau.

I don't add ANYTHING to my walnut-shell media except dirty brass.
No polish.
No mystery sauce.
Nothing.

I don't try to make my brass beautiful. However it looks after its been in the tumbler for several hours is how my gun is going to receive it. My gun does not know that the brass I'm feeding it is not factory-shiny. My brass is clean enough to be fully functional. That's all I require.

Rifle brass is carefully-segregaged by times fired, then fired three or four times, and then recycled.
Pistol brass goes until the neck splits or the primer pocket won't hold a primer.

I will pick up once-fired 5.56 on the range. Some of it is fairly dirty. I'll admit that I do send my range-pickup 5.56 brass to a commercial processor. When it comes back it is blind-you bright shiny. All it needs is a mouth-chamfer and a primer. I gotta stop picking up 5.56 though. I'm pretty sure I have more than a lifetime supply now, and nobody wants my leftover shit. If I pick up any more, its just gonna be in my way. For. The. Rest. Of. My. Fucking. Life.

I can quit any time.
 

FIANNAFAL

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I do clean primer pockets. Sometimes rice kernel will get lodged in flash hole. Primers seat better.
Dull clean brass has never failed me
Same with 223 brass , enough all ready!
 

hueyville

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I prep primer pockets because I get aggravated by that odd high primer cannot mash low enough for comfort. I use a trimmer to cut all my primer pockets to recomended depth and it is stunning how many are not only shallow but out of square so bad can see with naked eye. Since all brass gets pocket cut to depth adds just a few seconds to deburr it while in my hand. Only have to do it once in the cases lifetime and most rifle cases (not overbore Wildcats or huge magnums) I get ten loadings or more before primers lossen and in some testing did a long time back comparing factory, swaged and cut primer pockets the cut seat way more consistently and get more loadings before primers start backing out. My cutter is set up to cut a tad less than recommended as do not want to cut them overly deep and cause a minimum spec firing pin not to light them. If primer pockets were proper depth and square why is the pile of brass shavings running off the table onto the floor at the primer pocket cutter station?



I am not only stunned at how shallow or out of square primer pockets are but how inconsistent flash holes are. Believe its PPU, ZQI and another EU flavor Walmart was selling some flash holes were so off center my decapping pin could not find the hole. Those go in scrap bucket. Lots of brass when I go to debur flash hole its so small cannot cut, gouge or pound debur tool through flash hole with a brick. Keep a drill with proper size bit on work table next to small vice and drill them out must to get debut tool in. Some will drop out so many shavings after debur wish I had looked in before jabbed cutter in. Some when look in the burr is blocking half the flash holes area.

After first prep I usually hand prime and every primer seats with same feel, seats to same depth without having to lay into one trying to mash it down then moving it to press to get enough leverage to seat it below case head. Can put a good album on the turntable after warming up the amplifier and preamp, listen to some good music and next thing I know have 500 or so cases with primer pockets cut to depth, flash holes debuted, trimmed to size and till retired or lost in the weeds never have to repeat. Watch silly show on television, waste time watching grown men in tight pants play with a ball between beer commercials or listen to good music as prep my brass in manner it makes me happy?

Rather be constipated than watch baseball, football or worst basketball so in time average man watches ball games I can prep tens of thousands of cases as they enter my system. Makes me happy but not going to say your doing it wrong skipping this step. To each his own and I have proven it does improve accuracy, not in all loads but high strung rounds shooting at 600 yards or more its obvious. I mainly hate primers that wont seat to correct depth and as cases see more cycles if do not clean pockets every cycle (like to pull out of tumbler and run through progressive without extra work) then this step will keep those high primers from getting more aggravating as they collect more fouling. Have other reasons but honestly like Berdan cases for accurate loads so this is a non issue on Berdan cases.
 

hueyville

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View attachment 426834

Yep, that's a shit show. I've heard various accounts of people using odd sources for "tumbling media." Followed by horror stories of how the odd-source media trashed a batch of brass. I don't doubt that some folks are having great luck with walnut shells and such that are sold as "Lizard Litter" or some alternative application. I use crushed walnut shells that Midway sells as tumbling media for reloading.

You would be displeased if you saw how dirty I allow my media to get before I change it out.
Truth be told, there is enough spillage when I'm using the tumbler, that I often just "top it off" rather than change it out altogether. Ten pounds of walnut-shells media from Midway lasts me a REAL LONG TIME. Yes, the crushed walnut shells from Midway is more expensive than the walnut media you get at the pet store or Farm Bureau.

I don't add ANYTHING to my walnut-shell media except dirty brass.
No polish.
No mystery sauce.
Nothing.

I don't try to make my brass beautiful. However it looks after its been in the tumbler for several hours is how my gun is going to receive it. My gun does not know that the brass I'm feeding it is not factory-shiny. My brass is clean enough to be fully functional. That's all I require. Rifle brass is carefully-segregaged by times fired, then fired three or four times, and then recycled.
Pistol brass goes until the neck splits or the primer pocket won't hold a primer.

I will pick up once-fired 5.56 on the range. Some of it is fairly dirty. I'll admit that I do send my range-pickup 5.56 brass to a commercial processor. When it comes back it is blind-you bright shiny. All it needs is a mouth-chamfer and a primer. I gotta stop picking up 5.56 though. I'm pretty sure I have more than a lifetime supply now, and nobody wants my leftover shit. If I pick up any more, its just gonna be in my way. For. The. Rest. Of. My. Fucking. Life. I can quit any time.
Where I generally shoot (range not house) the range masters will only allow you to pick up your own brass and sometimes argue about that. Anything left by shooters that do not police their own brass they collect and my guess is they sell it. Have had more than one heated discussion "see these rimfire cases are Eley, I am only one shooting Eley" or "see all these 5.56 cases are matched year Lake City match, these others are shooting Chinese or M193" and insist am taking my cases home and point to sign that says "all shooters pick up your brass and take or drop in box at each end of line" reminding them the rules say I pick up my brass and others are supposed to as well.

Used to be able to clean the entire range before they hired full time ROs and installed a gate to keep folks out. If someone was monitoring range but it was a weekday and I was only person there could take my "Homer Bucket" to berm and fill it with bullets to point had to use hand trucks to get it to truck then get another bucket. Would swing by range several days per week and shoot if others were there, if nobody was shooting just harvest brass and lead. Even would put an employee if had one in truck helping. Free brass and free lead is a bonus to me and important part to keeping me shooting as have to be frugal to keep up high volume of rounds down range.

What aggravates me about this media is called my LGS and asked them to order me a box of walnut shell next time they placed an order so would combine with their order and not have shipping fee. Instead they decided to save me some money, get it to me faster and the employee that drives by my house everyday stopped at Harbor Freight on his way home because the full timers do not reload and never stock media because most local reloaders say "its half price at Harbor Freight" so they thought they were doing me a favor. Threw me off because box did not say Harbor Freight and said "made in USA" so dumped a load in the tumbler. Guess if they do not want to order from a reloading supply I will have to order online. Try to buy local much as possible but if local is going to Chinese tool store.
 

W.E.G.

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Just checked my order history.

I incorrectly stated my last order was from Midway.
I think my penultimate walnut shells order was from Midway. Which was quite a long time ago.

My most recent order was actually from Frankford Arsenal via Amazon.

Probably enough to last me ten years.

Still have half a box from the previous order.

All-in-all, I'm probably good on tumbling media for another 15 years.
If I'm still tumbling brass when I'm 78, that will be something.


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hueyville

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Tripped over a mostly finished project and have managed to push all brass in the lot to same stage. Started with 150 matched 30-06 cases fired in same bolt rifle by friend who does not reload but saves all his cases for me. Have gone through multiple size and trim steps and got 128 matched cases but taking '06 to 22-250 is a lot of mashing, annealing, trimming, etc but have them to max trim length and necks so thick when measured inside diameter, outside diameter were obviously too thick which was goal. Seated a bullet in three cases and measured necks against my chamber cast to see how oversize they were.

Used inside reamer but it took almost no brass off more than some areas (are they high spots or low spots if inside case?) that after spring back from sizing button had to take a spot off here and there or neck was not perfectly centered on case. Set up neck turner and turned outside of necks to point where the bolt will barely close on them but it's firm and like much heavily manipulated brass the shoulders are not consistent and edges are not sharp. Before I go father need to do a fire form step then run through match size die to see if need another touch of inside reaming or outside turning (probably will) then fire form a final time.

Rifle I use these for want least internal case volume possible and still be a 22-250 and necks that with bullet seated have minimum clearance to close without binding against wall of throat with bullets seated. Just enough to allow neck to open and release bullet consistently. All cases formed to rifles chamber, least powder capacity for 22-250 for reduced powder volume but still have proper case fill. It's almost like doing the reverse of an Ackley Improved case for more powder volume and higher velocity but slightly reduced volume and velocity.

Watched first two years of Boss Competitions and when wind was calm 223s usually won and when wind was blowing 22-250s won most times. Decided to buy a Boss in 22-250 then work with smith and on loading bench to come up with rifle faster than 223s but not as hot as most 22-250s just to punch five holes in paper at 100 yards. Rifle when have my custom formed brass and load right puts five rounds in one hole at 100 yards and many have accused me of putting one to three rounds on target and sending the rest into the berm. Cannot find my case forming load used first time I formed a set of cases for this rifle.

Last time started with 150, finished with 120 and other 30 ended up not making it through the forming process so ended up cut down to make 460 Rowand for your basic high pressure 1911 with a supported chamber loaded to pressures that turn a 45 into a hoss. Anyone has mangled 30-06 cases I always need more 460 Rowand cases. Need to come up with a case forming load that will fit my cases to chamber but not over pressure if necks are till too snug and does not release bullets easily. Have five loadings on the first batch I made (rifle has about 400 rounds down bore and shows zero erosion, burrs or fouling which after separated by internal volume/weight had two groups of fifty and twenty barrel foulers/warmers.

Before put mode loadings on my cases using now for the rifle want to have another set of new cases ready. Started these about a decade ago and just found them ready for final steps before fire formimg. Every qualifier shot with this rifle it won but subsequent matches required to move up to either state or region on the tripto the final $10,000 match turned out I had to be out of town then they quit the big Boss push and annual comps. So now I have a stock appearing Browning rifle cheated up more than a Richard Petty stock car with roll bars filled with extra gas and carrying a bottle of moonshine instead of water in case still running low on fuel for last lap. My smith disassembled and reassembled it multiple times till satisfied he had everything he could get.

Cut just enough off rear of barrel to use a match chamber reamer so combined with my custom cases I basically had a rifle that shoots it's best accuracy node in a velocity range between 223s and 22-250s. Likes both calm days and windy days, Browning no longer does the Boss Challenge but this rifle is super accurate (my smith had five round groups at 300 yards under 1" using factory match ammo). He built three Boss copy muzzle brakes carefully tuning the ports using the port design he has a patent on and modifying them slowly till got best barrel harmonics plus modified to make up for the slight barrel cut if they threaded Boss in till bottomed out and measured. He did his magic on the crown so bullet exited bore as happily as it could. Removed rubber bedding Browning used, put in aluminum bedding block, opened up free float channel a bit, glass bedded, lapped bore, cryofroze, blueprinted action and refinished in manner looks 100% stock out of the box as rules stated "stock appearing Boss rifle" though most just had triggers tuned. Some had a little more but I had smith do everything in his bag of tricks even having the 45x Leupold target scope sent off.

Had it 30ish years and only fired it maybe 400 rounds and know its soft recoiling, smith says with the lapping, cryotreating and me purposely loading it down instead of asking for every extra FPS possible barrel should last 2,500 rounds or maybe even 4,000 so now I want to slowly build up however many of my custom cases I can using the original 500 once fired 30-06 cases my buddy gave me. Actually he gave me 500 Hornady Gold Medal Match cases and 1,500 Lake City 1968 M-72 Match cases at the same time. Know he has more of both and tried to talk him out of shooting the M-72 as I can sell it for him on the ammo collectors forum for enough he can buy back 1.5 to 2 rounds of Hornady Match but it's his range/SHFF ammo and the Hornady is his hunting ammo. Not going to destroy the M-72 cases making my bastard 22-250. Since then hs has continued to give me more of each. Use a lot of the Hornady to Hydroform 280 AI which is about opposite of using for 22-250 reduced volume cases.

Since the Boss competitions are history/distant history now and my 22 CHeetahs need new barrels every 1,000 rounds and 22-250 AIs need them every 2,000 rounds unless I do something stupid and burn up the throat in a day figure it's time to form enough mellow cases to use the Boss rifle for varmints without replacing a barrel after every hot season. Will be a perfect varmint rifle if pull the 45x Leupold and swap if for something in the 5-25x to 8-32x power range. Just need to come up with a fire forming load to get cases prepped for final preparation. Thinking a Midway 50 grain Dogtown bullet loaded to lands just above minimum chart data for 4895. If doing 22-250 AI would load toward max but throats are so tight am worried if load to lands with tight necks and hot loads may be too much though smith said when built it like all his rifles even if I want to use standard 22-250 cases loaded above chart with bullets loaded to lands for varmints rifle will not kaboom.

He is known for doing wildcats using Weatherby Magnum cases that he blows out some taper and neck to get more powder capacity then recommends loading to lands (Weatherby says not enough free bore and kaboom) but his blueprinted actions get all the engagement possible for lugs so there is no chance of bolt getting a little momentum and keep moving backwards. He has three wildcats he developed for competitive use that still hold records and he has not shot competitively in two decades. One cartridge he builds rifles for and supplies the dies I have no idea how they do not come apart but know a dozen people taking them out west or south Georgia bean fields for long range big bucks and nobody has blown one up.

One buddy competes with one of the 300 Gibbys and shoots 3" five shot groups at 1,000 yards. Got miles to price building one of his 6mm heavy bolt rifles that shoot sub 3" ten shot groups at 1,000 yards and when see 35 to 50 competitors at a IBS 1,000 yard competition wonder where all that money comes from to keep those rifles running. Especially when see a man with two kids shooting their own rifles in junior divisions and grandpa shooting too. Was reading the other day about a 1.068" five shot group at 1,000 yards recently certified at a SE event and it was said they had less than ideal wind conditions. That is shooting crows in the head at a kilometer... May need to sell some MBRs and get one rifle know if I can see it with 50x can drill a hole in it.

I just need to get a safe fire forming load for this oddball 22-250 I had built thirty years ago and cannot find any load data except what is written on the one box of loaded ammo I still have. Keep a two drawer filing cabinet with a folder for every firearm with all loads tested and best groups shot but the folder for the "cheater" Boss rifle is missing.
 
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