I want to reload & have questions.

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by G22GEN4, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. G22GEN4

    G22GEN4 New Member

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    I never reloaded & I'm interested in any & all tips tricks info etc. Where do I start? Is ultrasonic or tumble cleaning better? Does it matter?
     
  2. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Sponsor Lifetime Supporting Member

    Moved to the correct sub forum: Ammo & Reloading
     

  3. G22GEN4

    G22GEN4 New Member

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  4. Webphisher

    Webphisher Duct Tape, Alabama Chrome

    From what I've heard tumblers are a bit more old school than ultrasonic, but don't quote me on that. Once Happy wakes up and logs in I'm sure he'll have a plethora of info for ya.
     
  5. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    Hah! Sorry I'm late, had some work to take care of.

    OK, yes, about reloading...

    There are 3 stages to reloading: cleaning, case prep, and round assembly (which is further composed of priming, charging, and bullet seating). Since you asked about cleaning, here would be my opinions on the matter. Please bear in mind two things:

    1. These views and opinions are mine and mine alone, and do not in any way, shape or form, reflect or communicate the views and opinions of Glock Forum, its management, or its owners or affiliates.

    2. Unlike other reloaders, I always decap (remove the spent primer) from my brass before I clean it. If the brass actually has mud or earth on it, I will wash it in warm running water first, or give it a once-over with an ultrasonic to remove the earth, then I will decap it. When I tumble or clean my brass, there are no primers in them.

    Now, moving forward...

    Tumbling used cases in a vibratory tumbler has always been the classic approach to cleaning, and can accomplish the "mere cleaning" to the "outstandingly shiny polishing", depending on the media you use and any additives.

    It has sufficed for many years for many thousands (millions?) of reloaders worldwide.

    The one area where tumblers (both vibratory and rotary, with one exception, the STM, see note below) fail to shine (pun intended), is cleaning the primer pocket. Brass can come out mirror-shiny, but with awfully filthy primer pockets that then need to be cleaned manually. Tumbling cases the traditional way takes hours to do, and with the fact that it does not often clean out the primer pocket, some reloaders find this method lacking. Additionally, it is noisy. When I first started reloading, I had a Frankford Arsenal vibratory tumbler, and use crushed corncob media....would load it up with media and dirty cases, in the garage, turn it on, and leave it running overnight. Still, dirty primer pockets. I have since burned out the motor in that tumbler, and the FA tumbler that replaced it, as well :D

    Another method now becoming popular is to use ultrasonic cleaners on the cases. This is my preferred method. I use one of two U/S cleaners, one that you can buy at Harbor Freight for under $100 and the other I purchased online and cost me almost $700. Both work, with the less expensive one being less efficient as the other monster.

    Most U/S cleaners have a run timer to prevent the ultrasonic transducers from overheating and burning out, and the max run time is usually 8 minutes or so in a single cycle, but you can repeat cycles as much as you want to achieve the desired result. With both cleaners I use, I will sometimes come across cases that still have scorch marks in the primer pocket, less in number with the monster than with the cheaper one. No problem, either repeat cycles, or clean them manually. It is important to note that AN ULTRASONIC CLEANER WILL NOT POLISH THE BRASS! It will come out dull but clean. To polish my brass, after U/S cleaning, I tumble them for about 30 to 45 minutes in a vibratory tumbler with corncob media and brass case polish mixed in. Super-shiny!

    In both methods, tumbling or cleaning with ultrasonics, it is sometimes necessary to clean the primer pockets manually. So what, you may ask, is the difference? Out of 1,000 cases cleaned in a tumbler, perhaps 1,000 will need to have the primer pockets cleaned manually....with a U/S cleaner, maybe 10 or 15 cases will need to be cleaned manually.

    The primer pockets can be cleaned with a primer pocket cleaning tool (looks like a screwdriver handle with a steel bristled cup on it) or with an automated case prep center (Hornady has one, as does RCBS and Lyman). Electrically-operated, you simply push the case down on the primer pocket brush for a heartbeat or two, and the primer pocket is clean.

    So, comparing the two methods, tumbling and cleaning with ultrasonics (affordable vs high-end), we can end up with this comparison chart:

    ................................................TUMBLER....................CHEAP ULTRASONIC.............EXPENSIVE ULTRASONIC
    Cleans outside of cases....................yes.................................yes.......................................yes
    Cleans inside of cases...................sometimes...........................yes.......................................yes
    Cleans primer poockets....................no..............................sometimes...................................yes
    Polishes brass cases........................yes..................................no........................................no
    Typical run time..........................4-12 hours.....................8-minute cycles......................8-minute cycles
    Typical wattage (110Volt)................35W................................8W.......................................26W
    Reusable cleaning agent..................yes...................................yes......................................yes
    Cleaning agent life....................+/- 3,000cases.................+/- 5-10,000cases................+/- 10-30,000cases
    Cleaning agent type...................solid media........................liquid+water...........................liquid+water
    Durability..............................I've burned out 3..................I've busted 1.........................still going strong
    Approximate cost........................$ 100 ................................$ 80 ....................................$ 700
    Timesaver?............................absolutely not............................yes......................................yes

    STM.

    There is a new player in the field of cleaning brass, it is a rotary "wet" tumbler (meaning the tub is filled with water, and rotates on its side) that uses stainless steel tumbling media. There is a video of it on this page: http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/

    As you can see, the equipment itself is not cheap, and neither is the media, but the media is not affected by the cleaning and should last a very, very long time. I have not used this equipment and this method, so I cannot comment on how well it really works, but it looks good from what I have seen online.

    I would imagine this method as being louder in operation than a vibratory tumbler, with run times similar to that of a vibratory tumbler, but with the apparent ability to clean the primer pockets as well (this is the fail zone of tumblers) and polish the brass as well (where the tumblers really "shine" :)), and it costs less than my HG570 ultrasonic cleaner.


    The reason I stick to ultrasonics is (1)it cleans brass well, and pistols most fantastically well!, (2)I already bought the gear, might as well keep using it, (3)it cuts down on my production time in reloading as well as gun cleaning, and (3)haven't bought the STM cleaner yet, and I know I can't use it to clean guns.

    Be happy to answer any further questions you or anyone else may have on the subject. Hope this helps.

    Cheers!

    THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE ARE MINE AND MINE ALONE, AND DO NOT REFLECT THOSE OF GLOCK FORUM OR ITS OWNERS AND AFFILIATES.

    .
     
  6. Read this very closely......is there a typo in there?:confused:
     
  7. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    Typo?

    1,000 out of 1,000 cleaned in a tumbler may need to have the primer pockets cleaned manually.

    10-15 out of 1,000 cleaned in an ultrasonic may need to have the primer pockets cleaned manually.

    Typo?
     
  8. Oh okay, so you were actually stating every one cleaned in a tumbler would need to be cleaned? I thought maybe an extra zero may have been added.
     
  9. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    Yah, I have had batches cleaned in a tumbler that every single one of them needed the attention of a primer pocket cleaning brush....that was actually what tipped the scales for me in favor of investing in an expensive ultrasonic cleaner (and now....the model I own is no longer made...obsolete...sob...sob).
     
  10. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    Oh, and for the record, a primer pocket must be clean before repriming.

    Any amount of leftover debris can cause the primer not to seat properly, resulting in protruding primers (think "slam-fire" when chambered...drop the slide and an immediate BOOM!), and forcing the primers to the proper depth can result in distorted primers, possibly leading to misfires.

    Personally, I get particular about it and want my primer pockets shiny clean. But that's just me.
     
  11. My reloading friend has been loading for over 15yrs. He never deprimes before resizing thus never cleans the pockets{except on rifle}, been running the same tumbler for over 15yrs, runs the media for 10's of thousands of rounds.....his failure rate is basically nil.

    I guess this is an honest case of "your mileage may vary". :confused:

    I don't know squat personally since I haven't started reloading yet I'm just going off my friends experience.:cool:
     
  12. G22GEN4

    G22GEN4 New Member

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    I've seen video of people cleaning then removing primer, not cleaning pocket, & just pop a new primer in. I thought that was odd. To each their own I guess.

    Any suggestions on a good or decent powder for 9mm .40 & .45 lc?
     
  13. Richard{Happy}, I realize you being a super stickler about reloading you probably cringed when I posted that but he's seriously good and I've shot countless of his rounds w/o issue.

    Will I do the same practice? I dunno since I haven't started yet but my first batch will be of brass out of his dirty tumbler and won't have the primers removed until they hit the press. We'll see how it goes.:confused:
     
  14. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    @Mike:

    Strangely enough, I did not cringe. A lot of people do it that way (tumble, then decap as part of case prep, and straight to loading). In all my posts about reloading as well as ultrasonic cleaning, I always mention that "this is how I do it", because (and I have mentioned this before also) I do not follow the traditional sequence of events because a failed primer can be blamed on being deformed as it was seated into a dirty primer pocket.

    The guy who first got me into reloading told me of some excitement he had apparently many years ago: he followed the traditional sequence of steps, and when he was trying to seat a hard-fitting primer, it went off and the sympathetic explosions thru the primer fill tube blew the tube up and drilled holes in his garage ceiling. He blames a dirty primer cup and too much pressure on the ram arm of the reloading press. He himself was unhurt, but the press was damaged, and so was his garage. At the time he was a Reno PD Detective, and when the uniforms showed up at his house they all had a laugh. That's where he earned his nickname "Roger Rocket".

    This much I will say with the traditional case cleaning sequence: primer pocket cleaners were invented to fill a need, not out of plain fancy. I spent $120 on an RCBS Trim-mate Case Prep Center so I could scrub primer pockets quickly and not develop carpal tunnel from using the hand primer pocket cleaners.

    And, in the final analysis, it all boils down to which methods (and which logic) the individual wishes to follow. I state my processess and the logic behind them, simply to share what I do and why I do it. Of course other methods will work, and anything I do "my way" is certainly not the be-all and end-all.

    The method that I use to clean and prep cases and load them is not a method that would work well with a progressive reloading press, which is the main reason I still stick to my trusty but slow single-stage press. That being said, I pay such careful attention to my work and to the calibrations, that I would be willing to put them up for comparison to original, new, factory ammo.

    Which method is best? The one that works for the reloader. :D
     
  15. G22GEN4

    G22GEN4 New Member

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    Well to me it just seems mire ideal to take primer out before cleaning. I mean I'm not gonna shower myself clean then hop out n take undys off lol.... I'll try both ways just for kicks though.
     
  16. Just note that progressive loaders resize and deprime at the same time on the first station of the press. But like Happy said whatever works. Myself, considering the progressive loader I recently got I probably won't be depriming before tumble.
     
  17. G22GEN4

    G22GEN4 New Member

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    Ok what is a progressive loader? Sorry, this is new to me so I'm soaking up everything I can. I don't even have any equipment or tools yet I'm just trying to gather info before I invest in everything I need.
     
  18. This is a decent vid explaining each stage of a progressive loader. This is the exact loader I recently purchased. This model is indexed by hand, there are brands/models that auto index. Every pull of the handle equals a finished bullet....

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNfYb2GzaS4[/ame]
     
  19. condor56

    condor56 New Member

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    Hey guys. Wanting to start reloading but need some suggestions on presses. I know I want a progressive press but do not have a clue of who to get it from. Have googled hornady, rcbs, Lyman, lee, and dillon. Lee seemed cheap but to cheap. Would like to get a complete set up instead of trying to buy all the pieces separately, if thats best. I am strictly a pistol shooter so I don't know if that matters.
     
  20. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    @Condor56:

    For what it's worth, if I were to buy a progressive reloading press right now, I would buy the Hornady Lock-N-Load pictured below, available on sale at Cabelas (here: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Hornady-Lock-N-Load-Auto-Progressive-Press/739991.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dhornady%2Block-n-load%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=hornady+lock-n-load&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products )

    simply because of ease of operation, simplicity, and flexibility. Unlike other reloading presses, the Lock-N-Load system uses twist-lock mounting collars for the reloading dies...this means you install a die, calibrate it for your needs, and then twist-unlock and store when done...the calibration remains fixed (I have to calibrate every single freakin' time I change dies!). It will accept RCBS brand dies, and I really recommend using the TC (Tungsten-Carbide insert) dies because you do not need to lube the cases during loading (the lube can affect gunpowder performance if not cleaned off completely). And you can load pistol and rifle ammo up to 30-06 in it, but not .50BMG and not shotgun shells.

    You asked, and that is my opinion, and mine alone.
     

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