Reloading tips by Sarge

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by sarge_257, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    I just finished 500 5.56 (223) empty brass, getting it ready to reload. Because most of these empties were range pick-ups (courtesy of the US Army) they were dirty and had dirt, sand, rocks, and gunk inside and outside. The first thing I did was to fill up one of those 1 gal. ice cream plastic containers with the brass and squirted several squirts of liquid dish soap in on top of them. Then I ran the water in the kitchen sink until it was hot and steaming. I filled the container full with hot water. Sloshed it around some with one of the wife's big metal spoons. Then found a place where Lt.Linda would not find it and let it set for a day. Back to the kitchen sink and more hot water to flush out all the crud that was desolved by the soapy water. Then drained ever drop of water I could out of them (bouncing them up and down to get water out of inside the cases)
    Then I took them out to the shop and turned on my air compressor. I set it at 150 psi. (Note my compressor will go up to 300 psi but I deliberly set at 150 psi for this reason.) If you are holding the empty cartridge case and shooting compressed air at it, your fingers will be within 1/4" to 1/2" of the blast of compressed air. If you slip a little and hit your finger with very highly compressed air you can blow a fingernail right off or worse yet blow a hole in your skin. So keep it down at 150 psi. I then hit the case with one of those rubber tipped air blowers and it will blow out any residue that the water didn't get and dry the inside of the case.
    Now I can take them back to my reloading room and lub and size and decap them. After that they are covered with lub so I go back to my ice cream tub and soap. You would be surprised how much dirt is still in the cases. Back to the shop and the air compressor. This time I blow the case out through the primer hole. This gets the last bit of dirt or rocks stuck inside. And cleans the primer pocket well enough that you do not have to use one of those little primer pocket cleaners. The only thing I do is check the cases for military stamped crimps and cut the crimp away so you can get a primer in it.
    Then I set up my press and prime, powder, and seat. Takes about 3 hours for 500 rds. and that includes setting up the powder measure. You also might put them in a vibrator case cleaner before you deprime them and that helps them look better but is not really needed. ( I do it cause I am fastidious)
     
  2. TexasPatriot

    TexasPatriot New Member

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    I was wondering what to do with an old ice cream churn that I had sitting on a shelf on the shop. I had bought a White Mountain and was too stubborn to simply throw away a working unit. It sat there for a couple of years until I had an epiphany. This thing was made of extremely sturdy and rust/corrosion resistant material. I took it down, dusted it off, filled it up about half way with some filthy range brass I had culled and tossed in a bucket under the bench. The only thing wrong with the brass was the dirt and crud. Of course, I had utilized the usual procedures of dealing with this problem, but time budgeting issues dissuaded the reclaiming of the brass by those methods.

    I filled in up with hot,soapy water,slipped the lid on, and plugged her in. It made a god-awful racket so I sat it outside and got out the trusty extension cord. After about an hour, I dumped it and refilled with clean water and let it run for another 10 mins or so. Then checked the results. Excellent! The brass was clean. Taking the concept to the next level found me filling the container with corn cob media charged with some Brasso. Another 30 mins, a quick shake through a spaghetti strainer to remove the polishing media, and presto...

    This cut my brass cleaning time in half and the machinery was cheap. I even make my own corncob media out of cobs harvested from my garden. After shelling the corn, I toss them into a covered bin and let the sun and air do the rest. After thoroughly cured, I run them through an industrial strength blender I picked up at a local Good Will or Salvation Army store for a couple of bucks. If I remember correctly, I had to replace the cord. Buying media is simpler, but as I have said before...I love the DIY concept. Though I do tend to get my priorities screwed up once in a while.
     

  3. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    What model of compressor is this? I GOT to get me one of these! :)
     
  4. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger New Member

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    Don't you have to cut the crimp away to get the old primer OUT?
     
  5. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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  6. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger New Member

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    I've had a dickens of a time depriming some Speer .223 cases I was given by an LEO friend of mine.....? They were crimped.
     
  7. willfully armed

    willfully armed New Member

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    they deprime easy enough. you should only need to cut the crimp to reprime. I have some WCC nato brass in my 9mm bucket. I know as soon as the primer arm hits the case(rockchucker) that its the crimped brass. THey get tossed to the recycle bucket.




    I was given a 5 gallon bucket of LC military brass in 5.56. It was also full of dirt and bugs, and crap. I cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned. Hot water, soap, buzz bucket, soap, hot water. Eventually had to get a pick out and scrape all the remnants. Not worth it.
     
  8. TexasPatriot

    TexasPatriot New Member

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    These are what I use to deprime crimped military brass...work like a charm

    Lee Precision, Inc. Shopping Cart
     
  9. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    brass cleaning

    My original compressor was a Sears-Roebuck It blew the back off the cylinder and damn near got my son in the leg. It was 1yr and 1 day after I bought it. I took it back to the store where I bought it and they refused to replace it. Because it was one day over the warrentee. Now it was obvious that the casting had a weak spot as there was no way we could have blown the cylinder up. (this one did not have a pressure adjustment on it) I had to have a compressor as I was in the middle of painting one of my classic cars. So I bought another one from them and finished the car. Then I took it back and asked for my money back. They had to give it all back too. LOL I then bought a bigger compressor from Northern Tool and it had a pressure adjustment gauge on it. I tossed the broken Sears compressor except for the tank. Put the new compressor on the old tank and I was back in business again. I had noticed in Sears that the tank I had on old Sears tank was the same as the ones that they used on their bigger compressors. And it had a pressure rating of 500psi. Normally I run it at 150psi for general all around work but sometimes 250 is needed for air operated tools.

    Sarge
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  10. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    I use Lee products also. About 80% of my reloading tools are Lee. I use their Lee Decapping die as it is hell for stout. But I did manage to break one and Lee replaced it free of charge.
     
  11. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    primer

    Nope with my Lee decapper die you can punch those crimped in primers out. But it still leaves a ridge around the primer pocket making it a real bear to get a new primer in. So I use a primer pocket reamer and a little battery operated screw driver with a counter sink, to cut that ridge out and give the primer pocket a nice sloping edge for the primer to center itself and slide in. With the pocket still the proper size (the primer pocket reamer does that) to keep the primer from coming out. You only have to do it once and it will be fine until the case wears out.
     
  12. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    And I think about all those corn cobs we burned in our pot belly stove on the farm. I could have kept brass clean for the rest of my life. LOL
    Sarge
     
  13. rifleman55

    rifleman55 New Member

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    Good way to clean them, but I'd follow up with a vibrating brass polisher.

    For the 5.56 LC brass

    Then they would get sorted by head stamp. From there they would all be trimmed to the same length.

    After trimming the case mouths get de burred inside and out.

    The LC cases are really good cases but need more prep than some of the better brands. You will find a lot of brass flashing inside of the primer holes on them, so a primining hole cutter tool should then be used to remove the flashing and leave just the slightest dish on the inside. Then ream the primer holes with a cutter that cuts the floor of the primer hole flat. If crimped, the crimp should be removed, you'll damage the new primers if you don't and will get variance in velocity and consistancy.

    Once you have done all of the above and looked for ones too badly dented or with split case mouths, then load them.

    Just cleaning and loading used military brass will never give you he full accuracy potential of the round.

    I buy new LC Brass from Graf $ Sons for $140. per 1000. That way I know exactly what I'm starting with.
    If you know that the pick up brass at the range is once fired, then by all means grab it, but much range brass is left because it's junk.

    If you are only looking at burning up a bunch or rounds, then the prep is not necessary, but if you want accurate loads and who doesn't, why not get good brass and spend the time to prepare it the right way. It doesn't cost any more except for the money for the tools, less than $50.00.

    When buying reloading equipment, buy quality, it will last a lifetime if taken care of. Lee makes low priced equipment , much of it not all that precise, get quality, it will pay in the long run and load more accuratly.
    It does make a difference.

    I know some will disagree. I'm a retired gunsmith and have been reloading for over 35 years. I've used just about every brand out there and quality does make a huge difference, buy quality, you will never be sorry. I still use the RCBS Rockchucker press I bought 25 years ago. It's as good as the day I bought it. That's just one example.

    Just my 2 cents.

    John K
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  14. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Cool. I got a catalog right here. What's the item #?
     
  15. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    What kind of air tools are you running with 250psi? Ours is at 180 and we run everything from impacts to die grinders to glass bead cabinets.

    Never blew a finger nail off either.
     
  16. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Seriously. I've got an Ingersoll Rand 3/4" impact that will snap head bolts, harmonic balancer bolts, wheel studs, etc. at 175 PSI! I figure with 300 PSI I can take out a dozer.... :D
     
  17. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    air compressor

    Central Pneumatic #710 Made in Italy.
    Single Stage Twin cylinders
     
  18. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    DANG! SWMBO just vetoed that idea. :(
     
  19. Squirrel_Slayer

    Squirrel_Slayer New Member

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    Just think of what you could do with 300PSI hooked up to a train horn guys! I want that in my truck. I am gonna mount Sarge's compressor in the bed of my Dodge!
     
  20. sarge_257

    sarge_257 New Member

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    It is the air pressure with in a small area. (1/8" hole in a blower head) that ups the pressure.
    On my power tools it is not that I need all that pressure but I just want to keep the tool running longer before the tank gets low and I have to wait for it to build up again. Die grinders, drills, sand blasters and the blower head when I am using it to clean a part or the floor or the driveway. I don't know how I got along without a compressor as many things I use it for. If nothing else to blow chips off the lathe or mill.
    Sarge