Author Topic: How clean is "clean enough?"  (Read 2615 times)

Offline TooMuchGlass

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How clean is "clean enough?"
« on: June 04, 2013, 02:07:07 PM »
I don't have a tumbler. I'll get one, eventually, but right now I have everything I need to reload and I want to get started. My question is simple- how clean does my brass need to be?

I'll be reloading 9, .40, .45 and 10.

Please note- this is not a SHTF theoretical question. While that info would be useful, it isn't what I'm looking for. I'm trying to find out how to keep all of my components, equipment, etc. in optimum condition.

I bought the brass from a guy who knows a guy, and it looks like it was cleaned with a walnut tumbler some time ago. Is that clean enough? I guess i need to throw some pics up. . .

Anyway, any and all help is much appreciated.

nelson96

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 05:49:24 PM »
As long as we're not talking about the obvious (foreign material on the inside and outside), the primer pocket needs to be free of debris and that's about it.  I do usually run a brush on the inside of the casing no matter what.

The outside certainly does not have to be polished in any way shape or form.  That's nothing but cosmetics.

Offline TooMuchGlass

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 05:59:32 PM »
So if I have some brass that has been fired and all that can be seen on the inside is powder residue, assuming I hit it with an old toothbrush or something it's good to deprime? From there, checking to see if the primer pocket is clean is all that is necessary?

I'm just trying to make sure I get it right. I learned to reload from a guy who shoots F class, which was a huge honor. But he's shooting .308 1000 yards, so obviously everything matters. When I'm going to be loading up lead bullets in a revolver and shooting at 10 yards, it doesn't seem worth it to do every step I learned.

nelson96

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 06:11:11 PM »
You'll be fine.  For handgun loads, I wouldn't even worry about the toothbrush on the inside of the case.  Not sure how you would get a toothbrush in there anyway  ;)

Offline TooMuchGlass

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 06:45:47 PM »
Awesome. Then I'm gonna load some up before the end of the week.

Baby toothbrush  ;)

Offline TooMuchGlass

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 08:48:15 PM »
Well, I finally got all the materials gathered, and tonight I pulled that lever about 400 times, depriming and re sizing some .45 ACP. Only 600 more to go  :o

I'm pumped!

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 04:45:08 PM »
I don't have a tumbler. I'll get one, eventually, but right now I have everything I need to reload and I want to get started. My question is simple- how clean does my brass need to be?

I'll be reloading 9, .40, .45 and 10.

Please note- this is not a SHTF theoretical question. While that info would be useful, it isn't what I'm looking for. I'm trying to find out how to keep all of my components, equipment, etc. in optimum condition.

I bought the brass from a guy who knows a guy, and it looks like it was cleaned with a walnut tumbler some time ago. Is that clean enough? I guess i need to throw some pics up. . .

Anyway, any and all help is much appreciated.
Your brass does not need to be bright and shiny.
Normal fired brass will have powder smoke inside.
This has no effect on internal capacity, and thus pressure.

How many times a case has been loaded is good information to have.
A case can were out.

Are these cases you bought near the end of their life span?
Will they crack when fired after the first loading?
How heavy have they been loaded?
(Lightly loaded straight wall cases can last a long time... I have some 38 Special brass that have had 14 light wad cutter reloads.)

I keep my brass separated into lots.
These have a separate primer color (Sharpie pen) and are stored in a Zip-Lock bag.
They are not reloaded until all of that lot has been fired.
When they are reloaded I replace the coloring on the primer before packing and storage.
This way I know the history of every case in that batch and can identify it if it gets mixed with other cases.

I keep detailed records of my brass history.
My reloading log includes brass make and (My) lot number, times loaded, powder type, make and charge weight, bullet type make, weight, and seating depth.
The last entry in my log is the total cartridge length.
If a reload turns out to be exceptionally good, or bad, I can duplicate it or reject it based on my records.
(I can send you a copy of my reloading record page format if you like)

I inspect my brass inside and out. 
Unless they have been laying in the mud and have crap in them, I just reload them.
If I do see something inside the case, I will run that particular case under running water and them wipe it out with a Q-Tip.
(I have had to do this very few times... I've been reloading since 1962).

So, my advice is to inspect each case.
If there is any foreign substance in one, take the appropriate action.
But if they are just discolored, load them.

If you need to have pretty brass, go ahead and tumble them in a polish designed for cartridges and then in clean corncob.

But it isn't necessary.

Good luck and welcome to a new hobby,

Steve

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: How clean is "clean enough?"
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 08:46:46 PM »
Cleaning brass is more than cosmetic. Clean brass brings less grit/dirt and wear on your dies, etc.