Over the years our customers have asked us to share some secrets to processing with them. Some of these tricks we learned through trail and error, while others where taught from some of the "old timers" in reloading.
Tumbling Bullets & Brass
Tumbling bullets & brass is something that every reloader must do prior to reloading the brass, over the years a lot of things have come and gone but none work as well as this method an "old timer" taught me many years ago. This method will not only clean the brass to a like new look, but it will also help keep the dust down during the tumbling process.
Take your tumbler and turn it on with your favorite media in it, but no brass or bullets. Add 1-2 tablespoon's of Mineral Spirits for a "normal" sized tumbler, or 3-4 tablespoon's for a large tumbler and let the Mineral Spirits mix for a few minutes into the media (we use a spray bottle and "mist" it into the media giving it a couple squirts). Once everything is mixed, add your bullets or brass and tumble like normal. Using this method we have experienced about a 20% reduction in tumbling time.
Walnut Shell is best used for cleaning very dirty or oxidized brass, or nasty projectiles.
Corncob is best used for final cleaning after reloading, or cleaning your brass that isn't terribly dirty.
Cleaning Heavily Oxidized Brass (usually found in Navy surplus lots, or very old brass)
This can seem like a daunting task, but the process is actually pretty straight forward and simple. To do this use 1 part White Distilled Vinegar to 3 parts warm to hot tap water. Mix the "solution" and put the brass into the solution to soak for 15-30 minutes depending up level of gunk. Do not soak the brass overnight or while you are at work, this will turn the brass orange and make it very brittle. Once the "soak" has completed, remove from the solution and completely rinse the brass in clean water. Rinse the brass in water a few times to insure all the vinegar has been rinsed off. Air dry outside (or inside if the air temp is cold) on a towel to prevent further oxidation.
Once you have done this process, tumble the brass like normal in corncob or walnut.
buy media in bulk (40 or 50 pound bags), We buy walnut and corncob from the local blast media supply shops. The media itself is used heavily in blasting, it just so happens the we use it in tumblers. last time I got 50 pounds of walnut shell I think it cost me about $0.50-0.60 per pound.
Corncob from a pet store is too big for most calibers to effectively clean, for giggles we tried, and it and it doesn't work well for all applications due to its' size.
For Corncob use:
For Walnut use:
TIP: A quick Google search using "Blasting Media Supply *list your city here*" will find you a few places to go get this stuff at REASONABLE prices.
Free Targets Online:
You can download free shooting targets to print out at home from many websites, this is one that we go to frequently to get targets.
Over the years we've noticed that some people like to know what their brass weighs etc, we had this information in our stash for some time and recently ran across it so I thought we'd post it here for everyone to see. The below numbers are "mixed head stamp" and giving a general guideline.
Brass Cases with Primer weights
9mm, 59.46gr/ea, 117.7cases/#, 8.5#/1000
38spl, 68.06gr/ea, 102.8cases/#, 9.7#/1000
40s&w, 70.1gr/ea, 99.9cases/#, 10#/1000
.357mag, 78.3gr/ea, 89.4cases/#, 11.2#/1000
.45acp, 89.58gr/ea, 78.1cases/#, 12.8#/1000
.223, 95.28gr/ea , 73.5cases/#, 13.6#/1000
.44mag, 114.38gr/ea, 61.2cases/#, 16.3#/1000
50bmg, 865.26gr/ea, 8.1cases/#, 123.5#/1000
Do you have a cool tip or trick that you would like to pass along to your fellow shooters? If so drop it to us in email and we'll review it and publish it on our site (of course giving you credit).