The best way to clean 223 brass?


March 21, 2007, 12:53 AM
I知 looking for the right way to clean my 223 brass. I want a better, faster, more efficient way of getting this stuff clean.

I知 reloading 223 for High Power matches and for practice.

This is what I知 doing now.

1) Take dirty brass and run it through non treated corn cob.
2) Lube brass with RCBS lube and pad or lube with One Shot and
then de prime and re size
3) Dump a hand full or two of brass into a big towel and rub brass to
wipe off lube.
4) Trim to length
5) Chamfer and debir
6) Take out primer crimp and clean pocket
7) Load

I have in the past run the brass through the tumbler after I wiped it down but then I had to pick media out of almost every primer pocket. I hated that:cuss: .

Is it necessary to run the brass back through the tumbler again after its been sized?

Is rubbing the lube off with a towel OK? Will a little residual lube hurt any thing?

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March 21, 2007, 01:01 AM
FWIW, I've just started reloading a few months ago, and just recently .223 Rem. I just run it through the tumbler the one time and I don't de-lube it after sizing. Just trim, debur, crimp remove, then prime and load.

So far I haven't had any issues. Just seems like the hands get oily and dirty faster. That and it can be days between depriming/sizing and trim/loading.

March 21, 2007, 01:05 AM
I just stopped cleaning it, too much hassle, no probs so far, and I don't get buzzing headaches anymore from the GD tumbler.

Steel Talon
March 21, 2007, 01:16 AM

What I do
*Treat your cob material with Nu-Finish car polish.
*Tumble brass directly from the range.
*Remove brass and shake out media, doing this before de-prime eliminates cob from flash hole.
*Lube de-prime and full size brass (semi -auto)
*Trim brass with my Lee tool chuck up in my cordless drill trim to length deburr, then use a piece of 0000 to polish up brass while in the chuck.
*Remove case clean primer pocket, and de bur flash hole (one time need)


Steel Talon:cool:

March 21, 2007, 03:06 AM

You didn't say whether you are loading on a progressive, turret, or single stage press. If you are loading on a progressive or turret press use a a universal decapping die in station #1 to make sure there isn't any media in the flash hole. If you using a single stage press you will need to inspect each case.

Here is what I do to all my brass, not just my .223:

Tumble brass with Nu Finish and used dryer sheet cut into 6-8 pieces.
Lube cases on cookie sheet with Hornady One shot
Decap and resize with RCBS X-Die; eliminates neck stretch. I initially trim all new brass to 1.750" the first time I use it.
Tumble brass again with another ounce of Nu Finish and replace the dryer sheet.
Clean the primer pockets. I use the RCBS wire brush chucked into my drill press.
When I reload I install the RCBS Universal Decapping die in station #1 of my Hornady AP.

I know it is a pain but you do need to clean your primer pockets to ensure that you don't get a misfire due to moisture leaching in around the primer through the residue or end up with a primer sticking up above the head of the case. Many people will tell you that you don't need to clean the primer pocket and that they have never had a problem in over forty years or more but I also know a few alcoholics that haven't had a wreck or DUI yet either.

March 21, 2007, 09:48 AM
Shortcuts for High Power practice ammo? Wish there was a Genie out there that would clean my brass too...........:)

March 21, 2007, 10:04 AM

tumble the brass then use a carbide sizer and decapper. eliminating the need to lube the brass.

:neener: :neener:

March 21, 2007, 10:07 AM
do any of the die mfgs actually claim that using carbide means you don't have to use lube?

March 21, 2007, 10:11 AM
With 223 you can use a carbide ball, but I still use lube.

Here is how I prep my brass (just did 500 rounds last night)

On a single stage Rockchucker I FL resize and pop the spent primer

It all goes into the tumbler with corn media and polish

Trim with a Possum Hollow trimmer in my drill press

Polish the primer hole, deburr, and chamfer on an RCBS Trim-Mate

Use the 550b for everything else...

I add a step if I'm removing military crimps.

March 21, 2007, 10:19 AM
i believe lee does

yep just checked look in their catalog. you can see on page 5. there is a picture of a carbide die set. on the paper is says lee carbide dies require no lubrication.

QUOTE. We use a solid carbide insert, ground to a special contour that does not leave the objectional belt mark on the case, common to ordinary dies. With a carbide sizer, no case lube is needed, you dont even have to clean your cases. QUOTE.

page 5

March 21, 2007, 10:48 AM

Those are pistol dies and to my knowledge there are not any carbide dies available for .223, but I may be wrong. I wished they made a carbide X-Die that would be worth something.

March 21, 2007, 11:11 AM
I haven't reloaded rifle in a while now, but when I was, I always tumbled as soon as I got back from the range. I am not a fanatic about polishing the brass so it is real shiny. Just tumble for an hour or so in walnut hulls to get the dirt and grime off. Then put in a zip lock bag until needed. Use a brass polish with some grit to speed things up.

Put a couple strips of paper towels in with the media. It really collects the grime and saves you from having to change media as often. Others report using fabric softener sheets. I am going to try that one of these days and see if it works better than paper towels.

March 21, 2007, 01:36 PM
You didn't say whether you are loading on a progressive, turret, or single stage press. If you are loading on a progressive or turret press use a a universal decapping die in station #1 to make sure there isn't any media in the flash hole. If you using a single stage press you will need to inspect each case.

I'm reloading my 223 on a rock chucker at the moment. I still need to develop a load I like and then I'll move over to my LNL AP.

I don't mind re-cleaning to get the lube off but I really want to get away from picking media out of the primer pocket. If I can eliminate any steps with out getting into trouble I'd like to do that.

March 21, 2007, 03:55 PM

When you move your load over to your Hornady just use a Universal Decapping die in station #1 and it will take care of your problem of checking the flash holes after tumbling.

March 21, 2007, 07:12 PM
Here's my steps for a single stage:

1. tumble clean with walnut media - what I call my dirty media - usually overnight or when the tumbler isn't working on trimmed brass
2. set up and spray lube - RCBS lube in alchohol - and let set
3. resize and decap
4. trim with Giraud trimmer
5. tumble with corn and Nu Finish - my clean media
6. prime with Lee Auto II
7. charge with RCBS uniflow
8. seat
9. crimp if I'm bored

At this point it's my tumbling that's the bottle neck unless I go to a autoindexing or progressive press.

BTW, I only get about 10% or less of the tumbled brass with stuff stuck in the flash hole. I usually inspect and separate it out and either go back through it with a decapping pin by hand or just toss in it it's own bucket until there's enough to warrant going back through it all.

I'll usually knock out about 500-750 rounds just dorking around on the weekends assuming that I do most of my tumbling and priming week day evenings.

March 21, 2007, 07:52 PM
Wipe off cases.

Senior citizen has been handloading for about 40 years. .30-06, .22-250. and now .223.

Shiny brass apparently doesn't do anything for accuracy. And maybe contaminates the inside of the case.

MOREOVER it may waste electricity.

Ever think of the consequences of a hand crank-operated tumbler? If so, wiping cases clean may prove to be a better thought.

Senior citizen bought 200 speer 130 gr bullets and 300 winchester cases because he wanted perhaps to do some varmint shooting with .30-06 ADL.

Then senior citizen got $50 christmas check from 94 year-old father-in-law.

Apparently for appreciation. Senior citizen is last remaining son-in-laws of father-in-law's four daughters. Other son-in-laws, of course, are still alive.

Wife attributes this to senior citizen's interesting in shooting and fishing as opposed to other women.

Senior citizen learned about Stevens model 200 .223 for about $260 at Sportsman's Warehouse.

Senior citizen bought one + plus dies, shell holder, 55 gr-vmax bullets, ... from Midway. And got sent 200 SS109 bullets from son.

But not to let 130 bullets and 300 winchester cases become part of a estate sale, senior citizen bought Hi-Viz prefit recoi pad from Sportsman's Warehouse.

with intent to pressure test 130 gr hp speer with VARGET and 4895.

Recoil is bad for the body, especially senior citizen.

No can of 4895 found.

So let's do a VARGET pressure test run.

VARGET appears to be very similar to 4895 with the exception that VARGET is supposed to be very temperature INSENSTIVE.

So let's see what happens.

Friend Mike [who had a .30-06 explode in his press ... want photos of Mike's hand?] adjusted trigger of Remington .30-06 adl sythentic stock to about 4 pounds.

Senior citizen (

March 21, 2007, 08:03 PM
Use walnut shell for cleaning, it cleans at least twice as fast as corn cob, clean is important, shiny is nice but not necessary.

March 21, 2007, 08:17 PM
I'm trying to get "green" by going from 130 hp .30-06 to 55 v-max 223.

I'm sort-of kidding, of course.

But we face a very serious global energy crisis.

Oil, even worse, natural gas, depletetion and coal polution. Al Gore.

I'm a bit worried about having enough gas to go to range ... or even worse to go p dog shooting east of Bill, Wy (

My senior citizen bird hunting [quail here (] buddy's in-laws live 13 miles east of Bill.

He is checking on regs he reported via email.

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