Tumble first?


November 9, 2008, 12:21 AM
I am new to reloading. I have most of the equipment I need, but I have not yet completed building my bench. I plan on reloading .223, .308, .30-'06, 9mm, and .45.

I have thousands of brass in the above calibers just sitting in containers. These are pieces that I have previously shot and was saving for the day that I would reload.

Does it make sense for me to tumble the brass now before removing the primers so that i dont have to waste time in the future when my bench and press is set up? or should i wait and remove the primers first and then tumble.

If you enjoyed reading about "Tumble first?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
November 9, 2008, 12:41 AM
It's not absolutely necessary to tumble first. A soft rag to wipe each case before sizing to remove any dirt, dust, or sand would protect your sizing dies from being scratched. You can wait until after sizing and tumbling will remove sizing lube on your rifle brass plus shine them up. Pistol brass sized without lube, it would make no difference when you polished them before or after. Remember that tumbling after sizing and depriming will get media stuck in the primer flash hole. Check EVERY case and punch out any media stuck in the flash holes.

November 9, 2008, 09:12 AM
I always tumble fired brass first, with primers still in. Then I will size/deprime. If you clean primer pockets now is the time. Then trim if needed. If I have to trim it, or if I clean the primer pockets, it gets a quick tumble again. Then it is ready to go. I don't clean primer pockets on pistol ammo. I do on rifle ammo, usually, and I uniform the primer pockets on any rifle caliber I am trying to get max accuracy from.

Like was previously posted, make sure all the media is out of the flash holes, as if it would matter, and check every single rifle case for dirt/trash inside and signs of case head separation before priming/loading.

Every time I bring home range brass it gets sorted/visually inspected, tumbled and stored. I have a goodly amount of range brass all tumbled and stored in plastic container and boxes until needed. It will get reinspected at every step of the way until I am seating a bullet in it. I have missed a split neck all the way to that point once or twice in 20 plus years. Usually that shows up at sizing, if it was missed until then.

The Bushmaster
November 9, 2008, 09:19 AM
1. Tumble for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Resize/decap.
3. Measure and trim as needed.
4. Clean primer pockets.
5. Tumble for 1 to 2 hours.
6. Reload or store until needed.

This procedure will also allow you to visually inspect the cases about 5 times...A good thing.

November 9, 2008, 09:22 AM
I hate cleaning primer pockets, so I tumble with primers in, and then again when the round is loaded.

pilot teacher
November 9, 2008, 11:04 AM
I always tumble prior to deprime and resizing because it prevents particles from clogging the firing hole. The cases come out nice and clean. I might tumble as many as as 300 45 ACP cases at a time so I don't need wasted time unclogging the firing hole on 200 of them. Also do the same with hundreds of 30-06, 243 and 270 brass.

Uncle Chan
November 9, 2008, 11:20 AM
I tumble, then reload, then tumble again.

November 9, 2008, 10:34 PM
I tumble,relaod,put 'em in a box or ammo can.

November 10, 2008, 07:39 AM
I deprime first, then tumble. I have to clean out the media but a tap against the bench takes care of that. With this method lead dust in the tumble media from the primers is limited. Then everything gets stored in ziplock bags till I reload.

November 10, 2008, 08:37 AM
If it is range brass that you picked up, I'd tumble it with the primers in. Then inspect it, and measure it in case it needs trimming. Might as well start out perfect.

November 10, 2008, 09:04 AM
I tumble first to keep my dies from getting too crudded up, and I store the cleaned brass in buckets. When I'm ready to reload it, I have a ready supply of relatively clean brass that is ready for the press.

The pistol brass is reloaded with no further case prep. The rifle brass gets decapped and sized, trimmed, and then tumbled again before being reloaded.

November 11, 2008, 05:41 AM
Uncle Chan and Floppy D, Are you guys actually tumbling LOADED AMMO????

November 11, 2008, 11:27 AM
steverjo, I got lucky, I found 1,400 mixed military cases for 1 cent each, 1,400 cases for $14.00, I found another 800 cases that were linked for a few dollars more, the problem? patina, the cases were not corroded, just brown so cleaned the cases in a 3 gallon jar of vinegar (4%) for 15 minutes (no longer) then washed in hot water and allowed them to dry, by cleaning in vinegar, I cut at least one day of tumbling for each 200 cases, after drying, I tumbled for about an hour then removed the primers, measured the cases for case length from the head of the case to the shoulder, separated the 'long cases' then finished up with a trim die and the RCBS case prep center.

F. Guffey

November 12, 2008, 10:33 PM
After getting back from the range,I drop all brass in the thumbler mine ,thiers and all i pick up, run it for a hour, then lube and size,back in the thumbler for a few hours,then in coffee cans,with lids.when im ready to load i check if they need trimed,I did how ever resorted all my 223 brass, that took days,now its all done,

November 12, 2008, 10:38 PM
I usually will tumble brass for an hour or more to polish it (usually a few hours; probably overkill, but it won't hurt the brass), then deprime and resize it, then drop it back in the tumbler to remove the resizing lube and give them a touch more shine.

If you enjoyed reading about "Tumble first?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!