New to reloading: used brass question


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billsnogo
December 17, 2009, 10:26 PM
I just bought 2k of 9mm that was from an indoor range.

Looks like I better pick up a vibrating tumbler this weekend. :rolleyes:

I have sorted through the first 1k by headstamp. Got a few questions though.

1. I noticed there are several different head stamps for the same manufacture, should I sort those apart also?
2. Should I inspect before I polish the brass? Or should I clean it first, then inspect?
3. Should I seperate out the nickle cases?
4. What is with the red around some of the primers?
5. What specificaly should I look at to determine if they are usable? I read the ABC's of reloading, but they focused more on rifle cases.

thanks in advance guys

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warnerwh
December 17, 2009, 11:05 PM
I would leave same manufacturer cases together. Weigh them though and make sure they weigh the same. They can be off a couple of grains though. I inspect brass after it's cleaned and I'm loading it. The nickel cases of the same head stamp should be the same weight. Btw the reason we use weight with the cases is because different manufacturer cases have different volumes which will affect pressures a bit. It is not a necessity to separate your brass. For my .357's I leave it mixed and will separate it only under certain conditions. The red you see is a sealant.
Make sure the cases are not split at the mounths. If a primer easily slips right in while loading you may want toss that case. I use them but don't load heavy loads. Also look for any bulges or anything that is not consistent. Any damage at all just toss the case. I'm sure someone will get what I'm forgetting. Now that I've said all this stuff some people don't clean their brass regularly. Presently all my brass is clean but I'll wait for a few loadings before I clean it again. It doesn't shoot any better cleaned.
Good job on reading the ABC's of Reloading. Make sure you understand everything.

Deavis
December 17, 2009, 11:08 PM
1) Don't waste your time, it won't make a difference in your shooting
2) inspect first, don't clean bad brass but it doesn't matter
3) Nope, no compelling reason unless you like to have them all match color
4) primer sealant
5) Look for cracks, large dings, very bent mouths (i.e. a D shape), and gouges

Mags
December 17, 2009, 11:28 PM
If it's pistol brass just tumble till it is clean and load em up, I inspect each case as I pull it out of it's storage container and about to put it in the shellholder. If it's cracked or chipped I throw it out, if a primer seats too easy I deprime and throw it out.

X-Rap
December 17, 2009, 11:31 PM
Sort the steel and aluminum out too.

Jesse Heywood
December 17, 2009, 11:33 PM
If you have a decapping die without a resizer, remove the primers before cleaning. When you tumble the primer pockets will be cleaned. I don't know about the ones with sealer.

Inspection is best on a clean case, makes it easier to look for flaws. Also look for corrosion, it weakens the brass.

Nickel plate is harder than brass. If the case is dirty it will cause more wear on your sizing die. For most reloaders it doesn't make a difference when loading.

Mags
December 17, 2009, 11:40 PM
If you have a decapping die without a resizer, remove the primers before cleaning. When you tumble the primer pockets will be cleaned. I don't know about the ones with sealer.

This method may work for you but with walnut media it seems to clog the flash hole creating another thing to have to manually clean by hand.

1SOW
December 18, 2009, 12:32 AM
All of these are IMHO: As you sort, throw out aluminum and steel. Some that look like brass are plated steel---if in doubt test with a magnet.

1: WCC, WIN, WC will be different on some presses because of the primer hole. My Lee will only seat a small percentage of the 'WCC "brass but prefers 'WIN'. Wasting primers is a bad thing.
2: If it's 'indoor' brass it probably won't have sand, rocks and heavy crud that can scratch up cases. If it's outdoor brass, I wash mine first thing to get rid of the above crud, then sort, deprime and tumble.
3. I don't
4 Means it's someone elses reload brass
5. I don't keep any brass with a question mark on it. You'll know what I mean when you see it; but I get free range pick-ups. Mouth damage, sharp dings etc.

Re sorting brass: Most don't bother in 9mm, 40 cal and .45acp. And they are correct, it doesn't make much difference.
If you spot check factory WIN or Rem cartridges, you'll see a pretty significant range of COALs in any given box.

I sort brass.
If you have a single stage or turret press, you develop a feel for each step in the reloading process. I just finished reloading 850, 9mm in Win cases. I stopped my reloading 3 times because the lever pull was way different. The lever had almost no resistance in all three. The first time I stopped it was an FC brass that seated the bullet .0025 deeper than my normal , the second a *-* again deeper , the third another FC again deeper . Their brass is thinner than Winchester and my dies are set for the heavier Win brass. I'll reload that coffee can full of FC, but in a batch, not mixed. If I drop a PPU case in with the Wins, I'll never know. They are the same in my turret press

But all this is just me. I know with my light loads it's not critcal, but I want better than factory bulk, so I try to limit variations that I can reasonably control.

I started to save money. Didn't save money but shot a lot more. Found out I enjoyed reloading ",my" cartridges..

Steve in PA
December 18, 2009, 12:39 AM
Do not deprime before tumbling unless you want to end up picking the media out of the primer pockets. Primer pockets do NOT get cleaned from tumbling to any degree.

eldon519
December 18, 2009, 12:43 AM
Unless you are working up match target loads or maximum loads, I would not even bother sorting by manufacturer. Were this rifle brass, there is much more importance, but for a 9mm pistol, it isn't worth your time. You should check to make sure they are all boxer primed though lest you break a decapping pin.

jcwit
December 18, 2009, 02:02 AM
Nickel plate is harder than brass. If the case is dirty it will cause more wear on your sizing die. For most reloaders it doesn't make a difference when loading.

If you're using carbide dies there is nothing to worry about, carbide is just a notch down from a diamond.

This method may work for you but with walnut media it seems to clog the flash hole creating another thing to have to manually clean by hand.


If you use corn cob media 20/40 grit this will no longer be a problem. You won't have any packed into the primer pockets or in the flash holes. Its available from, Graingers Industrial supply, google it, look it up under blasting compound/media.

Do not deprime before tumbling unless you want to end up picking the media out of the primer pockets. Primer pockets do NOT get cleaned from tumbling to any degree.


See above.

woodsoup
December 18, 2009, 02:23 PM
The red sealant might indicate a mil surp case, crimped primers. sort them out to check/work on later.
My brass processing is...
1- sort by caliber.
1a-inspect
2- tumble in walnut shell to get the major crud off the cases.
2a- inspect
3- any case prep you deem necessary. deprime, resize, trim to length etc etc etc etc. I suggest you lube all your cases, rifle and pistol, before resizing. It makes the process easier on you and your equipment. Yes, even with carbide dies. Try it yourself and feel the difference in applied effort between lubed/unlubed cases.
3a- inspect
4- final clean and polish in corn cob (20/40) or walnut (12/24), with or without addative(s), to remove case lube, burrs etc.

Pack away till needed.
5- inspect before, during and after reloading.

Gryffydd
December 18, 2009, 02:37 PM
4. What is with the red around some of the primers?
4 Means it's someone elses reload brass
Not necessarily. Some factory rounds get red primer sealant as well--Speer Gold Dots for one.

John Wayne
December 18, 2009, 02:45 PM
Throw out steel and aluminum cases, and NATO brass. Also make sure there aren't any .380 or 9x18 casings in there.

If you're using a single-stage press, I would just tumble all of the brass. You can toss out bad casings as you reload them, rather than taking time to sort through all of them beforehand.

Unless a case is cracked or severely dented, there is no reason to throw it out. It will get reformed to spec when run through the sizing die.

evan price
December 19, 2009, 07:48 AM
There is absolutely no point in sorting most pistol brass, especially 9mm. You won't notice any difference in how any one headstamp shoots over another one. All my 9mm is dumped in a 5-gallon bucket after tumbling, and gets dumped in the feeder of the progressive press by a scoop. Don't overcomplicate this!


I sort out the nickle only because set it aside and I use it for special loads- my own handloaded simulations of self defense ammo, "faux Gold Dots", to practice with SD ammo for cheap.

The red, green, or other color "nail polish" looking stuff is primer sealer, usually used on military ammo. Specifically, if these say "WCC XX" (XX is two numbers, which is the year of manufacture, for example, WCC 08 is made in 2008) it is military surplus brass from Winchester and probably has a crimped-in primer. If you look closely at the primer, where it sits in the case, you will see a ring shape pressed into the edge of the primer pocket, slightly overlapping the primer. This is to keep the primer from backing out in fully automatic submachine guns. Not a problem, except if you want to reload it, you have to swage out the crimp or a new primer might get mushed trying to push it into the case.

For that reason (the extra step involved) and also because 9mm brass is as common as dirt, I just dump them in a separate bucket to be dealt with "someday".

What you should look for is splits in the case mouth or side of the case. Look for brass that has an excessively flattened primer and smeared headstamps- this is often caused by overpressure reloads, somebody shooting for 9mm Major for example. This basically means they are not safe to reload. I find them from time to time.
Again, because 9mm brass is as common as dirt, any cases that are questionable, or stepped on and crushed, or have excessive deep dents should just be discarded instead of worried about.

Good luck!

Walkalong
December 19, 2009, 09:33 AM
Some WCC is crimped, thus the problem seating primers. I don't sort 9MM brass for 99.9% of my shooting. I tumble range brass with the primers in. Anything obvious gets tossed. Aluminum, damaged, etc. (Scrap brass bin or trash) After tumbling overnight it all gets dumped in square buckets with lids for later use. Later on I will tumble a small batch of it a couple hours for use. It gets casually inspected every time it passes through my hand after that. Putting in the press to size/deprime, hand priming, then gauging the sized brass, then putting it in the press, then putting it in the mag. Plenty of chances to catch problems.

bullseye308
December 19, 2009, 11:44 AM
Here is what I do with range pickup. First it gets washed and dried. Then I stand them up on a table and shine a light down into the cases looking for 2 flash holes. :cuss: Every case gets deprimed/resized then tumbled. While removing them from the tumbler I use a Lee decapper to remove the walnut from the flash hole. This also gives you a good chance to look it over while it is clean. Any split cases will "ring" and sound different so they can be culled out at that point to the scrap bucket. Since all my 9mm brass gets cast bullets, they go through the press again(single stage) to be flared and finally boxed in boxes of 2k.

Sure, there are easier ways to do this, but I have lots of time lately and don't mind taking a little longer that I would if I just threw them in the Loadmaster. :D

The only reason to sort 9mm brass is for serious target shooting or anything requiring the utmost in accuracy. I don't sort my brass or trim it and get all the accuracy I need. I pick out the nickel as do some others, just to have different brass for a different load.

The red stuff around the primer pocket is a sealant. Sometimes it will last a few reloads so it isn't a good indicator of once fired like I used to think it was. :( If you really like it you can use nail polish to seal your rounds but unless you live in a real moist location it shouldn't be necessary. ;)

I discard any case that won't "round out" in the sizing die. If it has a crack or crease I pitch it in the scrap bucket.
Hope this helps.

billsnogo
December 19, 2009, 11:56 AM
Thanks guys, great advice. I will have a few more questions come up in the next couple of weeks as I just picked up my Lee Classic turret press kit, carbide dies, kinetic bullet puller, powder, primers and only have to clear a place for the press and will start to experiment :eek:

thanks again :)

Arkansas Paul
December 19, 2009, 02:04 PM
I sort rifle brass by the headstamp. I don't bother with pistol brass. Unless you're shooting competition, it isn't going to make any difference. JMO

RandyP
December 19, 2009, 02:34 PM
+1 on all the comments with this adder, all S&B factory ammo has that red primer sealer stuff too.

I'd add a Harbor Freight digital caliper to your list of reloading goodies.

9mm will run like a champ on your turret. Happy reloading~

billsnogo
December 20, 2009, 08:10 PM
I'd add a Harbor Freight digital caliper to your list of reloading goodies.

Will do! ;)

My wonderful wife bought me a vibrating tumbler for an early christmas present, so I had to use it on the brass (you know how you must play with new toys :rolleyes: ), and it looks like several cases have the corn cob media stuck in the flash hole. Will this cause problems when I go to reload, or will it just be pushed out with the old primers?

thanks again, and again :D

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 08:12 PM
This caliper at HF (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=47257) goes on sale for 15 or twenty bucks pretty regularly. I have it and it works great. I only break out the good stuff for .0001 measurements now, or if I doubt a measurement, but so far, to .001, they have been great.

jeepmor
December 20, 2009, 08:14 PM
I started out wasting a bunch of time sorting everything for my pistols. I did not see any difference in grouping no matter how I sorted them. Concentrate this effort on rifles, not handguns.

rfwobbly
December 20, 2009, 08:31 PM
My wonderful wife bought me a vibrating tumbler for an early Christmas present, so I had to use it on the brass, and it looks like several cases have the corn cob media stuck in the flash hole. Will this cause problems when I go to reload, or will it just be pushed out with the old primers?

No, sir. The decapping pin will come down through the primer hole and clean the hole and the old primer right out of there.

I really doubt that a piece of corn cob small enough to get stuck in the primer hole is going to affect your load anyway. What you need to be watching out for are the big hunks of cob that get stuck inside the case due to using wax in your tumbler.

Walkalong
December 20, 2009, 09:15 PM
Ditto on rfwobbly's post.

One piece of corn cob can not withstand to force of the primer, even if the decapper somehow doesn't get it, but a glob in the case can alter case capacity and raise pressure.

Wirenut1212
December 20, 2009, 09:34 PM
Do you guys use a media separator one of those that spin like a old bingo ball tumbler to separate the media from the brass?

Ian Sean
December 20, 2009, 09:56 PM
Do you guys use a media separator one of those that spin like a old bingo ball tumbler to separate the media from the brass?

A buddy has one....it works and works good. A little pricey for me...I would rather spend the money on components and powder.

I use a really big plastic colander (sieve) to pour my media and brass into.....it was a cheapo colander from Walmart....think I spent $3 on it. A few shakes and stirs over a bucket and the brass empties out fine.

Depending on your media size a colander may or may not work. I use crushed walnut shell from the pet store (reptile bedding)....so a standard colander with small holes works great.

jcwit
December 20, 2009, 09:59 PM
I use a really big plastic colander (sieve) to pour my media and brass into.....it was a cheapo colander from Walmart....think I spent $3 on it. A few shakes and stirs over a bucket and the brass empties out fine.



Sme here other than its metal about 1/4" mesh, 2 to 3 bucks at WalMart.

Wirenut1212
December 20, 2009, 10:24 PM
I did that tonight used a plastic colander to try and separate it but the brass being heavier on the bottom seemed to always wanna stand up tried flipping it like the gold panners on tv swirling it with my hand. Seems to be a grain or two left in every peice of brass am using corncob media. Also the brass seems very dusty do you wash after tumbling?

evan price
December 21, 2009, 01:25 AM
To help with the dust take a used dryer sheet, tear it into 4 pieces and put it in the tumbler with your brass. It soaks up the dust. Replace the sheet every load. Also put a squirt of NuFinish car polish (orange bottle) in the tumbler before you add the brass.

I've got the Midway brass separator that is a deep colander style. I just shake back and forth and sometimes stir with my hand to get them all tipped over.

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