How much brass do you need and how do you organize it?


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Katitmail
June 19, 2013, 09:31 PM
I'm shooting 3 semi-auto calibers only. 9mm MAK, 9x19 and .45ACP

So, this is all the brass I'm interested in. But when I go to range or after match I pickup bunch of other. Lots of 40S&W and other odds and ends.

I can't clean alltogether because 40 goes inside 45 and 9 goes inside 40.
What is the best way to manage brass sorting and processing?

I was thinking maybe use big ziplock bags and sort dirty brass. Then when I have enough go ahead and clean batch of the same caliber.

What is the best most time-efficient way to deal with it? What do you do with calibers you don't use? Is there any tools to separate brass?

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witchhunter
June 19, 2013, 09:51 PM
There is a set I have seen at Midway, it is a set of sifters that have different size holes in them. Sounds like just what you are looking for, sorting 9, 40 and 45.

Fire_Moose
June 19, 2013, 09:53 PM
I stick em in ziplocks in a 5gal bucket. No sense in cleaning the ones I don't use.

Sent from my CZ85 Combat

joe-bue
June 19, 2013, 10:13 PM
Ziploc bags also with a note inside for a label (then i can re-use the bags). I have a bunch of square 3 gal pails that way they fit under my bench.

As far as mixing. I put my rifle, and pistol together so that I can do odd count lots without having the issue that you run into with the brass sliding into each other.

Walkalong
June 19, 2013, 10:17 PM
Bags, boxes, you name it. It doesn't really matter as long as you like it. I separate it all by hand. Dirty fired brass in bins in the shed, tumbled ready to load brass in boxes and plastic containers in the reloading room.

Katitmail
June 19, 2013, 10:34 PM
Do you separate ALL brass or just most common and "everything else" ?

If I have lot's of 40 but don't shoot it, is it "in demand" brass? Can I trade it for 9mm as example?

Huskerguy
June 19, 2013, 10:47 PM
I often pile 380, 9, 38, 357, 40, and 45 all in a single bucket when I pick it up. If I just shoot one caliber and can manage to pick it up separate I will. Most of the time at the indoor range I will have several calibers and I just sweep it all up together at one time.

I bring it home and when I get some time I sit on a bucket and start pulling it out a handful at a time and throw them into separate coffee cans or other plastic containers. Then as I get enough I will tumble it by calibers.

It really doesn't take long and is a good way to look the brass over for any problems. I don't inspect extremely close but I do often find some problems here and there.

I don't reload 380 so I give it away. All the rest get their own bucket. Then once I tumble them I put them in coffee plastic cans or in the case of 45's I put them in some of the clear plastic containers I pick up at Walmart.

I formerly loaded everything with a single stage so I would work calibers in batches like sizing, expanding and priming. I might have 5-6 coffee cans full of a single caliber and I write a note on half of an index card telling me what I had done to the brass and when.

I probably have 3,000 on average of each caliber except 357.

GLOOB
June 19, 2013, 10:49 PM
I was thinking maybe use big ziplock bags and sort dirty brass. Then when I have enough go ahead and clean batch of the same caliber.
Sorta do this. I pick out the 45 and the 40, bag 'em, and deal with them in various ways.

Sometimes, I will put the 45 ACP cases in the tumbler, first. Then after they're filled, add the 40. Then lastly, add the rest of the 38-ish cal pistol cases and the rifle cases. This works pretty well. But usually, I just wait til I have enough 40 or 45 to bother with tumbling by itself. Cuz it's kinda dumb to sort them out, tumble them together, then sort them out again!

06
June 19, 2013, 10:59 PM
Use coffee/coffee mate containers and label them with a small paper note hanging out of the lid. How much---not enough.

cfullgraf
June 19, 2013, 11:05 PM
When i was picking up range brass, or buy once fired brass as i am inclined to do now. i would resize and clean the cases to make it ready for reloading. The cases are then stored in ZipLoc bags until needed for reloading.

I have used boxes in the past. Maybe I still do use boxed. I have a bunch of plastic, stackable CD boxes that the ZipLocs are stored in. One or two cartridges per CD box depending upon the number of cases.

I find by resizing cases shortly after shooting, it goes pretty quick. When I obtain a quantity of once fired cases, I spend the time to get them resized and clean. Then reloading goes quick and easy when the time comes whether on the single stage or on the progressive.

Also, I generally have 300-500 new cases on hand waiting in the wings to be used when my cases in service need replacing.

Miata Mike
June 19, 2013, 11:16 PM
I wait until I have a 5 gallon pail or so and use a set of shell sorters like witchhunter talks about. I have the .380 plate too. I tumble mostly only like cases and store in ice cream pails usually.

Proper sorting makes tumbling so much easier as I don't get the "nestling" of cases. This approach works for me as I have a good amount accumulated and sized in advance.

788Ham
June 20, 2013, 12:04 AM
Speaking of this.... today I took all of the once fired brass, what I brought home from last years sight-in at our club's range, 30-06, approx. 200 rds. I FLS all of them, then into the tumbler for a couple of hrs. , removed them, chamfered and beveled the mouths, all waiting for priming tomorrow, and 50 possibly getting loaded tomorrow aft. . I always put a recipe card inside the box, or Baggie I store them in, all info entered, so I know exactly whats left to do before reloading. I was just lazy since last years sight-in, have no idea how many I'll get this year!

Reefinmike
June 20, 2013, 12:25 AM
I used to use a vinyl wall hanging shoe organizer thing that had 24 pockets bottom pockets were for scrap brass and another pocket for random primed brass that I couldnt deprime/ shotshells that I stole the shot out of for 38 shot loads. Other pockets I used for dirty sorted pistol brass, above those was clean pistol brass and the top 12 pockets I used for 223 brass. dirty, clean, prepped, unprepped fresh range brass and used the pockets to sort out batches of 100 casings that had x amount of loadings on em. It was really nice for sorting out 223 brass but I dont load that anymore.

Now I just keep all brass loaded up at all times and in plastic ammo trays. :)

1SOW
June 20, 2013, 12:32 AM
I can't clean alltogether because 40 goes inside 45 and 9 goes inside 40.
What is the best way to manage brass sorting and processing?
It would depend on how many cases you pick up. If it's hundreds, I'd get the sifters.

I Selectively pick up outdoor range pistol brass and hand sort by headstamp.
Size, deprime, tumble, and then store in labelled plastic coffee containers.

Culls are given back to my practice range folks who use the salvage money to support 4-H shooting sports.

gamestalker
June 20, 2013, 02:06 AM
I keep and clean brass of common calibers that I don't specifically load. And then when I have an opportunity to trade for stuff I need I use it for that. There are a couple LGS's in my area that will trade me just about any good brass for supplies. And because I have tumbled already, it it makes for a better looking trade I think.
As for sorting, that's already been covered well by Witchunter I think.

GS

maxyedor
June 20, 2013, 02:14 AM
I hand sort, and use plastic bins I get at Target. They sell them in multiple colors, helps me keep my dirty/tumbled/match brass identifiable. They're about $3/each.

I hand sort when I get home from the range, and have an "everything else" bin. The common calibers I don't shoot get their own bin so I know about how much I have, and when I can trade it for something useful.

Dr.Rob
June 20, 2013, 04:00 AM
Separate it by caliber, then some by make. I have those filters Midway makes that fit over a 5 gallon bucket.

All 9mm brass has a LOT of variation in case volume compared to 45acp.

I don't sort my 45ACP, just look it over for defects.

I tend to keep my rifle brass sorted by brand. Rifle ammo I like to load in lots where I get consistency.

thump_rrr
June 20, 2013, 06:43 AM
What does need have to do with anything?

I sort my brass into kitty litter buckets.
I have a minimum of 2 buckets per caliber.
One bucket for clean and another for dirty.
.45ACP which has both small and large primer brass gets an extra bucket.

Most of the.223 brass I pick up at the club I frequent is either Federal or PMC so I have 2 clean buckets for my most common brands.
.223 gets processed in a few different steps since it is processed on a progressive press.

Step 1 deprime, trim, size.
Step 2 Wet tumble,
Step 3 Prime, charge, seat bullet, crimp bullet.


Brass for calibers I dont shoot gets placed in gallon ziploc bags and is deprimed and tumbled over the winter when I'm bored.

Canuck-IL
June 20, 2013, 06:56 AM
Every caliber in it's own set of containers, usually 3 for pistol brass - fired, decapped and tumbled.

All rifle brass stays with it's own gun for the life of the brass. Most of those have 5 or more containers per gun - fired, decapped, tumbled, sized, primed. A few have extras depending upon the number of firings and/or annealing.

The large plastic shoeboxes from Wallmart are useful for larger quantities such as used in 223. Smaller lots of 200 - 500 in some cailbers go in large Planter Peanut/ pretzel containers such as are usually seen in the large discount shops or in milsurp cans

/B

FROGO207
June 20, 2013, 07:11 AM
A 5 gallon bucket of brass of each caliber. Unprocessed in the bottom and Zip-Loc bags of processed brass on top. Multiple buckets of the high use calibers and a bucket of oddball brass.

You can never have enough brass. If there is ever too much of a particular one just use it for trading material.:) I have actually purchased a firearm or two (40 S&W for example) because I have a big pile of that caliber brass already and do reload a lot of calibers already.

Walkalong
June 20, 2013, 07:21 AM
Common range brass (9MM, some .38 Spl, .40, .45, & .223) gets sorted, tumbled, and stored in plastic buckets.

RandyP
June 20, 2013, 07:39 AM
My local big box store had a great sale on translucent plastic containers with lids in various sizes - I prime on the turret during reloading so I store the sorted clean tumbled brass by caliber in a separate shoe box sized bin, one larger tub for the unsorted brass fresh from the range floor and then matching bins into which I sort the dirty brass by caliber, ready to go for their trip in the tumbler.

I picked up a blue plastic screen dealie from Midway that fits over a 5 gallon bucket for sifting the brass fresh from the tumbler.

jmorris
June 20, 2013, 09:38 AM
What is the best most time-efficient way to deal with it? What do you do with calibers you don't use? Is there any tools to separate brass?

I built this machine to sort brass. It will sort a 5 gallon bucket in 15 minutes.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/sorter.jpg

Sell the brass you don't use or buy another gun.

It is also a lot better to have brass that you don't need than to need brass that you don't have.

Carl N. Brown
June 20, 2013, 09:58 AM
I sort .45 ACP brass by eyeballing the headstamp and primer pocket (since some manufacturers have gone to small pistol primer for .45ACP -- I think thats because the available indoor-safe pistol primers are SPP but that's possibily just rumor).

On a good year though I accumulate maybe 1000 to 1200 reloadable casings, so I would never need that gadget above (although I suspect gun clubs or match directors might be interested).

All my ~4 times reloaded casings and all the brass berdan primed empties go to the metal recyclers (after a pass through the box with a magnet).

0to60
June 20, 2013, 10:05 AM
When I go to the range I collect all the brass I can, mine or otherwise. When I get home I sort them out into my "dirty brass" containers. I have dirty brass containers for all the calibers I reload.

When a dirty brass container is full, I tumble them all and that becomes a clean brass container. When its time to reload, I reload from the clean container. When a clean container is empty (usually after a few days of reloading), it becomes an empty dirty container.

Maybe it sounds complicated, but basically dirty brass goes into a container and clean brass is in a container. If you reload from the clean container, you're filling up the dirty container each time you go shooting. Don't clean the dirty brass until you're out of clean brass, and that way you'll cycle through all your brass fairly evenly.

Schwing
June 20, 2013, 10:07 AM
As others have said, I also pick up all of the brass around me when I am done shooting (Obviously after performing the customary courtesy check to make sure other shooters do not want their brass). I don't reload .40 or .223 but always pick it up because it is in demand and I trade it for other calibers that I do reload.

Lj1941
June 20, 2013, 10:50 AM
Coffee cans work for me.I put them in empty kitty litter buckets which stack nicely. IMO,I can't have too much brass in the calibers my son and I shoot especially handgun calibers.:evil:

brickeyee
June 20, 2013, 10:55 AM
Plastic bins.

Do not get them to large or they get awfully heavy to try and move around easily (or even start to crack when stacked).

Otto
June 20, 2013, 11:15 AM
Is there any tools to separate brass?

http://www.dillonprecision.com/content/p/9/pid/25434/catid/8/Shell_Sorter

I store the majority of my brass in 5 gallon buckets.

medalguy
June 20, 2013, 12:00 PM
I sort brass as soon as I get home, by caliber, into Akro bins. Then it's bagged up until I need it. Since I have brass that might be already cleaned, maybe deprimed or have other operations completed, I figured I needed a way to keep track of where I was in the stages of processing. So I started making up paper tags to put inside each container of brass indicating what had been accomplished. Essentially this is what's on the tags and I just either enter data or circle the steps accomplished:



CLEANED
LUBED
DEPRIMED
SWAGED
SIZED
EXPANDED
CLEANED
PRIMED________
CHARGED _____ GR _____
LOADED ____________
CLEANED

QTY _________
CAL __________
LOT # _____________

I enter data for primer type, powder charge and type, and bullet info. This goes into the gallon baggies or whatever the brass is stored in, and may go in the ammo can the brass is stored in later. This keeps me from resizing brass that's already been sized and reminds me what primer or powder I used or the bullet used, all of which is useful information to have.

I simply generated these tags using Excel and print out sheets of 6 tags per page.

thump_rrr
June 20, 2013, 12:32 PM
I built this machine to sort brass. It will sort a 5 gallon bucket in 15 minutes.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/sorter.jpg

Sell the brass you don't use or buy another gun.

It is also a lot better to have brass that you don't need than to need brass that you don't have.
Need more info on your sorter please.
Would you sell a set of plans?

mljdeckard
June 20, 2013, 12:36 PM
This is what boys aged 8, 9, and 11 are good for. :)

Certaindeaf
June 20, 2013, 12:37 PM
A braincell and a bucket. good luck

Comrade Mike
June 20, 2013, 12:43 PM
I pick up everything I can. Sort it, what I can't use I pass on to fellow reloaders.

Brass not being immediately used goes into clear plastic bins. Brass going to be reloaded goes into plastic ammo boxes by headstamp and is labeled.

mike.h
June 20, 2013, 12:57 PM
I use a brass sorter from Midway. Works pretty good.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/847836/shell-sorter-brass-sorter-9mm-luger-40-smith-and-wesson-45-acp-3-bowl-set

mljdeckard
June 20, 2013, 01:45 PM
The main thing those straining pans won't do, is keep .380s out of my 9mms. I might get them anyway.

Miata Mike
June 20, 2013, 02:18 PM
The main thing those straining pans won't do, is keep .380s out of my 9mms. I might get them anyway.

They make a .380 plate that fits inside of the .40 or .45 sorting pans. Works well, but adds another sorting step. I find that if you sort smaller batches of 9mm/.380 it works better.

fguffey
June 20, 2013, 04:38 PM
http://s688.photobucket.com/user/fguffey/slideshow/

F. Guffey

Sauer Grapes
June 20, 2013, 07:28 PM
I'm pretty anal about my brass. Winchester, Remington, Federal and PMC are all seperated. Misc headstamped brass in another bucket.
The big coffee containers are fantastic for storing brass, BTW.
How much brass? I have more brass than I could use in my lifetime. The only brass I pick up anymore is 45acp and 40S&W. I loose a lot shooting competition. 9mm and 38spl aren't going to run out, ever.

jmorris
June 20, 2013, 08:17 PM
Need more info on your sorter please.
Would you sell a set of plans?

The most info is likely in this thread. http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11364&hl=%20brass%20%20sorter

It has been at my friends shop for the last year or so, sorting 4500 lbs of brass a week.

http://shop.theshooterssource.com/

Conservidave
June 20, 2013, 09:05 PM
"I'm shooting 3 semi-auto calibers only. 9mm MAK, 9x19 and .45ACP"

I thought 9x19 and 9mm were the same....? Is a 9mm MAK different than a 9mm Lugar? I don't mean to redirect the thread but it occurred to me when the OP said he was shooting 3 calibers..

Thanks,
Dave

Hacker15E
June 20, 2013, 09:16 PM
"I'm shooting 3 semi-auto calibers only. 9mm MAK, 9x19 and .45ACP"

I thought 9x19 and 9mm were the same....? Is a 9mm MAK different than a 9mm Lugar? I don't mean to redirect the thread but it occurred to me when the OP said he was shooting 3 calibers..

Thanks,
Dave

9mm Makarov is 9x18.

Katitmail
June 20, 2013, 09:18 PM
OP Here!

Guys, couple things.

1. I don't drink plastic container coffee :) Coffee geek here, buying from local roster fresh espresso beans...

2. I don't shoot rifle and I shoot competitions and I don't have time. So, sorting by timestamp is not an option. I will have either "dirty" or "clean" brass. Thats it.


I get some brass fom range after matches and need to take care of it. I don't think I want 5gal buckets of brass, I just need enough to load 1-2k at time.


9mm MAKAROV is different from 9mm Luger. It's 1mm shorter, otherwise almost identical. Royal PITA to separate. And I really need MAK brass..

wgaynor
June 20, 2013, 09:19 PM
I sort out what I reload versus what I use for barter. I then throw them all in. Since I only reload the 9mm's and .44Mag in Pistol calibers, I don't have the issue with the cases getting stuck (unless a .40 gets in there by mistake).

Mohave-Tec
June 20, 2013, 09:53 PM
I need tens of thousands empty cases. I need all calibers. I can't help it. I only reload for 5 calibers but I pick up everything. I hand sort everything then I tumble everything. I have clear containers about the volume of coffee cans lined up by caliber on the top shelf, many calibers then I have ammo boxes crammed full of the calibers I reload for. I can't help it. I open the box and it looks like treasure.
I scored 3600 Winchester (WSP) Small Pistol Primers today for $100. I keep doing that too, along with all the other gun goodies. Sue me. :uhoh:

Conservidave
June 20, 2013, 10:05 PM
9mm MAKAROV is different from 9mm Luger. It's 1mm shorter, otherwise almost identical. Royal PITA to separate. And I really need MAK brass..

so how can you tell the case is a MAK without measuring, is it on the headstamp?

Katitmail
June 20, 2013, 10:10 PM
Yes, on headstamp. But you have to read each one.

mstreddy
June 21, 2013, 10:31 AM
OP, you asked how much brass do we need and how to organize/store.
The first answer is how much do YOU need? Keep in mind that brass is the single most expensive component in reloading.
For some of us -- that is an awfully large number -- to the tune of whatever we can get a hold of and keep somewhere. Space constraints are probably one answer to that. I am by nature a brass whore/hoarder. I actually do believe that in some calibers I probably have more brass than I'll ever shoot. In some, the cushion is not as thick.
At this point, I am only picking up range pistol brass occasionally instead of on every outing. Now, rifle gets picked up every time and whatever else is around that is fair play.

Question 2 -- how to organize -- what makes sense to you?
You mention not drinking the regular coffee swill, but do others around you do so? Work, neighbor, friends? If so, then they can be the source of free storage containers. At my office, the ladies know that I am keeping the big coffee "cans" and the empties keep appearing at my desk for me to take home.

As you read above, many use some type of scheme that makes sense - keep like calibers in containers, zip lock bags, akro bins, etc. I also use a method as the one described earlier to mark what process that batch is on. There were some sample labels that were posted here some time ago. I modified mine to fit my needs and I print them out on plain paper in MS Word. Cut to size and then tape on the container. My markings use checkboxes and are mostly:
Caliber
Clean
Lube
Size/Deprimed
Belled
Primed

there are also some for rifle that have a mark for pockets swaged (military crimped brass)

My process is bring home a bunch of brass, if mostly pistol - toss into the sorter bins from Midway, toss into cans/bins by caliber, then clean in caliber batches. Once clean AL pistol brass goes into appropriate containers (do check/sort 45 ACP for primer size). 38 spcl gets sorted by headstamp, as does rifle. For rifle I use zip lock bags for each headstamp and then stuff those either in a big coffee can or ammo can.

Hope this helps...
EM

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