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Cleaning Military Cartridges

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Catpop, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Catpop

    Catpop Well-Known Member

    I have some old 7.62 x 54R military cartridges that have begun to grow crud, I'm thinking from having corrosive primers. Can these be safely cleaned in a tumbler? Or is it better to pull the bullets and recycle the components?
  2. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Well-Known Member

    There is the arguement that tumbling them may break the powder down which will make it burn much faster and create a high pressure danger.

    If there isn't a lot of them you could clean them up some by hand. Or, just shoot them as is, I doubt the Mosin will have issues with them.

    Could be interesting to pull one, keep that powder as a control sample and then tumble a few and check the powder in them to see if it has changed much. If there is no change then go ahead and shoot. I think if you didn't tumble them for days you'll be fine.

    Of course, pulling them is the safest route and could give you non-corrosive reloads which is nice to have on hand.
  3. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

    Their is not much to recycle. The powder is an unknown, bullets are usually plated steel. And the case is usually brass or plated steel with Berdan primers. So all components are scrap leaving you with nothing.

    I would do a little cleaning with a pad and soot em.
  4. TenDriver

    TenDriver Well-Known Member

    I haven't heard of the powder in the tumbler issue. All of my surplus HXP went through a couple of hours in the tumbler. No problems shooting it.

    I'm thinking you wouldn't be able to detect anything visually in a control sample vs a tumbled sample. No guarantees anything would really change, and who's to say each round is loaded the same anyway? I've pulled a couple of HXP rounds and found different powders and different weights. My understanding is factory ammo from different lots can be loaded with different powders / primers, but metered to achieve a constant pressure to match other lots. I'm no expert though.
  5. GCBurner

    GCBurner Well-Known Member

    An hour or so in a vibratory tumbler doesn't seem to hurt anything. Clean brass is a lot easier to inspect after firing, too.

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