1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

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

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

  1. Katitmail

    Katitmail Active Member

    Mar 26, 2013
    St Louis
    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?
  2. witchhunter

    witchhunter Participating Member

    Aug 29, 2012
    Lassen County, California
    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.
  3. Fire_Moose

    Fire_Moose Member

    Dec 31, 2012
    I stick em in ziplocks in a 5gal bucket. No sense in cleaning the ones I don't use.

    Sent from my CZ85 Combat
  4. joe-bue

    joe-bue New Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    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.
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    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.
  6. Katitmail

    Katitmail Active Member

    Mar 26, 2013
    St Louis
    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?
  7. Huskerguy

    Huskerguy New Member

    Jun 9, 2012
    Central Kansas
    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.
  8. GLOOB

    GLOOB Mentor

    Sep 16, 2007
    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!
  9. 06

    06 Active Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Too close to Charlotte, NC
    Use coffee/coffee mate containers and label them with a small paper note hanging out of the lid. How much---not enough.
  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Mentor

    Oct 19, 2010
    East TN
    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.
  11. Miata Mike

    Miata Mike Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    NE Wisconsin
    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.
  12. 788Ham

    788Ham Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    Hills west of Denver
    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!
  13. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Participating Member

    Apr 17, 2012
    SW Ohio
    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. :)
  14. 1SOW

    1SOW Senior Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    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.
  15. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Sep 10, 2008
    SW Arizona
    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.

  16. maxyedor

    maxyedor New Member

    Jan 29, 2013
    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.
  17. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Centennial, CO
    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.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  18. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Active Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    The North Country
    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.
  19. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Participating Member

    Feb 15, 2005
    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

  20. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Mentor

    Dec 7, 2008
    Mount Desert Island Maine
    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.

Share This Page