NEWBIE... decapping before tumbling

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by chillin29, Oct 27, 2017.

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  1. chillin29

    chillin29 Member

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    Just getting into reloading 9mm and have a few basic questions.

    Some of the brass I have is pretty nasty from being at an outdoor range. I picked it up knowing I was probably going to wet tumble and saw some before and after pics of wet tumbling with stainless media, so I picked it all up.

    Heres the question I have...

    Should I (or could I) deprime before I tumble for best results? or is this really necessary?

    If I do this, should I go ahead and decap and resize before tumbling, or use a universal decap die and just knock the primer out and not resize?

    That being said, can you use a decap/resize die for ONLY decap or resizing once at a time? (this would be to prevent having to buy another universal decapping die).

    Thanks in advance for any answers!
     
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  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    If you want to clean the primer pockets, yes deprime. I deprime using a universal die so my sizing dies never see the dirty brass.
     
  3. RMH

    RMH Member

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    First off, welcome to THR. I think you will find a great group of very knowledgeable people on this forum.

    I deprime with a Frankford Arsenal depriming tool before I tumble with walnut with Nu Finish car polish. You can also get a universal depriming die for your press.
     
  4. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    I've been reloading 9mm for 25+ years.

    I tumble first, then resize & deprime. Works for me.
     
  5. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    I always decap first to get the primer pocket clean as Blue pointed out. I also use the universal decapping die. For safety's sake either tumble once with just soap before decapping and a second time after, or wear gloves while decapping the dirty brass. There's a lot of lead residue on it before cleaning.
     
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  6. chillin29

    chillin29 Member

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    Thanks for all the answers.

    So blue, if I use a universal die for recapping to save the "good" dies, can I resize with the hornady die even if it has a decapping pin in it?
     
  7. Tony k

    Tony k Member

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    I don't clean primer pockets for pistol calibers. Am I really going to notice the benefits at 15 yards? I just give em a short dry tumble before loading.
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Cases, especial range brass, really need to be cleaned before you resize 'em. Prevents the possibility, however remote, of scratching the die.
    Picked up about 2500 9mm cases(I had people to do it for me. It's good being the RSO. snicker.) left on a military range by Provincial police, long ago. Primers were lacquered in and I could use any of the brass because of it.
     
  9. Decoy80

    Decoy80 Member

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    I have adopted the habit of dry tumbling brass before any decapping or sizing in the press. If the cases are too dirty I wash them in soapy water and let them dry before dry tumbling.
    I hand prime so after all of the necessary steps have been taken prior to priming,throwing powder and seating bullets I wet tumble and dry the brass on a cookie sheet in the oven (unless it's hot weather,not raining) or place them in the sun to dry. This removes any debri left from lube and brass trimmings from the cases prior to priming and loading.
    This seems to be the cure to having to brush clean primer pockets and handpriming clean cases (inside and out) gives one last opportunity for inspection. Usually you don't find a lot of defective cases in this step but loading a good sized bunch like 1k you will find some missed during previous steps handling cases.
    Every time you handle a case take the opportunity to look for flaws even if using new brass and especially using once fired brass cases. Just my $ .002 worth.
     
  10. sbwaters
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    sbwaters Contributing Member

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    I took out the depriming pin of my Hornady sizing die.

    Deprime with a universal depriming die on the LnL, wet tumble, and then run through the LnL.

    My LnL has a case loader. Piece of cake.
     
  11. chillin29

    chillin29 Member

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    That was my exact plan of action.... as so keep the sizing die as clean as possible. So it is possible to resize without the decapping pin in the die?
     
  12. Decoy80

    Decoy80 Member

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    Yes I meant to include the reason I developed my routine of wash,dry and dry tumbling before getting to the press elimanited decapping seperately from my routine. I let the sizing and decapping stay at one step that way and wet tumbling after all is done gives me desirable results.
     
  13. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    Tumble, then resize. Unless you are using a sonic cleaner or wet tumbling with stainless steel pins, no amount of tumbling with regular dry media will clean the primer pockets. And more than likely, you'll end up spending time digging media out of the flash hole.
     
  14. z7

    z7 Member

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    For handgun if I am not going to reload them real soon, i just wet tumble and get them clean, then drop them in my vibrating tumbler with some walnut media and nufinish to dry and put a thin coat of polish on. then i store the brass for a while (I have 5k pcs of 9mm that have sat in a tub fr 3 yrs).
    everything is plenty dry and clean when it comes time to load it.

    If I am going to load it, i decap first with a decapping die (lee) and then wet tumble.

    for rifle, I have found the bottle neck and deep case requires decapping first, they don't dry very well otherwise.
     
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  15. springer99

    springer99 Member

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    To be honest, I'm not familiar with wet tumbling, so bear that in mind. I do tumble with a walnut-type dry media and have found it best to tumble clean my cases before I de-prime them. Tumbling without primers installed just added grief due to media bits clogging the primer holes. I've found it in-necessary to clean the primer holes, especially for pistol rounds. Very precision rifle rounds are a different story but in those cases, I tend to de-prime and manually clean them in any case.
     
  16. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Member

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    I *USED* to decap before wet tumbling because I am pretty OCD and wanted the nice clean primer pockets. The problem became that it was taking me way too long to get my brass processed from range brass to finished cartridges, so I have now stopped that process, and decap as a part of the resizing step on the press (already cleaned brass).

    It basically takes almost as long to run a decapping session as it does to reload, so it was basically taking me 2X the time to get my cartridges loaded.

    I am now loading in half the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
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  17. chillin29

    chillin29 Member

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    Ya that's what I am concerned with. I might just decap and wet tumble once st the beginning or when brass is very dirty and tarnished. Once brass has been thoroughly cleaned, dry tumble then just load as you are saying.
     
  18. VinnAY

    VinnAY Member

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    Trying to get a clean primer pocket with a vibe tumbler is problematic in two ways, takes 10+ hours to get to that level of "clean", and then you deal with media in the flash holes. But as you see in this thread, you can have 10 people with 10 opinions and not one is "right" and not one is "wrong". The real answer to your question is to do what you want. It doesn't matter at all to anything youre working on.
     
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  19. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Welcome to THR, chillin29! :)

    FWIW ...

    My circumstances allow me to clean/process cases and put them aside for (much) later use. I have cases that I cleaned/processed months ago that I use for my current reloads.

    If I acquire a qty of filthy/clotted field brass, I will first treat them to a soak & pre-cleaning in a bucket outside with a hose and a strong stream.

    After they dry, I decap them with a Lee Decapper Die and put them in the Ready-To-Be-FARTed bucket/bag.

    I always decap my brass prior to "wet tumbling". I run my FART (Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler) sessions with s/s pins, a splash of ArmorAll Wash&Wax and a soupçon of citric acid powder.

    Enjoy! :)
     
  20. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    You can or just remove the pin, makes not difference.
     
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  21. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    I don't think this has come out this explicitly.....

    As Blue said, it makes no difference if the pin stays in in the sizing die if the case has already been deprimed. But given you said you might dry tumble cases after they've been cleaned using wet tumbling, then I would definitely leave the pin in the die. Because as someone said you probably shouldn't deprime first if you're going to dry tumble. So then you'd be depriming when you size.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  22. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    VinnAYs got it. I load for a variety of different rifles and different handguns. Sometimes if I'm loading for say my 30-06, I have a hundred 38 Specials that I want to clean, so I throw them in the tumbler, decapped or not, and let them tumble while I work at loading for my 30-06 or something else.
    And the secret to that "media in the flash hole" thing - get your wife to lend you a hand. Working together, using 3" pieces of bailing wire or straightened paper clips, my wife and I can inspect, and clean out any pieces of media left in the flash holes of 100 cases inside of 5 minutes.
    And who cares about their time at their handloading bench anyway? I wouldn't be a handloader if I didn't enjoy it.:)
     
  23. Matt Dillon

    Matt Dillon Member

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    I tumble in corn cob, prior to depriming and resizing, because ground corn cob has a tendency to clog the flash hole if it is deprimes prior to tumbling. If you don’t wish to manually make the primer pocket uniform and clean, you could then tumble your brass in ground up walnut media, after depriming, and it won’t clog the primer hole.
     
  24. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    If I cleaned my primer pockets I don't think I'd ever have any ammo to shoot! All my brass gets dry tumbled, then resized and decapped - usually right after tumbling. I have discovered that the longer the brass stays out, the more likely I am to lose track of it before I can load it again!

    Obviously a lot of people do it differently, but then too, a lot of people actually enjoy reloading and I've never been able to figure that out.
     
  25. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I think that one of the joys of this hobby (a number of hobbies, actually) is reading about how others accomplish it and adopting the best (for me) bits/approaches to add to my repertoire. :)
     
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