Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Newtosavage, Feb 29, 2016.
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Just curious if anyone here doesn't tumble their brass, and why.
I reloaded for 40 years and never owned a tumber. Didn't want one. Most I ever did was wipe the occasional grungy case with a rag.
I did by a tumbler two years ago, only after I started loading for a new .40S&W and was dealing with some volume of range brass. I still very rarely use it - wanting shiny brass to hide inside of a magazine is not on my personal list of intelligent things to do. They all go bang.
I wet tumble almost all of my brass after every use. Sometimes though, in a pinch, I will load without tumbling.
It is 100% cosmetic. In some respects, the soot on the case actually acts as lube (as long as you don't have stuff like sand in the mix). IMO, there is absolutely no functional reason to clean your brass at all.
I tumble all my brass. If you load rifle and lube the cases and don't tumble or remove the lube it gets stickey and holds dirt. That's nasty.
Mauser, that's what I figured. I'm doing as you have done - wiping the cases and necks. I'm not a "clean for the sake of being clean" kind of guy. If there is a valid reason for it, I'll do it, but so far I haven't found one and my rounds are very accurate.
I have noticed however since buying full length sizing dies and having to lube my cases prior to sizing, that the One Shot lube is an excellent case cleaner. Better than what I was using before. So I just wipe the brass off after sizing - something I'd do anyway - and they come out pretty clean.
I've been paying attention at the range when someone shows up with hand loads, and so far, there are more guys like me who don't tumble their brass than who do.
It's something of a luxury. If it has a functional purpose it's getting rid of dirt or grit on the brass so as not to scratch your dies or the brass. I loaded for years without one as well, but shooting bolt action rifle from a rest doesn't lead to a lot of brass in the dirt.
I still use a wax lube on rifle cases. I wipe them down with a solvent and then a quick tumble to insure there is no lube on the case.
Those who repeat the soot is a lubricant shouldn't do that. Shoot is just that and since a tin of Imperial Sizing Wax is under $10 and lasts a very long time there is no reason to run dirty brass through your expensive dies. Tumbling may not be for everyone but everyone should clean the brass best they can. I tumble brass while I reload other brass, works for me. If you just don't have the money for a tumbler throw the dirty brass in a bucket of hot soapy water and stir it up.
When I first started reloading I washed all my pistol brass and dried int in the sun. I broke down and bought a tumbler, It's much more practical for me. I wouldn't want to put any unprocessed brass through my dies after they take the Colorado dirt dive.
Who doesn't tumble?
Since I do tumble I should not even be here with a reply.
Would this be sort of a sequel to this other thread?
That said when it comes to a tumbler, any type of tumbler it reminds me of the classic chronograph question. Do I need a chronograph to reload or hand load. The general consensus in the bulk of the responses is always about the same. You do not need a chronograph but it can be a "nice to have". I figure so goes the tumbler. Do you absolutely need a tumbler? No, but it sure is a nice to have. Tumblers make nice shiny brass and people just naturally gravitate to shiny things.
Just My Take....
I try to avoid shinny things - tough on my knees.
I've also learned that shiny women, cars and clothes as they are tough on my wallet.
As for brass, none of mine hits the dirt at the range, and if it hits dirt at all, it will be on a hunt when I don't expect to recover it.
Dirty brass makes me nauseous so I clean scrupulously after every firing, but I don't fire that many rounds at one sitting. I use an ultrasonic cleaner but they're not all they're cracked up to be, IMO. Still have to swab with Qtips and arrange loosely in layers to set up a good rattle. and they don't do so well with primer pockets, either.
Anyone else who DOESN'T tumble their brass?
I spelled it correctly, it looked wrong so I spelled it incorrectly. I hate it when that happens. Went back and fixed it!
I only load .38 special (and soon k-hornet & 7.62x39), and i just can't be bothered.
I have a small apartment, so I use a lee hand press, and it's really nice to put all my loading equipment in one box & put it on a shelf. If any cases are gritty I'll wipe em off with a rag but that's about it.
I'll admit it, I don't tumble my brass.
The black powder 45/70 brass get a good wash/dry after but that's about it.
Ron, I always think "shiny" needs a "e" but it doesn't. Trips me up too.
When I shoot indoors on a clean floor, I don't tumble. But I wipe with a clean damp rag to remove any dust or grit.
Funny thing, we didn't have vibratory cleaners until the 1990's and into the 2000's
(some pioneers had them in the 80's but most of us didn't - just too expensive at the time).
And we didn't have carbide dies for handgun. Just plain steel.
And yet, wiping the brass with damp rag (or washing in soapy water if the brass is really bad)
with lube on the cases and the plain steel dies lasted tens of thousands of rounds.
I'm still using my non-carbide 38 Special and 380Auto dies from 1968.
Clean the brass any way you want, tumbler or otherwise. The dies will last if you take care.
You can do it any way. Personal choice. Just like your spouse, your religion, your pickup truck. Personal choice.
I don't tumble. I just wash in a ultrasonic cleaner so when handling the brass and running threw my dies it's not as dirty.
When I started hand loading 4 decades ago I was only shooting 357mag. I made it a habit buying nickle plated brass since I did not have a way to clean except wiping them down. With Ni brass they clean up so easy no tumbling is required. I only added a tumbler when I started shooting high volume simi-auto hand guns.
Blue, that's interesting. I got 20 once-fired nickel plated brass (Winchester) .308 cases from a friend. I immediately noticed they were much easier to clean by wiping them off than my regular brass cases. I understand the nickel plating makes them harder on dies and prone to cracking, but if I'm doing low volume reloading for a hunting rifle, I don't see a down side to it.
My experience mirrors Blue's. I shot Ni 357 mag cases in IHMSA 'bout 35 years ago. I made a mandrel out of a brass drift that snugly fit the case mouth so it wouldn't turn and would take a Scotch Brite pad and give it a couple of twists. Saved my fingers and I still got those cases.
I tumble. Clean is important, but there is a difference between clean and shiny. I personally feel that its easier to inspect clean brass. Both tumblers and non tumblers have their arguments. I do it my way because I want to and don't try to convert others.
Not since switching from lead/lubed bullets to coated/painted bullets
I do WASH my brass though, especially the scrap-o-matic stuff that ends up on the ground.
I don't tumble...Never have...
I have yet to see shiny cartridges perform any differently at the target...
For those who wash their brass, could you explain that process a little better?
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