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Cases - to clean or not?


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I am probably opening the proverbial can of worms ….. but  goes …..
 

I have been given the absolute advice from two knowledgeable and experienced shooters about case prep. One says he cleans his cases in side and out with a wet tumbler and assures me that the cleaner the better. The other, who used to do the same, now says he doesn’t clean his cases as all the carbon is good inside, but anneals every time. He also coats his bullets in some fancy that which promotes growth and vigour (not moly, which he used to use).

Personally,  I clean my cases outside with a dry vibrio-tumbler thing with walnut shells, purely because I hate dirty brass.

I anneal as an when I can’t remember when I last annealed. Not very scientific 🙄 To be fair I would and every time if it wasn’t such a ball ache. I am considering making a new machine that is more reliable and easier to use. I currently have the turntable type, but it often gets out of synch, and even when it is ‘in synch’ the bullets stop turning and get over cooked one side and the other side left raw 🤬 When I change calibre it takes for ever to try and get the next disc to get back in synch.

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Hi there 

I’m cleaning the 308 for target work with a walnut vibrating thing but still have black inside the cases and sometimes a dirty stain on the neck . As for 223 I’m only cleaning the neck with some scotch brite then neck bushing resizing then reloading for foxy . 
Anyone using a LEM tumbler??

cheers 

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My advice would be to try a batch of each approach, and then run them through a reliable chronograph.

Minimum of five cartridges for each approach, preferably 10 if you can spare the components right now.

That way you'll see what gives you the lowest ES/SD and you'll know what works for you & your rifle.

And you'll have no doubt in your mind going forward!

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Just now, jcampbellsmith said:

I clean to keep crap out of my dies. 

Current process is -

  • Anneal 
  • Steel pins
  • Resize 
  • Trim & deburr
  • Ultrasonic clean

Regards 

JCS 

Interesting that you ultrasonic as a last step - what do you feel you gain by doing that ?

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6 minutes ago, Popsbengo said:

Interesting that you ultrasonic as a last step - what do you feel you gain by doing that ?

It's a short burst to remove case lube and as I rack the cases, a physical rinse to remove any neck trimmings. It's 2 x 6 minute cycles. 

Regards 

JCS 

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My opinion is anything you use to clean the cases can conceivably stay in there and get left in the barrel to be ironed in on the next shot.    To me, re-barrelling is too expensive to risk damage from that sort of occurrence and there is evidence from at least one major barrel maker that that has happened.  In that case it was ceramic balls from the Redding neck lube kit.  Prior to reading about that I had stopped using the very same kit as I was just about to seat some bullets and noticed something hanging onto the inside of the case neck and it was one of the ceramic spheres.  Needless to say it was straight in the bin after that.  I just brush the necks now prior to priming and sizing.

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I prefer to clean my cases because;

1. it stops transfer of all the carbon and other toxic chemicals on your hands when handling

2. stops transfer of soot/carbon from case necks into the neck and chamber area. My thought is this should help to reduce things like carbon ring build up - though I do still try and clean the neck/throat/chamber areas after each shoot

3. reduces likelihood of dirty primer pockets causing ignition issues through the flash hole

If the goal of Precision reloading is to make every round the same in every way, every time it’s reloaded, then I think cleaning is one of those steps, otherwise you get carbon build up in different ways.

I also anneal, but will use a lube inside the necks (graphite or HbN) before seating to ensure a consistent bullet release. Annealed cases are rather ‘grippy’ on bullets.

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On 6 mmBR and .223, I clean the neck outside only with 0000 wire wool, and the inside with a nylon brush, neck size for five loads, then full length and trim,  after FL I wash in fairy liquid, dry in an oven, and load another five times and then scrap.

We shoot at international level and get top level scores.

Too much BS in this game!

Have Fun

Robin

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57 minutes ago, CameronWilson said:

It would be interesting to hear what the guys running the AMP seating press make of this, as they'll be able to see, without any doubt, how the various different approaches effect seating force/consistency.

Using an arbour press it's very easy to feel the force required to seat bullets after a little practice, no need for £££££££ equipment in my opinion

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6 hours ago, RobinC said:

On 6 mmBR and .223, I clean the neck outside only with 0000 wire wool, and the inside with a nylon brush, neck size for five loads, then full length and trim,  after FL I wash in fairy liquid, dry in an oven, and load another five times and then scrap.

We shoot at international level and get top level scores.

Too much BS in this game!

Have Fun

Robin

Nice straight forward reply and method .

thanks 

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23 hours ago, RobinC said:

On 6 mmBR and .223, I clean the neck outside only with 0000 wire wool, and the inside with a nylon brush, neck size for five loads, then full length and trim,  after FL I wash in fairy liquid, dry in an oven, and load another five times and then scrap.

We shoot at international level and get top level scores.

Too much BS in this game!

Have Fun

Robin

Like the fishing gear..

It's there too catch the angler more than the fish 🤣🎃

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/5/2022 at 10:34 AM, RobinC said:

On 6 mmBR and .223, I clean the neck outside only with 0000 wire wool, and the inside with a nylon brush, neck size for five loads, then full length and trim,  after FL I wash in fairy liquid, dry in an oven, and load another five times and then scrap.

We shoot at international level and get top level scores.

Too much BS in this game!

Have Fun

Robin

Do you not anneal, or clean primer pockets? I’d assumed these steps were essential for competitive shooting. 

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9 minutes ago, Woodlander said:

Do you not anneal, or clean primer pockets? I’d assumed these steps were essential for competitive shooting. 

I agree

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/31/2022 at 3:55 PM, Woodlander said:

Do you not anneal, or clean primer pockets? I’d assumed these steps were essential for competitive shooting. 

I forgot, (as its a few seconds process!) yes, we do clean the pockets on each load, but don't anneal, with the use we do with our cases before scrapping they are fine, maybe we could get more usage out of the cases if we did, but its more hassle, and frankly our sport is shooting, not reloading!

And competitive? Oh yes!! The wife has shot with in a few points of the world record, and has won internationals, and the points dropped are through not pointing the rifle at the middle, not ammunition!

As I said, a lot of BS in this game!

Have Fun

Robin

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1 hour ago, RobinC said:

.....

As I said, a lot of BS in this game!

Have Fun

Robin

BS abounds no doubt.  Having annealed and not annealed I think I'll stick with doing it after four reloads, especially with .338 brass that costs ££££,  not lost a case to cracks yet and the occasional 1 moa group at 1 mile does me fine.

I also enjoy the reloading process almost as much as shooting

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