How do all of you clean your empty case?
I decap, tumble to clean, tumble to polish, resize, wash in dish detergent and rinse in IPA or Acetone.
Is there a best way to do it to avoid contamination of the primer?
Might work on a sunny day, but if it's hot and humid, raining or just plain crappy out.....
And I'm only doing 1 or 2 hundred at a time.
If the weather would turn colder I could just put them over the heater vent, but hey, it's 72 and cloudy today!
Actually running the A/C due to humidity.
I may or may not clean the primer pockets, depending on what I am loading for. Something I want to be absolutely precise I tumble first using fine walnut or corncob with some NuFinish auto polish. De-prime and uniform primer pockets then reload.
Most plinking handgun ammo goes through the tumbler then run straight through the LNL press. No PP cleaning.
Occasionally I will use a universal depriming die to deprime the handgun brass before tumbling and let whatever cleaning the primer pockets get be what they get then run through the press.
Some people do but I won't run anything with a live primer through a tumbler.
I ain't washing no brass in water and then trying to get it dry.
My tumbling process gets my brass as clean or cleaner than new in an hour or so.
I deprime and then tumble my cases. Once I've finished with the tumbler I wipe them off with a soft clean cloth and thats it. I do blow them out with compressed air if they have a lot of dust in them and pick out any media in the flash holes but I don't polish or wash my cases. I pick up alot of range brass and sometimes it is dirty and can be a little wet. I may use a nylon case brush to clean the inside but then throw them in the tumbler as usual. I've never had a problem with contaminated primers or powder.
I'm running a polish cycle with Turtle Wax Polishing Compound in corncob.
The cases feel slippery when I separate them, but shine like new.
Already deprimed so I check each one and clean out out any stuck corncob in the primer hole.
This batch of 100 I washed in dish detergent and really hot water to remove the polish residue and they are now drying in the oven at 215 degrees.
Most of the time I just dump them in the tumbler just as they come home from the range. Since I use a progressive press, it would defeat the purpose if I had to do any operation separate from the others. I've tested the difference between doing it the "right way" and the "easy way", and for handguns I can't tell the difference. The only thing I've ever found that makes a difference that I can actually see, is sorting by head stamp, so that's all I do. Haven't cleaned a primer pocket in decades.
Back when I was casting bullets, I use to toss all my culls in a coffee can. One day, being out of bullets, I loaded a couple of boxes of misshaped 148 gr WC (RCBS 38-148-WC). They had rounded edges, visible voids, though none of them where horribly misshapen they all had very visible defects.
I decided to shoot the first cylinder off sandbags just to see how horrible they would shoot. Try 1 3/4" at 25 yards which was almost as good as my regular load. I shot the two boxes up and couldn't tell I wasn't shooting my regular load. This taught me to question conventional wisdom and try things myself to see if they were really necessary.
Of course you have to start doing it the "right" way.
I am one that deprimes after running the brass through the tumbler for a couple hours using walnut media and red jewlers rouge for polishing. I don't wash my brass in water and soap...as a matter of fact, I have never heard of doing that. I don't deprime until after the tumbling just to keep the media out of the primer pocket. I inspect the cases b4 repriming to check the flashhole to make sure it isn't clogged, and away I go. I only reload 100-200 rnds at a time,and I haven't run into any problems in reloading this way. just my .02 worth....
My process is to sort my fired brass by caliber, then tumble each size separately in a 50/50 mix of corncob and walnut, with a little liquid car polish tumbled in now and then (not each load- maybe every 10 loads) and a few cut up used dryer sheets to collect the dust, which I discard after one use.
I have a blue plastic 'media strainer' that I shake over a 5 gallon bucket to capture the media and get it out of the cases.
Then I put that tumbled clean brass in a plastic tub with all its little friends, again sorted by caliber. I reload on a turret press so I put a clean case in the shell holder and 4 pulls later have a new round ready to go. I only prime on the press.
I began washing only when I didn't have a tumbler. I would use Dawn detergent as it's an excellent degreaser and then rinse in a dilute phosphoric acid and then rinse well with clear water. The acid would result in some changes in the metallurgy with the tin forming silver spots on the case. Not a good thing and I quit using acid, but didn't have any issues with case strength or brittleness.
Now I just tumble it with just a little bit of polish (if your cases are noticeably slippery you may have too much polish in the media) with the primers still in. It reduces the amount of media caught in the primer hole/pocket. I deprime on the turret press counting on the decapping pin to push out any media granules caught in the flash hole. A few hours in the tumbler, a good shake in the Frankford strainer basket and they look and work like new.
Edit to add: My brass is collected from the concrete floor at the range. If I were to collect brass from the dirt I would be washing them in Dawn first to know off the earth before tumbling to keep the media cleaner.
Here's how I'm doing it now.
Deprime, tumble clean, tumble polish, wash in dish detergent, pat dry then air dry over a heater vent in a colander.
They do feel slick after polishing, so maybe too much polish.
Just got back from the other house and brought back more brass I had left there.
20 case 30-06 and 155 9mm and somebody else's Federal .45ACP (2 cases), must be the stuff I picked up las trip to the range about 8 months ago.
That puts me right around 950, 125 loaded.
For many years, I would just deprime and tumble but it always bothered me that the brass was still usually black inside. Read on here about using hot water and lemon juice to get the carbon off the insides. Tried it and loved the results.
So now, it is deprime. Then I sort the brass into plastic coffee cans with holes drilled for drainage. I have an old Chili pot that I fill to where it will come up to the top of the coffee cans, boil the water, pull it off the burner, squirt a few squeezes of lemon juice and then sit the cans in the pot and let soak for maybe 10 minutes. Then I drain the coffee cans as best I can and throw the brass in the tumbler to dry and polish. I use lizard bedding (small particle walnut) that doesn't usually get caught in the primer pockets and no polish. I usually let the tumbler go for an hour of two and then pull out the brass. Then I resize them. I place the brass bottom up in my ammo boxes and check them one last time for any media in the primer pocket before hand priming and putting away for loading later.
I just tumble, then decap, resize, etc.... never had any problems. Occasionally I will run a primer pocket cleaning tool through a few hundred at a time. I've reloaded thousands and thousands of rounds without cleaning the black out of the cases in my pistol ammo.. never thought about it.. and probably never will.
I use stainless tumbling media. I got my Tunbler cheap on Craigs list with a blown motor from a rock polisher. Motor was easy to replace. I pick up some nasty range brass and it comes out looking like new.