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Brass Tumbling Question

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by November Sunrise, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Should I DE-cap my brass before tumbling? I can only assume this will clean the pocket better and make my primers fit better. Is it necessary or worth the hassle? I am buying a tumbler today and I assume the media I purchase may have some bearing on the answer. I am intending on getting small diameter (type) media so it is easier to seperate in the end.
  2. Most of the time I don't decap first and they go straight into the tumbler.

  3. Smoker


    Jul 21, 2008
    NE Kansas
    I always knock the primer out & resize them, then into the tumbler. Sometimes you have to dig the media out of the primer pocket.
  4. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA

    Mar 1, 2000
    I never deprime before tumbling.

    1) No amount of tumbling will clean the primer pocket.

    2) You will end up with media stuck in the primer pocket.
  5. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Most people do not deprime before tumbling. Unless you are making super match grade ammo there is not really a need too clean pistol primer pockets. Plus tumbling well not clean the pockets or well it clean the inside of the case.
    If you do get a universal decapping die or use say a 40s&w, or 45 ACP die. Unless you wipe off the case first before resizing and depriming.
  6. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001

  7. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    As already said for pistol brass and for the initial cleaning of rifle brass. When working with rifle brass, I tumble again after resizing/depriming to remove the lube. On the 550b, I have a universal depriming die in station one to insure the flash hole is clear of any media particles.

    You may also want to check out your local pet supply company for ground walnut sold as lizard bedding or bird litter. I used to buy Kaytee brand at Walmart, but they have discontinued carrying it. The product is fine ground and works very well. Some have reported the lizard bedding is less dusty than the bird litter????
  8. albyihat


    Aug 3, 2007
    SW Montana
    i deprimed once before tumbling and was cursing for an hour as i dug out the media from the primer pocket. tumble then decap and size
  9. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL

    Just run them back threw with a universal decapping die. Or when you size the case. It well knock out the media.
  10. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

    Jan 3, 2009
    Smyrna, GA
    Don't decap, primer pocket is fine.
  11. I really was hoping the majority of you would recommend not de-priming. It is just an added step that i could do without. I will be checking into the lizard bedding too.
  12. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Unless you have OCD there is no reason to de-cap brass prior to tumbling, you will accomplish nothing.

    Brass simply needs to be clean of dirt and debris which is accomplished by 30 minutes in a tumbler... or a rag if you have no productive life what-so-ever like unclebob.

    Contrary to a vicious rumor that has been spread around this forum, shiny brass does not attract women with loose, or non-existing morals. If it did I'd have the butler run each piece of brass over a buffing wheel.

  13. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    The only time I used a rag on brass was too get lube off after resizing. I shoot way too much handgun ammo to even think of wiping them off.
    I do deprime brass before tumbling if it is going too long time storage. Piece of cake with the 650, case feeder and universal die.
  14. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The only way to get really clean primer pockest is deprime & scrape or the ultrasonic cleaners. I have never seen it as an issue for handgun ammo. I tumble before decapping, then load the clean brass. For precision rifle rounds, I'll clean primer pockets every other loading, but that is more anal than is really req'd.
  15. chippy


    Jun 21, 2010
    A clean case runs through the sizing/de-capping die much better anyways. Tumble first!
  16. BK63


    Sep 15, 2005
    I used to clean primer pockets by hand all the time then realized it was a waste of time. The brass will wear out and crack before the primer pocket becomes so dirty you need to clean it. I decapped and then tumbled once and there was media stuck in every single hole. Tumble and then reload them and forget about it.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  17. at_liberty


    Jun 19, 2010
    Upstate SC
    On a progressive, somewhat on a turret, repeating the decapping solely to ensure that tumbler media is clear is a nonissue. It works fine, and the design assumes how that station will be used.. You can even use a universal decapping die rather than a sizing combination (cases already sized).
  18. n2extrm


    Feb 24, 2009
    I don't bother, just toss em in. I do clean the primer pockets for my rifle stuff.

    One word of advice, sort calibers and clean them separately. A few 40s stuck in a few 45s with some media and you will never mix them again.
  19. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Not a problem if you resize after you clean the brass, which incidently is not a bad idea since clean brass produces less grit in the sizer, and less grit in the sizer means less scratches in the brass and longer brass life.

    I generally run all the brass through a Lee Universal decapper and throw it in for a tumble. When they come out, the brass is clean, the sizer die has an easier time, and if there is any media in the flash hole, it's pushed out by the decapping pin.