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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Reloading equipment & supplies
Keywords: reloading, Lee, Dillon
Date: 25 May 89 17:44:05 GMT

you really can't beat Lee Precision gear.  It works as good as the big
names but is CHEAP.   Typically 40 bux for a nice press.  Whatever
press and dies you get, I highly recommend the Lee autoPrimer tool.
Best way yet I've found to seat primers with any degree of precision.

I use Lee Collet dies for loading .308 silhouette competition.  They
maintain better tolerances than my MUCH more expensive RCBS dies.

If you need to load large volumes of ammo for plinking or IPSC or whatever,
I can highly recommend the Dillon Precision progressive press.  Competative
price and excellent quality.  The progressives all get kinda agravating
if you have to clean primer pockets or trim or decrimp primers but if you've
got good, non-crimped brass, you can't beat the Dillon.


From: rsiatl!jgd@stiatl.UUCP (John G. De Armond)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Tumbler media
Keywords: reloading
Date: 17 Jun 89 16:30:50 GMT

In article <> (John Gayman) writes:
>    Of those of you using tumblers to clean your brass, which do you
>prefer as a cleaning media... ground corn cob or ground walnut hulls ?
>What seems to be the advantages/disadvantages of each ?  They seem to
>be very similar in price. Thanks!

Well, I used to use corn cob mostly and have tried walnut hulls.
But I've found a better and much cheaper media - Kitty Litter.
I use the el-cheapo clay-based stuff you can buy for a couple of
bux per 50 lbs.  This is the same stuff used in Oil-Zorb garage
floor media.  It wears out after a few batches but so what?
I sometimes drop in a pinch of powdered carnauba wax but this is
really not necessary.

My tumbler is the Lymann Turbo-Tumbler.


From: rsiatl!jgd@stiatl.UUCP (John G. De Armond)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Reloading equipment
Keywords: reloading
Date: 17 Jun 89 16:39:28 GMT

In article <> (John Gayman) writes:
>     After much debate I think I've finally settled on a reloader. It
> looks like the Dillon RL-550B will suit my needs the best. Can anyone
> offer any comments pro or con on this particular press as it relates to
> others ?   I'm looking at semi-large volume reloading with about
> 200-400 rds per week being the norm. Is there anything *bad* about the
> Dillon equipment that hasn't cropped up in various articles that I
> should know about before ordering ? (like, are Dillons powder scales
> any good ?)

I've had a Dillon for several years.  I use it for both pistol and rifle
cartridges.  I am very pleased with the unit.  I bought mine back in
the "bad old days" before they went direct sales and paid about 300 bux
or so.  I still think I have a bargan.  Dillon has issued a couple of
design changes (free) and has been very good at giving me spare parts
when I've needed them.  The newer ones have automatic powder throwers
and shell-plate rotator.

The Dillon power throw is OK for spherical or flake powder but is pretty
poor for cylindrical powder.  Most any slide-type throw will have trouble
with long grained powder.  I bought a rotary throw and made an adaptor
to fit it to the press.

>     Also, as for bullet selection. This is for .45 ACP for target
> purposes. Should I favor a lead or jacketed bullet ?  The 200 gr
> SWC looks promising. I assume if I go with jacketed I needn't worry
> about lubing the bullets ?  Also, it looks like a lot of companies
> offer pre-lubed lead bullets ?  Is this true ?   Since my uses are

Pre-Lubed and swaged bullets are the only way to shoot.  I use mostly
200 grain SWC and 230 grain round nosed lead bullets.  Even at retail,
they can be had for about 16 bux for 500.  You can usually get them
much cheaper thru a shooting club or the like.  The only time I ever
consider shooting jacketed bullets is when I find them in bulk mil-surplus.
About 4 grains of Winchester 231 powder under either bullet makes a
very nice target round that is very cheap to shoot.

> purely target/sport, what would be the best in terms of least hassel
> and expense ?  I'm really new to the reloading game. I've read thru
> "ABC's of reloading" et al and almost to the point of placing an
> order. :-)  It is a little disturbing that most of what I've read
> steers the newcoming away from the progressive presses yet for doing
> a lot of shooting the single stages seem out of the question.

Unfortunately about 99.99% of what you read in many gun magazines is
best left in the outhouse pit from where it came!    These self-styled
experts proclaim these highly controversial "facts" to a) seem
even more the expert and b) get attention.  The plain fact is that
progressive press is BETTER for beginners than are single stage presses.
Once you get set up and get in a rythem, you are much less likely to
double charge or not charge a case than if you were manually charging
from a shell block.  When  you are doing it manually, you have to keep
extra special track of which case  you have filled last. On a progressive
press, especially those like Dillon that rotate the shell plate after
each stroke, you have to work to do a double-charge.

BTW, I'd highly suggest you get a taper-crimp die for 45 ACP reloading.
This combination die seats the bullet and then gently swages the case
to the bullet in order to hold it.  I've traditionally used RCBS dies
but of late I've been very impressed with Lee Precision.  At about 2/3's
the price of RCBS, the Lee dies do at least as good a job.  I use a
Lee collet die set for .308 match ammo.  This does as good as my RCBS
neck-sizing benchrest dies with much less wear on the cases.

BTW #2:  In the beginning I would double-charge a 45 ACP case or 2 in
each session.  As you can imagine, this was a large thrill to fire.
The recoil was unreal.  The case was bulged at the base where the
entrance ramp to the barrel is to the point the case conformed to the
shape of the ramp.  I never observed a bit of stress or damage indication
in the Gold Cup.  Still hanging in there after maybe 10,000 rounds.
The point being that if your gun is a high quality pistol in good repair,
a double charge in a 45 is not usually catastrophic.  I'd take all
reasonable efforts to avoid it (which in my case included weighing
each round) but if you slip up it will not be the end of the world.

A similiar problem is forgetting to charge the cartridge.  I used to do
that a bit too.  Very embarrasing when you pull the trigger and the gun
goes "pfffttt" and the bullet is stuck in the barrel.  For these instances
you need a brass drift punch that just fits the diameter of the barrel.
You can gently pound the bullet back into the breech.  Do it with the
slide shut where the barrel is better supported.  Jacketed bullets are much
more of a problem than cast to remove.  Another technique I've  used but
cannot really recommend is to load a case with a grain or 2 of powder and
paper and fire the bullet out.  Works for cast bullets but runs the risk
of swelling the barrel with jacketed bullets.   (note: some "experts" will
get all hysterical and out of shape at this advice but in my case, it

I shoot pistols either in practice or match 2 or 3 times a week and shoot
big-bore silhouette once or twice a week.  All my ammo goes thru the
Dillon press.  I highly recommend it.


From: rsiatl!jgd@stiatl.UUCP (John G. De Armond)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Powder dispenser recommendations ?
Date: 3 Nov 89 18:14:45 GMT

In article <> (John Gayman) writes:

>    Can anyone recommend to me a good powder measure for IMR-type (extruded
> grain) powders ?  My Dillon measure with its sliding bar just hates the
> stuff. I need something thats very accurate and has a micrometer type
> adjustment knob. Charges thrown to be in the 50-70gr range. So far the
> Hornady deluxe looks the nicest although I havn't had a chance to check
> one out at the shop. Thanks.

Yeah, the Dillon does not work too well with large powder does it?  I
solved the solution fairly niftily.  The rotary-type measures handle
large grain powder well.  Mine is a Pacific but that's just what I
found at a gun show cheap.  Mine does have a micrometer volume adjustment
that makes resetting the throw easy but that's a luxury.

I wanted the throw to mount on the Dillion just like the old one did.  What
I did was to get an extra powder die, cut it down to just
above where the setscrew for the case mouth die fits, and welded on a
7/8" nut.  The nozzle of the Pacific throw threads right into this nut.
Using Heliarc and a bit of polishing, the fixture looks just like it was
factory made.

I load primarily IMR-4350 with is a very large powder.  I have very little
problems with the rotary throw.  On occasion, a grain will get caught in
the juncture but the unit has enough leverage to easily shear this
grain and function normally.


Newsgroups: rec.guns
From: rsiatl! (John G. De Armond)
Subject: Lesson learned in reloading
Keywords: reloading
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 90 01:28:23 GMT

I had noticed that some rounds in my .308 silhouette pistol had been getting
hard to chamber.  Then last week, I got a T/C contender in .30-30 to use
in the production class.  I started on my first batch of loads and noticed
that the case length was considerably shorter than the manual called for.

Then a light came on.  I measure such things with a nice Mitutoyo dial-type
caliper.  I got out the gage blocks and... The damn thing had shifted
calibration over 0.030 even though the zero with the jaws closed is correct!

I went back over my loading log and measured some other ammunition
and discovered that this condition had existed for quite some time.

The diagnostic is even more interesting.  I examined the caliper closely and
found a burr on the jaws that held them open just about 0.030.  They must
have suffered this damage by being dropped.  The same drop must have shifted
the pointer by the same amount.  I honed the burr down and rezeroed the dial
and it again meets specification.


*	It's probably a good idea to have some kind of gage blocks
	on the reloading bench.  Mine are el-cheapo Sears blocks sold to
	check micrometers.

*	Always be perceptable to small changes in the routine.

*	If something seems wrong, it probably is.

*	Accurate loading records are vital to discover the extent of
	a problem once it's found.  I log all parameters of each lot I load.
	I could easily find out which lots needed corrective work.  This
	would have been vital had I found a more serious problem such as
	a powder scale out of calibration.

So anyway, to the lighter side, I shot the .30-30 in a match this weekend.
I left a ram standing despite a direct mid-body hit.  Obviously, a bit
more power is called for.  I'm using 150 gr fmjbt military surplus
bullets.  I'm interested in hearing what anybody is using in the .30-30
for the T/C in a 10" barrel.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: To crimp or not to crimp
Date: 19 Nov 90 07:20:48 GMT
Organization: Rapid Deployment Systems, Inc. (making go fast things and things go fast) (James F. Blake) writes:

>In the latest issue of the "American Rifleman" there is an ad for a Lee
>factory crimp die.  The claim is that starting pressure is made more
>uniform with a crimp and so one should see an increase in accuracy.
>This should also lead to less critical choices in powder selection.
>There is also a test of said die and they do report a slight increase
>in accuracy in addition to a lower spread in velocities.  Has anyone
>played around with crimps in search of the sub MOA group?

I have not seen the ad but conventional wisdom is that crimping is 
detrimental to accuracy and is to be used only where required for
durability and recoil resistance.

My personal opinion is that crimping introduces yet another variable
into the accuracy equation and that variable depends heavily on the
local metallurgical conditions at the mouth of the case.  How much
the case lip is work-hardened and/or minute inconsistences in the 
metal on the lip can possibly cause widely varying release pressure.
How that affects accuracy is subject to conjecture but again, the
rule of thumb in my shop is to eliminate any variable that can be
eliminated.  If I use cases from the same lot, fire them all
the same number of times, keep the length and neck thickness
under control, use a good neck sizing die and do a representative
sampling of pullout force from time to time, I'm usually in 
pretty good shape.  I'm not sure even exactly how to QA a crimp
relative to accuracy.

Of course, you can't rule out Lee comming up with something nifty.
After all, his collet die is the standard of the industry.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Homemade Brass Tumbler ??
Organization: Rapid Deployment Systems (making go-fast things and things that-go fast)

cvedc.UUCP!!brian%reed.uucp@RELAY.CS.NET (Brian
Vandewettering) writes:

#In article <> dloia@polyslo.CalPoly.EDU (Dale Loia
#"Thirds") writes:
##Prices range from $40 to $200.  My question is "has anybody built there own
##for less $$ than what it costs to buy one.  IMHO, I think I can build one
##of these for much less than $60.
##A large Tupperware container mounted to a semifixed base, driven by a hand
##drill, or one of those back massaging things (vibrators) is what I had in
##mind.  Any ideas ?? Is it worth it??  And, what's the best deal on one if I
##decided to buy ??
#I did this last year.  It works as well as any others I have seen.  The
#only thing I would do differently would be to use a larger tupperware
#container.  I used a 1 quart size which will only hold about 50 30-06 and
#150 .357MAG cases.  

I've built my own tumbler and now own Lyman 2 Turbo-Tumblers and...

The Lymans work MUCH better.  The key seems to be the toroid shaped bowl
that keeps the media and shells rotating about rather than stagnating.

The other consideration is the motor.  Lyman uses a phonograph-style 
hysteresis motor.   One motor has failed already.  I bought a replacement
at a local motor shop.  It lasted about an hour.  The key I found, is that
the motor has to have ball bearings in order to stand the radial load.
The replacement unit had sleeve bearings.

Both Lymans use very heavy offset weights.  The motion is rather violent.
As a result of this and the bowl shape, the Lymans seem to perform at 
least twice as fast.

It was fun building mine but I shoot enough on a short time budget that
buying a commercial unit was worth it.

PS:  A commercial reloader friend of mine uses concrete mixers as tumblers.
He does a 30 gal drum at a time.

PS2:  For cheap media, try kitty litter or oil-zorb.  both wear out rapidly
but work well and are dirt (ahem :-) cheap.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Getting started in reloading
Organization: Dixie Communications, The South's First Commercial Public Access Unix (Dean Carpenter) writes:

#  I've begun to toy with the idea of getting into reloading and would
#like to solicit some sage advice from the experts out there ...

#  Initially I want to reload 9mm and .357 magnum, and I'd like to use
#a progressive reloading press.  A friend down in Austin has a Dillon
#Square Deal (I think) and loves it - I know that Lee and RCBS also
#make presses, and I'm sure there are a couple more on the market.

I have a Dillon 550 and love it.  I tend to group presses into two groups -
either very inexpensive (and usually lightweight) or very high quality 
and  usually expensive.  Thus I have the Dillon and a couple of Lee
hand presses.  I really don't see the need for the midrange priced
presses that are non-progressive and don't accept die cartridges (
blocks that hold all necessary dies for a caliber and are typically 
quick changed)  I could see the utility of a turret press (dies rotate
on a head - about halfway between single stage and progressive presses.)
but this type does not fit in with my style.

I use the Dillon for all my bench reloading including pistol and rifle
ammo.  I use the Lee handloaders at the range when I'm working up a 
new load.  If you buy 2 (or 3 if you use a crimp die) of these little $19.95 
presses, you can keep each die installed and adjusted all the time.
It works well enough that even at home I've been known to sit in front
of the TV and size and decap a couple of hundred cases while watching
some vidiocy.  I have a nice kit that contains the Lee presses, a Lee
autoprime tool, powder, primers, a small case trimmer, scales and tools that 
is easily transported to the range and fast to use.

I'd recommend getting something like the Lee handloader or one of the 
bottom end single stage loaders and see if you like it.  If you do,
then get a Dillon.  I usually don't recommend the Square Deal because it
costs a large fraction of the 550 but is much less convenient and 
probably not suitable for rifle cartridges.

Along with the press you'll need some powder scales, a Lee autoprimer
tool (I use it even when progressivly reloading.), a case trimmer,
some veneer calipers (for setting overall length and measuring case length.)
perhaps a primer pocket cleaner, a neck deburring tool, and a reloading
manual.  I do NOT recommend substituting a powder measure (measures by volume)
for scales.  A good set of Lyman or RCBS scales cost under $50 and will
last a lifetime.  Another invaluable "tool" is the Midway Catalog.  
Just about everything you will need including bullets can be bought mailorder
at a discount from Midway.

#  Also, what is a good source for learning some more about reloading ?
#I've seen mention of all kinds of 'handbooks' from lots of sources,
#bullet manufacturers, powder manufacturers and so on.  Which ones are
#regarded as being authoritative, or at least good ?  Where are they
#available, from the manufacturer ?

Reloading manuals contain tutorial sections suitable to get you going.
I have several manuals from the different bullet makers.  All are good.
I like to look at the differences between the manuals for recommended 

After you get a reloading manual and before you buy your equipment, find
someone who shoots the same way you do and who already reloads.  Get him
to advise you, help set your bench up and teach you how to get started.
An evening with such a person will save literally days of trial and error.

My last bit of advice is to pay attention to recommended loads and forget
about those primer flattening, flame beltching, bone jarring loads that
some people who lack manhood load up to try to regain it.  My chosen
sport - metallic silhouette competition - comes as close as anything
in the shooting sport to needing high power loads and yet I've found that
with proper experiments and evaluations, one can develop very pleasant
to shoot loads that do the job.  A collateral benefit is that your 
guns will last longer and your powder costs can be dramatically lower.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Questions about novice reloaders
Organization: Dixie Communications, The South's First Commercial Public Access Unix (Robert Paull) writes:

# Some questions for novice or seasoned reloaders:
#  1)   How come some new reloaders go straight to progressive presses even 
#     though virtually all of the reloading manuals say to start with a
#     single stage? 

'Cuz a lot of those manuals were written back when Dillon was the only
progressive game in town.  I'm not saying that they had proprietary
interests or anything but it's a bit difficult to recommend a competitor's
press :-)

#  2)  Most reloading writers and even some component manufacturers warn
#     against using automatic primer feeds. Is this because the auto-feeders
#     are really unsafe or is it because of liability in case of mass
#     primer detonation? ( I use a RCBS standart priming tool.)

Lots of hand wringers out there.  The primers in my Dillon press detonated
during my recent fire.  I know because the debris was embedded in the 
ceiling.  The heavywall tube did NOT rupture or even distort.  Unless
I happened to be over the bore of the primer tube I'd not have been at risk.


[MODERATOR:  John, sorry to hear you had a fire.  But you might want to
drop a note to Dillon about the quality of the tube construction, as you
mention above.]

#(Semi-seasoned reloader. about 1500 rounds of .38SPL & .45LC)

From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: getting started in reloading for 50 bucks
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (James Douglas Del Vecchio) writes:

#First: 	I live in an apartment in dismal poverty
#Second:	I want to reload 45 and 9mm

#A guy said he got a Lee loader for 50 bucks, and he can do 50 rounds
#of .45 ACP in 15 minutes.    He said the $50 got him all he needed
#except the powder, cases and bullets.

#   This sounds like what I want.    I've seen other kits for about
#the same price.

#Is that all there is to it?   I get the kit, the stuff, part with
#my $50, and I'm ready to go?

Lee makes several loaders so I'm not sure which one he's talking about.
I have several Lee Handloaders.  These things look like one of these
fancy compound lever nutcrackers you find in yuppy gift shops.  The
loader press itself costs $19.  A kit with dies, the loader, a powder
measure scoop, a funnel and some die lube sells for about $29.

I use these hand presses in pairs, one for sizing die and one for the
seating die, as part of a kit I take to the range when working up
loads.  I've also found myself using them frequently to run through
several cases decaping and resizing while sitting in front of the tube
watching something mindless.  Better than picking one's nose :-)

The kit I mentioned above is an excellent starter.  The powder measure
(as opposed to scales) is perfectly adequate for .45.  I'd hesitate
to recommend measuring as opposed to weighing for 9mm because they
tend to be a bit more sensitive to power charge.  You could buy the
kit and add scales later.  Lee scales are inexpensive and fully
useable.  The only other accessory you'll need is a Lee AutoPrime.
This tool is dedicated to inserting primers.  My box still has the
price tag of 12.99 on it from last year.  This tool beats all other
primer tools hands down.  I even use it with my progressive press
because I like to feel the primer seat.

I don't think I can do 50 rifle rounds in 15 minutes with this setup;
more like 30-45.  I've not tried pistol rounds but I can't imagine
any difference.  The nice thing about this hand-held press is that
you can work anywhere you want to.  I've loaded many more rounds in the last
year sitting in my den than I have at the loading bench.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Is there anyone using Lee Collet die set??
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Minh Lang) writes:

#I'm getting tired of lubricating my rifle brass
#inside and out before neck-sizing. I saw Lee
#has a necksize collet die-set that they advertise as
#"no lubricant require and case life last
#5 times longer". I'm wondering is this
#true? If it is, how does it work? I would
#really appreciate any info/comments.
#Thank you very much.

I've been using the Lee collet dies for years on my silhouette ammo.
It is wonderful.  It contains a 4 jaw collet and a mandrel.  The mandrel
is the correct side for the ID of the case neck and also holds a decapping
pin.  As the brass enters the die, the neck enters the collet.  The last
fraction of an inch of press stroke has the base plate contact a ring on
the bottom of the die.  This pushes against the collet and causes it
to close tightly around the neck, swaging it to size around the mandrel.
Note that the brass is NOT worked until the entire neck is in the mandrel
and that the working is a swaging operation instead of an extrusion-type
process with normal dies.  Since the brass never has to slide under
pressure across any die surface, no lube is needed.

I have yet to have a case neck crack on my silhouette brass even though
some have been loaded over 15 times.  This is a wonderful process.
Understand, though, that this is a neck sizing operation.  Once you've
neck-sized the brass, it should really only be used in the gun it was
originally fired in.  If you change guns, you should full-length size.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Why no carbide rifle dies?
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Fredrik Nyman) writes:

#To my surprise, there doesn't seem to exist *any* carbide dies for
#rifle calibers.  All the die manufacturers (Lee, Hornady, Lyman...)
#have carbide dies in pistol calibers, but for rifles you *have* to get
#steel dies, which means you have to lube the brass before sizing.

#So, please tell me I'm wrong and that there carbide dies in rifle calibers
#do indeed exist.

RCBS does, or at least used to, make carbide rifle cartridge dies.
It's one of those situations where if you have to ask "how much",
you can't afford them.  Last time I flirted with buying a carbide
.308 die (in about 1985) the price was almost $200.

The reason for the cost is simple.  While straight wall (pistol)
carbide dies are easy to make, consisting of a steel body with
a small carbide sleeve pressed into the mouth, bottleneck dies require
the carbide be machined to the rather complex and precise shape of
the bottleneck.  The only process I am aware of for doing this is
diamond lapping (though I'm sure someone will now tell me about others :-)
As you can imagine, this is expensive and time consuming.

Me, I chickened out and just bought some good case lube.  Lee lube.
Works great and washes off with water and is not greasy.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: [RELOADING] Electronic Powder Scales
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.

Doug White <> writes:

#I am planning on sorting my cases by weight from now on, and the thought of
#doing this with a beam balance gives me fits.  There are 3 electronic powder
#scales that I know of, made by RCBS, Lyman, and Dillon.  A friend is going
#to lend me his Dillon to try, and I was wondering what exeperience others
#may have had with these gadgets.  Several questions come to mind:

I have not yet seen the Dillon.  But among the rest, my choice is RCBS
simply because it is is a re-labeled Ohaus laboratory scale.
	[[Comment by Norman: This is no longer true.]]
 -- Ohaus is an old name with an excellent reputation.

#2) How easy are they to calibrate?
#3) Once calibrated, how accurate are they?
#4) How long do they hold a calibration before they drift?

These should NOT be user considerations for quality scales.  I know
from experience that Ohaus scales will meet their published specs
for years if not abused.

#8) Is the purchase of a seperate set of calibration weights required?

Calibration weights should not be a user concern.  A CHECK weight,
used to assure the scale is not damaged and is functional is appropriate
and should be included with any quality scale.  The reason calibration
should not be a user concern is weights capable of challenging  a quality
scale are expensive and must be handled and used under laboratory
conditions.  The generally accepted rule is a standard must be at least
3 times the accuracy of the device under test.  The RCBS/Ohaus scale
can resolve 0.05 grain. Weights 3X better than that are expensive.

A check weight, say 100 grains, simply tells you the scale is working or
not.  If it reads 100.00 (or whatever), the scale is OK.  If it reads
97 or 105 or zero or whatever, that tells you it is time to have the
scale serviced.

##From my quick survey, Dillon's is around $225, Lyman's can be had for $250,
#and the best price I've seen on the RCBS is $270.  If anyone knows a
#significantly cheaper source, I'd love to hear about it.  The Lyman is a
#special deal that includes a cal weight set, which might make it competitive
#with the Dillon.

I hadn't realized the RCBS/Ohaus scale had come down in price.  That makes
it even more attractive.  For the little bit of extra money involved, I'd
go with the RCBS and not have to worry about it.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Tumbling brass
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (J. Spencer) writes: (Bart Bobbitt) writes:

##Tumblers typically clean brass about twice as fast as vibrators for
##one of each having the same volume.  But both do a great job.

#Really? I read a comment (in a Lyman advert, I think) that vibratory
#cleaners clean in half the time of tumblers (because the cases are in
#*constant* contact with the media).

More accurately, because the media is always in action.  Tumblers
only cause motion in the media when the case rolls over the top.

#Would anyone care to put it to the test, taking a batch of dirty cases
#and cleaning half in each type of cleaner? I've got neither at the
#moment but I'm looking so I'd appreciate comments - good and bad - and
#recommendations. I'll need to clean up to 200 30-06 cases at a time,
#and an equivalent volume of 357 cases.

Already have.  The "tumbler" was a cement mixer in use at a friend's
reloading operation.  This thing generates much more activity than the
typical small rock-polisher-cum-tumbler I see sold for brass cleaning.
Cleaning the once-fired brass my friend buys by the 55 gal drum is an
overnight affair.  Cleaning similar brass in my Lyman turbo-tumbler
typically takes a couple of hours.

BTW, if you have to float the purchase of a brass cleaner past your
wife, tell her how fine a job of polishing her jewelry it will do. :-)
I use walnut hulls loaded with jeweler's rouge and this does a
fantastic job of shining my wife's rings.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: [RELOADING] Equipment Advice
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.

Doug White <> writes:

#I had exactly the same breakage problem with the first Lee Auto Prime I
#bought about 14 years ago.  I complained to Lee, and they said they had
#beefed up the design.  The new one they sent me hasn't been used much
#recently, but I used to use it quite a bit, and it's held up fine.  I
#find that the Lee gives me a very good 'feel', and the primer tray
#attachment with the built in 'flipper' helps make the process quite fast.

I LOVE the Lee Autoprimer.  I have several, one for each type of primer
I commonly load (buy several, they're cheap enough).  The first thing
I do when I get one is to take all the moving surfaces and polish
them to a high luster and then lubricate them with Moly 77 (a dow
corning moly bearing silicone grease).  This tremendously reduces
the force needed to operate the unit and more importantly, enhances
the feel of the primer seating.

What is so nice about the Lee is that you can sit down in front of the TV
with a box full of brass and some primers and prime them without giving
it a second thought.  Because the priming lever is normally operated
with the thumb, any deviation in the feel is immediately apparent
even when the job is being done as a background task.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Corn cob media sticks in flashhole
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Norman F. Johnson) writes:

#Many times the media that comes with tumblers and
#vibrators is too coarse and as a result jams into the flash holes
#of the cases, requiring a great deal of extra time to pick out.
#I throw the stuff away and buy ground walnut hulls at local
#places that supply grit for air-blast cleaning companies.  These
#places sell the ground walnut hulls in quite a range of grits. I
#took a sample of my as-supplied grit along and bought the next
#finer grit.  This finer grind cleans the primer pockets well so
#that this important-to-accuracy step is not needed.  The last 50#
#bag cost me $18.00 which is a small fraction of the cost of the
#stuff packaged by the reloading equipment suppliers.

I still have a BUNCH of corncob media (which I may end up burning for
fuel in my heater) so I haven't taken Norm's advice yet but I have
found an easy solution to the plugged flash hole problem.  I simply
toss the cases back into my tumbler (the large Lyman turbotumblers)
sans media and let 'em rattle around for a few seconds.  This takes
care of about 99% of the clogs and since I hand examine and clean
each primer pocket, I can catch the remainder.

#To answer the next logical question as to where I get the
#powdered polishing rouge, you might try polishing supply houses.
#I cannot remember where I obtained mine.  Do not buy the type
#that comes in a bar for use on polishing wheels as after it is
#scraped off the bar into the media it will cake up on the sides
#and bottom of your container.

#Do not use polishing rouge grits as large as no. 1200 or your
#cases will come out looking as tho they were sandblasted.   This
#grit is VERY good tho to remove corrosion that your reqular media
#will not touch.  I keep a supply of ground walnut hulls charged
#with the coarser stuff for lots of brass that I am fortunate
#enough to get from military ranges where it may have resided for
#years before salvaging.  My boss is an avid shooter (I mesmerized
#him into being a gun nut after I went to work for him and delight
#in getting him to spend his money on all those war machines) and
#has passed on thousands of cases that he has access to, all
#grungy looking but sound underneath the copper oxides.

I have found an alternative that doesn't require locating a
polishing vendor.  That alternative is autobody polishing compound.
This stuff comes in two grades.  Red is for rough cutting and white
is for polishing.  For those unaware of what this is, it consists of
red or white rouge in a wax emulsifier base.  I dilute it with
mineral thinner until it is about the consistency of cooking oil
and then add it very slowly to an operating tumbler.   I use about
2 tablespoons of compound (before dilution) for a large (Lyman 1200)
batch of media.  What is nice about this is the wax base leaves the
brass extremely shiny.

I keep two batches of media around.  The red media should be regarded
as a roughing media.  It is useful for rapidly cleaning up badly
corroded brass such as you might pick up at an outdoor range.
I had a box of new, unprimed bulk packed .30-30 brass which was in
an open-topped box during my house fire a couple of years ago.
The smoke residue was heavy and its acidic nature had turned many of
them green.  4 hours in the white media and they were completely
clean.  The finish is somewhat burnished but perfectly usable.
The red media will bring fired or from-the-white-batch brass up to
the standard issue mirror finish we all like.

This stuff is cheap and it can be had anywhere auto supplies
are sold.  I normally use DuPont No 7 because it is in a thinner base
and thus easier to dilute than some other brands.


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