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I am new to reloading and just bought a tumbler, dies, etc. to reload my SP101 and later my 1911. I have been reloading my rifles for sometime but always just exaimined the brass and cleaned it with a cloth before reloading. The manual that came with the tumbler makes it sound like a cardnial sin if you don't polish the brass each time you reload and twice if you don't have carbide dies.

My question - what is the common practice??
 

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Rifle or pistol, it doesn't matter..... I tumble the brass every time.

I've not had a case stick in a die yet, but from what I hear, if it happens to you, it will make a believer out of you.... clean brass is good brass.
 
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Same here,

My brass goes into the tumbler after its shot. It makes things a lot less grittier which also is an added plus that you don't scratch your dies or brass.

You can locate/purchase bulk media at the pet stores. Look for lizard litter or bird cage litter.

One thing that I do is add cut up pieces of dryer sheets to the media, it helps keep the dust down as well as keep your media clean.

If I don't have dryer sheets I use a durable paper towel dowsed with some Nufinish car wax. Don't use anything with ammonia in it.

Another tip, tumble your brass before your resize it.

Myself I don't tumble much over 2 hours, it gets it clean enough for me. YMMV
 

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I tumble all brass before reloading. I put it in walnut hull for about 30 min. then corn cob for about an hour and a half.
 

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Tumble the brass before sizing and after to clean it up. I mix the corn and walnut, I use liquid car wax to polish the case. I take the anti clean squares my wife uses in the dryer, cut them in 1" squares and add to the media. It cleans the media and prolongs the life of it. You end up with decent looking brass.
Jim
 

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like the others i tumble after every shooting session. i let it tumble while i strip and clean the guns usaully 2 hours or so is good for me. and like said above, i dont want to send dirty brass up the dies when reloading. stay safe Jack
 

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There is a large competition going on in the reloading world to see who has the brightest, glossiest, best waxed cases in the world. I have no idea how these people can even live with themselves to actually shoot these mirrors of loveliness.
Now, what do you NEED to do? All you NEED to do is wipe of the exterior of the case with a relatively clean rag before you reload it. You want to remove sand and grit. If you leave on some soot, it is just a poor graphite solid lube that will cause no damage. You will not get any better performance from you reloads by extended cleaning.
You have a vibrator, I assume. You can use walnut, corn cob, or both. You can get two bowls, one with walnut for the main cleaning and one for corn for the polish. You can even waster your money on abrasives to polish and auto paste waxes to give your cases and beautiful waxed appearance.
However, again, let's discuss what you NEED to do. Fill the tub between 1/2 and 3/4 full of corn cob. Add no more than the number of cases the company recommends. You want to see the cases going under and around and up, etc. If you add too many cases, you won't get the proper action. I use 20/40 grit, other want coarse 12/20 grit. Put a few strips of paper towels, toilet paper, or used fabric softener matts in the tumbler to pick up most of the dust (if you use walnut, you will get lots of dust).
Leave your brass for 1 hour. You can set a timer. Any longer is not important and, if corn cob, will not damage the cases or generate a lot of fine walnut dust to get packed into your cases.
Your case will come out nice and clean and fairly shiny. If you have cases that show oxidation or damage that wasn't removed, I recommend throwing the case away. Never be afraid to throw away a case. A bad case can cost you your gun or some part of your body. Inspect all cases.
I prefer, when I come back from the range, to inspect, de-prime, and sort my brass. Then I clean each group of sorted brass. Every once in a while, a piece of media will stick in the flash hole. Some people think this could create a bomb. No such worry. However, since I have done this up-front, my sizing die's decapper will pop that piece of media out when the case is sized.
For pistol cartridges, I have never seen any reason to worry about a slight amount of case lube on the loaded round. The rounds don't need the same chamber grip that a 45,000+psi bottleneck round needs. Then, with carbide or nitride sizing dies, you don't need any lube.
Anything beyond this is for ego or OCD. Like many things, as long as they are happy, and enjoying shooting, more power to them.
 
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