Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Folsom, Pennsylvania
    (Delaware County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    If you are going to wet clean, my concern would be water in the pockets, not dirt. I would definitely deprime before wet tumbling.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    the best advice i ever recieved for my 650 with case feeder was to have 2 toolheads for each caliber. tool head 1 is for brass prep.
    deprime, resize etc...

    tumble the brass, swage primer pockets, trim etc...

    toolhead 2 does the loading.

    if one tumbles with media and is concerned about stuff in the primer pockets you can throw a decap die to push out and debris. i wet tumble. I'm done with the dust.

    brass prep is the most time consuming and least satisfying
    step of reloading. upside is it is the only process i feel comfortable drinking beer while doing.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    'burbs, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    21273293

    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    For pistol, I tumble in walnut media with a bit of liquid auto polish and a dollop of paint thinner. Then deprime, reprime, load, etc. on the 550b

    For rifle, tumble in the above media concoction, deprime/size, then briefly (15 minutes) tumble to remove sizing lube. Then trim on a TRIM-IT, process on a Lyman case prep as needed, prime using an RCBS bench primer, then finish loading on the 550b.

    There are many ways to clean brass, but Iíve found the approach I use cleans the nastiest brass far cleaner than it needs to be. The covered tumbler is in the garage, I sift the media outside, and I wear disposable gloves for the process.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Richboro, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    There is no point trying to measure a case before it is resized. The length will change when it is sized.

    For pistol I just tumble them and reload. Never cleaned a primer pocket.

    For rifle I will size / deprime them as is (if the brass is clean) or maybe a quick tumble if I have any doubts. Then clean the primer pockets with that cheap Lee pocket cleaner that costs about $3. Trim if needed then give it a good tumble before loading to get rid of the lube. When you take them out of the tumbler you need to check each case for that one piece of media that always gets stuck in the primer hole.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    State College, Pennsylvania
    (Centre County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    I used to shoot PPC (shot about 1500 rounds of .38 spl per week between practice and competition) Reloaded on a Dillion Square Deal B. Cleaned the cases (used a vibratory case cleaner at that time). Then inspected the cases when done for any cracked cases (these casees probably got reloaded upwards to 10 times before the case mouth started to crack) and any cleaner media that might be stuck in the case down around the primer. After that, over to the reloader, never worried about cleaning the primer pocket, and never, in over 22,000 rounds shot in a competition season, never had a failure to fire.

    That said, I suppose that if I were a super serious top flight bench rest shooter, then I might deprime/resize before cleaning the cases and then whne cleaned inspect the primer pockets after making sure the length was correct, the neck and shoulder were all in specs, etc., etc., etc., prior to (all those things that bench resters do) loading.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    North East PA, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    I've loaded at least 50k rounds of 9mm on my progressive press. I never measure the cases. They don't expand enough where you have to worry about length. I originally tracked how many times I reloaded a case. I got up to 5x and now I just shoot them until they crack. I also don't care much about my cases being shiny and new, it's cosmetic and also doesn't matter. Primer pockets don't need to be cleaned either. I prime and de-prime on the press. I never understood the point of priming before running through the press. Handguns, you are just not shooting far enough to make a difference. Maybe if you're into bullseye but other than that I wouldn't bother.
    "Take the guns first, then worry about due process" Trump

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
    (Lehigh County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xringshooter View Post
    I used to shoot PPC (shot about 1500 rounds of .38 spl per week between practice and competition) Reloaded on a Dillion Square Deal B. Cleaned the cases (used a vibratory case cleaner at that time). Then inspected the cases when done for any cracked cases (these casees probably got reloaded upwards to 10 times before the case mouth started to crack) and any cleaner media that might be stuck in the case down around the primer. After that, over to the reloader, never worried about cleaning the primer pocket, and never, in over 22,000 rounds shot in a competition season, never had a failure to fire.
    This pretty much matches my experience when I was active in competition except it was 45 ACP for IPSC. When you have a standardized round it is hard to beat a Square Deal for production of top notch ammo.
    Illegitimus non carborundum est

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Apolacon Township, Pennsylvania
    (Susquehanna County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    Tumble your fired brass first. Your next step is to resize your clean brass, inspect the brass as you're resizing if you're checking case length do that only after resizing. Cleaning prinmer pockets isn't that important with pistol calibers and for most rifle calibers too. But rifle calibers tend to be a little more susceptible to stretching and need to be trimmed more often, if you're in the process of trimming and chamfering case mouths you might as well clean primer pockets anyhow. There's little need to go crazy with cleaning the brass. I use ground corn cob "lizard litter" that I bought at a pet store for pistol cases and fine ground walnut for rifle I add a cap-ful of Nu-finish car wax to each load when I start the tumbler.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania
    (Lehigh County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    I got a cheap Lee press a few years ago that I use for depriming. Otherwise I do everything on a Dillon 550B.

    One thing that I haven't seen mentioned here. If you reload 5.56 get a good case gauge and make sure that you're resizing properly. The instructions for setting up the reizing die on the 550 say to adjust it in the raised position until the die touches the shellplate. After setting it up that way I found that some cases still had a little bulge around the base and wouldn't drop into the case gauge. I called Dillon and they said that it was ok to overtighten the die by 1/4 turn without damaging anything. I did that and have had no problems. I drop all of my completed 5.56 into the case gauge just to double check. One more thing - I sprung for the extra $100 or so to get the carbide 223/5.56 die set. It's worth it to me.
    NRA Life Member

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania
    (Washington County)
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    Default Re: Process question (order of operations)

    Here is a post I made in another thread:

    I got my hands on a Dillon XL650 about 8 years ago and have never second guessed owning a Dillon. I have loaded thousands of rounds and experienced the greatest customer support. Any time I have called them due to something breaking, even if I am sort of at fault (which I admit), they send me a new part free of charge almost over night.

    I have a case feeder, and will probably get a bullet feeder one day. I experimented with a Hornady bullet feeding die but I it wasn't working consistently with the 9mm 147gr coated Blue Bullets which are my main projectile to load these days for USPSA.

    Get lots of primer tubes. Loading a bunch in advance will make your loading session go faster.

    I have XL650 tool heads set up for 9mm, 45acp, .38 spl, 5.56, .308, and .30-06. I do have a single stage RCBS press but it is mostly for secondary tasks or experimenting.

    I have one powder thrower for pistol and one for rifle that I jump from tool head to tool head.

    It takes me about 10-15 minutes to change calibers, tops! I think I spend more time looking for things than actually converting the press.

    For 5.56 and 308 I have one tool head with a sizing/depriming die and a Dillon rapid trimmer die. I use this die for the prep work. The rapid trimmer is amazing and saves a lot of prep time. Then I switch to the tool head with the powder funnel die, bullet seating die, and crimp die (I load for semi autos mostly). I use the Hornady spray lube for sizing bottle neck cartridges. I have had great success with it because I shake it well and give it 10 minutes to dry. I spray a little in the die and lightly coat the cases, shake them around in a plastic tub, then give them another light spray and shake. Most people that don't like it seem to struggle with the instructions I guess. I don't tumble to remove it, I go right into loading from there. For pistol calibers I use carbide dies and clean then once a year to avoid a stuck case.

    I do the priming for all calibers with the XL650.

    I don't bother sorting 5.56 and .223 brass because I have a load that is safe for both, and yes they can have internal volume differences that change your pressure/velocity depending on who made the case. I checked the volume of 10 different head stamps myself with water to confirm the volume of different manufacturer's cases can vary. Basically if you want to push it with a load, work it up for a certain head stamp and use caution when switching brass or mixing.

    I do sort .308/7.62x51 brass.

    I have a Dillon primer pocket swager for military 5.56 and 9mm brass with those pesky swaged primer pockets.

    For cleaning brass I use a cement mixer filled with 10 lbs of stainless pins, a dash of lemi shine, and a drop of dawn dish soap. Lately though I have been doing smaller batches so I've gone back to using my harbor freight vibratory tumbler with whatever media I have that is old as hell and a squirt of mineral spirits to control dust. I've never removed primers for wet or dry tumbling and never had an issue. Any brass I wet tumble I let sit out to air dry in my dehumidified basement for a few weeks.

    Whatever you buy, get one of the slick LED light strips that mounts under the press head and lights up your cases. So amazing for $30-ish.
    Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.

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