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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there an effective way to wash a relatively small number of cases by hand? Say a bucket of dish soap and water with a toothbrush? We're talking 10 or 20 cases at a time, so nothing too tedious. Would this be a much worse idea than I'm guessing? Any major pitfalls to consider? Will it remove all the contaminants that I need to remove for safe and effective operation? I don't really care whether the brass gets all shiny or not. So long as it's safe and shoots straight. :)

Once I have things sorted out space-wise, I'll be getting a tumbler or sonic cleaner of some kind. And until then I can probably beg or borrow a friend's equipment for my high volume stuff like .45 and .223. So that will work.

But most days I only really shoot 20 rounds or so of the .308, so I can take my time and really practice productively. Feels like that would be a good match for the hand press when it arrives, but it would also be nice to do my own case prep on small volume loads so I'm not entirely reliant on the kindness of others.
 

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It's Applesmasher's confession time:

I don't wash cases.

I don't tumble them, I don't vibrate them, I don't anything them.

If they're caked in crud because they were shoved into mud, I let them dry, and then I use a little high pressure air to blast the crud out. That's all.

If they're whole and generally healthy, I then size them and carry on.

Your general approach of scrubbing them seems to me to be overkill. I'd wipe the exterior on a towel perhaps, blast out the interior with canned air, put them in a ziplock bag and go to do something else with my time. Your biggest risk would be leaving water in them. My method doesn't risk that.

But hey, at least if they're shiny it's easier to spot any problems. So I wouldn't call it a complete WOMBAT (Waste Of Money, Brains And Time).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting. Most of the books seem to caution against getting deposits and other crud caked on the inside of your sizing dies, if you don't clean the spent cases adequately. Sounds like you've found that's largely a non-issue.

Do you run carbide dies mostly? Or use plenty of sizing lube? Maybe they're just covering their butts against something unlikely.

You might be on to something with the towel comment. Looks like quite a lot of people just wipe them down thoroughly with a solvent-soaked towel or clean rag. Could be a reasonable middle ground, and wouldn't result in water contamination. Looks like I have some more research to do. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, the paper manuals and most of the supplies arrived today. Sure enough, Lyman concurs... Wiping off any grit and residue with a clean absorbent cloth appears to be sufficient in their eyes too. Good enough for me I reckon, at least while I get my feet wet.
 

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rowlock said:
Interesting. Most of the books seem to caution against getting deposits and other crud caked on the inside of your sizing dies, if you don't clean the spent cases adequately. Sounds like you've found that's largely a non-issue.
Complete non-issue. If you really deeply want to be insured against anything, then sure, clean them in a vibrator or something, but you should also clean your tools, including your dies.

You do take care of your tools, right? After paying hundreds of dollars for them? If not, I want the name of your financial manager because you have way more money than I do.

rowlock said:
Do you run carbide dies mostly? Or use plenty of sizing lube? Maybe they're just covering their butts against something unlikely.
Lots of lube. And carbide dies. As long as there's no actual grit sticking around, there's probably no problem.

rowlock said:
You might be on to something with the towel comment. Looks like quite a lot of people just wipe them down thoroughly with a solvent-soaked towel or clean rag. Could be a reasonable middle ground, and wouldn't result in water contamination. Looks like I have some more research to do. :)
If you're feeling incredibly lazy, you can get one of those electric boot scrubbers which start spinning their bristly surfaces the moment that one presses against them. Should be a good tool for brushing away bits of dirt. I use a bartender's cloth.

rowlock said:
Well, the paper manuals and most of the supplies arrived today. Sure enough, Lyman concurs... Wiping off any grit and residue with a clean absorbent cloth appears to be sufficient in their eyes too. Good enough for me I reckon, at least while I get my feet wet.
Another trick is to get a rubber tip which you can jam a cartridge case onto, and grip it in an electric screwdriver. This lets you spin the case against something to scrub it.
 

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I have a canvas bank bag with a velcro closure. I load whatever used brass I have on hand at the time into the bag and run it through the laundry. I then tumble it before depriming.

Laundry washing is simple and effective, but don't use anything corrosive like bleach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, that's a rather cunning idea. Might see if I can find a suitable bag and give it a shot.

Applesmasher: You mention cleaning the dies. Sounds like an excellent idea periodically - any preferred techniques?
 

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Die cleaning: if it's just dust and minor crud, compressed/canned air does fine.

Every now and then I take the dies apart and give them a thorough wipe with a cleaning cloth and a spray of sizing lube.

Nothing special.
 

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I once had a friend ask to reload some 300 Savage. A single box. Now I vibrate 100 - 200 cases at a time when things are REALLY slow but didn't have the numbers to add his to.
I filled two crew socks with ten cases each, closed em up with a zip tye and tossed them in with the blue jeans. He thought they looked "purty" when I returned them ready to go bang.
 

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a tip on rifle dies... if you start seeing scratches on you brass, necks and body, 99% of the times, it from small flakes of brass that have stuck inside the dies, they can be fixed a few ways,
  1. poor in some KG12 and let it sit overnight
  2. chuck a over sized brush in a cordless drill and scrub
  3. wrap a brush with a patch coated with JB bore compound
and they will be back to new again...
 
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