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Cleaning cases in primer area- pistol cartridges

Jul 28, 2005
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Do you guys clean your brass before or after you remove the primers? I think many dies resize while removing the primer so if you removed before cleaning (in tumbler) would you need to resize again after they are clean/tumbled? If you clean first (before removing primer) are there other ways to clean the primer area of the case?
I have lots of time so I tumble first to clean the brass to save my dies..Then I size and decap and bell ..Then back into the tumbler for a better cleaning..Never more than a hour,Brass doesn't have to look better than new just nice..Have been using rice for quite a while as media and it does a good job..Doesn't hurt to throw in a couple of pieces of used drier sheet to help keep the media cleaner longer..
I clean with primers in. Otherwise, it's possible for small grains of medium to lodge in the flash hole. There is no need to clean primer pockets, and that comes from no less an authority than Charles Petty.

I use a decapping die on a dedicated press. I decap all my brass, then clean. When I am inspecting cases if I see a piece of media in the flash hole, I turn the case upside down, and use the decapping pin to simply push the media out of the flash hole. I like to decap, then clean the brass prior to it touching any of my other dies. It also gives me a clean case to make inspection easier.

Decap, then tumble. I use a dedicated decapper, so "saving the die" isn't an issue, and the media I use must be too big to stick in the flash hole, as it has never happened. Tumbling cleans out the primer pockets, making for a more uniform seating of the primer.

The exception is for bottle-neck rifle cartridges, which require lubing before sizing. I tumble these after sizing, in order to get the lube off.
pistol cases size easier when they are a little dirty (carbide). So long as they aren't covered in mud I'll size/decap, then tumble if I want them looking real pretty. I use a piece of coat hanger to punch out media that gets stuck and then scrape the primer pocket with a uniformer.
For rifles I tumble first, lube/size/decap, then tumble again, using the coat hanger wire for media in flash holes and a pocket uniformer and flash hole reamer.
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