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  #1  
Old 06-06-2017, 6:31 PM
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SkyHawk SkyHawk is offline
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Default Question from newbie, using hand press for 38 Special

Well folks I stuck my toe in the water and got a Lee breech lock handpress. My goal for now is to load powder puff 38 Special to use in my C&R revolvers and also for the wife and kids. For now it will be low volume, and I figure a hand press will always serve me well even if/when I move up to a progressive machine. Besides, this is therapeutic and I don't mind going real slow while I learn about reloading.

So my first question for the group involves cleaning once fired cases. I am cleaning these dry & by hand. I have used a primer pocket cleaner followed by a qtip soaked with alcohol in the pockets. I have spun the cases using a lock stud on a hand drill chucked in a vise, and run some steel wool against them. Then I used a copper brush neck cleaner chucked in a hand drill and gave the insides a little scrub.

I am wanting to know if this sort of prep will fly. The cases look pretty clean to me but there is minor/few flakes of crud caked on to the bases inside, and the neck cleaner could not clean the very bottoms of the case walls inside. Should I wash these somehow with soap & hot water, or just load and go?

Someday I will get or make a tumbler, but for now I am low tech.

Thank you! (and please be gentle)
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Last edited by SkyHawk; 06-06-2017 at 6:39 PM..
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2017, 6:44 PM
plinkr plinkr is offline
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None of that is actually necessary. Prettier to look at, though.

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  #3  
Old 06-06-2017, 7:24 PM
Abenaki Abenaki is offline
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Do what makes you feel good.

I would stop using the Q-tip.

The only time that I would use steel wool, is if they are really nasty. Or if they are range pick ups that may have been ground into the gravel.

Nothing wrong with some soap and water. In the past, I have put my brass in a jug. Added soap and water shook till I got bored. Then rinse and dry.

Take care
Abenaki
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Old 06-06-2017, 7:36 PM
Revoman Revoman is offline
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SkyHawk,
I like yer style.

Cleaning every time is not necessary, but cleaner brass is easier to spot flaws such as split case mouths, which is normally where the powder puff loads seem to fail, although they also fail at the cannelure line as well (if the cases have that).

You may wanna consider cleaning every cuppla to three reloads unless they are so dirty ya gotta do it, but I can't imagine that would be the case unless the load is so light that you aren't getting good burn. Then the sides of the brass will dirty very fast.

As stated, you can wash them in a soapy solution, shaking is a good idea to move the junk around and cleanse better. Be sure to rinse well. If you don't do them early enough, you can either bake them in the oven for a few minutes or use a hair dryer on them to dry them out for immediate use.

Sounds to me like you are an aware reloader and doing a fine job at from your description.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2017, 8:05 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Good to know the primer pockets don't have to be spotless then, nor the cases. I will just knock the crud out of the primer pockets with the pocket scraper going forward.

What about the inside neck cleaning, is that unnecessary for reasonably clean cases? My cases are all recovered from the chamber of revolvers for now, so they are pretty clean outside.

I am going to load Berrys plated flat point to start. I hate cleaning leaded up bores so I split the difference between lead and FMJ.

I am going to load 125gr with 3.3 - 3.4 grains of Titegroup and 1.445 COL

and I am going to load 158gr also with 3.3 - 3.4gr of Titegroup and 1.475 COL

using a medium taper crimp and CCI magnum pistol primers.

The load data came from the Hodgdon site for lead bullets, which is I believe what the plated bullet mfgs recommend to start at. I am starting at the low end of the range. I may make some rounds for ladder testing up to 3.6 grains.

I already had a Shooting Chrony Alpha, Dillon Eliminator beam scale, calipers etc for the past 20 years. May as well put them to better use.

Who knows where this will lead, but I'm already having fun. I have got all my dies setup tonight, all in quick change locking rings. I pulled some of my seated and crimped dummy bullets to be sure I was not scraping any plating off with the seating or the crimping. I'm ready to prime and powder I guess.... wish me luck
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Last edited by SkyHawk; 06-06-2017 at 8:22 PM..
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2017, 12:39 AM
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stilly stilly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyHawk View Post
Well folks I stuck my toe in the water and got a Lee breech lock handpress. My goal for now is to load powder puff 38 Special to use in my C&R revolvers and also for the wife and kids. For now it will be low volume, and I figure a hand press will always serve me well even if/when I move up to a progressive machine. Besides, this is therapeutic and I don't mind going real slow while I learn about reloading.

So my first question for the group involves cleaning once fired cases. I am cleaning these dry & by hand. I have used a primer pocket cleaner followed by a qtip soaked with alcohol in the pockets. I have spun the cases using a lock stud on a hand drill chucked in a vise, and run some steel wool against them. Then I used a copper brush neck cleaner chucked in a hand drill and gave the insides a little scrub.

I am wanting to know if this sort of prep will fly. The cases look pretty clean to me but there is minor/few flakes of crud caked on to the bases inside, and the neck cleaner could not clean the very bottoms of the case walls inside. Should I wash these somehow with soap & hot water, or just load and go?

Someday I will get or make a tumbler, but for now I am low tech.

Thank you! (and please be gentle)
Hmmm...

I am reading that you purchased the skateboard of reloading presses but it is okay because you are skating in your own pool in your back yard and not looking to take a trip to the mall with it. Metaphorically speaking anyways.

Okay, that works for me. You seem to have a decent grasp of the concepts so far.

Cleaning though. Hmm. I do not know AH YES! I DO KNOW. YOU need to buy yourself the Harbor Freight China Lot Tumbler: https://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-r...ler-67631.html

For another $15.00 you can double your output with the dual drum.

Here is why you should get that:
1. It is a low cost tumbler.
2. It is low volume and will clean what you are looking to clean.
3. It will ACTUALLY save you some time based on how you are doing it.
4. It is NOT a huge investment, AND you can still use it to polish rocks if you are a rock hound.

Toss in some brass, toss in a handful of rice and let it spin for about 3-4 hours and then see where you are at. Worst case scenario you might need to buy some pins off someone. Heh, those guys are all over the place. It seems like about everyone sells pins nowadays... Okay enough of that, wink wink...

So there ya go. I am sure you can sacrifice a LITTLE bit of your therapeutic fun to save a little bit of time and allow you to more cooler things like decap more shells or push the pencil to make some ladder loads.

And there ya have it.

Honestly, if you have crap stuck in the bottom of the cases, if it is just leftover powder it might not really be worth it to do all of this. Just wipe down the outside of the cases with a wet rag or damp rag (shop towel?) and move on to the next one. It sounds like you are really getting bogged down on the details of cleaning the cases. Let the rice or pins or tumbler worry about that part.
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Last edited by stilly; 06-07-2017 at 12:42 AM..
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2017, 7:46 AM
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Stilly I will look into that Harbor Freight tumbler, thank you for the info.

The 125gr batch is ready to test, will finish the 158gr later today. Maybe tomorrow I can hit the range...

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  #8  
Old 06-07-2017, 10:56 AM
stand125 stand125 is offline
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If you are only doing 50 or so at a time then just wipe them down and reload. It is summer so throwing a bunch in a small bucket with hot water and soap will get them plenty clean and they will dry in like 30 minutes if put in the sun. I have stopped tumbling for the most part, just does not help the bullet fly any straighter.
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2017, 11:45 AM
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I have that same Harbor Freight rock tumbler and it's been quite reliable. It's small volume, no argument there, but realistically that's not a bottleneck. I've never been in such a hurry to load that I need I need a large amount of brass cleaned RIGHT NOW. Instead of 1 batch done in 2 hours, it might be 3-5 batches, but after it's done the brass gets tossed in a box and sits around for a month anyway.

It also has the advantage of being equally good with either dry tumbling (corn or walnut) & wet tumbling.
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2017, 6:02 PM
Elgatodeacero Elgatodeacero is offline
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Dry wiping the outside of each case with a paper towel, by spinning case with fingers, is more than sufficient.

If you want to get really fancy, or you are using cast bullets instead of plated or jacketed, a small (one gallon) pail of warm water with a few teaspoons of citric acid mixed in, let soak for 15-30 mins, and then dry in the sun and wipe with paper towel.

None of this is necessary, and you will not harm your dies or other equipment in any way that relates to function.

But...... Everyone loves shiny.

Last edited by Elgatodeacero; 06-11-2017 at 6:04 PM..
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2017, 11:45 AM
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Friesland Friesland is offline
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Question 125 gr. vs 158 gr.

How'd they group. I have an older Smith & Wesson K frame with fixed sights

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyHawk View Post
Stilly I will look into that Harbor Freight tumbler, thank you for the info.

The 125gr batch is ready to test, will finish the 158gr later today. Maybe tomorrow I can hit the range...

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