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  #1  
Old 03-05-2005, 05:24 PM
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Live ammo in a media tumbler?


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I bought some old ammo that I'd like to shoot. It is pretty old and dirty. Is it safe to put loaded ammo in a brass cleaner/tumbler, the vibrating kind?

Bill
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2005, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncobill86
I bought some old ammo that I'd like to shoot. It is pretty old and dirty. Is it safe to put loaded ammo in a brass cleaner/tumbler, the vibrating kind?

Bill
I'm no moderator but I wouldn't take the chance. The directions on my tumbler says not to do it either.
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2005, 07:06 PM
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In a previous post, some of the guys mentioned that they had rounds go off in the their wives' washing machines, so if they can pop off in there, I'm sure they could go off in a tumbler.

amndouglas
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2005, 07:28 PM
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It would be OK if you set it behind a concrete wall and don't mind blowing up your tumbler. Best bet would be to pull the bullets, deactivate the primers, punch out the primers and tumble.

Another way to clean them up that works well is use the base of a Lee case trimmer chucked in a drill. Put the loaded round in and spin it using a piece of fine steel wool held against the case. I have cleaned hundreds of rounds this way. They will come out looking like new and the Lee case trimmer can then be used when you reload.
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:29 PM
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No, it not a recommended practice. Tempting fate all the way!

Besides being on the hazardous side, powder will break down with all the viberation and movement, causing the coatings to rub off. Then, you don't know if the load becomes accelerated or not.

Best to keep loaded ammo out of tumblers. Use faucettb's recommended use of steel wool and a drill press.
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  #6  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:47 PM
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Absolutely, positively, without exception do not do this. As kdub already said, most smokeless powders have an external coating to regulate the rate of burn. Tumbling live ammunition can remove this coating, causing the powder to burn much faster than designed.
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  #7  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:51 PM
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Sounds like a very unwise idea...one you could proably get away with for some period of time, and then have an unexpected "whoops". Not worried so much about a round being set off in the tumbler, but worried about what that vibration might do to the powder.

Think I might fix the old polisher in the shed, load up some rounds with the fired primer in place, and let her rip for a few hours...then take them apart to see if anything happened. Guess I'd better do it more or less scientifically...flake/stick/ball....loose and compressed for each.

Don't have the screening to graduate the particulate size...going to have to be the eyeball method....and that old case trembler (and old Midway Unit) may be DOA.
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2005, 09:08 PM
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Sounds like a great project, ribbonstone - hope the tumbler is good to go.

Be sure to let us know the results. Even eyeball inspection/description will be interesting.
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2005, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncobill86
It is pretty old and dirty. Is it safe to put loaded ammo in a brass cleaner/tumbler, the vibrating kind?Bill
I'd agree with the guys and say "no" to the tumbler for all the listed reasons. If "old and dirty" means tarnished, there are brass cleaners that will make make your ammo more presentable ie. Flitz, etc. If it means it has growths forming on it, I'd suggest breaking down the components to see what you can salvage. My take on this is the efforts to rehabilitate old and dirty ammo often negates the attractive price you paid for it.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2005, 08:44 AM
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Kdub:

Checked the neglected thing...if it's going to revive, will tkae better hands than mine. Gave up polishing brass some years back, and neglect evidently has taken it's toll.

Supose to head out for a short range session, when I get back will tear it to bits and see what's what....either I get it running or I toss it out.
------
IF you are wondering about thelack of polishing...came to the conclusion that clean counts, polished doesn't.
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2005, 10:27 AM
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Agree with the clean aspect. Rarely tumble cases anymore. Biggest usage of late has been cleaning the moly off bullets coated back when it was the whizbang craze and got caught up in it. Never realized just how many bullets were coated!

If the brass gets REALLY bad, use the Lee case trimmer holdere chucked up in the drill press and some fine steel wool. Gets the brass much more shiny that the tumbler, anyway.
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2005, 01:34 PM
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I'm getting the impression that it would be a bad idea.


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  #13  
Old 03-06-2005, 02:09 PM
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It would be OK if you set it behind a concrete wall and don't mind blowing up your tumbler.

Anybody here actually SEEN a cartridge fire outside of a chamber? They DON'T go BANG like the movies, they simply give a "whosh" as the bullet seperates from the case, and the gas vents. If it is not confined, the gas is not going to push the bullet much of anywhere, and the powder will burn, not explode.

I believe factories tumble loaded ammo routinely to clean the last traces of lube from the cases...I've done it myself. I'm not talking hours and hours of time, just 10 minutes or so. Powder coatings can be removed, there are documented cases of ammunition riding for years in a vehicle over rough to non-existant roads, and bad things happening due to the powder constantly moving. I don't believe 15 minutes or vibration is going to change the deterant coatings of any modern, stable powder. I would NOT however, tumble loaded ammunition to clean corrosion and heavy dirt from it. Your milage may vary, if you are not comfortable tumbling loaded ammo, don't!
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  #14  
Old 03-06-2005, 03:45 PM
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kdub:
ITs offically dead...at least there is that much more space in the shed.

Will mention that if you inted to actually try and shoot the gree crusted ammo, worth takeing one or two apart to see if it's corroded inside as well as out.
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  #15  
Old 03-06-2005, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charley
Powder coatings can be removed, there are documented cases of ammunition riding for years in a vehicle over rough to non-existant roads, and bad things happening due to the powder constantly moving. I don't believe 15 minutes or vibration is going to change the deterant coatings of any modern, stable powder.
I don't remember the exact details, but a few years ago I performed a small experiment that may be relevant (sorta). I loaded some powder (IMR 3031, H4895?) into a well-cleaned (tumbled), fired case and seated a bullet. The fired primer was left in its pocket. I tumbled it for several hours (7 I think?) with a bunch of dirty brass. I then pulled the bullet, poured out the powder from the case, and moved the pile around some white paper to sort out some of the fines. I poured some fresh powder out on the white paper and moved it around the paper, as I did to the tumbled powder, to remove fines. There were no fines in the fresh powder, but there was a small amount in the tumbled powder. The tumbled powder was more dull looking. I suspect it lost some of the coating?

Anyway, the fresh powder is on the left and the tumbled powder is on the right. The fines from the tumbled powder are gathered into a matchhead-size pile, in front of the main pile. Conclude what you will.


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  #16  
Old 03-06-2005, 04:32 PM
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Just an assumption, but would guess that the "stick" powders would be the worst in this area...more sharp edges to erode. Not that I belive the other types would get off scott-free, bujt that they'd take a longer time to beat themselves into powder.
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  #17  
Old 03-07-2005, 12:58 PM
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Good old Hoppes #9 will clean your cases quite well and have no effects on your fire arms.
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  #18  
Old 03-10-2005, 01:54 AM
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I have tumbled live ammo in a rotary tumbler for years, and don't consider it an issue. I have a shell collection, and upon finding some older shells, often feel the need to shine them up before they go into the display. They go into the tumbler with a lot of media and some polish, and they come out looking fine. I have considered the possibility of one going off, and it doesn't worry me. The tumbler barrel is rubber lined, and if one were to go off, it would have no more energy than a firecracker. Most of the energy would be dispersed into the media, and the pressure would be vented by the loose seal on the barrel lid. So I don't worry about it.

Now Rimfire ammo, that would scare me!

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  #19  
Old 03-10-2005, 08:26 AM
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"BroncoBill"

Some people use hairdryers in the bathtub too. Does that make them prudent or intelligent people. Me thinks not, however it might be time to thin the herd.

Here's a solution for ya if you want shiney cartridges. It's called a "Krazy Kloth" (tm). It is an impregnated cloth that it in a few swipes will clean up the ugliest brass you have ever seen. I use them on all my brass and at $3.95 a cloth who the needs the cost and mess of a tumbler !

Try Sinclair International at www.sinclairintl.com

Last edited by MikeG; 03-10-2005 at 09:19 PM.
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