The most important step in brass cleaning and preparation is to hoard used brass as much as possible.
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Every time you go to a range that allows, pick up the brass. Most of the brass will be pristine and is generally only fired once. At my gun range, I know that is the case because they sell the ammo for the range to most of my fellow shooters. But, at my gun club, I know a lot more people are reloading and there is a higher chance ammo is already reloaded. I try my best to inspect it to determine the power levels.
Even if you’re just thinking about taking up reloading as an add-on hobby to your shooting addiction. I suggest you start collecting brass now. Please note, brass is the most expensive component in the reloading process, so start sooner than later.
So let’s talk about brass cleaning. Yup -you need to clean it enough to make it safe and reliable by getting the loose dirt and powder residue off, but making it shiny is what it sounds like – a cosmetic preference.
Bucket CLeaning Method
If you’ve got a plastic bucket with a lid, you can add water and a little bit of Tide and shake…it’s pretty simple really. The shaking will be enough to get the loose grime off. Some of my friends recommend using vinegar, dish soap, and Lemi-Shine vs. Tide in the washing method. But, honestly my wife buys Tide and I think it works well so feel free to try your favorite soap product. Just be sure to rinse your brass after using other cleaning additives.
CAUTION… the biggest mistake a newbie reloader makes is that the brass may not look pristine and you’ll have to thoroughly dry it before proceeding to the next reloading step. So be extra sure that the brass to totally dry before moving forward.
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