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Thread: Tumbling Ammo

  1. #1
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    Cool Tumbling Ammo

    I have several boxes of older ammo(factory loads) that are very dirty from sitting several years(around 10 years) and was wondering what would be the best way to clean it up to shoot. I have a viberating tumbler for cleaning brass and was wondering if it would be ok/safe to use it. Thanks

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    It's a lot easier to do it with a tumbler than it is by hand. Just don't overload and you won't have to worry about anything. I wouldn't worry about adding polish or cleaner, it just tends to gunk up the cases. Crushed walnut is my favorite for really dirty cases, but anything will make them a bit brighter.

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    Man there is no way that ammo is any good. Bring it over to my house and I'll throw it out for you before you hurt yourself.

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    The price sticker on the boxes range from $7.99-$9.99. They are a little old but I have one box of Peter's that have $.85 each on the box.

    I will give it a shot and see if they clean-up. Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by 450HUNTER View Post
    The price sticker on the boxes range from $7.99-$9.99. They are a little old but I have one box of Peter's that have $.85 each on the box.

    I will give it a shot and see if they clean-up. Thanks again
    Ten years old!? How about 40 years old. The Peters name is long gone.

    I tumble ammo all the time. We are cautioned not to bnecause the spitzer bullet can some how get on a primer but when the tumble they don't really tumble. The bullet is heavier and just points at the bottom and the case floats up in the media. It works fine. Lots of gunshow ammo collectors do this to make their ammo shiney and it sells better. Don't tumble rimfire ammo. If you have a box in good condition, you might not want to polish the ammo if you want to sell it, such as antique stuff. Tarnished ammo in original boxes is a big seller someplaces. Do you have some Peters 25, 30, 32, 35 Remington ammo? I bought a gun from a guy once and he gave me three boxes of ammo dating back to the turn of the century. I sold the ammo (one full and two partials) for more than I paid for the gun. A Marlin 1893 in 32-40. I have a box of Western 30 Newton ammo from 1919. I was offered $400 for it, I wanted five. It was free with the Newton rifle, which is gone now.
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    My box of Peters are 308. I don't know how old they are but the box is falling apart they are so old.

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    I've tumbled live ammo with no issues, but I've heard that it could break up powder granules eventually and possibly change the burning characteristics. Shouldn't be an issue for a one time thing though.
    Now what ?

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    Probably falls under the category of a bad idea that you can get away with.

    I have done a box with 0000 steel wool and while more effort than tumbling, it was quicker and without the safety implications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevelyn View Post
    I've tumbled live ammo with no issues, but I've heard that it could break up powder granules eventually and possibly change the burning characteristics. Shouldn't be an issue for a one time thing though.

    I hear that a lot too, but I think it's a load of hooey. Any commercial ammo you buy will have gone through a tremendous amount of vibration just getting to the store you buy it from--far more vibration than your tumbler will subject it to.

    Mike

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    Default why bother?

    if youre going to shoot it, and its not corroded or green, but just old and tarnished looking then dont bother. it will shoot just the same whether it is shiny and looks new or if its brown like boot leather...

    If you are hell bent on running it thru the tumbler, I say go for it. I have tumbled many a round, including .22 long rifle with no problems. Remember that it takes a significant amount of mechanical force to dent a primer (or case rim) and unless you are tumbling rocks along with your ammo, I cant imagine how you could generate enough force in that limited amount of space to set a cartridge off....
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    I tumbled the ammo with no problems. The ammo really needed to be cleaned before shot and not because I wanted shiny ammo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeT View Post
    I hear that a lot too, but I think it's a load of hooey. Any commercial ammo you buy will have gone through a tremendous amount of vibration just getting to the store you buy it from--far more vibration than your tumbler will subject it to.

    Mike
    Yeah, I agree. I could see it if smokeless powder were a mechanical composition like black powder where granule size does make a difference in burning rate, but I don't see it happening with smokeless. I also think ammo would have to take a heck of a lot of abuse to hurt the powder. Besides, folks chop, crunch and grind it in their powder measures when reloading anyway and it doesn't seem to change anything.
    Now what ?

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    Smokeless powder is not dependant on granule size but what about the coatings getting abraded off.

    Ammo never sits around me long enough for it to be an issue but it makes an interesting topic.
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  14. #14

    Default Just my opinion

    The coating on the grains of powder will be rubbed off with use of a tumbler, but I am not really sure how much or if it makes for a real safety factor. I don't tumble ammo just to be sure. I like to err on the side of safety. Running powder through a measure doesn't do much to change the powder's characteristics, usually only severasl grains being cut. Shipping ammo by truck or barge while they are in their boxes inside cases doesn't affect the powder as much as an hour of direct tumbling where they are free to roll around.

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