Tumbling live ammo

Discussion in 'Reloading Talk' started by Andy52, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Andy52

    Andy52 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,693
    State:
    Winfield, Mo.
    Name:
    Andy
    Had a buddy of mine ask me the other day if it would be alright to tumble live ammo......I just looked at him and said "why would you want to"? First if the brass is just a little dirty it's just fine, if it's badly corroded it needs to be either tossed or pulled and reloaded. He keep pressing the issue and asked if it were dangerous, I gave him the best common sense answer I could. If your asking will it detonate in the tumbler.....I don't think it would, my concern would be that as the powder shakes around in the cartridge it would brake down thus changing the density of the powder and might create a bad end result. What are your guys thoughts on this.
     
  2. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    Name:
    Jimmy
    I bought a large lot from an estate sale. It had bullets, brass, 3 presses, powder and primers. The guy showed me some old reloads, wanted to know if I'd give him anything for them. It was 3 flats 3,950 of corroded ammo, 9mm and 38spl in factory cardboard boxes that were growing together. I got it for $5, mainly for the bullets. I tumbled it for 5 hours or more in walnut media in small batches and removed a lot of corrosion so they would fit in a shell holder. There was WW 231, HP-38 and Unique powders in bottles. I poured samples from the bottles into small plastic cups. Pulled the bullets and poured the powder into another plastic cup and compared it to the samples then weighed it. ID what it was and poured it into a labeled cup. The primers were pulled and the good brass was tumbled again. 100 38spl and 260 9mm brass were scraped along with their primers and the powder dumped. I reloaded 100 each of the cases with the used primers and the powder. I remember the 9mm were charged at 3.8 gr WW 231 and HP-38. I reloaded them to 4.0 gr. When shot they were weak. The rest of the primers were scraped and the powder was dumped in the rose garden.
     

  3. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    Name:
    Jimmy
    When we were shooting a lot of reloads, up to 1,000 rounds 38spl for each of us. We had a 6 shot and a 5 shot revolver that we would swap. Some of the 6th round didn't get fired and were dumped in with the spent cases. At home they were tumbled and put back into the trays to be fired again. I didn't see any difference with them.
     
  4. derbycitycatman

    derbycitycatman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,297
    State:
    Kentucky
    Name:
    your first name
    I would just think itd be a bad idea, corrosion in your media as you said and I dont think Id ever feel safe with live ammo being tumbled. Im guessing the ammo's brass would have to be pretty dirty/corroded to want to tumble it. Ive had questionable ammo that I have wiped down and scrubbed a little. Pencil erasers aint bad at times. Any surface corrosion should wipe off anything pitted Id be scared of. Would it weaken the brass? IDK. I know the media, primers, brass and lead would only make the slightest and softest of contact but why risk it. If I absolutely had to Id set aside a tumbler just for that and stay far away in case "lightning" stuck. Maybe primers are way safer than I give them credit for but I always error on the side of safety. And Im not a chemistry major so Id be wary of any type of chemical reaction no matter how unlikely or impossible it is.
     
  5. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    Name:
    Jimmy
    This media was old. It was sent to the rose garden when I finished. The tub on the tumbler was removed and washed.
     
  6. Andy52

    Andy52 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,693
    State:
    Winfield, Mo.
    Name:
    Andy
    I normally keep some of my old tumbler media for filling sand bags but I've got a 5 gal bucket full I need to get rid of right now.......and I have no rose garden.......LOL. I've heard it can be washed and reused but I've never tried it.
     
  7. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    Name:
    Jimmy
    I tried washing it once. Filled a sock and tied it off. Put it in a bucket of warm water and soap. Worked the sock for a while with my hands until the water was black. Rinsed in a bucket of warm water. Laid sock on the fan of the ac condensing unit for a few hours. Poured it into a cardboard box for a few days to dry more.
     
  8. mtscott

    mtscott New Member

    Messages:
    4
    State:
    Montana
    Let him do it and report back the results.
     
  9. tommeboy

    tommeboy Active Member

    Messages:
    396
    State:
    Iowa
    Name:
    Thomas
    It will not hurt it at all. I can't remember which place did the testing but they tumbled ammo for months and then pressure tested it and the PSI was the same. Just think how much that ammo shakes before it ever gets to you. All the way down the line it is made on, on the truck taken to how many places before it ever gets to you. It is being shaken the whole time.
     
  10. Midwest Drifter

    Midwest Drifter New Member

    Messages:
    150
    State:
    Kansas
    was told will change the burn rate of the powder an should not be done never have done it always shoot em up befor they turn green