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News and information about hunting and shooting sports

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Reloading
John Stewart

Major Milestone for Families Afield - 1 Million New Hunters!

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Launched in 2004, Families Afield was developed to increase the number of hunters to ensure a promising future for the tradition of hunting and conservation. Hunters provide the lion’s share of support for conservation through the purchases of hunting licenses and excise taxes paid on sales of firearms and ammunition.

“I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be a hunter, so my dad told me we can get this apprentice hunting license and we can see if you like it,” said youth apprentice hunter Seth Wasilewski in a new Families Afield video that features youth and parents who have taken advantage of the program. Seth, who took his first deer that day, went on to complete his hunter education course and continues to hunt—a progression followed by so many other mentored hunters.

Families Afield is a model of cooperative effort by several major organizations. The program was founded in 2004 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. The National Rifle Association and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation are also coalition partners in the Families Afield program.

To achieve its mission, Families Afield focused on removing barriers such as age restrictions that were preventing sportsmen and women from passing hunting on to the next generation. Families Afield also encouraged states to establish an apprentice hunting license—a “try before you buy” concept that allowed newcomers to go afield with an experienced mentor before completing a hunter education course. Cumulative sales of apprentice hunting licenses have surpassed 1 million.

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John Stewart

Gun Bluing - Creame or Liquid?

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The finish on my rifle was looking a little faded and there were a couple of rust spots starting to appear. I have used G96 Gun Blue Creme over the years for spot treatment. While they make a great product, I find the application process inconvenient. For small spots, it is easy to neutralize the treated area with water. For a larger job like the full length of the rifle barrel, neutralizing with water produces some logistic challenges.

There is an alternative that does not need water to neutralize - Brownells Oxpho-Blue. The liquid gun blue wipes on and wipes off. Quick and easy, without water.

Removing oil, grease, dirt and rust is a necessity for either product. However, the Brownells solution claims to work with the presence of a light oil. I did not opt for testing that claim.

After a complete cleaning of the barrel, I rubbed it with #00 steel wool to remove the hazy film. The rust spots needed a little more than steel wool. My Dremel with a fine wire wheel did a quick job of cleaning the rust spots to bear metal.

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John Stewart

How Clean is Clean?

Lyman Ultra-sonic Cleaner

Method one is the use of an ultrasonic cleaner. Method two is use of a tumbler. Both methods require one preliminary step -- removal of the spent primer. Neither step should be tried without removed of the spent primer.

Universal de-capping dies that fit the standard thread of reloading presses provide a convenient way to remove the spent primer. The only contact with the casing is at the prong that removes the spent primer which saves premature wear on the die surfaces.

As a trial, I dropped 50 9mm cases into my Lyman Ultrasonic cleaner after removing spent primers. During the de-capping process, noticeable grit was transferred to my hands from handling the cases. The Ultrasonic cleaning did a creditable job of removing excess powder residue and other grit. However, there were still burn marks and tarnish leaving the clean cases dis-colored.

As I wanted a cleaner look to the finished reloaded ammo, I ran the cases through a Lyman Turbo Pro 1200 tumbler with medium crushed walnut media. A 15 minute cycle of vibration in the crushed walnut media resulted in cases that had a relative clean and polished look.

A close inspection of cases before and after the cleaning process revealed that the Ultrasonic cleaner did remove the excess powder residue and grit; but, the cases were left with powder burns and a tarnished look. Clean, but tarnished.

The tumbling cycle did remove the powder burn and tarnish from the cases. However, the cases were coated with residual dust from the crushed walnut media. A short cycle through the Ultrasonic cleaner did remove the residual media dust coating.

Interestingly, nickel-coated cases clean nice with a shine using Ultrasonic only. Brass cases need the tumbling action to attain a polished case surface.

It is a matter of personal choice -- Ultrasonic, tumbler or both. For me, the decision was both -- for the additional cleaning utility of the Ultrasonic cleaner. With a change of cleaning solution, you can field strip pistols and run them through the Ultrasonic cleaner. Or, clean jewelry or most other metals.

The Ultrasonic Cleaner is multi-function while the tumbler is just a single function case cleaner. Both do a good job of cleaning with a slight edge to the tumbler for a more complete cleaning of the case interior and primer pocket.

The downside to the tumbler is the residual media dust left on the cases. However, a short blast of compressed air should remove that dust. And, there is still a case cleaning step prior to resizing and trimming and final reloading.

Images below show the cases before cleaning, after ultrasonic cleaning and after tumbling cycle.

Related Articles:

Reloading - Inspection and Cleaning

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John Stewart

What's a little case defect?

The bullet is a 9mm Luger with the R-P head stamp indicating point of manufacture from Remington-Peters.  What is unfortunate, I do not know when or where this particular lot of ammo was purchased.  I do know that I have not purchased Remington-Peters ammo within the past 5 years.

After noting that defect, I did inspect my ammo stock looking for more R-P head stamp markings and for any sign of cartridge deformity.  That cartridge was one of four remaining live rounds.

While case inspection is necessary prior to reloading a case and final inspection of the finished cartridge is necessary after reloading, it is a good idea to do a quick visual check of all your ammo prior to use.

It is likely this round would not have fed into the chamber and possibly jammed the semi-auto slide creating a potential hazard condition.

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John Stewart

Reloading - Inspection and cleaning

Lyman Ultra-sonic Cleaner

A re-sizing die can be used to remove spent primers.  However, as the cases have powder residue, that does provide undue wear on the die.  The decapping die does not touch the case while the center punch removes the spent primer.

There are two methods to clean spent cartridge case:  1) tumble them in a dry mixture (crushed corncob or walnut shells), 2) run them through an ultra-sonic cleaner with a formulated case cleaning solution.  

There are several brands of ultra-sonic cleaners available.  Mine, sold by Lyman, is used for a more than just cartridge case cleaning.  There are different cleaning solutions based on the material you want to clean.

The model I use, Lyman TS-2500, has a stainless steel tub with basket insert.  The tub is marked with MIN (about 3 cups) and MAX (8 cups) fill levels.  While tap water can be used, distilled water is recommended for better cleaning and reduced water spots while drying.  

For medium to heavy duty cleaning, a mix of 1 oz. cleaning solution to 20 ozs. of distilled water is recommended.

Place your dirty cartridges in the cleaning solution, agitate the basket to ensure there are no air pockets in the cartridges, and start the cleaning cycle.  For normal cleaning, a single three minute cycle should be enough.  The cycle timer can be reset for a longer cleaning cycle if desired.

After cleaning, rinse the cartridges in distilled water and allow to dry.  I do use a compressed air to speed drying time.  Once dry, the cases can be dry tumbled for a brighter finish.

Cases before cleaning
Cases after cleaning
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