Dillon's CV-2001 Vibratory Case Cleaner
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Dillon's CV-2001 Vibratory Case Cleaner

Stock Number: 20493
Tender Loving Care of Cases for Reloading: Part 1
D. K. Pridgen

No one I personally know reloads ammunition using only brand new, pristine brass – at least after the first time those newbies are dirtied! Actually, long, long ago I did know one fellow – a well-paid cosmetic surgeon – using primed brass to save his valuable time but that was pre-Dillon days.

Even starting with virgin brass there’s a steady down hill path in brass’ life. The glory of glittering, shiny cases fades quickly with time and use, cracking and/or deforming along the way.

The condition of brass used during reloading is one of the most important things in quality reloading. Find that hard to believe?

Picture the negative effects of primers improperly seated because of unnoticed crimped primer pockets, (failure to chamber, failure to ignite, loose primers rattling around in the firearm…), split case mouths (erratic ignition, bullet setback by feed ramp impact…), deformed case mouths (improper bullet insertion, interruption of a smoothly functioning Dillon press or smoothly functioning firearm…).

However a few ministrations can handle these and more potential problems. The preventative efforts we’re about to discuss take a small amount of time but whiz by with practice.

No matter the source of their original brass, (I have created a fair number of once-fired brass over the years, but it quickly became multi-fired!) reloaders frequently develop a “scrounging” addiction, palming brass abandoned by others, while retrieving their own. Fired cases can be stomped in mud causing a plug of various depths, have a crushed or cracked mouth, wear a tightly crimped primer pocket or house a spider complete with web. (Hermit crab in a seashell!)

Speaking of split case mouths, the .45 ACP is a low pressure round. Back in the day of low salaries and seemingly expensive cases, I knew folks who eyeballed splits lengths to determine how many more reloads they could get! (Don’t!)

At any rate, it is essential to understand the importance of: a) examining all brass, especially scrounged, before cleaning; and, b) examining all brass after cleaning, doubling your chances of catching the previously mentioned problems, and the occasional mating of smaller and larger cases by vibratory cleaning.

Equipment is utilitarian. Good light, something to dig debris from cases (small flat blade screwdriver) and something to partially open excessively deformed case mouths (tapered punch).

Spider webs are notorious for not coming out during vibratory case cleaning, as are wedged twigs and impacted dirt clods. I much prefer to find them before tossing the cases into cleaning media, even though impediments might be removed during cleaning. (However, cleaning the same cases twice really sucks.) Good light makes cracked case mouths pop out.

Minor case mouth dents usually surrender during the resizing stage. Not corrected, badly deformed case mouths can snag during case resizing and delaying the press operation. As for crimped primer pockets, I have long since given up on trying to force new primers in. I separate those for other ministrations.

What have I neglected to discuss regarding the TLC of cases before reloading? Dillon’s Vibratory Cleaners, Polishing Media, Rapid Polish solution, and Case Media Separators, and Super Swage, perhaps. Of course, I need future article inspirations!
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