Step 1 - Sorting and Cleaning your Cases
The first step to reloading any cartridge is to sort through your brass. You should sort brass by caliber and then by manufacturer. Sorting brass by caliber is pretty self explanatory, but sorting brass by manufacturer is needed due to small differences in internal capacity between manufacturers, this is especially true of military brass. These small differences can cause unsafe pressures especially when working with maximum loads.
While sorting brass take a careful look at each case to be reloaded, discard any with; split necks, deep scratches, corrosion or a bright ring near the base. These could all lead to catastrophic case failure and at the very least an unpleasant surprise. The bright ring may be a sign of imminent case head separation.
If you have a tumbler you can quickly and easily polish your brass to like new condition, place your brass cases into the tumbler with a suitable media and tumble for a few hours to overnight depending on the condition of the brass and your own personal preferences. I personally like to use treated walnut shells for my media, I find it does an excellent job of getting the dirt and stains off of brass I pick up on the range.
If you do not own a tumbler that is fine, just make sure that there is no dirt on your brass before reloading it, this can be done with a damp rag and a bit of elbow grease. This is really what tumblers are designed to do, they do have the added benefit of polishing the brass, but the tarnish on the cases have not affect on safety or performance.
Below are cartridges from the same lot of reloads that are above, only they have been tumbled overnight to polish and clean them.
Cleaned Brass Ready for Reloading
Forward to Step 2 - Lubing and Sizing .
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