Brass Maintenance between Firings
Updated: Nov 10
Some pieces of the accuracy puzzle are more important than others. Condition reading, tuning, and good equipment are major pieces. Be that as it may, do not overlook the smaller pieces. They can add up.
One of those pieces is brass maintenance between firings. Here are four processes, with the reasoning behind them, to keep your brass consistently ready.
Step 1: Clean Outside of the Necks
I use a brass polish called Nevr-Dull, but any metal polish should work. Steel wool was my choice for many years, but I like this product better. Simply tear off a small section and rotate the case neck between your fingers. Once all the cases are done, wipe off the polish with an old rag.
Reason: I do not want the carbon inside the resizing die. Specifically, inside the neck bushing. Any build up on the outside of the neck or inside of the bushing can change the neck tension.
Step 2: Clean inside of the Necks
I use a properly sized nylon brush. Properly meaning; the same diameter as the bullet. One or two passes will knock off any chunks of carbon that could have built up on the previous firings.
Reason: Just like carbon build up on the outside of the neck can change neck tension, so can build up on the inside of the case neck.
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Step 3: Resize the Case
OK...so this is not brass maintenance, but it leads into the last process of the maintenance. When the case is resized it is also deprimed (assuming the depriming pin is in the die).
Reason: Besides the obvious need for resizing, this will also knock out the spent primer, allowing the primer pocket to be cleaned.
Step 4: Clean Primer Pockets
I use a primer pocket cleaning brush to get rid of any carbon buildup in the pocket.
Reason: Getting rid of the carbon buildup will allow the primer to sit at the correct depth in the primer pocket.
The brass is now ready to continue with the reloading process; prime, charge with powder, and seat the bullet. Once the round is fired, all the steps are repeated. I use this process for both competition and hunting brass.
In case you are wondering: Annealing and trimming are also done to the brass, although not after every firing. I usually anneal sometime after four firings and trim when the brass gets within .010 of maximum length or if the cases are more than .002” difference in length. Future blogs will cover both of those topics in detail.
A good question: Do I need to do all those steps? An honest answer is: I do not know, but probably not. So, why do I do them? Several reasons.
1. The reasons make sense.
2. They do not take very much time.
3. I've had success at tournaments and in the field do these steps.
4. Peace of mind. I have controlled everything that I can control.
Connect The Dots is here to share proven accuracy techniques and guidelines. However, do not just blindly trust information (Yes. Including information on this site) Think about the reason certain processes are done and decide if those reasons match up with what you want to accomplish. You may find that you alter certain steps while creating a style that works for you. Until next time, enjoy the experience.