March 30th, 2007

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning–Tech Tips

There has been much interest in Ultrasonic case cleaning. Here are two tips to achieve the best results:

De-gas the Solvent Before Adding Brass
One of our readers, Eddy M. in Glasgow, Scotland writes: “I have read a couple of articles recently about ultrasonic cleaning of cases and not one has mentioned de-gassing the cleaning liquid before starting to clean items. As an engineer who travelled around for ten years servicing ultrasonic tanks I would like to point out that the cleaning liquid when first put into the tank has invisible disolved air bubbles in it which will absorb ultrasonic energy until the liquid de-gasses. (10 minutes in a powerful industrial tank–longer in a small hobby tank). You must let the tank run on its own for 20 minutes on the first use of the liquid to allow this to happen. Only after the new liquid or re-introduced liquid has been de-gassed will the tank give good results.”

Apply Dry-Lube Inside Case Necks
Jason Baney has found that Ultrasonic cleaning leaves the inside of the case-necks so “squeaky clean” that there is excess friction when seating bullets. On a fired case that has been cleaned conventionally (no ultra-sound), a thin layer of carbon remains to lubricate the bullet entry and exit. To restore that lubricity in cases cleaned with ultrasound, Jason applies a dry lube to the inside of his case necks. Jason prefers the $10.95 moly dry lube kit from Neconos.com. With this kit, small carbon steel balls transfer moly to the neck when you place your brass nose-down in the container.

neconos dry lube moly kit

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March 30th, 2007

BR/PPC Flash-Hole Deburring Tips

There have been some questions on our Forum regarding the recommended procedure for flash-hole uniforming on Lapua 220 Russian (PPC parent), PPC and 6BR cases. The factory spec on these cases is 1.5 mm (.059″) for the flash hole. In the past, we found it was normally not necessary to touch the flash holes on Lapua PPC/BR cases. However, with recent lots, a few cases per box will have a little sliver of brass that may obstruct part of the flash hole. It is advisable to remove this–but you don’t want to enlarge the rest of the flash hole in the process. There are a lot of tools on the market to do this job, but we’ve found that some will actually enlarge the flash hole to as much as .067″ which is not good.

The problem with the Lapua brass is a little “quarter-moon” of brass that forms on one side of the flash hole. The objective is to knock that out without increasing the diameter of the flash hole. A simple way to do this is to simply punch out the hole using a #53 or 19/32 pin drill bit in a Pin-Vise (below, about $5). The #53 bit measures .0595″ while a 19/32 is .059375″. You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores or eHobbyTools.com.

Sinclair Int’l has two flash-hole tools, one that works from the outside (DB 07-3000) and one that works from the inside (DB-2000). The DB-2000 is spec’d to ream a .060″ hole. Depth of cut is set with a conical collar that indexes on the case mouth. Note, this tool can also cut a chamfer or funnel on the top edge of the flash hole. We recommend you set the depth stop so you only clean up the flash hole and do NOT cut a funnel. We also recommend you actually measure the cutter tip to ensure it is the correct diameter–some examples have been oversized–the same problem we found with other brands.

sinclair db 2000 flash hole reamer

Both Forster and Redding supply dies with a .057.-058″ decapping pin for use with BR and PPC cases. However, the “normal” small decapping pin on some other dies is .0625 (1/16″). Sinclair makes a second tool, DB 07-3000, that cuts to this diameter (.0625″), going in from the bottom side.

sinclair PPC flash hole tool

Sinclair explains: “This tool was designed specifically to ream small flash holes (.060″) to exactly .0625″. It enlarges the holes just enough for the die maker’s decapping pins to go through without getting stuck… This 3-piece tool has a stainless steel guide that centers the reamer in the primer pocket from the outside.”

Which tool should you use? We prefer to keep the flash-hole as close to factory spec as possible. However, plenty of BR matches have been won with cases reamed to .0625″. The important thing is to remove whatever obstruction may exist in the brass, and make sure all the cases are uniform, whatever hole size you prefer.

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