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Old 11-07-2011, 01:17 AM
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Default Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?

Got a question. I had a large box with about 700 rounds of 22lr in it dump out all over the ground. To make matters worse I was in a lake bottom where the water was down but still muddy as heck. I threw all the rounds in a few zip lock bags and now I have a bunch of 22lr covered in mud, dirt, and clay.

Can I tumble them clean?

I have done some searching and gotten mixed results on tumbling loaded ammo. I have yet to find anything on tumbling loaded .22lr rimfire. Is it safe? How hard does the rim need to be struck before it goes off? Anything else I need to be aware of?

Thanks
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:26 AM
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In my experience with empty cases picked up off a muddy range, you cannot get brass clean with a tumbler when it is coverd with "mud, dirt, and clay."
I had to wash and dry the empty brass before it was possible to put them in a tumbler and finish the job.

If it were mine, I'd spread it out on pavement and clean it as gently as possible with a soft water spray, then get a soft rag and start wiping.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:38 AM
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The problem with .22lr is the bullets are outside lubricated. Tumble them, and that lube will get removed. More importantly though, the bullets will have small bits of debris embedded in them, even after tumbling. That's not going to be nice going down your barrel.

700 rounds of .22 will cost about $25 to replace. That's a much easier and safer way to fix this situation.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:00 AM
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The problem with .22lr is the bullets are outside lubricated. Tumble them, and that lube will get removed. More importantly though, the bullets will have small bits of debris embedded in them, even after tumbling. That's not going to be nice going down your barrel.
700 rounds of .22 will cost about $25 to replace. That's a much easier and safer way to fix this situation.
This is what I was going to stress. It's going to be a punch in the gut to scrap that ammo, but I would rather just scrap it that risk scoring the steel in my barrel with a single grain of sand that you miss. CCI and some others use a really thick wax while some of them use a dry lube. The CCI would be the worst one for sticking crud. The dry lube would be the best chance of cleaning but would remove most or all of the dry lube. The various copper washed bullets usually still have some kind of dry lube on them. I have dropped the one or two .22LR's and brushed them off, but not a few hundred of them.

There are always going to be people who don't feel safe tumbling live ammo and I'm fine with that. I do it every now and then. The primers don't fall out, the bullets don't move at all, and the bullets don't whack into the primers nearly hard enough to set one off. If it were that bad then the bullets would deform the nose, the cases would be dented, and a visual would show all this. And rimfire is even harder to ignite. But again, it would rub the lube off the bullets so I don't bother.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennjed View Post
Got a question. I had a large box with about 700 rounds of 22lr in it dump out all over the ground. To make matters worse I was in a lake bottom where the water was down but still muddy as heck. I threw all the rounds in a few zip lock bags and now I have a bunch of 22lr covered in mud, dirt, and clay.

Can I tumble them clean?

I have done some searching and gotten mixed results on tumbling loaded ammo. I have yet to find anything on tumbling loaded .22lr rimfire. Is it safe? How hard does the rim need to be struck before it goes off? Anything else I need to be aware of?

Thanks
I always keep my 22 ammo in their original contgainers that would have mitigated your problem.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:43 AM
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Actually, I find that most of the .22LR boxes fall apart pretty fast unless you use them in one or two sittings. I have a Federal bulk 550 box that is taped up. I pour the nex box into that one for use. I guess they save that nickel per box for a box that isn't made to last getting moved around too much. I still save the box from the ammo in use just in case I need lot number info or something like that.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:20 AM
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I wouldn't even try to clean those rounds not worth the trouble or damage they cause to your firearm.

What I started doing to keep the rounds clean and easy to use at the range or when traveling is to buy some of the small plastic faux tupperware at the dollar store. Each one holds about 200 rounds the lid stays on reasonably well but most of all you don't have to worry about broken boxes or dirty ammo.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:27 AM
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I wouldn't even try to clean those rounds not worth the trouble or damage they cause to your firearm.

What I started doing to keep the rounds clean and easy to use at the range or when traveling is to buy some of the small plastic faux tupperware at the dollar store. Each one holds about 200 rounds the lid stays on reasonably well but most of all you don't have to worry about broken boxes or dirty ammo.
That is a darn good idea. I'm going to use that one.
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:07 AM
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I just use the clear plastic 100 round boxes that people trash. Take the label off, re label and put the bulk ammo in while watching TV. Drives my wife crazy cause I am so slow, she grabs them and "files them in minutes" (I plan it that way)

Slide the cover back and dispense 10 at a time.

"Hints from Heloise"

OH, buy new ammo. Not worth the hassle and possible damage and I am cheap! Thrifty.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:37 PM
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Default relube

After you clean. you can relube with dry film motorcycle chain lube, with teflon, from "some'' wally worlds. $6.96 a can. pretty cool stuff. I am now also using it to lube my cases during resizing and depriming. I was amazed at how much slicker it is than lyman case lube. it will clean off with engine degreaser which might work pretty fast on your .22's. for cleaning the factory lube ( and sand) off.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:24 AM
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I just use the clear plastic 100 round boxes that people trash. Take the label off, re label and put the bulk ammo in.....................
I also reuse the 100 round plastic boxes others toss, but I get rid of the tray with the 100 holes in it. Never counted, but they easily hold a couple hundred loose rounds.
The top slide too easy without the tray, but re-purposed rubber bands used to hold stalks of Broccoli together does the trick.

I supplementally lube a few .22LR with diluted alox occasionally.
I put them in the aforementioned trays with a 100 holes in them and dip the tip of the nose (~1/8") in a shallow pan of a 50/50 mix of warm LLA and mineral spirits.
A little messy and they are dirt magnets, but putting a few "doctored" rounds down a thoroughly scrubbed barrel, seems to minimize leading.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:01 PM
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I also reuse the 100 round plastic boxes others toss, but I get rid of the tray with the 100 holes in it. Never counted, but they easily hold a couple hundred loose rounds.
The top slide too easy without the tray, but re-purposed rubber bands used to hold stalks of Broccoli together does the trick.

I supplementally lube a few .22LR with diluted alox occasionally.
I put them in the aforementioned trays with a 100 holes in them and dip the tip of the nose (~1/8") in a shallow pan of a 50/50 mix of warm LLA and mineral spirits.
A little messy and they are dirt magnets, but putting a few "doctored" rounds down a thoroughly scrubbed barrel, seems to minimize leading.
Another interesting idea. I have to try that one for sure.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:09 PM
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Default Maybe it's just me but..

The idea of placing loaded rounds, even rimfire rounds in a tumbler to clean them just doesn't sound like a very good idea to me.

Krusr
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:24 PM
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Seen it done for years. I started doing it the minute I learned to reload on my own. I add a bit of Nu Finish to polish everything up and leave a film so they don't tarnish nearly as fast. Just did some .223 a day ago and some .300 Win Mag last night. Doesn't do anything but make them look good and give that slight coat of polish.
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:47 AM
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Another interesting idea. I have to try that one for sure.
Don't dip too deep. I try to stay just below where the bullet diameter equals the caliber. Doesn't seem to matter much in revolvers, but some pistols get cantankerous. It runs through my Ruger MK II like fat through a goose, but my neighbors Walther PPk will start misfeeding after 3-4 rounds if they are dipped too deep.

Several brands of factory ammo use those plastic trays with holes in them in their boxes and I occasionally do the same trick to FMJ in other calibers.

I also use thinned out LLA to tumble lube the pre-lubed cast boolits I reload with.

Back on topic.

I've tumbled loaded ammo in the past, but these days I just make the brass shiny and slick so it loads easy.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:03 AM
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Never ever tumble any loaded ammo! It changes the structure of. The powder to a different burn rate and it can kill you! Trust me don't do it.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:36 AM
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Don't dip too deep. I try to stay just below where the bullet diameter equals the caliber. Doesn't seem to matter much in revolvers, but some pistols get cantankerous. It runs through my Ruger MK II like fat through a goose, but my neighbors Walther PPk will start misfeeding after 3-4 rounds if they are dipped too deep.

Several brands of factory ammo use those plastic trays with holes in them in their boxes and I occasionally do the same trick to FMJ in other calibers.

I also use thinned out LLA to tumble lube the pre-lubed cast boolits I reload with.

Back on topic.

I've tumbled loaded ammo in the past, but these days I just make the brass shiny and slick so it loads easy.
I have done the double lube a few times now. I need to get off my butt and shoot some .45ACP that I double lubed. I think I might try thinning down some alox and dip some .22LR for testing. Sounds like a quick easy mission for this weekend.

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Never ever tumble any loaded ammo! It changes the structure of. The powder to a different burn rate and it can kill you! Trust me don't do it.
I thought the same thing when I first heard about this. I wasnít a loader at the time but has some gun show milsurp that looked nasty. My cousin had a bullet puller and some reloading stuff so we decided to try it. We pulled a variety of .223, .308, 7.62x39 and x54R, 9mm, and I think .45 ACP. We pulled all the bullets and first stuck wax plugs and then taped them over. Those we left powder and primers alone. Then we first pulled bullets, dumped powder, and then replaced the bullets on another batch. We cleared out an area of the garage and removed anything flammable like the gas cans. We poured in the media to cover them and plugged it in for an hour. Nada. We left it running over night. Nada. We left it running for a couple of days. Nada. We left it running for a little over a week. Nada. Well, Iím lying. At this point the media started to break down and had a lot of dust. After the week long test we go with some of her neighbors and they made up some dummy loads with more powders than I can remember. We had some old stuff, some new stuff, and flake, stick, and ball were present. We even thought about hand loaded primers rattling out or coming apart. So we went through a bunch more testing. Know what happened? Nada. Stick or extruded powder didnít come apart, snap, or break. Flakes didnít crumple, crinkle, or turn to dust. Ball powders didnít turn into bigger or smaller balls. Primers didnít fall apart, compound didnít fall out, and they didnít back out or fall out. I know we went on with this for about two weeks and ended up borrowing a bunch of vibratory bowls. I wouldnít do it to match grade F class or Palma ammo, but we found nothing unsafe about it. And all the nasty milsurp got cleaned up real good.

So unless someone has some form of proof to offer on why this shouldnít be done then I see no reason not to discuss it. I am always open for being proven wrong, but I would appreciate evidence to refute me other than verbal warnings.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:51 PM
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The top slide too easy without the tray, but re-purposed rubber bands used to hold stalks of Broccoli together does the trick.
Glad to hear we are not the only Blue Rubber Band Hoarders

Those things are great and last forever!

Now we do sound like Heloise.
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:51 PM
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The idea of placing loaded rounds, even rimfire rounds in a tumbler to clean them just doesn't sound like a very good idea to me.

Krusr
meh... I find the occasional live .22 in my tumbler that was hiding inside another case. Haven't had one go off (I tumble my reloaded ammo to get the lube off, too) and if it did I doubt it would do much damage.

I also use the nice plastic boxes to repackage my bulk stuff.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:00 PM
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Lots of good ideas here on storage and re-lubing.

I just wanted to re-iterate that I don't feel tumbling the rounds would be dangerous in the sense of altering the powder. The issue is debris getting embedded in the bullets and harming your bore. The same holds true if you drop a round on the ground, especially if it's dirt or SAND! Throw that round away, it's not worth trying to salvage a 3 cent round and damaging your bore.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:50 PM
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The idea of placing loaded rounds, even rimfire rounds in a tumbler to clean them just doesn't sound like a very good idea to me.

Krusr
That is how factory ammo is so nice and clean. They tumble all of it.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:12 PM
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That is how factory ammo is so nice and clean. They tumble all of it.
yeah I was gonna say. I've seen videos of how 22lr's are made and the ones I've seen they tumbled the finished product right before packaging. You know 22lr bullets have lube rings right? Lube rings that have lube in them and that they are seated deep enough into the case, right?

I'm tumbling my range pickups right now...
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:23 PM
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I wouldn't worry about tumbling loaded ammo,but I would worry about taking the lube off.They won't group well and you'll end up with a leaded barrel.How about just wiping individual rounds clean as you use them up?
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:31 PM
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I have tumbled loaded rounds many times. Have never seen any problem
in the ammo or leading what ever....
Maybe I'm just lucky for the last 25 years.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:38 PM
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but I would worry about taking the lube off.
What if they're copper washed bullets? I guess then that makes this conversation null & void, doesn't it?
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:49 PM
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You can lead a horse to water...
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:48 AM
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I have used Johnson's Paste Wax to lube .22 bullets. It's also a good case resizing lube if you don't have anything else. But I normally use STP for that purpose.
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:23 PM
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You can lead a horse to water...

Yep and seven years latter this is important somehow?
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:22 PM
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

And just why did someone resurrect this thread that had been mercifully, and properly, dead since 2011???
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:43 PM
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The information is still good...
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:22 PM
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The information is still good...

Good? Good for what? For all those who dump 22 lr in a muddy lake bottom ?

Tumbling 22 lr is probably going to bend up the soft lead bullets remove the lube and mess up feeding.

Sit in comfy chair and wipe each one off with a soft rag and say I will not drop my 22 lr ammo 500 times.

I suppose it could lead to another what is the best media to clean 22lr thread.
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  #32  
Old 05-06-2018, 04:48 PM
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?  
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Originally Posted by Steve912 View Post
The information is still good...
Actually much of it is not because many of the posters didn't read the OPs question! Many of them were referring to center-fire cartridges with (apparently) jacketed bullets instead of his question specific to outside lubricated .22 rim-fire ammunition! One even said .22 rim-fire ammunition is inside-lubricated! Boy, is that a surprise!

Real answer, rinse** them in a bucket of clear water and lay them out to dry! Tumbling, especially .22 rim-fire, should never be done with loaded ammunition, for several reasons, in spite of people often doing it!

** Changed from "wash" because I was afraid someone may think I meant to use soap!!!

Now, why in he!! did I post this?????????????????? Even more to the point, why did I waste my time reading the first 22 posts?
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  #33  
Old 05-06-2018, 05:13 PM
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?  
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$35 average price, pitch it safely and move on. Problem solved.
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  #34  
Old 05-06-2018, 05:54 PM
RGVshooter RGVshooter is online now
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?  
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This topic is still on point and posters are still contributing towards providing useful relevant info. Moving forward.....

I don't shoot a 22 autoloader, I shoot revolver. I use range pickups all the time. But I do toss them in my tumbler and never had any issues whatsoever.
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  #35  
Old 05-06-2018, 06:15 PM
Steve912 Steve912 is offline
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?  
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It's still relevant to anyone with the same problem.

The guys that complain about old threads and tell
you "it's been covered in other threads" when ya
start a new one...
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  #36  
Old 05-06-2018, 06:37 PM
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?  
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Default I'd use water first.....

I'd clean them with water w/o immersing them, throw them on a towel and tumble them with plenty of media for cushion in small batches. Actually I use a vibrator cleaner. I've never seen a case rim get bent/smashed in a tumbler and if one were to 'go off' it wouldn't hurt anything.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:25 PM
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Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr? Safe to tumble loaded 22lr?  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
This topic is still on point and posters are still contributing towards providing useful relevant info. Moving forward.....

I don't shoot a 22 autoloader, I shoot revolver. I use range pickups all the time. But I do toss them in my tumbler and never had any issues whatsoever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve912 View Post
It's still relevant to anyone with the same problem.

The guys that complain about old threads and tell
you "it's been covered in other threads" when ya
start a new one...
I always thought this wa s reloading forum and not a cleaning 22 rimfire ammo forum.

It's relevant for just how many folks here have dumped 500 rounds of 22 RF in a lake bottom full of mud??

I do not see the anyone had this issue to bring the thread back to life?

Lets see a show of hands??
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Last edited by Rule3; 05-06-2018 at 07:27 PM.
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223, 22lr, 45acp, lock, ppk, rimfire, ruger, walther

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