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Posted: 1/23/2010 5:52:20 PM EDT
As an addition to the argument against the "Don't tumble live ammo" internet myth, I have conducted a somewhat more extreme version of a previous "Tumbler of truth" experiment.
I have been tumbling a few loaded .223s prior to the previous thread for the sake of my own personal curiosity. The previous thread got me interested in a larger group of powder so I decided to use every powder I have.
I loaded them into primed .40 cases and seated and crimped my cast lead bullets to .40S&W OAL and scribed the powder type into the lead.

The .223s already had accumulated 95 hours in the tumbler so now with the additional 205 hours they have a total of 300 hours. I was aiming for 200 hours but it happened to end up at 205
because during the week I ran it from the time I got home from work until I left for work the next morning. I would have had to shut it off in the middle of the night to get an even 200.

All of the magnification levels are 45x and 75x accept for the one 1680 which is 150x. Most of the powder is too 3 dimensional to view over 75x; only one small area will focus at a time
so for the sake of the image I stayed at the lower magnification levels. I did the 1680 first and was still getting the hang of taking picture through the microscope and didn't yet have a standard
of the best method so the one 150x slipped through.

I tried to take some pictures of the walnut media, fresh and used, but it was to tall to get decent sized area into focus even at 45x.There was a bit more smoothness to the used from what I could see.


The tumbler I bought in '98 now has many many hours of tumbling goodness. I use 12/20 mesh walnut media.






This is how I took the pictures. An old Japanese student type microscope with 45x, 75x, 150x, 600x and 1125x magnification.
The camera is a Casio EX-Z750 and a Fenix L1D for overhead lighting.  






This is the brass the test rounds tumbled with. About 200-300 .40S&Ws and a few .223s.






Here are the cases in which the powder was tumbled, I marked the lead for powder I.D., the .223 has the 2230 and it has been going for an additional 95 hours.





The First two images of each four image set will be be a fresh sample straight from the container, they will be first at 45x the at 75x, the next two images will be a sample from the tumbled cartridge again at 45x first and then 75x


Winchester 748 @ 45x magnification


Winchester 748 @ 75x magnification

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Winchester 748 @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


Winchester 748 @ 75x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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Unique @ 45x magnification


Unique @ 75x magnification

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Unique @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


Unique @ 75x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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Power Pistol @ 45x magnification


Power Pistol @ 75x magnification

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Power Pistol @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


Power Pistol @ 75x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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AA No.7 @ 45x magnification


AA No.7 @ 75x magnification

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AA No.7 @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


AA No.7 @ 75x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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FFFg @ 45x magnification


FFFg @ 75x magnification

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FFFg @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


FFFg @ 75x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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Bullseye @ 45x magnification


Bullseye @ 75x magnification

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Bullseye @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


Bullseye @ 75x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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1680 @ 45x magnification


1680 @ 75x magnification

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1680 @ 45x magnification 205 hours in tumbler


1680 @ 150x magnification 205 hours in tumbler

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2230 @ 45x magnification


2230 @ 75x magnification

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2230 @ 45x magnification 300 hours in tumbler


2230 @ 75x magnification 300 hours in tumbler



From what I can see, there is no notable change to the powders, no breakdown, no coatings coming off,  I see nothing that would tell me the powder has changed. I even noticed some sharp spurs and loops of the silver substance that I would have thought would break off if the tumbling was so damaging.  Also there was no change to the OAL of the cartridges, the rifle cartridges were not crimped, the lead have a very slight crimp.





ETA: FOR PRIMER PHOTOS

Cannot really see much, 45x is too much magnification for such a large item.

SIDE by SIDE you can see the dirty one on the left where it pressed against the bottom of the primer pocket.


TUMBLED Wolf Small Pistol


New Wolf Small Pistol





***UPDATE***

I had two extra .223s with 300 hours in the tumbler and two extra .40S&W that spent 205 hours in the tumbler. These were proper loading so just to check for pressure signs I decided to fire them. For the sake of safety in case there was an explosion(the lead .40s were being fired through my factory Glock27 ), I fired them into the BOX O' SILENCE. There was no discernible difference in feel or sound and by the looks of the primers there was no excessive pressure.

In the photo from left to right is untumbled .40 then two .40s that spent 205 in the tumbler then two .223 that spent 300 in the tumbler and then two untumbled .223s

Click for full size.



Link Posted: 1/23/2010 5:56:35 PM EDT
[#1]
The powder looks unchanged to me.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 5:56:42 PM EDT
[#2]
Damn I hope the pictures are not as big as they are in the preview


My neighbor 5 houses down saw them.  Nevertheless, great post.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 5:58:00 PM EDT
[#3]
Thanks, I was wondering about that...
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 5:58:48 PM EDT
[#4]
Excellent post!
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 5:59:23 PM EDT
[#5]
Truly outstanding post and information. Thanks for your efforts.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:00:33 PM EDT
[#6]
Outstanding post, thanks for taking the time to do the testing.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:02:32 PM EDT
[#7]
Nice pictures.





IBTCDR


(In Before The Chronograph Data Requests)





I've done chrono readings before and after tumbling.  I saw no difference between the two.  Sadly I didn't document any of my experimentation.  I didn't tumble the loaded rounds for nearly as long as you did.  My stuff was tumbled for about 10 hours which is inline with what I'd run into with my methodology.

 
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:02:58 PM EDT
[#8]
Great post, should be tacked in the reloading forum.



Doesn't look like much change to me, and it isn't going to take that long to polish some cases if one decides to tumble live rounds.



I'm convinced it's ok to tumble live ammo.



Still, would be nice to see what the primers look like...







Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:06:23 PM EDT
[#9]
thank you for this, i think it should be a sticky in the reloader forum.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:06:36 PM EDT
[#10]
How is the accuracy?

I heard the main argument against tumbling live ammo is inconsistent wear on the bullets causing them to do weird stuff
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:10:22 PM EDT
[#11]
Myth BUSTED
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:13:21 PM EDT
[#12]
very neat post, but i have one minor question about your loads.  how much powder was placed in the cases prior to tumbling?  was it a compressed load, that would not allow the powder to move around within the case?


regardless, very cool, and i am very impressed with the quality of your pics.  i would never have thought your set-up would produce such great photos!

-matt
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:14:35 PM EDT
[#13]
Well done sir!

However I wouldn't mind some 10 shot grouping AAR.

Quoted:
How is the accuracy?

I heard the main argument against tumbling live ammo is inconsistent wear on the bullets causing them to do weird stuff


Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:16:18 PM EDT
[#14]
Thanks, always wondered about that.  Now, do it again with live primers.  I think that was actually where the question was.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:17:20 PM EDT
[#15]
Awesome info.  Thank you for your post.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:20:08 PM EDT
[#16]
in before the witch doctors cast voodoo that tumbling live ammo is bad, despite proof....
ETA= careful reading shows i was too late...
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:21:42 PM EDT
[#17]
Quoted:
thank you for this, i think it should be a sticky in the reloader forum.


AGREED!
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:25:21 PM EDT
[#18]
Black powder or a black powder substitute?
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:26:12 PM EDT
[#19]



Quoted:


Thanks, always wondered about that.  Now, do it again with live primers.  I think that was actually where the question was.



I loaded them into primed .40 cases and seated and crimped my cast lead
bullets

 
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:26:43 PM EDT
[#20]
Awesome post.  Thanks for sharing this and presenting it so well.

Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:27:08 PM EDT
[#21]
Quoted:
Quoted:
thank you for this, i think it should be a sticky in the reloader forum.


AGREED!


Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:30:21 PM EDT
[#22]
Thanks for sharing!


Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:30:36 PM EDT
[#23]



Quoted:


Truly outstanding post and information. Thanks for your efforts.


this a+



 
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:32:54 PM EDT
[#24]
Really, really good work.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:34:08 PM EDT
[#25]
great job....... someone mentioned that there might be a problem with cordite , like in a .303 round. its not a normal looking powder, but looks like sticks of speghetti. there was some worry a powder like that might break down into smaller pieces, and increase pressures. if you get the chance, try to tumble some surplus .303 and see if it holds up.... if it does, then tumbling should be fine .
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:35:51 PM EDT
[#26]
Awesome, thank you, and about time somebody did this.

Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:37:26 PM EDT
[#27]
Awesome experiment and fascinating results!!!!
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:40:15 PM EDT
[#28]
Just an idea, what about making say 10 rounds and tumbling 5 for the 200 hours.  Shoot all 10 through a chronograph on the same day and same gun.  That might give you some idea of pressure changes due to the tumbling.  



Great post.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:41:26 PM EDT
[#29]
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:46:52 PM EDT
[#30]
Excellent
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:47:04 PM EDT
[#31]
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:49:53 PM EDT
[#32]
Well, you sure did take my little 'I'm bored' experiment to a new level.

Congrats and great job.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:50:05 PM EDT
[#33]



Quoted:


thank you for this, i think it should be a sticky in the reloader forum.






 
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:52:11 PM EDT
[#34]
So how does appearance correlate to performance?



And how do the primers react to the vibration?
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:53:13 PM EDT
[#35]
Quoted:
Nice pictures.

IBTCDR
(In Before The Chronograph Data Requests)

I've done chrono readings before and after tumbling.  I saw no difference between the two.  Sadly I didn't document any of my experimentation.  I didn't tumble the loaded rounds for nearly as long as you did.  My stuff was tumbled for about 10 hours which is inline with what I'd run into with my methodology.  


I normally tumble live no more than an hour, but wanted to get a ridiculous amount of time to remove any doubt
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:56:03 PM EDT
[#36]
Quoted:
How is the accuracy?

I heard the main argument against tumbling live ammo is inconsistent wear on the bullets causing them to do weird stuff


My soft lead cast bullets barely had the parting lines wore off, anything jacketed wouldn't wear.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:56:26 PM EDT
[#37]
Nice work.  Definitely reference grade.   Needs tacking in the ammo forum.



If anything, the only change I see is that the surface of the grains is a bit cleaner after tumbling.  On some powders, they have a bit of a yellowish

residue on them that's mostly gone after tumbling.   I'm not sure what that is, exactly.   The color's about right for sulfur but there shouldn't be any

sulfur in nitrocellulose based powders.  It's not graphite, which is used to lubricate powders for easy flow through the metering devices on the measure,

since graphite is grey.





CJ




Link Posted: 1/23/2010 6:58:42 PM EDT
[#38]
Most of the time when people try and add 'O'truth' to their title, I click on the thread and am totally unimpressed.



You did a great job




AWESOME post.

Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:00:03 PM EDT
[#39]
Outstanding work.  Thanks for taking the time to do it.  I know there are a few questions to be answered, but this took busting the myth a giant step forward.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:00:12 PM EDT
[#40]
Quoted:
very neat post, but i have one minor question about your loads.  how much powder was placed in the cases prior to tumbling?  was it a compressed load, that would not allow the powder to move around within the case?


regardless, very cool, and i am very impressed with the quality of your pics.  i would never have thought your set-up would produce such great photos!

-matt


I filled the cases to about 65% capacity for each powder which is under what most loadings are. I wanted the powder to have plenty of room but still simulate the mass of the powder, like maybe the weight of the powder would help break itself up.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:01:40 PM EDT
[#41]
Quoted:
Thanks, always wondered about that.  Now, do it again with live primers.  I think that was actually where the question was.



They are all live.

Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:06:37 PM EDT
[#42]
Quoted:
Black powder or a black powder substitute?


Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:10:34 PM EDT
[#43]
Thanks

Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:38:50 PM EDT
[#44]
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:55:53 PM EDT
[#45]
Ok so I got the pro account, let's see how long it take to get them back up.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 7:58:33 PM EDT
[#46]
Quoted:
You need to find a different photo host, 99% of the photos are showing "Bandwidth Exceeded", which isn't terribly instructive.


That is probably more a result of the amount of traffic at ARFCOM.  This place must be an advertisers wet dream.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 8:02:37 PM EDT
[#47]
Wow pics are back.  Very very nice work.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 8:06:27 PM EDT
[#48]
Niiice

That basically confirms what I already thought.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 8:09:08 PM EDT
[#49]
Quoted:
So how does appearance correlate to performance?

And how do the primers react to the vibration?



The supposed problem I have read were related to the powder breaking down and some coating wearing off, both changing burn rates. They all kept their shape so there was no break down; the sheen and surface texture remained the same so I don't think any coating wore off. Being visually the same, and neither of those things happening I don't see what else the tumbling would change. It would have to be an internal change, being basically a solid granule, I don't think that is likely to happen with a little vibration alone.

I updated the original post with some primer photos, they look unaffected.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 8:12:13 PM EDT
[#50]
AWESOME!!!!!

Thanks, this is the most informative post in GD in months! THANK. YOU.
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