Inspect the Raw Goods

QC starts with examining your raw materials. Brass is the only reusable component, so it warrants special attention. Although many don’t clean their used brass before reloading, I suggest it. It looks pretty, but more importantly you can get a better view during inspection.

Start by keeping your brass separate by caliber. Separating by brand is generally unnecessary unless you’re loading high performance rounds for accuracy, hunting or long-distance shooting.

You can clean your brass chemically or in a tumbler. I use a tumbler exclusively now that I’ve discovered corn cob media works better than walnut shells. Add a bit of auto polish to make your brass shiny rather than spending two to three times as much on a specialized cartridge case polish.

I use a plastic kitchen colander to separate my brass from the media. I pick up and look at every cartridge as I take it from the colander and place it into a reloading tray. Check for splits, bulges, burs and enlarged or distorted primer holes. Depending on the cartridge type, you may have to trim it and clean up some edges.

When you’re satisfied with your brass, turn your attention to the primers. Make sure you’re using correct primers for the load and they’ve been kept clean and dry. When priming, inspect each round to ensure the primer is flush and not damaged from seating.