tumbling loaded ammo?

tmcelrath

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is this good or bad? I have heard that it can cause dramatic changes in pressure and make what was once less than a max load become over max after. does anyone have any experience with this? Im not doing it but a local ammo mfgr is, and hasnt had a complaint yet, Im wondering if his days of luck are are counting down.
 

Force_Multiplier

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    people always say "bad"... but rumor has it that several ammo manufacturers, both large and small do it on all their ammo.

    I've done it to try and see a difference, and can't tell that it does anything other than make the ammo look good
     

    doubled

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    my opinion is it's not going to hurt anything; think about how many rounds of ammunition were shipped via rail car during WW2 out of the Lake City plant... those rail cars shook the ammo longer and with more force than your vibratory tumbler does.
     

    Force_Multiplier

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  • May 22, 2008
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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I actually did it to see if it hurt the ammo from all the arguements against it, after the shipping point was brought up and I was told by several people that ammo manufacturers do it...


    I loaded ammo, tumbled it, pulled the bullets and looked for signs of the powder breaking down, there was none.

    so I shot it and compared it to the same loads untumbled, no measurable difference, in group size, drop/windage, or velocity.

    it just cleans the outside of the cases and bullets.

    I agree that there is no reason to do it, but I don't see what it hurts either.
     

    red hawk

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I would think it's a bad practice. I think it would change the powder,and may cause higher pressure. Just my humble opinion.I would rather be safe than sorry.
    smile.gif
     

    Force_Multiplier

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: red hawk</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I would think it's a bad practice. I think it would change the powder,and may cause higher pressure. Just my humble opinion.I would rather be safe than sorry.
    smile.gif
    </div></div>


    see, here's the problem... too many opinions, not enough facts.... tumble some, pull some bullets, inspect the powder, then WHEN ( not if ) it's unchanged, shoot some...


    there's NO difference
     

    deerassassin22

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I have accidentally had a few live rounds in my tumbler just made them really shinny and I learned to check before pouring brass in. I think the manufacturers do it to make it look PERRDY before they put it in that box.

    I love my SHINNY ICBM's they are more AERODYNAMIC
    smile.gif
     

    tmcelrath

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    Well i dont necessarily see a reason TO tumble reloads, but maybe some people buy some "seasoned" ammo from a gun show and my think that ugly ammo wont shoot as good or may have adverse effects on their weapon so they clean it up to shoot it. I havent shot tumbled reloads to the best of my knowledge but after using a bit of common sense, I guess it is tumbling of sorts when you buy ammo online and it's shipped ground only.. I have seen how ups handles their packages. Thanks for input, if anyone DOES have personal experience with adverse effects or changes in velocities, I'd love to read about it as well.

    Thanks
     

    Leaddog

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: targaflorio</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have done it with no noticeable effect. Shooting a round with case lube still on it would be worse. </div></div>

    Just wipe your loaded rounds with a rag lightly moistened in isopropyl alcohol. Problem solved.
     

    turbo54

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I've also tumbled live ammo. Trajectory and accuracy are unaffected. The myth of powder break-down is just that...a myth.
     

    Force_Multiplier

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Maybe that's the emphasis? Tumble assembled cartridges to clean off the case lube? Makes as much sense as anything. Meaning, of course; no sense at all.

    The argument that, hey I did it and nothing happened, is weak. Tumbling before you load is great, I am a strong believer in clean serviceable brass. Why tumble again when the cartridge is completely assembled? That's the part that I don't get.

    My handloads look great without putting them through any additional cycles. It's unnecessary; nobody can offer any real advantage in tumbling live rounds.

    I remember a long time ago, reading about the primer compound and pulverized propellant migrating into the primer area, when tumbling live rounds. Kinda made sense to me and I never felt the need to prove it further. I doubt that those who claimed the problem exists would do so without a shred of evidence to support the claim. And this gets me back to the question: if there is no advantage, why do it?

    Maybe we need a volunteer? Somebody willing to tumble 100 cartridges for 6 months and get back to us after comparing them with a control group of 100. You know? It's called the Scientific Method. BB </div></div>


    LMAO...apparently you can't read.... I did it... not for 6mo, but for several hours....

    why... because I wanted to know for myself, not go off what I THOUGHT, or what I'd READ somewhere a LONG time ago...

    I decided to take a scientific look
     

    High Binder

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    In laymen's terms, the science that more surface area will burn faster and that breaking down a powder will create more surface area is sound. What is not known is what force and time is needed to break down a powder (each one will be different due to compositional differences) but are probably relatively close. So powder X might completely break down in a tumbler over the course of a few hours while powder Y may take years to break down. Powder Z might break under tumbling force and powder U may not. In order to definitively say one way or the other one would need to test the spectrum of powders taking into account the aforementioned factors... FM's experiment is the only empirical evidence we have thus far but only accounts for 1 of probably a billion options.
     

    TexIndian

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I have accidentally tumbled a handful of rounds over the years, all pistol ammo. I fired them all w/ no noticeable difference, although I admit I didn't chronograph the loads or make a point to I.D. how they printed on target in comparison with the other ammo. For me, that's not enough info to say it couldn't be dangerous in the right situation. There are too many variables. I couldn't begin to tell you what loads were involved, what powders, or what the temps were when I fired those few tumbled rounds, for instance. Since I would get nothing in return for running the risk with my rifle ammo (which tends to run on the hot side without any help), it's a no-brainer for me.
     

    TexIndian

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    In addition to the kernels themselves breaking down, there's the matter of shaking off the retardant coating on the kernels. I've read several times over the years that the only difference between Powder X and Powder Y from the same company is the type of retardant applied. IIRC, these articles dealt with IMR single-base powders. I'd hate to see my 4350 turn into 4198 after spending a night in the tumbler. I'm not saying it would, I'm just saying it's not worth the risk since I don't know for sure.
     

    TexIndian

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I'm not trying to agree or disagree with anyone. I went to the link provided to see if I might learn something. Unless I'm missing something, the author there did not fire any of the ammo, just pulled it apart to see if he could see any changes in appearance. He reported a lot of 'dust' that he assumes (based on its color) is retardant shaken loose from the powder.

    His experiments ends with this:

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The brass used was once fired and had been cleaned twice before this loading. The “Dust” I am sure is from the powder and not the case as the Benchmark “Dust” was the same green color powder. There for I am going to say while it is not a significant amount of “Dust” and I seen not one single broken kernel the fact remains that something is happening to powder in a tumble. Weather it is able to be seen with the naked eye cannot be determined at this time. I would have to caution anyone from tumbling loaded ammo. I for one will stick to the not tumbling loaded ammo. As I can see with my own eyes that something is happening to the powder. </div></div>
     

    red hawk

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    WHY not to tumble live bullet? GO to accurateshooter.com,(Sept.2,2008) and read what Dave Campbell..Ballistican/customer service of HODGDON POWDER CO said in this article or google "tumble live bullets".Then make your choice.
    smile.gif
     

    Force_Multiplier

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2008/09/why-you-should-not-tumble-clean-loaded-ammo/

    Q. Is tumbling loaded ammunition dangerous?

    Answer: “…Extensive tumbling can cause the breakdown of the powder grains. This would have two major effects. First, smaller grains will ignite more quickly than larger grains, and second the deterrent coating on the outside of the grains may be rubbed off and will be absent from any fractured edges which will cause the powder to burn more quickly raising pressures.

    Tests run some years ago by a commercial entity did indicate that potentially dangerous changes in powder charge burning characteristics do take place after PROLONGED periods in either a vibratory or a tumbling cleaner.

    The key word here is prolonged. Many manufacturers of ammunition do a final cleaning of their product either by tumbling or a vibratory process before boxing it for shipment. In no case is this allowed to exceed more than just a couple of minutes. The intent is not so much to “polish” but to remove any traces of contaminants which might in time leave marks on the finished product. There seems to be a consensus among the ammunition manufacturing engineers that a minute or two of vibratory cleaning has no discernable effect on burning rates, especially for loads that are compressed, or nearly so. However, all have emphasized the need for EXTREME CAUTION not to overdo the process.


    I googled it... it says that many manufacturers vibrate or tumble their loaded ammo
     

    Force_Multiplier

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  • May 22, 2008
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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    look, here's MY position on it... I see very little to no reason for it....

    BUT, I also see very little to no evidence, other than theoretical ideas, that it hurts... in fact I see a lot more evidence that it's done regularly and doesn't hurt anything
     

    targaflorio

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    The most common situation is probably loading on a progressive machine. The finished round comes off with the case lube for the sizing die still on it. Of course you can hand wipe each round, or you can do what Dillon told me to do: tumble them in media for 5 - 10 minutes.
     

    Deadshot2

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I do everything in my power to eliminate unnecessary steps. Since I clean all my brass in stainless steel media after depriming, and I neck size only, I just use a collet die and don't have any lube to remove. No need to tumble after loading.

    That said, I have in the past tumbled loaded ammo. Over the last 35 years or so I've done so with no issue whatever. Limited it to ammo loaded with FMJ bullets though. HP's and SP's dend to get a little dinged but Milspec and RN's don't seem to care.

    Have yet to see actual documented EVIDENCE that a cartridge has exploded while in a tumbler. Lots of "I know a guy who" type stuff but nothing in the form of incontrovertible proof.
     

    fadin'fast

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    Over the years I have tumbled loaded ammo, both new and reloads, by accident. Sometimes for over 2 hrs. Never had any safety issues nor did I have any problem firing them at a later date. Still would not recommend, why take the chance.
    Just one man's experience.
     

    justme

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    To each his own but I don't just in case and so far it has worked well for me for the past 40 years as I have never had a KB, still have both eyes & all 10 fingers.
     

    armorpl8chikn

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I do not load on a progressive so no need to tumble live ammo. Is it safe? Within reason it probably is. I have seen factory ammo with madia grains in the box so it is defianately practiced by ammo manufacturers.
    I agree with Captain Rob, ugly ammo is fine but putting a cartridge in a chamber with some lube residual is not.
    Clean corn cob will remove the lube on a live round in less than 10 minutes in a tumbler. I don't see the harm in 10 minutes but I also personally don't see the need.
     

    EddieNFL

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    Has it been 60 days already?

    Used to be a note in load manuals warning against tumbling ammo. Haven't seen it in print in at least 20 years.

    A couple of guys on another board (The High Road, I think) tumbled ammo non-stop for a couple of weeks, pulled bullets, examined the powder and fired groups over a chrono. No changes in velocity, accuracy or appearance of powder granules.

    A number of years ago I contacted four or five powder manufacturers. All responses agreed there was virtually no danger of powder deterioration. One mentioned they tumbled loaded ammo far beyond what the average reloader might.
     

    Paladin2147

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    If a powder manufacturer says don't do it. That's good enough for me. But to each their own.
     

    Force_Multiplier

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Well, if Eddie says it's okay, that's good enough for me. That's been the only thing holding me back. I've actually been dying to tumble my ammo for several weeks, pull my bullets, examine my powder and fire groups through my chrono.</div></div>


    now that you're out of reasonable arguements... you're just being a dick huh?... you asked for evidence... people have given it to you
     

    tmcelrath

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    It was lack of knowledge and curiosity that caused me to ask. Didn't think it was going to be another fire starter, but I see good arguments. Is there really a need to do it, no... Are you guaranteed death by doing it, no.. to each their own I guess.. I dont personnaly do it, but i dont really see a need to, if the guy at the shop thinks that the average shooper is more inclined to buy super shiny stuff as opposed to hazy or dusty ammo, then whatever helps his buisness i guess.
     

    Paladin2147

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I hate it when people interfere with Natural Selection.
     

    Rob01

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    <span style="font-style: italic">Fucking</span> WHY do it?</div></div>

    That is the question that comes to my mind too. Maybe if you use a progressive to load rifle ammo and you have some lube on the case after loading but if you use One Shot that doesn't need to be removed it takes that out of the mix as well.

    Other than that My brass gets tumbled after sizing and then it's ready to load. No need after loading to tumble.

    Also makes me wonder if tumbling match ammo does anything to the concentricity. Just a thought that came up.
     

    EddieNFL

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Well, if Eddie says it's okay, that's good enough for me. That's been the only thing holding me back. I've actually been dying to tumble my ammo for several weeks, pull my bullets, examine my powder and fire groups through my chrono. </div></div>

    Well, Buzz, if you read (and comprehend) my post you will see I did not advocate for or against. I simply posted what I have read over the years. But, if attempting to increase your self esteem at my expense helps you out, carry on.

    Who knows? Maybe the manufacturers I spoke with were lying.
     

    Brenneman

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I tumble pistol ammo. I usually spritz some thinner on em before I put the media in and let em run for a little while.
    Also do .223, I just couldnt see setting there with a rag cleaning lube off of 2000 rds of .40 cal. I also dont want to have that lube all over my hands when I'm loading mags! As for .308 I use a rag and clean the lube from them but I usually only load 100 rds of that at a time!
     

    Deadshot2

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Got an email from some guy who said that some of his primers fell out while tumbling live rounds. WHAT MORE PROOF DO WE NEED, FER CRIPES SAKES? </div></div>

    Just think, maybe those who load cases with loose primer pockets SHOULD tumble their finished ammo. Better to have them fall out in the tumbler than to leak all that gas back through the bolt, etc.
     

    mdesign

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    fwiw...I load 1000's of pistol rounds through a progressive press after using Hornady 1 shot case lube. The loaded rounds have residue on them from the lube and they function fine.

    My only complaint is that it makes your fingers really dirty (much more so than tumbled clean ammo) when loading rounds during a range session. I would also think the same is might be happening in the chamber even though I have never known of an issue with it.

    Because of this I tumble my loaded round for 30 min after loading them. For giggles, I tumbled some for a week and they worked just fine. Yes, I have seen a primer come out but that is more of a function issue than safety.
     

    Fuzzball

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    ".. an additional step to weed out loose primers, two weeks in the tumbler. BB"

    Ah, BB, you do put a fine point on it!
    wink.gif
     

    EddieNFL

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Spare me, Eddie. Yeah, you advocated. And, it's okay. Really.

    Now, is it okay if I'm still skeptical? BB </div></div>

    So, you're skeptical about your self-esteem or if you're acting like a dick?

    And, no I didn't make a recommendation either way. I don't tumble, but not for the dire, end of the world as we know it reasons mentioned here. I value the experience of powder company tech reps over the opinions of internet experts and do not believe (based on the experts input) moderate tumbling will affect powder burn rates. I don't (but I have) tumble post loading because I don't need to.

    So, yes you may remain skeptical and you do not have to tumble your ammo. Carry on.
     

    johnjohn301

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    1+
    Nothing says "now you know" like seeing for yourself. Science = 1, Best guess = 0

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Force_Multiplier</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I actually did it to see if it hurt the ammo from all the arguements against it, after the shipping point was brought up and I was told by several people that ammo manufacturers do it...


    I loaded ammo, tumbled it, pulled the bullets and looked for signs of the powder breaking down, there was none.

    so I shot it and compared it to the same loads untumbled, no measurable difference, in group size, drop/windage, or velocity.

    it just cleans the outside of the cases and bullets.

    I agree that there is no reason to do it, but I don't see what it hurts either. </div></div>
     

    MMAJunkie

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I do it myself and have for years but only on round nose pistol stuff. That doesnt mean its a good idea just that I do it myself.
     

    davjones

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    This maybe an elementary question but why are you lubing pistol cases? I'm mostly a rifle shooter but it is my understanding that if you use a carbide sizing die on a straight wall case such as the 45 ACP or 9mm lube is not necessary. Is this wrong, even with a carbide die does the case needs to be lubed?
     

    Handloader

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I have done it many times, but as I now hand prime everything (Hate the priming system on both the Dillon 650 and the Hornady Lock-n-Load), I tumble after the case has been sized.....

    I did have to tumble a bunch of loaded 223 (i.e. 2500), a few hundered 7mm WSM and a couple thousand 9mm, 40 SW, and 45 ACP. I did not see a change in performance (but getting all that lube off the 7mmWSM sure helped the reduction of blown primers on hot loads...).
     

    MMAJunkie

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I dont lube straight wall cases I jsut like them to look "better" than those dull dirty reloads often do
     

    scrtshtr2286

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    How about this side of the argument? What if you had "acquired" some linked rounds that had been sitting in the garage for a couple of years and now has a layer of corrosion/rust around where the metal links contact the brass? Instead of pulling apart 300+ rounds after separating them from their linked death,why not just toss them in the tumbler for a bit? Do random quality control checks using whatever method makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, slap them into your magazines/cartridge holders, put up a few targets and have some fun. Maybe even take some pictures. Just a thought.
     

    winterhorse290

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    i do a 40 minute tumble after the rounds are done. i,ve been using the corn cob stuff from the pet store, too big for just cases, and the rounds come out clean and shiny. i load and store large batches so it may, i said may, cut down on grit and grease on them. never had a detonation and the tumbler is in the other part of the shop. either way, they sure are pretty
     

    lethal93ta

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I normally tumble my brass for an 1 hour - 1 1/2 before I size my brass, I use dillon spray lube and then tumble the brass another 30-45 min after to get the spray lube off and finish polish them, my first tumble I use the lyman corn cob that does a good job getting it clean, the second tumble I use stuff I get from http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/sea...&sst=subset that is small enough that it dont get stuck in the primer pockets and does a good job shineing them up. I have tumbled loaded ammo before for an hour or so just to shine up some ammo that I had sitting on a shelf for years and never had any problems with doing it.
     

    George63

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    I have 300 finished .223 tumbling right now, expecting to die any second
     

    FamilyMan

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    Re: tumbling loaded ammo?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuzzBoss915</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    WE NEED LAWS TO PREVENT SUCH FOOLISHNESS! </div></div>

    Spoken like a true Californian