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Thread: Washing pellets

  1. #1
    Marksman

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    Default Washing pellets

    In the chase for accuracy and precision, most of us clean and sort our pellets. Everyone has their preferred method of washing and what soap/degreaser to use. I recently had some problems with what I thought was a very thorough system which I would like to share to enable other marksmen on this forum to avoid this particular pitfall.
    I bought an ultrasonic cleaner some months ago and when cleaning pellets had to be done, I hauled it out and filled with some dishwash liquid and water. I set the temp on 40 deg C and put a tray of 500 JSB Monsters in for 10 minutes.
    After rinsing and drying I noticed some damage to some of the pellets. I didnt think the ultrasonic action would damage the pellets, but it clearly did. The next batch I only did 3 minutes and they came out shining and clean.
    I then put a few pellets in for 40 mins to see what would happen....the results below.


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  2. #2
    Marksman

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    The pellets were badly corroded, especially around the edges of the skirt, clearly the soft lead and the ultrasonic waves are not kind to each other. The pellets seem to have little balls of lead deposited on their suface as well, so if anyone wants to use an ultrasonic cleaner, limit the time to 3 minutes or less.
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  3. #3
    Sharp Shooter
    ARF Member Of The Year 2011

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    If your ultrasonic cleaner has adjustable frequency go for the highest frequency possible, this will result in smaller/finer cavitation action. Frequencies of 50khz to 130khz are used for cleaning more sensitive stuff like copper and soft alloys. Also, I think the pellets being in touch with another will cause microscopic abrasion and deformation over and above the ultrasonic cleaning you are after.
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  4. #4
    Sharp Shooter

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    Sorry to hi-jack the tread, it is sort of related.
    Has any one tried to tumble pellets to clean them?
    Will the media erode the outer wall thickness?
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  5. #5
    Protea Benchrest (Air) Team '15/'17

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    I do not think washing, cleaning or lube of pellets is worth it. If they do not shoot out of the tin, use the lead for other things.
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  6. #6
    Marksman

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    I would think tumbling is just about the worst thing you could do, with the pellets sliding over each other and then abrasive medium too, we don't want to alter the pellet shape in any way and the sharp edges of the skirt will definitely suffer with tumbling. the reason I wash the pellets is to get the small loose flakes of lead off them, and lets face it, pellets out of a tin is already quite clean.
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  7. #7
    SAFTAA FT Colours '18/'19
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    Agree with Junior
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  8. #8
    Sharp Shooter
    SAFTAA FT Colours '19
    The Sultan of Spring 2019

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    I just do "visual sorting" as in putting damaged pellets one side and I would weigh for big and important shoots. Mostly I will shoot straight from the tin as the batch Im using works very wel in my gun.
    Like has been said, If they cant shoot good out of the tin, then its not worth it. All that pellet sorting does is it just eliminates that flyer that you get every now and then.
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  9. #9
    Protea FT Team '16/'18
    National FT Champ '18/'19
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    Ek het my pellets gewas, maar nie meer nie, ek spandeer net tyd aan dit wat ek weet werk
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  10. #10
    Marksman

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    The way I see it, you have to control what you can, the rifle barrel should be indexed, the regulator should work as intended (if fitted) and the rifle tuned to be as accurate as possible. That leaves the shooter, and the pellets. All pellets are mass produced and I have found them to be quite random in their weights, some differing in weight by as much as a grain!
    So lets assume you are shooting with 18 Gr pellets in .22, then the variance in weight between the heaviest and lightest will be 5%.If that does not produce some flyers when shooting I would be very surprised. For me washing and weighing (with a diamond scale, not some cheap inaccurate scale) is about eliminating some of the factors you can control.
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