Like I said in my Brass Wizard review, one of the things I dislike doing is sorting brass for reloading. It’s not that hard or troublesome if I sort it after every range trip. I I tend to procrastinate and never attempt to sort out my brass. At least until I have a 5 gallon bucket overflowing with casings.
Until recently there were no good shortcuts to sorting brass. You just had to dive in and look at each head stamp. Then manually throw each case into its own bucket. Luckily some smart gun guy came up with a faster way.
Today’s review is on the shell sorter – an ingenious device to sort brass quickly by size
Why I Love the Shell Sorter
To me, one of the great things about guns their preciseness. There is not a lot of grey area when dealing with guns, they either are loaded or they are not. The round has the correct amount of powder or it doesn’t. For a guy that tends toward approximation and it is good that I have one precise hobby to keep me balanced. Guns are something that keeps me understanding that some things are black and white with no wiggle room for feelings. It is this level of preciseness which allows the brass sorter to work.
Each round has a specific measurement. Each case has a proper length and its case mouth has a specific diameter. By machining slots in a rigid container that are slightly smaller than a cartridge’s case size you can create a device that allows and object smaller than the specified cartridge to fall out of the container, while retaining the case it was designed for.
By creating three different colored containers each designed for common caliber dimensions, you can use them in series to quickly sort out a large quantity of mixed brass.
Colors Equal Sizes
The yellow sorter is cut to allow anything smaller than a .45 acp round to fall through so it collects anything larger like: .45 acp, .45 gap, .50 ae, .243, .308, 7.62×39 and .45 lc
The next size is the blue sorter, and its cut to allow anything smaller than .40 to fall through, so it collects .40 and 10mm. Because of the size of the rim of the cases .357 magnum and .38 spl cases are also collected.
The black is the smallest and it allows anything smaller than 9mm to pass through so it collects: 9mm, 38 super, and .223. If you buy the additional .380 aluminum plate, this black sorter will also sort .380
If you sort your cases before you clean them, then it is pretty easy to separate those nested cases where loose 9mm sometimes slips inside of a .40 casing. Actually, they tend to come apart on their own if you shake the sorter hard and long enough. If you tumble them before sorting, loose media can jam a 9mm into the larger .40 case tight enough to cause problem separating them.
The fastest way to use the sorter is to place the black sorter over the top of a 5 gallon bucket, then insert the blue sorter into the top of the black one, top the blue sorter with the yellow sorter and then dump a couple handfuls of cases into the yellow sorter and shake the bucket until the cases pass through the sorters. .17, .22, .25 and .32 acp cases along with small gravel and dirt will collect in the bucket, and you can then pull out each sorter and deposit the casings into there respective buckets.
This is the fastest way is you sort pretty regularly. If you procrastinate like I do you may need a different procedure.
How I Use the Shell Sorter Trays
- I take a bucket and nest the yellow sorter in the top.
- Next I then fill it to about ⅓ to ½ full and then shake the bucket until only the .45 and larger cases remain in the yellow sorting tray.
- I dump the tray into my .45 bucket and then repeat the process until the container holding the unsorted cases is empty.
- After that I then know that in my bucket that holds my yellow sorter contains only items smaller than .45.
- I repeat the process with my blue sorter, leaving only casings and junk smaller than .40 and .38 revolver.
- Lastly I finish up with my black sorter to get out all the 9mm.
Trust But Verify
Obviously, if your sorting range brass, and you are not 100% sure of the contents (and it would be a good idea to even if you are 100% sure) go through your sorted brass to make sure a nested cartridge, or some oddball casing or loaded round did not make it into your brass buckets. This is easy to do with .45 acp and .45 gap, or 9mm and .380 or 40 and 10mm.
As I said on the video, I really like this product. It is well worth the $40 or so I spent on it. I haven’t bought the $20 .380 plate as I RARELY shoot .380 but if I did, I think it would be money well spent also.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the browning M2 Heavy Barrel .50 and a 0 being the Clinton Gun Ban I would rate this shell sorter as a solid 9.5.