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Every now and again something comes along that you just gotta try. It
might even have been one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" kind of things.
So it was with the Shell Sorter. After first seeing it at the Dillon
retail store, I knew it was something I wanted to try. So, after putting it off long enough.....and with my
wife asking for some Christmas present suggestions, I added the Shell Sorter to
my wish list. Sure enough.....it showed up under the tree come
Christmas morning. Imagine that!!!
Complete with a new plastic 5 gallon bucket that I had recently picked up at
Home Depot, the Shell Sorter consists of three heavy duty plastic stackable
pans. Each colored pan has a series of slots in the bottom. Each
colored pan will either retain or pass through various sizes of brass cases as
you vigorously shake the pan with a mix of brass in it.
After a number of trips to the range, the bucket I toss my reloadable brass
in will have a variety of cases in it, not the least being .223, 9 mm, .45 ACP,
.38 Special. That same bucket also manages to accumulate .40 S&W, .380
Auto, .308 Winchester, etc. but not at the same rate as the calibers I routinely
reload for. In the photo above, the mix of brass includes .223 Rem, 9 mm,
.38 Special, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
After 30 seconds of a "shake & flip" session, the yellow pan
contained all of the .45 ACP brasses. Since I don't routinely have .40 S&W
brass to deal with, I salted the mix with 7 rounds of .40 S&W. We all know
how easily the .40 S&W likes to snuggle up inside of a .45 ACP case.
So....did the .40 S&W all fall through to the next pan? It was time to
check it out.
BINGO! Seven .40 S&W brass cases accounted for! This
pan will also retain .38 Special and .357 Magnum cases. You can see a
handful of .38 Special brass dangling in the slots.
The black tray, the one with the narrowest slots in it, retained the .223 Rem
and 9mm brass cases. It was easy enough to sort the two case types into
separate containers. There you go.....five very common shell cases sorted
in well under two minutes. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Here is a list of some of more common cases that will be retained in the pans and ultimately the bucket. It will obviously work for other cartridges but these certainly cover some of the very frequently shot cartridges.
For those of you that have a .380 Auto, don't despair....the Shell Sorter folks have come up with a way to separate the .380 Auto from the 9mm. It consists of a metal plate with slots cut to a tighter tolerance than can be achieved in the molded plastic pans. The Shell Sorter folks say.....
||"The 380 Shell Sorter Plate is not quite as fast to use
as the Shell Sorters, but is still just as effective. We found that
the tolerances necessary could not be obtained in plastic, which is
why we have used aluminum. This allowed us to hold the tolerances
necessary, though the price for the material and precision is
higher. It certainly offsets the cost of finding a 380 in the wrong
"If you are sorting a large amount of brass, we have found that it is faster to sort through all your brass with the three Shell Sorter pans as normal, then place the 380 plate in either the blue or yellow plate. Then re-sort the contents of the black pan through the plate. Your 380 will fall through into the bucket, and the 9mm will remain on top of the plate. When used this way it is not necessary to remove the 380 plate until completion."
Well, that is about it. A very simple and might I say "Easy & Quick" way to power sort a pile of brass. I've sat for hours picking apart .40 S&W and 9mm from brass recovered at some of the ranges I have shot at. Never again!
If you find yourself in need of sorting brass and you don't feel like spending hours up on hours doing so, pick yourself up a set of these pans and cut that time down to a matter of minutes. Spend those extra hours you save reloading more ammo or better yet, shooting it out at the range!