What method do you prefer for cleaning your Brass?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by CDR_Glock, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. CDR_Glock

    CDR_Glock

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    i have been using corn media for a few years. It gets dusty and dirty but it works.

    A friend told me about using stainless steel media and a tumbler, using dishwashing soap. Sounds and looks like a viable option for cleaner Brass. I realize there are extra steps but the volume of Brass tumbled is much higher (1000 of 223) than what I can do on my Lyman 1200. Sure it has to be rinsed and then dried. I don't plan to deprime them beforehand since I have a progressive.

    What's your take and experience?
     
  2. WeeWilly

    WeeWilly

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    I tumble with corn cob and crushed walnuts.

    Your friend is right, wet tumbling is far better for your environment (not so much where you pour the waste water) and the cases will look like new. Use lube when loading even the smallest pistol caliber after the wet tumble, they will be sticky like any new case.
     

  3. Ponce

    Ponce

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    I like to wet tumble. I just process brass when I get enough for a full batch. I have thousands of clean cases of the 7 calibers I reload.

    I also add 2 table spoons of wash and wax, and a quarter teaspoon of limeshine to each batch.
     
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  4. Russ Not the Mod

    Russ Not the Mod

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    I am particularly interested in this thread because I am new to reloading. I have used the water/vinegar/soap/lemishine with good results without a tumbler. I just put my brass into a plastic coffee jug and shake it around, up and down etc. Do this on and off for a couple of hours and all is well.

    Inside and outside pretty clean. At least by my eye. I have to get as much water out shaking in towels and let it dry for a few days. It works though with not a lot of effort.

    Do tumblers get the insides real clean too?

    Russ P
     
  5. ede

    ede

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    corn cob and walnut 75/25 mix along with NuFinish and mineral spirits. I use a concrete mixer for most of my tumbleing.
     
  6. lethal tupperwa

    lethal tupperwa

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  7. dudel

    dudel

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    I was a long time corncob/walnut tumbler for about 20 years. Did the NuFinish, mineral spirits, dryer sheets, etc. Did not like the dust. A couple of years ago, I started looking at alternatives.

    First was citric acid bath. This works pretty well, and is cheap. A $3 bottle of Citric Acid (Walmart in the Canning Supplies aisle - Ball Brand). Lemishine (in the dishwasher soap aisle also works well). Get a bucket, add a tsp of Citric Acid/Lemishine in a couple of quarts of hot water, throw in the brass and let it sit for a half hour or so. Agitate every so often if you want. Rinse in fresh water and let dry. Works amazingly well. No pins, no electricity needed. Too much acid, and you can get a pinkish tinge to the brass.

    A year or so ago I moved to pin washing. Frankfort Arsenal had a good deal on their FART (Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler). I like the unit a lot, and the brass comes out looking like new. I use a 1/4 Tsp of Lemishine and a capful of Blue Coral car wash and wax. Add a couple pounds of brass and media to the tumbler, add water to the neck, fasten the end cap, and let it run for about 90 minutes. The unit has a timer. When done, rinse and separate the media. Put on sunglasses first. I have an RCBS media separator; but found that a colander in a bowl work as well. Pour the rinsed brass into the colander, keep the water flowing (pins come out easier that way) and stir the brass. Set the brass out to dry. Some people use a food dehydrator; I just lay the brass out on a towel. In the Texas sun, it dries pretty quickly. The car wax keeps them shiny, and I've found I don't need to lube 357Sig brass any more. You can mix brass with similar case mouths. (eg 9mm, 357Sig, 300 BO, 38Spl and 380ACP all at the same time.

    One thing. I DO deprime before cleaning. This does a couple of things.
    1) gets the primer pockets really clean
    2) allows cases to dry much faster
    3) keeps the primer smutz off the main press (I use a small Lee C press and a Universal decapper) to prep the brass for cleaning.

    I also have a HF rock tumbler for doing small batches. Works the same way. I'm glad to be rid of the dust. I like clean brass. Clean brass means less wear on the brass.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  8. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

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    So far I've just been brushing out a few loose particles inside if there are any (mostly not enough to worry about with .38, but more thorough with .308). Then wipe mostly clean on the outside with a lubed patch, adding lube as needed and changing the patch every 25. While doing this, a quick visual inspecting of each brass.

    When I start with 9mm, picked up from dirt/grass, I may consider tumbling. Thus my interest in this thread :)

    But if I'm not selling the rounds, the tarnished look is ok with me, as long as the outside isn't dirty enough to interfere with feeding/operation of the gun. Wiping with lube gets them clean quick.

    As long as the inside is dry, and no big/loose particles, I figure it should be fine for firing. Any reason why it wouldn't be? For rifle I brush the inside more just for potential precision and uniformity.
     
  9. dudel

    dudel

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    You hit on the key. Uniformity. The more uniform your brass (inside, outside, primer pocket, neck tension, capacity, etc) the more uniform your ammo. Clean brass gives you more uniform brass.

    There's also a bit of pride in creating nice, clean ammo.
     
  10. SJ 40

    SJ 40 Deplorable,Clinger

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    Now that's a tumbler. SJ 40
     
  11. Firearmfanatic

    Firearmfanatic The Enabler

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  12. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci

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    I resize and deprime, Bell the mouths, then the cases all go in a plastic container with dish soap and sit for a week. I shake the container 3 or 4 times a day and then drain and rinse well.

    Not a neat nut and always felt that super clean Shiney brass was un necessary and time and labor intensive. I load on a single stage still and the precision for me comes from building one round at a time. Clean Shiney brass never benefited accuracy nor functionality so I don't bother.

    VooDoo
     
  13. WeeWilly

    WeeWilly

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    I knew a guy that used a HF Cement Mixer to tumble his cases. He had many Blue Barrels full of spent cases.
     
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  14. WeeWilly

    WeeWilly

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    Number 2 is a big one. Anytime I have experimented with wet processes, depriming first made an enormous difference in drying time (and just getting them dry at all down by the head). If you don't deprime prior to wet process, definitely use heat (not a lot you don't want to anneal the cases, but heat, like very low oven temp or drying in the hot summer sun).
     
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  15. dudel

    dudel

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    I'm thinking of using a salad spinner to facilitate the drying. However, even with a spinner, I suspect depriming would help.
     
  16. happie2shoot

    happie2shoot

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    Have you lived a summer in Idaho yet?

    Many days are high 90 and more with low teens
    humidity, even seen under 10%, things really dry out fast.

    Leave your wet brass in a dark car in the sun, that helps,
    leave the windows down a little too.
     
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  17. PVolk

    PVolk

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    Crushed cob in a regular tumbler. Works great.

    I tumble for an hour prior to sizing and de-priming. This helps keep my dies cleaner. And when the brass is prepped and ready for a primer, I tumble for another 2 hours to get the lube off and to get it a nice shine.
     
  18. happie2shoot

    happie2shoot

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    For the people that use Lee Tumble Lube, that
    hot car thing helps, leave the windows down
    some.
     
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  19. dudel

    dudel

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    That or cut that Lee mule snot 50/50 with mineral spirits.
     
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  20. SmokelessPowder

    SmokelessPowder Consummate Reloader

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    Corn cob in dillon tumbler. I add some of the dillon polish every once in a while. I separate the media and brass in the dillon media separator and bag up (in gallon zip locks) the brass to use next year or whenever. I rotate my brass so I throw in a card with the date. I'm not super concerned about rotation, but I try. The brass is going to be dull again after a year or two in the attic, but it works just fine.