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BRASS CLEANING

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Post by CarpeXRing Sat Nov 18, 2023 1:18 pm

Well the old vibratory cleaner has finally bit the dust.  I can't even imagine how many hours it has over the last 20+ years, but it's gotta be a gazillion.  So while I have been very careful about dust exposure (tumbling in the garage, rolling the separator outside with a breeze or using a fan to direct the dust away from me), I'm thinking this is a good time to switch over to wet.

My question for the folks that wet tumble, do you use steal pins and solution?  Also thinking a food dehydrator would work well for drying.

Appreciate any suggestions on your process, equipment, etc.
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Post by fc60 Sat Nov 18, 2023 1:40 pm

Greetings,

I use the Lortone QT12 tumbler.

For drying, I have an American Harvester Dehydrator.

Watch CraigsList or your local Second Hand store for bargains.

Pins? I use Stainless Steel. 0.255" long by 0.048" diameter. This diameter tends not to stick in the flash holes.

https://www.amazon.com/STM-Stainless-Tumbling-Media-Reloading/dp/B00KO9DF9K/ref=sr_1_5?crid=HU0N3OE468NK&keywords=stainless+steel+pins+tumbling+media&qid=1700332755&sprefix=stainless+steel+pins%2Caps%2C160&sr=8-5

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by troystaten Sat Nov 18, 2023 2:19 pm

I use a RCBS ultra sonic cleaner with Hornady case cleaner. Once they are clean I rinse them in hot water and let them air dry. Seems to work fine I don't polish the brass.

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Post by Wobbley Sat Nov 18, 2023 2:32 pm

For pistol (and rifle most of the time) I don’t use pins.  My solution is my own concoction : 1 teaspoon LemiShine, 1 tablespoon of Meguiars Ultimate Wash and Wax per gallon of water.  I tumble for 2 hours.  I use 2 Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumblers to get more through put.   Drying is the sun or a dehydrator.   The wax in the solution keeps the shine a little bit longer.
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Post by 8eightring Sat Nov 18, 2023 4:06 pm

I have both vibratory and wet tumbler. I don't use pins in the wet tumbler but I do sneak in and get my wife's dishwasher pods to put in with the brass. It seems to work great. Just don't over fill the tumbler with brass. There has to be room for brass movement.
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Post by Sg1911 Sat Nov 18, 2023 6:31 pm

I also have both a vibrator and a RCBS wet tumbler.  I pickup range brass as well as my brass so I use the wet tumbler, without pin, a case full of citric acid and a case full of dawn. Depending on the amount and degree of how dirty , I will wet tumble 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.  I will then air dry and bag the brass.  Usually run the clean brass in the vibrator before reloading for a hour or so, then lube and load

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Post by chiz1180 Sat Nov 18, 2023 7:05 pm

I have dry and wet tumbler(3) and an ultrasonic cleaner. The later with hot water and a cleaning solution (hornady or rcbs) is my current preferred method. I tend to clean batches of 3-500 at a time. If I clean batches larger than that I use the wet tumblers with pins and dish soap. If you use pins make sure that no pins remain in the brass when you load.
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Post by james r chapman Sat Nov 18, 2023 7:35 pm

I use Frankfort arsenal tumbler, ss pins, dawn soup, lemishine, and Johnson’s wax,
Food dehydrator to dry.

Gave the vibrator to my wife.


Last edited by james r chapman on Sat Nov 18, 2023 7:37 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Don’t drink the soup)
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Post by joeangi Sun Nov 19, 2023 8:06 am

I used to use vibratory cleaning. Prefer the wet cleaning. My process is to deprime first, hot water, ss pins, lemishine (small amount- or brass turns “green”)and meguires wash and wax. I let this run on the Frankfort aresenal tumbler for about 2 1/2 hrs. Drain and hit with a quick re-tumble for 15 mins with clean water and pins. I just let the brass dry on some towels after rolling it around. The sorting screen/ draining system gets most of the pins separated. Brass is probably too clean, and can use a little shot of “one shot” before loading. Just seems to make the press operate much more smoothly

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Post by messenger Sun Nov 19, 2023 8:14 am

joeangi wrote:I used to use vibratory cleaning. Prefer the wet cleaning. My process is to deprime first, hot water, ss pins, lemishine (small amount- or brass turns “green”)and meguires wash and wax. I let this run on the Frankfort aresenal tumbler for about 2 1/2 hrs. Drain and hit with a quick re-tumble for 15 mins with clean water and pins. I just let the brass dry on some towels after rolling it around. The sorting screen/ draining system gets most of the pins separated. Brass is probably too clean, and can use a little shot of “one shot” before loading. Just seems to make the press operate much more smoothly

I clean mine exactly the same way but you will find 1.5 hours is more than enough time in the tumbler.

Bill
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Post by BE Mike Sun Nov 19, 2023 8:51 am

One of the most talked about and least important part of reloading is polishing brass. Having said that, yes I'm anal enough to want my brass to look pretty. I use a Lortone QT 12 rotary tumbler with ground walnut shells and about a teaspoon full of liquid Flitz. If I just wanted it to be clean, I'd skip the Flitz.
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Post by Steve in Allentown Sun Nov 19, 2023 10:27 am

The amount of Lemishine to use depends on the hardness of the water.  Testing batches of brass using different amounts of Lemishine will quickly tell you if you're within the right range.

The stainless steel pins do a good job of cleaning out the primer pockets and removing carbon from inside the cases.  Carbon build up will reduce case capacity and result in external ballistic variations.  As a former benchrest shooter I can tell you that everything matters when it comes to shooting one hole groups.
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Post by BE Mike Sun Nov 19, 2023 3:26 pm

Steve in Allentown wrote:The amount of Lemishine to use depends on the hardness of the water.  Testing batches of brass using different amounts of Lemishine will quickly tell you if you're within the right range.

The stainless steel pins do a good job of cleaning out the primer pockets and removing carbon from inside the cases.  Carbon build up will reduce case capacity and result in external ballistic variations.  As a former benchrest shooter I can tell you that everything matters when it comes to shooting one hole groups.
Of course none of that matters with reloading pistol ammo used for bullseye pistol shooting. It's an entirely different animal.
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Post by rburk Mon Nov 20, 2023 12:57 am

I have been wet tumbling with SS pins, I use the pins to clean the primer pockets.  I am going to try without the pins.  Would definitely save time not having to mess with the pins.

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Post by 10sandxs Mon Nov 20, 2023 8:15 am

I wet tumble with 4 table spoons of armor all wash and wax (i think) or dawn dish soap. Hot water for both. I don't use steel pins, gave them to rifle shooting brother. I use the tumbler bowel for the collection point of fired brass and when it's full, I process it. For rinsing and drying, I 3d printed some helpers... my process is below...

Rinsing
https://youtu.be/2pUCjzzSMu8?feature=shared 

Drying
https://youtu.be/Qdaqtz-iJLs?feature=shared

In winter the low humidity in my area gets them dry in a day.  in summer, ill put a small fan over them to dry them, but that is it.

Here's a picture after all has been done the timestamp from the video to the picture says it took me about 10 minutes to stand up about 1100 rds of brass
BRASS CLEANING 20231110

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Post by samtoast Mon Nov 20, 2023 12:31 pm

10sandxs wrote:For rinsing and drying, I 3d printed some helpers...
Thank you for sharing your process. Videos are very helpful.
Are the 3D printed helpers (or the STL files) are for sale?

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Post by Centerline Mon Nov 20, 2023 1:02 pm

SS pins 1.5 hrs in a harbor freight tumbler with a little dawn detergent, water, and a pinch of lemi- shine. Air dry on towel in a flat pan. When I didn't plan ahead i use a food dehydrator. I'd like to upgrade my tumbler to a Frankford arsenal type because the harbor freight model is a bit annoying to open/close and will eventually wear out (but hasn't yet over several years!) I use this gizmo I made for processing, sorting, etc. It's pretty slick and saves a lot of time. https://m.youtube.com/@casemanager1276

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Post by weber1b Mon Nov 20, 2023 2:55 pm

I go easy on the Lemishine as I think it causes the brass to tarnish after it's clean and dry. As far as drying to just do it in the oven on 175 for about 20 minutes. My wife is very tolerant.

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Post by weber1b Mon Nov 20, 2023 2:58 pm

Besides keeping all the crap in the garage until the brass is clean, I really like the fact my loading machines now stay a whole lot cleaner as well. Wet takes more time but in my mind it's well worth it.

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Post by RodJ Mon Nov 20, 2023 5:00 pm

james r chapman wrote:….
Gave the vibrator to my wife.

This cannot go unacknowledged as the highest form of selfless “repurposing” I’ve ever witnessed. 

With that out of the way, I switched from dry for health reasons and use wet but hate the pins they get everywhere and hide inside the Framford tumbler stuck to a the walls, inside cases, everywhere. I don’t decap before wet tumbling. 30 min or so is sufficient with a few drops of dawn and a splash of simple green or purple.

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Post by DK Mon Nov 20, 2023 7:54 pm

I use the Lortone 12# drum in a home built rotary machine and decap prior to tumbling.  Meguiar’s car wash, cold water, and ss chip media (not pins) do the trick after a couple hours.  I haven’t added lemishine so far but may try adding a bit to the mix in the future.  Drying is done in a Lyman Cyclone case dryer and takes about 1-1/2 hours.

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Post by 10sandxs Mon Nov 20, 2023 11:17 pm

samtoast wrote:
10sandxs wrote:For rinsing and drying, I 3d printed some helpers...
Thank you for sharing your process. Videos are very helpful.
Are the 3D printed helpers (or the STL files) are for sale?
Happy to supply stl, step, igs, or native solid works files. It will cost you two boxes of ammo given to a jr program or shooter in your area.

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Post by WesG Mon Nov 20, 2023 11:34 pm

RodJ wrote:
james r chapman wrote:….
Gave the vibrator to my wife.

This cannot go unacknowledged as the highest form of selfless “repurposing” I’ve ever witnessed. 
I was gonna say I've gotten to that age as well.

Wet ... yeah, a mess. But consider the long term effects of breathing the dust ... with or without the lead residue from the primers.

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