Cleaning Brass

Discussion in 'Reloading Equipment' started by jwernecke, May 22, 2020.

  1. Im getting all my stuff set back up, and I discovered that my vibratory tumblers are missing. So my question is since I have to buy new everything anyway whats the recommendation for cleaning brass. Corncob, stainless pins, ultra sonic.....what does everyone prefer?

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  2. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I use a rotary wet tumbler with stainless steel pins. A couple drops of Dawn and citric acid. Afterwards I drop them in clean hot water with a pinch of baking soda. Then I put them in my brass dryers. Roll them on a clean dry towel to keep them from having water spots before putting them in the heater. Good luck
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  3. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I favor walnut to clean dirty or badly tarnished brass. Corncob for a nice polish.
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  4. writerinmo

    writerinmo G&G Evangelist

    I use a wet tumbler with stainless steel chips from Southern Shine, few drops of Dawn and a sprinkle of Lemishine. Rinse in hot water and toss on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour or so, usually more as I forget they're in there a lot of times
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  5. jerry

    jerry Since 03-15- 2002 Forum Contributor

    De prime, ultrasonic with dawn and lemi shine, rinse, dry, final tumble with cob and additive like DILLON or Nu finish.

    rifle brass normally gets re sized head space and trimmed if needed.

    I would like a pin tumbler. I do believe any kind of wet cleaning is good saving on Cobb and airborne contamination. That “muddy” water will make a believer out of you.
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  6. Rocky7

    Rocky7 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Ditto except I use a cheapo WallyMart food dehydrator to dry the brass. I blame gandog56, RIP. He kept posting these pictures of shiny brass. I wish I'd said more when he was laid up.
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  7. writerinmo

    writerinmo G&G Evangelist

    I used the wife's dehydrator...once...
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  8. Dutch

    Dutch G&G Evangelist

    For my money I'd buy another Thumler's Tumbler model b, no question. SS pins are optional, I don't use em.

    A vibratory is real nice to have around though, I used mine (before it broke) to polish bullet lube off loaded ammunition. Not often, but it was nice when I wanted to use it. Too dusty for my liking for every day use though.
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  9. Huey Rider

    Huey Rider G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I use a used dryer sheet or put a paper towel over the top, then screw the lid down to keep dust down, I’ve yet to try the suggestion of rice.
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  10. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter G&G Evangelist

    When I started reloading wet tumblers cost 300 & up but the price has come down a lot, if I started today I would buy the wet tumbler right away. You are only looking at about $50 more that the price of a vibratory tumbler but you can do a much better job with wet.
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  11. jerry

    jerry Since 03-15- 2002 Forum Contributor

    I have noticed this too.
    They used to be very expensive.

    Sent from my iPhone using Gun and Game mobile app
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  12. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    those were rock tumblers designed to run for a week at a time for 8 weeks straight.

    now they are pin tumblers kinda ''dumbed down'' for lighter use.

    I use both the wet and dry systems.
    the dry is used to dry the wet brass and also to remove case lube.
    it's also used to apply a coat of wax, or just clean up the not so grungy stuff I want to load in an hour or so.

    the wet is to clean up new range brass, or the grungy semi-auto stuff.
    I also use it for other things like rolling newly swaged bullets in BB's, and to clean up some small parts for various household projects.
  13. Rocky7

    Rocky7 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    You need help. :)
  14. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    hey now... chuckle.
    if I go through all that work to get them all blingy I want them to stay that way.

    I have even been known to wet tumble, dry tumble to dry, lube and size, then tumble the lube off, anneal, then pin tumble, and run them through the corn cob to add the wax.

    then I wear gloves while I'm loading them to keep the cases from tarnishing.

    I go through a similar clean and polish for some of my bullets then add a coat of wax to them too.

    part of the reason for the wax is to keep the bullet and case from bonding through electrolysis over time.

    but it really only adds a couple of hours of ''doing something else while the machines are running'' time to my loading process, so it's no big deal.
  15. Kellen

    Kellen G&G Evangelist

    I don't complicate it. Usually vibrate the brass with Lyman corn, but might use tufnut if needs an especially good cleaning. Can't say I'm consistent when it comes to brass cleaning since haven't felt it adds to accuracy. Or does it? Is cleaning brass just a pretty thing, or does it actually have a bearing on accuracy?
  16. Small update. Taking everyone's suggestions into account I opted ultimately to go with what I know best. Picked up a dry tumbler and some tufnut media. I did however run vinegar, dawn, and hot water in a coffee can and just hand swirled and let it soak for about 30 minutes. I only did about 1 hour of tumbling and everything came out really super clean. I will probably look into some better wet tumbing options in the future. Like some many things in life I think a compromise of the 2 is where the answer really lies. Dry is great, wet is great....doing both has to be double great right?

    Thanks everyone for your words of wisdom.