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Question about cleaning brass in a tumbler


The Incognito Bandito

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I bought a Lyman brass tumbler yesterday at Bass Pro/Outdoor World and have just finished my first batch of bright & shiny brass! I noticed though that there was still a film which covered the empty shells. I don't know if its dust from the corn cob media, some of the polish stuck to the shells or a combo of both, so I sat and wiped the film off with a washcloth. Of course that worked, but I'm damn sure not gonna do it every time.

I thought I read somewhere that you can put a dryer sheet in with the media and shells to fix that problem, but not sure if that correct.

What is that film on the shells and what can I do about it?

 

Thanks!

Gregg

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The film seems to be a combination of the dirt and grease from the fired cartridges plus the fines that come from the media as it slowly pulverizes itself. A used dryer sheet cut in 3/4 inch wide strips (a whole sheet just seems to lump up in the bowl) will help pick up that crud and keep it off the brass (if you dig out the used strips and toss them after each load or two). Or, a cap of mineral spirits seems to cut the film, too. I usually just use the mineral spirits, like BF.

 

If you are using the "treated" media with red or green rouge in it, that stuff will leave a colored film much more than untreated. Buy lizard litter (ground walnut hulls) at larger pet stores - much cheaper and won't leave any rouge on the hulls.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I use walnut media, dryer sheets, and that once a year car polish that comes in an orange bottle (Nu Finish). The brass comes out just fine.

I also like to use a new dryer sheet when I put the brass/media in the media separator to keep the media from 'sticking' to the brass.

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Caution, more mineral spirits does NOT make it better -- stick with 1/2 capful.

More mineral spirits just means you will have to vibrate longer. Excess solvent will cause the media to clump and stick inside the brass. But, running another hour will let it evaporate and you won't see any bad effects. Media remaining in the brass can lead to weak or even squib loads if the primer can't light off the powder well.

 

Good luck, GJ

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In the years I have been reloading on a progressive and using a vibratory tumbler to clean brass, I haven't found any need to do ANYTHING about the little bit of film that sometimes remains on the brass. I just squirt a little case lube (Dillon) on the cases, shake in an old shoe box and throw it in the hopper. Reloads just fine. Shoots just fine. I wouldn't get ........... concerned about the film.

 

Coffinmaker

 

PS: I've also found it a waste of time to worry about "new" looking shiny brass. It doesn't shoot any better. Just needs to be clean.

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In the years I have been reloading on a progressive and using a vibratory tumbler to clean brass, I haven't found any need to do ANYTHING about the little bit of film that sometimes remains on the brass. I just squirt a little case lube (Dillon) on the cases, shake in an old shoe box and throw it in the hopper. Reloads just fine. Shoots just fine. I wouldn't get ........... concerned about the film.

 

Coffinmaker

 

PS: I've also found it a waste of time to worry about "new" looking shiny brass. It doesn't shoot any better. Just needs to be clean.

 

 

+1, beat me to it. Keep it simple. Shake and bake. There are lots of ways to waste time. Going nuts over having to have BRIGHT and shiny brass is one of them.

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One word of caution if you're new to reloading and tumbling. That "dust" not only contains media that is breaking down, it also contains primer residue and lead dust. I don't like dusty cases either, I couldn't care less if they are not shiny bright, but I don't like the dust. Be careful if you use your media separator indoors or if you blow any compressed air. I lost enough brain cells in the 60's and 70's, I can't spare any more....

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Howdy,

I use walnut media and a dryer sheet, but still get a little dust, so I take an old towel put the brass in grab the ends and move it back and foreth, not only does it get the dust and film but also any media that didn't come out during seperation it losens it and it fall to the bottom of the towel.

 

KK

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Thanks to everyone for your advice! As I said, as this was my first batch with my new tumbler, I didn't know how to expect the finished product to look and feel like. Were they clean? Heck yes! Where they blinding shiny? No. I guess its OK, because I figure they're just gonna get dirty again. (Kinda like making your bed) So if a slight film is normal, so be it. Thanks again!

 

Gregg

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One word of caution if you're new to reloading and tumbling. That "dust" not only contains media that is breaking down, it also contains primer residue and lead dust. I don't like dusty cases either, I couldn't care less if they are not shiny bright, but I don't like the dust. Be careful if you use your media separator indoors or if you blow any compressed air. I lost enough brain cells in the 60's and 70's, I can't spare any more....

 

I use the RCBS media seperator; it has a closed cover, so no dust problem. I also tumble with dryer sheets, and I've learned to ignore the film problem (most of it comes off in the sizing die, anyway).

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