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Maddog McCoy SASS #5672

Wet tumbling Brass

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

I have a bunch of older brass that I have dry tumbled for years and I am thinking about trying wet tumbling to get them clean. I am using 44 mag brass and it is not cheap or easy to find used brass. The problem I am having is the primer pockets have a buildup of crap in them and I have been getting high primers when I load them sometimes. One of my Marlin rifles will feed them and the other one will not completely close and you have to hit the lever with your hand to close it. After going thru the rifle a couple times, it was determined to be a ammo problem. When I checked the ammo after loading, they all appear to be ok but my one rifle will hang up with them sometimes. I have deprimed all of my brass and was looking for better way to clean them.

 

I have looked at the wet tumblers and rock tumblers from Harbor Freight and Amazon and they appear expensive for what looks like a motor and a plastic coffee can and they don't hold very much brass.  I have not found a used one to try and did not want to spend a bunch of money of something that does not work.

 

I tried an untrasonic cleaner and it did not clean the primer pockets after about 20 cycles of the cleaner.

 

My current idea is to buy a used small cement mixer  and try it for wet tumbling. I have a found several used cement mixers on Craigslist for $50 to $150 and wondered if anybody had tried this. I have about 2000 pieces of brass that I would like to clean.

 

I was told by a friend to use Dawn dish soap and stainless steel pins with water for the tumbling media.

I knew I forget part of the formula----(1/4 tbs of Lemishine)--- Thanks to Jailhouse Jim

 

I am open to suggestions.

 

Thanks,

Maddog McCoy

Edited by Maddog McCoy SASS #5672

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I use the Frankfort Armory Platinum Series wet tumbler with stainless steel pins, a spritz of Dawn, and a 1/4 tbs of Lemishine to get BP brass to shine like new.  I run about 500 at a time even though it will hold many more than that.

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I have a Frankfort Arsenal tumbler.  I use to use Dawn and SS pins but I found a nice product called “Brass Juice”. I no longer use the pins and just the Brass Juice and all my brass comes out nice and shinny.  I don’t deprime before I tumble but if you do deprime even the primer pockets will be clean.

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Posted (edited)

Many of us use Strat-O-Sheen (link listed below), Lemi Shine, and a little Dawn.

 

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/strat-o-sheen-powder-burnishing-compound-5-lbs/3390175

 

I like the Rebel 17 wet tumbler.  It's very well made, but it is not cheap.  I found it well worth the money.

 

Also, if you're having build up in your primer pockets, de-prime your brass before you wet tumble.  I found a food dehydrator at an estate sale dirt cheap and it's fabulous for drying wet brass. 

Edited by TN Mongo, SASS #61450
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35 minutes ago, TN Mongo, SASS #61450 said:

Many of us use Strat-O-Sheen (link listed below), Lemi Shine, and a little Dawn.

 

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/strat-o-sheen-powder-burnishing-compound-5-lbs/3390175

 

I like the Rebel 17 wet tumbler.  It's very well made, but it is not cheap.  I found it well worth the money.

 

Also, if you're having build up in your primer pockets, de-prime your brass before you wet tumble.  I found a food dehydrator at an estate dirt cheap and it's fabulous for drying wet brass. 

 

+1 on rebel 17.  fine equipment made for the job

 

I use SS chips instead of pins.  Much, much smaller and seems to do a quicker job.  have to send them a message on Facebook or I think they now list an email  https://www.facebook.com/southernshinetumblers/

 

Also use a car Wash and Wax and the brass doesn't get dull.  Had some over a year old and still shiny.  They got a bit darker but shine was still there.

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16 minutes ago, Cheyenne Ranger, 48747L said:

 

 

Also use a car Wash and Wax and the brass doesn't get dull.  Had some over a year old and still shiny.  They got a bit darker but shine was still there.

 

Car wash with wax plus a 1/4 tsp of lemishine.  +1 on if you de-prime the primer pockets will be clean.  If you don't de-prime make sure you let the brass dry a good long time the water will seep in the primer pocket and if it's not dry you'll get wet primers.  One last thing don't leave them in the dirty water too long, I left a batch overnight and the brass was dirty, had to rewash them the next day.  YMMV

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I picked up a cheap Lee single stage loading press at a flea market for ten bucks.  I have a universal decaping die in it and deprime my brass when I have time and when I have enough to clean I do so.  Clean brass and primer pockets.

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I bought the Lee Breech Lock Hand Press #90685.
It was inexpensive, all metal and very nicely constructed.

This is ideal for mindless decapping in front of the TV set.
The spent primers drop into the ram until you are ready to empty them into the trash.
In addition to catching up on Mr. Ed, this keeps depriming off my press.

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The decapping process is easy. I filled the case feeder on my Dillon 650 and have a sizing die in the first station and the rest of the stations are empty. It also helps to insure the batch  I am working with does not have a odd size mixed it with it.

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10 minutes ago, Maddog McCoy SASS #5672 said:

The decapping process is easy. I filled the case feeder on my Dillon 650 and have a sizing die in the first station and the rest of the stations are empty. It also helps to insure the batch  I am working with does not have a odd size mixed it with it.

 

With 50+ yrs of reloading experience behind me, let me say this. 

I will never resize any case till after it's been cleaned. 

I deprime, wet tumble w/ceramic media and after the cases dry. I either reload'em or put them in storage in airtight containers. 

OLG 

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The Lee APP press is depriming simplicity. Thank you Warden Calloway.

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I have mixed feelings on the wet tumbling...but when I throw in brass that sort of looks moldy they dont look moldy when they come and if deprimed the pocket look nice as well. I think I have overdone it with the lemishine..cases come out clean but dull. Would like to know where to get ceramic media to try that Lumpy Gritz mentioned...

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Posted (edited)

I use the Frankford Arsenal tumbler.  Comes with the SS media which is a nice plus.  I picked it up from Amazon for $120 and I’m happy, although since ive only been loading for a few years, its all ive known.  I know the HF double drum rock tumblers are popular if you want to keep it cheaper.

 

i had not come across car wash and wax, though.  Will look into that.  

Edited by heckofagator

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Thumlers Model B is the key!!!   :)

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2 hours ago, Sgt. Hochbauer, SASS #64409 said:

I have mixed feelings on the wet tumbling...but when I throw in brass that sort of looks moldy they dont look moldy when they come and if deprimed the pocket look nice as well. I think I have overdone it with the lemishine..cases come out clean but dull. Would like to know where to get ceramic media to try that Lumpy Gritz mentioned...

 

Research Dave Maurer's ceramic media. 

Been using it for over 10yrs now.

OLG 

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20 minutes ago, Mud Marine,SASS#54686 Life said:

Thumlers Model B is the key!!!   :)

 

Lo speed model ;)

OLG 

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I use the high speed option.

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3 hours ago, Sgt. Hochbauer, SASS #64409 said:

I have mixed feelings on the wet tumbling...but when I throw in brass that sort of looks moldy they dont look moldy when they come and if deprimed the pocket look nice as well. I think I have overdone it with the lemishine..cases come out clean but dull. Would like to know where to get ceramic media to try that Lumpy Gritz mentioned...

Yes, too much lemishine will darken brass a lot.

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I found wet tumbling to be more trouble than I wanted. 

 

But if you do, do as recommended.  First deprime with a deprimer (no need to wear out good resizing die with dirty brass.)

 

Then go through the drying process and the whole case should be nice and clean- including the primer pockets.

 

Or do as others have said and I sometimes do.  Clean the brass (dry tumbling/shaking), resize and deprime, then clean the pockets while watching tv, setting out in the back yard, etc.

 

The inside won't be nice and shiny, but will shoot just fine - and you will start fresh with primer pockets and they should shoot several times before needing cleaning again - if ever before they wear out.

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11 hours ago, Mud Marine,SASS#54686 Life said:

I use the high speed option.

 

Not the best choice.

Respectfully, 

OLG 

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Posted (edited)

Make the investment in a Franfort tumbler, and as previously stated get some Strat-O-Sheen from www.riogrande.com. Use 2oz Strat-o-Sheen with one gallon of water and you'll get this (idea to wear nitrile gloves - solution is caustic). If you pop out your primers before you wet clean, the stainless pins and Strat-o-Sheen will most likely clean out the primer pockets. If primer pockets are really gunked get a primer pocket cleaning tool, sit in front of the TV, and give your primer pockets a good cleaning - with subsequent wet tumbling the clean pockets should last for a long time.

RR

 

Tumbled cases.jpg

Edited by Roger Rapid
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I've had a Thumbler Tumbler for around forty years. 'They didn't have different speeds back then. The only thing I've replaced is the lid gasket and they belt. 

I've used crushed walnut hulls then lizard litter. I tried ceramic media and finally found the stainless steel pins. I soak my brass with or without primers for at least 20 minutes in hot water and dawn dish washing liquid. I tumble with warm water, a squirt of dawn and a 1/2 tsp citric acid for two hours and they come out shiny clean and deprimed brass have pristine primer pockets. You can find citric acid (sometimes called sour salt) in every grocery store in the canning section. I've had the problem you mentioned with the primer pocket filling up with crud. I don't decap my pistol brass before polishing but pull it out of the press after decapping and scrape or brush the primer pocket and that has fixed the problem for me. 

                                             Jasper

'

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Sure makes for nice shiny brass both inside and out.

You can't get around how pretty that wet tumbled brass is, if that matters to ya.

 

But the outside of mine is just as shiny, but the inside is dark. But I haven't found any difference in shooting, so I avoid the extra work with my old vibratory cleaner. 

 

 

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Shinny brass has several benefits.  First it looks nice and gives one pride in there reloads, second it makes it easier to find on the ground and third it reduces wear on the dies.  Just my take on the subject.

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19 hours ago, Yul Lose said:

The Lee APP press is depriming simplicity. Thank you Warden Calloway.

I now wonder why someone didn’t come up with something like this along time ago . For the price it’s a great addition for anyone who wants to prep brass before tumbling/cleaning/trimming 

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21 hours ago, Maddog McCoy SASS #5672 said:

The decapping process is easy. I filled the case feeder on my Dillon 650 and have a sizing die in the first station and the rest of the stations are empty. It also helps to insure the batch  I am working with does not have a odd size mixed it with it.

 

 

did the same thing with my SDB.  4 screws to switch tool heads.  just depriming pin

 

only have to add a shell--progressive action drops them into bin all on its own

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