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Cleaning Brass Cases


Snakebite
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Posted (edited)

I know, this has been BEAT TO DEATH. Don't care.... I've been running a test the past two days on my dirty brass to decide what method is best for my routine brass cleaning.  I have a Lyman 2200 Auto-flo Vibratory Tumbler, an Extreme Rebel 17 wet Rotary tumbler with SS pins and a 2.5L Ultrasonic Lyman. I just replaced my Red Walnut shell media and bought a bottle of Hornaday One Shot case cleaner. I had about 3,000 mixed 38 special Brass cases to be cleaned. I cleaned 1000 by each method and made sure to not over load.  I used One Shot at the recommended dose in both the Wet tumbler and the Ultrasonic cleaner. 

 

First went to the Rebel 17. Cases were absolutely sparkling. This was the slowest process with prep and separating the media. About 2 1/2 hrs plus drying time. 

Second place went to the Ultrasonic cleaner. Cases were bright, but not sparkling. No media separation needed. About 30 min. plus drying time. 

Third was the Vibratory Cleaner. Cases were clean but dull. The  Auto-Flow left media everywhere and never got everything out of all cases. About 2 1/2 hrs.

 

The Ultrasonic cleaner was by far the easiest and fastest. This was the first time I've ever used it to clean cases, and the first time I've ever used the One Shot.  

Edited by Snakebite
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Posted (edited)

Never mind.

Edited by Yul Lose
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1 minute ago, Yul Lose said:

Don’t use SS pins in the Rebel 17 and it’s just as fast as the Ultrasonic and the brass is much shinier. Use 1 teaspoon Stratosheen in place of the pins.

 

^ This X 1,000.  I absolutely LOVE Yul Lose for turning me onto Stratosheen.  (In a brotherly way, of course. :lol: ) Brass comes out every bit as clean and shiny was with pins but without the hassle of having to separate the pins. 

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Just how 'clean & shiny' is actually needed?

 

I clean my cases, everything from .32 up to .45, in a Lyman 1200.   I sprinkle in a few drops of

Dillon case cleaning stuff, let em run for about 2 hours (although 1 hour is usually sufficient)

and pull em out darn clean.

 

I don't know if 'darn clean' is equal to shiny, sparkling, etc..... but I do know that 'darn clean'

lets me reload em without getting my hands and dies dirty.

And they all still feed real good in my auto pistols (9mm, 10mm, 357 SIG, and 460 Rowlands).

 

..........Widder (a darn good feller)  :lol:

 

 

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If you have problems getting media out after dry vibrating, you are doing it wrong.  I've got an old 3 pound coffee can with hardware cloth riveted over an open bottom.  Shake hard a few times and the brass is completely separated.  Unless there is a small case stuck in a big one (9mm really likes to hide in .45 Colt cases).

 

Another "darn good" vote for dry vibrating, plus a little paint thinner and a used dryer sheet to suck up the dirt and grease.   And no drying time either.

 

good luck, GJ

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I've just recently started using a wet tumbler for cleaning, no pins, with Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series InstaClean Brass Cleaning Packs.  I am cleaning approximately 200-400 pieces at a time and I don't deprime before cleaning.

 

I am drying using an old round Nesco 4-tray dehydrator.

 

Two to three hours in the tumbler (still experimenting).  Rinse three or four times.  Then three hours in the dehydrator.

 

Does it take longer than just using walnut media?  Yes.

 

Is it any cleaner than using walnut media?  I really can't tell - EXCEPT I'm not having to deal with dust.  And I don't mean a cloud of dust from separating the media from the brass.  I mean getting residue all over my hands when I handle the brass afterwards as well as seeing it build up on my dies.

 

For me, I am liking the wet tumbling/food dehydrator drying method more than conventional walnut media method.

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14 minutes ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

Locally we call a dehydrator the Sun.

 

And, if one spreads out a black garbage bag under the cartridges in the sun, it works even faster.

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Well OK... I'll get some of that Stuff and try it again without the SS Pins. Garrison Joe. Getting the media out works just fine if I put them in my tumbler/separator. What I was talking about was the built in media separator on the Lyman machine. It drains the media out a hole. Problem is that I end up with the stuff all over the floor where some of it doesn't get into the drain pan, and there are always some of the brass cases that don't get emptied when using the drain. 

 

Yul... give me your address. If this doesn't work I'm gonna get "Chewy" to do a drive by BA! :P

 

Snakebite

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If I was loading high power rifle for long distance I'd get a wet tumbler with the pins. For all my pistol caliber and 45-70 the walnut media vibratory works good enough. I don't deprime first either. I just changed out my old media and forgot how much difference it made cleaning inside the cases. I ran that last batch too long. I use a little of the nufinish.

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I’m hooked on the @Yul Lose method, brass comes out clean.   If I really want shinny brass (I like my brass SG shells extra nice) then I use a vibratory cleaner.   The place that sells the Stratoshene also sells impregnated media, pricey but works well. 

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3 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

I’m hooked on the @Yul Lose method, brass comes out clean.   If I really want shinny brass (I like my brass SG shells extra nice) then I use a vibratory cleaner.   The place that sells the Stratoshene also sells impregnated media, pricey but works well. 

OK.... where? I don't need 25 lbs of the stuff. Who sells a smaller quantity? 

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20 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

OK.... where? I don't need 25 lbs of the stuff. Who sells a smaller quantity? 

Rio Grande Supply. I bought 5 lbs of it about 10 years ago and still have over half of it left. It’s about $27.00 for 5 lbs but it only takes a teaspoon per batch. Some people on here still bitch about it being to expensive. If you buy 25 lbs your great grandkids grandkids will be wondering what to do with it.

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1 hour ago, Chief Rick said:

deal with dust.

That is one big reason the used dryer sheet goes in the vibrator media before running the brass lot!

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I should have been more specific in detail.

 

I also add 2 pieces of 2"x2" dryer sheets that I've cut up.  Bounce works great for collecting all the

small dust particles.

THEN..... when the cleaning is done, I put the lid on the vibratory clean.  Its one of their lids that

is well vented with lots of big slots.   But not too big for the brass to fall thru.

Anyhow, when finished polishing/cleaning, I turn the machine UPSIDE DOWN and shake

all the cleaning grounds out into a 5 gallon bucket.

Takes about 45 seconds.

Then I dump the clean brass out on a towel and then pour the cleaning grounds back into the

Lyman 1200.

 

As they say in Morocco,  'Fini Tootsweet'.

 

..........Widder

 

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31 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

Rio Grande Supply. I bought 5 lbs of it about 10 years ago and still have over half of it left. It’s about $27.00 for 5 lbs but it only takes a teaspoon per batch. Some people on here still bitch about it being to expensive. If you buy 25 lbs your great grandkids grandkids will be wondering what to do with it.

OK, Hummm 5lbs, 10 years ago, half left, that's  2.5 lb in 10yrs, or 1/4 lb's per year, or 4oz/year, .16667 oz per teaspon, one half teaspoon per batch, that's 50 batches per year or approx 1 batch per week. Sounds like a it will work. I'll need to find several guys to go in with me on this purchase so as not to over buy. ;)

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7 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

OK, Hummm 5lbs, 10 years ago, half left, that's  2.5 lb in 10yrs, or 1/4 lb's per year, or 4oz/year, .16667 oz per teaspon, one half teaspoon per batch, that's 50 batches per year or approx 1 batch per week. Sounds like a it will work. I'll need to find several guys to go in with me on this purchase so as not to over buy. ;)

 

Snakebite,

Just shoot more!  :D

 

..........Widder

 

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Posted (edited)

I reloaded for cas shooters commercially for 18 years.

I bought and broke several cheap hardware store plastic timers.

They always broke during a big order.

I went to the electrical supply store.

I got a mechanical timer.

There are lots to choose from but I got a 4 hour timer.

I only needed 3 to 3.5 hours for cleaning.

I have run that timer for over 15 years and it is still on my work bench.

I wired it to a power strip and ran as many as 4 tumblers at a time.

Mostly 3 and keep 1 back in case 1 of the tumblers broke.

 

I would fill the tumblers when I emptied them each morning.

As I left for the night, I would turn them on for the 3 to 3.5 hours.

Leave so I did not have to hear them running but would be ready in the morning.

 

Here is one of these timers but you can get 1 of several makes.

81fzWVz1niL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

https://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-FF4H-Spring-Brushed-Finish/dp/B002RMZ57W/ref=asc_df_B002RMZ57W/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198094063648&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5755971766049780433&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031455&hvtargid=pla-318359017816&psc=1

 

Edited by Cliff Hanger #3720LR
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21 minutes ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

I reloaded for cas shooters commercially for 18 years.

I bought and broke several cheap hardware store plastic timers.

They always broke during a big order.

I went to the electrical supply store.

I got a mechanical timer.

There are lots to choose from but I got a 4 hour timer.

I only needed 3 to 3.5 hours for cleaning.

I have run that timer for over 15 years and it is still on my work bench.

I wired it to a power strip and ran as many as 4 tumblers at a time.

Mostly 3 and keep 1 back in case 1 of the tumblers broke.

 

I would fill the tumblers when I emptied them each morning.

As I left for the night, I would turn them on for the 3 to 3.5 hours.

Leave so I did not have to hear them running but would be ready in the morning.

 

Here is one of these timers but you can get 1 of several makes.

81fzWVz1niL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

https://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-FF4H-Spring-Brushed-Finish/dp/B002RMZ57W/ref=asc_df_B002RMZ57W/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198094063648&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5755971766049780433&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031455&hvtargid=pla-318359017816&psc=1

 

Would you be interested in Renting yours?

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2 hours ago, Snakebite said:

Well OK... I'll get some of that Stuff and try it again without the SS Pins. Garrison Joe. Getting the media out works just fine if I put them in my tumbler/separator. What I was talking about was the built in media separator on the Lyman machine. It drains the media out a hole. Problem is that I end up with the stuff all over the floor where some of it doesn't get into the drain pan, and there are always some of the brass cases that don't get emptied when using the drain. 

 

Yul... give me your address. If this doesn't work I'm gonna get "Chewy" to do a drive by BA! :P

 

Snakebite

I’ll be at the Western Regional and you can thank me there.:D

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I use walnut media with hd Simple Green and Nu Finish. Pop in a couple of dryer sheets and it's good to go. Seems like less hassle to deprime while reloading and there is no drying step to do.

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Posted (edited)

Below is the link for 5 lbs of Strato-Sheen:

 

Strat-O-Sheen Powder Burnishing Compound, 5-lbs. (riogrande.com)

 

Yul's method is the best and my brass drys in about an hour in my $5 garage sale food dehydrator.  I'm done with stainless steel pins.  My drying time is faster now that I deprime before wet tumbling. 

Edited by TN Mongo, SASS #61450
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1 hour ago, TN Mongo, SASS #61450 said:

Below is the link for 5 lbs of Strato-Sheen:

 

Strat-O-Sheen Powder Burnishing Compound, 5-lbs. (riogrande.com)

 

Yul's method is the best and my brass drys in about an hour in my $5 garage sale food dehydrator.  I'm done with stainless steel pins.  My drying time is faster now that I deprime before wet tumbling. 

I'll have to play with the drying time to see how it looks after an hour.

 

One thing for me - I'm not in a rush to reload the brass that I've just cleaned.  Regardless of cleaning method, it usually sits for at least a week or two before it gets reloaded.

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12 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

I'll have to play with the drying time to see how it looks after an hour.

 

One thing for me - I'm not in a rush to reload the brass that I've just cleaned.  Regardless of cleaning method, it usually sits for at least a week or two before it gets reloaded.

Same here.  I let my brass air dry.  I don’t reloaded until winter.

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Even though my food dehydrator dries the brass in about an hour,  I almost always run the dehydrator longer (I'm a little paranoid about having wet brass).  I just know that this drying method works so much better than my previous method of placing the wet brass on an elevated window screen in the garage.  The wet brass on the screen wasn't always completely dry even after a week.  Depriming helped, but the food dehydrator works the best for me.

 

Also, I won't reload that particular batch of brass for several weeks.  Several local shooters have had issues reloading cases that they thought were dry right after wet tumbling.  All of them have had several rounds that failed to fire because of wet powder.  One cowboy acquaintance I know thought his method of placing his wet brass on a big lipped cookie sheet in the oven worked great.  He was right until his wife found out that he was using her favorite cookie sheet and putting items, that might contain some amount of lead, in the same oven she used to cook their food.  My wife had a similar reaction when she found out I was washing the golf balls from my practice bag in our washing machine.

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40 minutes ago, TN Mongo, SASS #61450 said:

 I just know that this drying method works so much better than my previous method of placing the wet brass on an elevated window screen in the garage.  The wet brass on the screen wasn't always completely dry even after a week. 

 

Move West young man.  A week?  Out here it's dry as a bone in an hour. :D

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2 minutes ago, Shooting Bull said:

 

Move West young man.  A week?  Out here it's dry as a bone in an hour. :D

Don’t know if there is enough room for two of you out here..:P

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32 minutes ago, Shooting Bull said:

 

Move West young man.  A week?  Out here it's dry as a bone in an hour. :D

You're correct about that!  I was at Border Town two years ago and the climate is definitely dryer than here in Southeast.  Our humidity is horrible during the summer.

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A bucket with a lid. 1 gallon Boiling hot water. 1 cup of tide . Slosh for 5 mins and sit for 25 more then add 1 /2 cup white vinegar  and 2 tablespoons of salt. Shake for 2 mins and rinse  thoroughly.  Done

5 dollar bucket and household items. And simple.  Use the extra  you saved to buy more boolits 

Edited by Lucky Bastard
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On 6/7/2021 at 5:55 PM, Snakebite said:

Getting the media out works just fine if I put them in my tumbler/separator. What I was talking about was the built in media separator on the Lyman machine. It drains the media out a hole. Problem is that I end up with the stuff all over the floor where some of it doesn't get into the drain pan, and there are always some of the brass cases that don't get emptied when using the drain. 

Yeah, from what I know of that Lyman drain design, I'd never open that drain.  Use what works, ignore what fails.   Everyone has a different definition of success - but if you put up with "failure" for your criteria, as we can see, you will be disappointed or worse.

good luck, GJ

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If you don't use the pins do the insides still get clean? I shoot BP and I like to get the insides clean also, especially if I de-prime first. 

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6 minutes ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

If you don't use the pins do the insides still get clean? I shoot BP and I like to get the insides clean also, especially if I de-prime first. 

No, but I don’t shoot BP and don’t care if the insides are clean or not. My least favorite part of reloading is cleaning brass and that’s how I came up with the pin/media free method. For what I do it works great. If SASS starts a clean brass inspection down the road I’ll have to change my ways but until then this works well for me.

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i have some badly tarnished [BP i suspect] that have turned up in my accumulation , when too bad i recycle but if i can save em i do , my question is can these really ever be cleaned again ? or do i just get them usable and continue till they are no longer serviceable - i dont have any qualms of using brass thats discolored , ive neen using anything that is smooth and still goes thru the dies , i use a walnut media , 

 

its not like this is an endall deal or anything , i get them at the unload table and am scotsman enough to not throw them out , there arent many to start with , they just dont come out like mine do , 

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13 minutes ago, watab kid said:

i have some badly tarnished [BP i suspect] that have turned up in my accumulation

 

I clean that with a dilute solution of grout removal cleaner - sulfamic acid.   In a pint of water, put in 2 ounces of vinegar and a tablespoon of sulfamic acid crystals.   Warm in microwave in a glass jar to dissolve crystals.  Dump in badly tarnished brass, stir a little, take out brass (no more than a minute) - after all carbonates have bubbled off the brass.   Wipe brass with a green scrubbie pad.  Rinse in water.  Takes the tarnish off like magic, and not had problems with it weakening the brass.  Just don't leave it in the solution for more than a minute.

 

It will clean range brass that has laid outdoors all winter and gotten really corroded, but getting that stuff clean often means a fair amount of the brass splits with one or 2 loads.

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Custom-Building-Products-Aqua-Mix-1-lb-Sulfamic-Acid-Crystals-050231/300176044

 

Use rubber gloves if you are going to be doing a lot.  I just run 10 pieces or so at a time and fish the brass out of solution with an old fork.

 

good luck, GJ

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