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Old 05-07-2011, 07:34 PM
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Default ultrasonic cleaner vs tumbler cleaning?

I am just getting back into reloading after a long time. I have heard of people using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean there brass. since I have an ultrasonic cleaner already....can I use it, how effective is it, and what do i use for a solution? or should I just get a tumbler? right now I will be loading 40S&W and 38 spec.
Thanks in advance!
Scott
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:04 PM
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I do not use one but have washed (soaked) dirty range brass in a solution of 2 cups white vinegar, 2 tbls salt and enough water to make 1 gal. Soak for 20 minutes and then rinse real well several times. The brass is clean but not super bright and shiny. Fine to reload though. You could use it in the cleaner but still have to rinse it.

I use a tumbler and buy bulk corn cob and walnut media with some car wax added (Nu Finish)

Here is a list of commercial solutions.

Reloading - Shop Reloading Tools & Supplies at MidwayUSA
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:20 PM
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I also have a cleaner and use the water, vinegar, dish soap solution. It works just okay, nothing spectacular, but they are clean around the primer pocket and inside.

I usually then run them through the vibratory and polish them up with the media and Nu-Finish, then they are SHINY!!!

I have heard recently though that stainless steel 'pins' used in a tumbler actually does both, cleans pockets and inside and polishes to a bright shine. Some of the pictures that I've seen attest to that too. You still need to use a soapy water solution, so there will be drying involved after tumbling.

The best part is that there is not much in the way of dust if these methods are used.

Stainless Steel media procedure with pictures - Calguns.net
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:51 PM
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I first deprime the cases and run them through the ultra sonic cleaner, then lube, size, trim and chamfer then they go into the tumbler just to polish. My Pistol cases I use carbide dies so size and deprime, trim and chamfer, bell the mouths and then into the ultra sonic cleaner, then finish up in the tumbler again just for polishing. I use simple green, and then rinse with boiling water and spread them out on a rag, the heat from the water aids the drying process.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:31 PM
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It appears that I'm not the only one that washes brass before tumbling it.

I'm a retired Clinical Engineer and I've maintained several industrial sized Ultrasonic Cleaners used to clean surgical instruments over the years as well as smaller ones. They work by small bubbles (microscopic) forming and bursting on the liquid/solid interface. Tap water doesn't work too well because it contains dissolved minerals and the inherent surface tension is high, so it doesn't flow freely into the smaller nooks and crannies. Distilled water with a couple drops of detergent per quart works pretty well for most applications, but adding vinegar and salt helps remove tarnish from brass. There are specially formulated solutions for cleaning specific materials, so check the application notes when buying premixed solutions.

I have a circa 1975 L&R unit with a half gallon tank that's cleaned a bunch of things including gun parts and badly tarnished range brass. I used to run all of my fired brass through it, but these days I just toss them in a gallon jug and shake them in a solution of distilled water, vinegar, salt and D-Lead detergent, let sit for a while, shake them again and then rinse/dry. Of course, my goal isn't to get them squeaky clean. All I want to do is remove the GSR and keep the airborne lead residue to a minimum while tumbling.

I use a vibratory type tumbler with walnut media and a little NuFinish so they shine (SWMBO likes pretty ammo) and slide into the resizing/decapping die easier on my turret press.

Some reloaders don't clean their brass at all, most tumble it only, while others wash it only and a few of us do both.
Dirty, clean or shiny, it all shoots just fine, but some reloaded ammo looks better than others.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:32 PM
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Daddyschatz:

there is more than one right way to achieve your goal of 'clean brass'.

How you go about establishing your own method depends on a lot of variables important only to you.

My own reloading journey started 30 years ago with the then-new Dillon 450 progressive press. I had never used a single stage press, and learned on first the 450, then the 550, and now the magnificent 650 progressive. Each can be used as a single stage if you wish.

I wrestled with what seemed a crucial decision between choices then of the traditional tumbler style vs the new vibrating style. I couldn't afford what I though I wanted so settled for a cheapie orange Lyman Turbo 1200 figuring to save up for what I "really" wanted later.

That 1200 still performs wonderfully to this very day after 30 years, so I'm pleased. It serves well using medium coarse walnut shell with a capful or 2 of Dillon blue stuff now & then. I got a lifetime supply of the walnut shell at Harbor Freight for $9 a box. After 8 years, I still have most of it waiting its turn.

I experimented for years with a variety of corn cob/magic elixers/other media, but settled for efficiently and economy on the walnut shell. Yes, I tried the red-rouge impregnated stuff too. Unnecessary and rather messier than expected. Undoubtedly there are other satisfactory media. I'd try the ceramic stuff but will wait pending depletion of my current crushed walnut shells.

I have never found the need to trim straight wall pistol cases to length, nor does the Dillon set up require case prep other than basic cleaning, usually taking 20-60 minutes, depending on how shiny I want the brass.

I have experimented with using an ultrasonic cleaner for brass; results are still investigational. I did use it enough on small gun parts to learn the mysterious powder it came with, added to water, was ineffective. I used a number of other suggested solutions, including as advised by my gunsmith, WD 40 deep enough to cover the parts.
It proved effective for cleaning but raised the concern of flash point and potential explosive or burning fluid scenario.

I then bought the condensed cleaner-stuff from one of the major suppliers, that is added at 25:1 or thereabout IIRC. It worked better than anything else I've used in the cheapie u/s unit I have.

The biggest surprise, was throwing in an old corroded double handful of 45 LC brass, mostly nickle, which I had left from shooting the Holy Black several years before. I had rinsed them off in the soapy-jug- on the way home, rinsed with clear water, then put away at the bottom of my 'lose it in plain sight' pile.

They had crusty bits of fulminating chemical debris that had grown over time; I considered them total scrap before trying the ultrasound.

They came out really clean.

So whatever you find in your own methodology will serve you well if you just keep experimenting.

Some will swear only one way is right; I don't care how you do it or what others do to serve their own needs. My method works perfectly for me, and that's all that I'm after.

Cheers on your new hobby.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:21 PM
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IMO loading a ultrasonic cleaner with brass is a PITA. Properly done they must stand up with primer pocket down. (L&R instructions).

My system is to wash them first in hot water and laundry soap, gets the bullet lube and dirt off.
I wait until the wife is away for a while and use the washer. For most handgun brass this is enough.

If you want more the Ultrasonic then will improve the cleanliness and the solution stays cleaner after the washer. They will not be shiny.

I personally think a hot wash and an hour in crushed walnut shells does all I want on handgun brass.

I bought some of the SS media, I use it on rifle brass, it does an absolutely super job.
You tumble in a rotary rock polisher; the pins are tiny and clean everywhere.
However, separating the pins, soapy water, and the brass is not a walk in the park, IMO its overkill for straight wall brass.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:39 PM
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For what it's worth, I did try the ceramic media, did not work any better than the US and just as wet, soapy. I would not recommend it any more than Lyman would....when I spoke to a tech there, he told me that they do not recommend it, (yet they sell the vibratory bowl for doing just that). Go figure.

Anyway, I was not pleased with the results so I am informing you that I think that it's a waste of time to pursue ceramic in a vibratory. Plus, it's expensive!
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:56 AM
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I use a used fabric softener sheet cut into four pieces, lizard litter, a little Nu-Finish and a couple hours in the vibrator. Great, cheap results.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:46 PM
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I shoot a lot of lead bullets that is the reason for my soap and water wash as a first step.
Between the residual lube, the greasy soot, and powder residue, even brass which has not hit the ground has a lot of water soluble surface crud
It will come off in the vibratory cleaner, but soon leaves the media greasy. My media used on washed brass lasts much longer. I too keep old dryer sheets and pcs. of shop towel circulating in the vib. c.
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:13 PM
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Default Vinegar is destructive to brass cases

I do NOT recommend using vinegar to clean cartridge cases. It seems some folks want "shiney" brass cases to reload and that is primarily from vinegar treatment. Vinegar is a dilute ACID which attacks the brass metal of the cases. If you are treating your cases with vinegar until they shine, then you are weakening your brass cases.
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:29 PM
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I've used the Vinegar process and that works well. However, I've had good luck with Citric Acid. 2 tablespoons in hot water, stir, add brass, stir a little, and in less than 10 minutes you have clean brass. And the Citric Acid won't harm the brass no matter how long you leave it in the solution. Citric Acid can be found in any store selling canning or wine making supplies and is not expensive (and be sure to use glass or plastic containers and utensils, not metal).
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:41 PM
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Default Citric acid dissolves brass

I wish to warn all reloaders that any acid, be it acetic, citric, etc. by their chemical nature attack metals such as the brass in cartridge cases. The acid converts the metal to a salt. The conversion of a dull case to a bright shiny case is simply the dissolving of the external metal to expose fresh metal underneath. If citric acid will not harm brass, then why not use it in metal containers????????
Because the citric acid attacks metals including the brass cases.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrb View Post
I do NOT recommend using vinegar to clean cartridge cases. It seems some folks want "shiney" brass cases to reload and that is primarily from vinegar treatment. Vinegar is a dilute ACID which attacks the brass metal of the cases. If you are treating your cases with vinegar until they shine, then you are weakening your brass cases.
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Originally Posted by nrb View Post
I wish to warn all reloaders that any acid, be it acetic, citric, etc. by their chemical nature attack metals such as the brass in cartridge cases. The acid converts the metal to a salt. The conversion of a dull case to a bright shiny case is simply the dissolving of the external metal to expose fresh metal underneath. If citric acid will not harm brass, then why not use it in metal containers????????
Because the citric acid attacks metals including the brass cases.
Thank you for your recommendations and warnings. Do you have any empirical data demonstrating the detrimental effect of washing brass in vinegar and/or other weak acids?

For the heck of it, I just might toss a few .22rf cases (or some caliber I don't reload) into some white vinegar straight out of the bottle for a few days and then compare them with some unsoaked cases from the same lot# to see if they get brittle or whatever, but in the interim, Iím going to continue using the National Rifle Associationís brass washing formula.

NRA Brass Washing Recipe from a 1957 article.

1 Pint water (I use distilled water)
1 cup white vinegar (4% or 5% acetic acid)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dish detergent (I use D-Lead made by Esca-Tech)

The NRA gurus originally formulated it for .45acp, but Iíve also been using it with .38spl and .357mag for years without any noticeable reduction in brass life. Of course, I dilute the white vinegar 2:1 with distilled water (which also attacks metals), and donít use it hot or let brass soak in the solution for prolonged periods of time.

FWIW: I wash my brass to get it clean and then tumble it to make it shine.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:20 PM
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As to comments that Citric Acid "attacks metals", I have never heard of this before (regarding brass). Most information I have states there is no damage, that the Citric Acid "passivates" the brass and helps fight tarnish (making it more resistant to corrosion). Perhaps there is some confusion with ammonia, which is harmful to brass. If anyone has any reference to Citric Acid being a problem please let me know. I'm only one of many using this cleaning process. And it doesn't leave my brass shining new, just clean.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrb View Post
I wish to warn all reloaders that any acid, be it acetic, citric, etc. by their chemical nature attack metals such as the brass in cartridge cases. The acid converts the metal to a salt. The conversion of a dull case to a bright shiny case is simply the dissolving of the external metal to expose fresh metal underneath. If citric acid will not harm brass, then why not use it in metal containers????????
Because the citric acid attacks metals including the brass cases.
Would you consider phosphoric acid more or less harmful to brass.?

http://sport.birchwoodcasey.com/file...eaner_2010.pdf
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:32 PM
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wow, so many different points of view! this is by far one of the best boards ive ever been on.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Vermont View Post
As to comments that Citric Acid "attacks metals", I have never heard of this before (regarding brass). Most information I have states there is no damage, that the Citric Acid "passivates" the brass and helps fight tarnish (making it more resistant to corrosion). Perhaps there is some confusion with ammonia, which is harmful to brass. If anyone has any reference to Citric Acid being a problem please let me know. I'm only one of many using this cleaning process. And it doesn't leave my brass shining new, just clean.
All acids react with something, but what specific materials they react with and the intensity of that reaction varies.
Who does what to whom can be found in chemistry books and databases.
For metals specifically, use metallurgy books and databases.

Brass is an alloy of Copper and Zinc and the tarnish is oxides of the two base metals.
Citric acid "attacks" Brass by removing the Oxygen from the tarnish, leaving the base metals behind. (This is good - Not bad.)

Many moons have past since I looked this stuff up, so I'm not sure if Citric acid actually passivates Brass, but tumbling would remove the passivated layer even if it does, so if you tumble your Brass after washing, add some Amonia-Free polish to your tumbling media to protect the exposed Brass.

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Old 05-12-2011, 05:02 PM
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Acetic acid (vinegar) and citric acid are "weak" acids, and have a relatively high pH. Neither will dissolve base metals (producing hydrogen), but they will dissolve oxides which form tarnish. Of the two, citric acid is a much better solvent because it chelates (renders soluble) metal salts. It is the primary ingredient, along with detergents, in Hornady's ultrasonic case cleaning solution.

My personal method is to do both. After sizing and depriming cases with a carbide die, I wash them in an ultrasonic cleaner to move carbon and most tarnish, including tarnish caused by heat, inside and out. Most of the primer pockets come out clean and bright too. I dry them pretty well (so medium doesn't stick), then tumble them to remove scratches and any remaining tarnish. If there's any moisture left, the tumbling medium (corn cob + cerium oxide) takes care of it.

The cleaning action of an ultrasonic tank is through cavitation. It doesn't matter if the cases are standing or laying on their sides, or even stacked up, as long as they are all under "water" and the tank is not overloaded. The Hornady tank holds about a quart of liquid and 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of cases.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:54 PM
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Can someone enlighten us on how much Nu Finish to add to the untreated Walnut media mix. I use a Lyman Turbo 1200 about 1/2 full.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:00 PM
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I also have the 1200 and use just about a cap to a cap-and-a-half full of Nu-Finish for the tumbling operation. It usually takes about 2.5 to 3 hours of tumble time to get them really, really shiny.

I also 'thin' the Nu-Finish with mineral spirits, which does two things, it extends the Nu-Finish and helps the media to absorb the concoction.

You can adjust the suit your needs, but this should give you something to go by at least.

Works great!
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:40 PM
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Thanks SoCal S&W! I'm looking forward to super bright cases. I'm not sure if I want to try to wash them first in the washing machine like oldRoger. Do you put them in loose or in some sort of bag...
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:53 PM
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Definitely some good info in this thread. Especially for those of us just getting into reloading.
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:13 AM
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I tried the Nu-Finish and walnut shells. The brass comes out looking almost new! I did notice that the brass seems to be harder to size? Has anyone else had this experience?
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:32 PM
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I can see some use for an ultrasonic cleaner as it would take care of the primer pocket crud and all the fowling.
Bear in mind though, that while immaculate, the method wont do much about the roughened finish left from the chamber during the firing and extraction cycles.
Its use may extend the service life of media in your tumbler as well as some tumbler time though ... horse a piece I suppose.
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:08 PM
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Harder to size?

I have experienced just the opposite, it seems easier to size. I was assuming that the wax made it easier, gliding maybe?

I have carbide dies in my SDB and do not lube my cases at all though. Maybe that's the issue with your problem?

No problems here.
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:59 AM
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Default Just use the oven

Quote:
Originally Posted by socal s&w View Post
I also have a cleaner and use the water, vinegar, dish soap solution. It works just okay, nothing spectacular, but they are clean around the primer pocket and inside.

I usually then run them through the vibratory and polish them up with the media and Nu-Finish, then they are SHINY!!!

I have heard recently though that stainless steel 'pins' used in a tumbler actually does both, cleans pockets and inside and polishes to a bright shine. Some of the pictures that I've seen attest to that too. You still need to use a soapy water solution, so there will be drying involved after tumbling.

The best part is that there is not much in the way of dust if these methods are used.

Stainless Steel media procedure with pictures - Calguns.net
Put your wet brass in a metal colander and pre heat the oven to 240 degrees and insert brass filled colander and after about 30 minutes, clean dry brass note: let cool before handling.
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:44 PM
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I used the Lyman green corn cob media for years. It has an abrasive powder mixed in with the media. The Nu-Finish cleans much better than the Lyman but it does seem harder to size. Maybe the powder residue in the Lyman media helps in the sizing. OR- Maybe I'm just getting weaker...

Anyway, thanks for the Nu-Finish tip!
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedane View Post
I used the Lyman green corn cob media for years. It has an abrasive powder mixed in with the media. The Nu-Finish cleans much better than the Lyman but it does seem harder to size. Maybe the powder residue in the Lyman media helps in the sizing. OR- Maybe I'm just getting weaker...

Anyway, thanks for the Nu-Finish tip!
Could be that Nu-Finish and whatever Lyman puts in their green corn cob media don't play well together.
Before using Nu-Finish with my tumbling media, my carbide resizing dies picked up a brass patina ever few hundred rounds, now they don't.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:56 PM
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JB,

I'm not mixing the Nu-Finish in with the Lyman. I replaced the Lyman corn cob with medium coarse, untreated walnut shells and added the Nu-Finish to that.

I use carbide dies for all of my pistol resizing. The 41 Mag and 44 Spec brass I resized seemed to be a little harder to size with the Nu Finish walnut shells vs. the Lyman corn cob media.

However, I just resized a batch of .45 ACP and they seemed just as easy as before. Go figure.
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:03 PM
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I've been using water with citric acid. I bought the harbour freight u/s unit, and so far after I recap, and a few 480 second cycles, everything is as clean as I need it.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:10 AM
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I buy Simple Green at Home Depot for about $10.00 a gallon. I deprime first and then soak the brass in it for an hour or so. It does a good job and is reusable. I use this method when I have extremly dirty cases to clean. For polishing between loads I tumble for an hour or so. I aim for "reasonably clean and polished". I have never found that highly polished brass shoots any better of lasts any longer.

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:39 AM
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Try Birchwood Casey Case Cleaner. The solution is concentrated and goes a long way. I mix it with distilled water for the reason previously mentioned in this thread. The diluted solution needs to be heated. An cheap crock pot works well. This procedure will clean the outside, inside and primer pocket in a few minutes. If you want very shiny brass you can follow-up with tumbling in walnut shell with Iosso case polish for an hour or two.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal s&w View Post
The best part is that there is not much in the way of dust if these methods are used.
I actually use this "dust" to my advantage. I leave it on the cases
after tumbling them and find that sizing in carbide dies is for
sure smoother. It also polishes the cases and, slowly, the dies.
After uncounted thousands of rounds I swear my dies are smoother.
I will not be parting with them soon

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Old 06-21-2011, 08:36 PM
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Walnut shell can be bought at feed stores-- it is very very cheap about $20.00 for 50 pounds sack clean meda makes it clean go fast.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:46 PM
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I tried an ultrasonic unit and it seemed to do no better (or faster) than just shaking the cases for a couple of minutes in a Tupperware tub with hot water and my chosen cleaner (Bar Keepers Friend)
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:40 PM
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My best solution so far has been Simple Green...I mix it with hot water, 1 cup to water...it cleans really well, shines the brass and is biodegradable. I run two 8 minute cycles and rinse. Works even better with nickel plated brass.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:05 PM
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Default Tip for using birchwood casey brass case cleaner

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Originally Posted by firearmsunlimited View Post
Try Birchwood Casey Case Cleaner. The solution is concentrated and goes a long way. I mix it with distilled water for the reason previously mentioned in this thread. The diluted solution needs to be heated. An cheap crock pot works well. This procedure will clean the outside, inside and primer pocket in a few minutes. If you want very shiny brass you can follow-up with tumbling in walnut shell with Iosso case polish for an hour or two.
Birchwood Casey brass case cleaner works like a charm. Try it and you'll be a believer. Here's a tip. Mix up the working solution in a clear plastic of glass container. Drop in the dirty brass, put the container outside in full sun and come back in an hour or so. The sun wull heat up the mix, (like sun tea). The hot mix and sun heating the brass REALLY cleans the metal. No tumbling needed afterward. The mix can be reused many times. Just pop the container back into the sun.

Last edited by lvlender; 07-04-2013 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:55 PM
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I have both. I have a Lymann ultrasonic cleaner and used the Lymann solution. It worked really well. I tried to save some money when I ran out of the brass cleaner and ordered some on Flea-bay. Doesn't work very well. I like the fact I can use the ultrasonic on gun parts with the steel/gun parts solution. I keep the vibratory cleaner around to help out.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:12 PM
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I have used a number of case cleaning methods over the years. Just got a Thumler Tumbler and 5 pounds of SS pins. Add water, 1/4 tsp. lemi-shine and dish soap and brass comes out better than new. Clean inside and out. Primer pockets are surgically clean.

I have had some range brass that looked absolutely terrible, tarnished, oxidized and it came out like factory new. I have found it takes 2 hours for .38 / .357 / .44 / .45 cases and 4 hours for my .270 . If you have nickle plated cases, do not run them much longer then 90 minutes or the pins will start chipping off the nickel plate.

Will never go back to the vibrator and cobbs or walnet shells. Have a magnet handy though because some of the pins will get away and end up in the bottom of the sink.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpac3 View Post
I have used a number of case cleaning methods over the years. Just got a Thumler Tumbler and 5 pounds of SS pins. Add water, 1/4 tsp. lemi-shine and dish soap and brass comes out better than new. Clean inside and out. Primer pockets are surgically clean.

I have had some range brass that looked absolutely terrible, tarnished, oxidized and it came out like factory new. I have found it takes 2 hours for .38 / .357 / .44 / .45 cases and 4 hours for my .270 . If you have nickle plated cases, do not run them much longer then 90 minutes or the pins will start chipping off the nickel plate.

Will never go back to the vibrator and cobbs or walnet shells. Have a magnet handy though because some of the pins will get away and end up in the bottom of the sink.

Amen brother. I bought my Tumblers tumbler 6 monthes ago. I have prossessed almost 20,000 pieces of various calibers. Nothing will beat the results that this thing turns out. I deprime, sort out non brass, throw them in the tumbler for 4 hours, dump them out onto a towel and roll them around a bit, let them dry for 3 hours, inspect for pins in the flash holes (1 to 2 % will have an issue with stuck pins), throw them into my vibrating tumbler with corn cob media laced with Nu Finish for 15 minutes to put a protecting layer on them to keep them from tarishing (stainless pin method gets them so clean they will tarish just by looking at them swear... I think the pins open the pores in the metel like sandblasted metal). Once all of that is done, I feel I have handled each piece of bass enough times to determine structual integrity, condition, what not. In the past I went through tremendous amounts of media and Nu finish to get the brass cleaned and never inspected to this detail so the price of the stainless setup, the lemon shine (it lasts for 15,000 cases), and a large bottle of dawn is the expendable supplies now as the corn cobb and nu finish lasts forever with 15 minute cycles just to put the wax barrier on them. As long as the electricity and water holds out, I will be cleaning with the stainless method. Oh, I would mention that I spend a few months prepping cases and a month or two loading per year. I wouldmt say I would do all of this for a couple k of case per year
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:30 PM
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I do mostly the same thing as jbouwens, with the exception of how I get the pins out. I use the ball media separator from Frankford Arsenal, but have it on the top of a full bucket of water. Sloshing it vigorously back and forth through the water has removed all of the pins so far.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
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...just shaking the cases for a couple of minutes in a Tupperware tub with hot water and my chosen cleaner (Bar keepers Friend)
Gotta tell ya', I bought QTY #500 Federal American Eagle 357 brass (fired 1X) recently, & it was carboned up to the point that 4 hours in crushed walnut would not remove it. Worst I've seen. Never Dull & steel wool would get it clean, but just barely - w/ a lot of work.

Figured I'd have to either dump $80 on a Harbor Freight ultra-sonic, or scrap my "bargain" brass.

Then I read this post.

A 45 minute soak in a solution of 2 Tbs Barkeepers Friend, & 1.5 Qt hot water loosened the carbon to the point that I could wipe it off w/ a wet paper towel, during a fresh water rinse.

A second rinse in a baking soda / water solution, to neutralize.

After drying, the area's that were previously covered w/ the carbon, were noted to be badly tarnished, & somewhat abraded. Still looked pretty bad, but at least the carbon was 98% gone.

2 hours in the walnut shell, w/ some Dillon polish cleaned everything up nicely.

The Barkeeper's Friend is a cleanser, that utilizes a mild acid - which is what softened / removed the carbon. I would hesitate to soak brass in it for an extended period, but can't imaging why I'd need to. From my experience, if a 1 hour +/- soak won't do it, it's not gonna' get done.

Still like to know how this brass got so badly carbon fouled, in the first place. Moot point now I suppose, as it actually appears as new...
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:36 PM
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So far I have only used the ultrasonic - was not terribly expensive - got a small unit - only holds about 50 or so .223s at a time - which means, depending on how long I spent on the range - I might need to run several batches. I started with vinegar/dish soap - followed by a baking soda rinse - have switched to a store bought cleaning solution. I deprive using universal die first - and the insides get very clean - for some where the outside is not as clean as I would like I roll em a few times in a fine steel wool. I am thinking about getting a tumbler and using corn cob or walnut shell media. Not sure if I will switch to leaving the spent primers in - while that is less work - so far I have broken most of my reloading sessions into multiple phases - deprime and clean one day - let dry overnight - resize and prime the next day - switching between calibers and primers - then separately charge - set - crimp in a single session.
Now that I have the process pretty much under control and working recipes I *might* change the process and clean first then run the 4 hole turret press using all 4 stages in one pass. In some cases it depends on how much time and how many spent cases I have available to me at any given time.
Seems to me that time spent drying a wet wash may not be too terribly different than time spent separating cases from cleaning media and ensuring that none of the media is stuck inside the cases or primer pockets.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:33 AM
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Meh.
I just use a vibratory cleaner and either corn cob or walnut, depending upon how grubby the brass is.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:06 AM
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Barkeepers friend seems to work much faster and better than dry media but it doesn't remove bullet lube.I just clean out the tub in my tumbler and run the brass and solution for about 30 mins.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:23 AM
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I use a hornady lock n load sonic cleaner with hornady solution and a little limshine. Does a great job, I deprime than clean, come out great. Not super shiny but my range has no prize for the shiniest brass! LOL
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Daddyschatz View Post
I am just getting back into reloading after a long time. I have heard of people using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean there brass. since I have an ultrasonic cleaner already....can I use it, how effective is it, and what do i use for a solution? or should I just get a tumbler? right now I will be loading 40S&W and 38 spec. Thanks in advance! Scott
Here is everything you want to know about Ultrasonic cleaning: UltraSonic Case Cleaning within AccurateShooter.com

I've tried both methods and prefer the tumbling/vibrating method. Much faster and cleaner. Here is a great setup with Free Shipping:



My Ultrasonic cleaner, glass beakers, and solution have been sitting in my garage for a couple of years. Too messy to deal with, over-cleaned, and required too much personal intervention/watching. With the vibrator, I can just walk away for hours and not be concerned.

Note: This is a true tumbler: http://www.accurateshooter.com/techn...ainless-media/

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Old 01-05-2014, 10:20 AM
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I find that WE gun people tend to be a wee bit anal about ALL things. So I started a program called "striving for mediocrity" many years ago; I find it has saved me money, angst and time. My formula: a Tumblers Tumbler bought in the 'early 70's' (no repairs since) + a 50 lbs sack of crushed walnut shells ($6 at that time). Tumble till I remember the tumbler is still on. Then shake them a few times in my shower towel; I clean and uniform the primer pockets manually (because I must still be a bit anal). RELOAD....probably been using some of the same brass since the '70's >>>>> J.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbouwens View Post
I deprime, sort out non brass, throw them in the tumbler for 4 hours, dump them out onto a towel and roll them around a bit, let them dry for 3 hours, inspect for pins in the flash holes (1 to 2 % will have an issue with stuck pins), throw them into my vibrating tumbler with corn cob media laced with Nu Finish for 15 minutes to put a protecting layer on them to keep them from tarishing (stainless pin method gets them so clean they will tarish just by looking at them swear... I think the pins open the pores in the metel like sandblasted metal).
Actually, what the stainless steel pins are doing is increasing the surface area of the cartridge.

I would not tumble brass for 4 hours with stainless steel pins.

The trick to long life of any metal is to minimize the surface area.

Increasing the surface area by any technique (sand blasting, whatever) weakens the metal.

The case is much more susceptible to cracking.

Forget the stainless steel pin tumbling if cartridge life is a concern.

Those chemicals that are shining the brass is also a concern.

If you find the wrong concoction, the chemical will attack the grain boundaries, again weakening the cartridge.

Just my humble metallurgical opinion.
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