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Thread: Cleaning brass

  1. #1

    Cleaning brass

    Fairly new to reloading.

    I understand the need to clean brass, but can't seem to find information regarding different methods. I.e tumbler Vs ultrasonic vs solution etc.

    would like to keep costs down for reloading, and don't need stupidly polished brass. As long as it's functional.

    Can built a media tumbler with no issues....but which media should I use? I read of people using walnut husk.....easily available?

    for reference it'll be 22-250 brass I'm cleaning. In bulk(250rds)

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by wozzad View Post
    Fairly new to reloading.

    I understand the need to clean brass, but can't seem to find information regarding different methods. I.e tumbler Vs ultrasonic vs solution etc.

    would like to keep costs down for reloading, and don't need stupidly polished brass. As long as it's functional.

    Can built a media tumbler with no issues....but which media should I use? I read of people using walnut husk.....easily available?

    for reference it'll be 22-250 brass I'm cleaning. In bulk(250rds)
    I have found joy in ultrasonic cleaning. I have just a small one made for dentures (Holds about 80, 308) and it gets the brass c-l-e-a-n. Not polished, but squeaky clean inside and out, including the dreaded primer pockets. I like Hornady's U/S case cleaning concentrate. Pricey but makes gallons. There are a number of home made U/S fluid recipes in the internet though....~Muir

  3. #3
    If your fairly handy then I would have a think about making a rotary tumbler yourself - There's plenty Youtube videos to give you ideas and it can be a really simple design. If you can find a small continuous rated motor, about 10th HP 1425 rpm would do. Our local "Pound stretcher" shop has stainless steel drums (Bread bins) about 10" diameter for 9.95.


    For dry tumbling I always used to use Walnut shell media - I understand that you can now get this from the pet shop as lizard bedding.
    I now wet tumble with stainless steel media.
    Here's a little tumbler I made many years ago for .32 S&W pistol cases.

  4. #4
    The biggest difference I found between using my tumbler and my U/S cleaner is;
    I don't have to remove the bits of tumbling media after using the U/S,
    The U/S cleans the primer pockets,
    The U/S is quicker (about ten minutes per batch of 20 - 40 cases depending on calibre),
    I can do a small batch of cases in the U/S,

    I do have to dry the cases (easily done either on a warm radiator over night or in the oven at 100C for about 15 minutes).

  5. #5
    ALDI - Ultrasonic Cleaner

    I am off down my local Aldi to get one of these. Only 22.99 and the vinegar will be pennies at Aldi.

    Roestalker from on the SD has put a video of his results on youtube.

    My plan is to de-cap the cases clean the primer pocket and de bur using one of these Opticswarehouse Lyman Case Trimmers and Case Reloading Tools and tumble in walnut media, sift as normal.

    Then use the ultrasonic cleaner to remove any walnut media and fully clean primer pocket and inside of the case. Rinse in clean fresh water and then dry in a warmish oven standing on an absorbent cloth.
    Last edited by 270Buck; 27-01-2014 at 13:20.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 270Buck View Post
    My plan is to de-cap the cases clean the primer pocket and de bur using one of these Opticswarehouse Lyman Case Trimmers and Case Reloading Tools and tumble in walnut media, sift as normal.

    Then use the ultrasonic cleaner to remove any walnut media and fully clean primer pocket and inside of the case. Rinse in clean fresh water and then dry in a warmish oven standing on an absorbent cloth.
    I use one of those cleaners for small batches of target rounds, very good for what they cost.

    After de-capping try not cleaning the pockets then do a batch in the U/S cleaner and see how they look, it might save you some time and effort.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooter View Post
    I use one of those cleaners for small batches of target rounds, very good for what they cost.

    After de-capping try not cleaning the pockets then do a batch in the U/S cleaner and see how they look, it might save you some time and effort.
    Cheers for that, I may try a batch using both methods and see what the difference is. I will post some photo's if I remember.

  8. #8
    Wozzard with tongue firmly in cheek I challenge your opening statement. Within reason there's no need to clean brass but most of us do it for the following reasons;

    1. Cosmetic, it simply looks better.
    2. Prevents dirt and grit from scratching your reloading dies.
    3. You can see any defects in cases easier during inspection and prior to reloading.

    You can actually get away with simply washing brass in warm soapy water if you decide to clean it. Personally I have both a small ultra-sonic cleaner and a vibratory cleaner but if I was setting up again from scratch I would think about using a tumbler and stainless steel pins/rods.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    Wozzard with tongue firmly in cheek I challenge your opening statement. Within reason there's no need to clean brass but most of us do it for the following reasons;

    1. Cosmetic, it simply looks better.
    2. Prevents dirt and grit from scratching your reloading dies.
    3. You can see any defects in cases easier during inspection and prior to reloading.

    You can actually get away with simply washing brass in warm soapy water if you decide to clean it. Personally I have both a small ultra-sonic cleaner and a vibratory cleaner but if I was setting up again from scratch I would think about using a tumbler and stainless steel pins/rods.
    Any idea where you can get the stainless pins/rods. I have done a google search and found this in the USA. Stainless Tumbling Media | Stainless Steel Media 5lbs.

    I assume this is what you mean?

  10. #10
    That's the stuff. There's someone selling it in the classified section of the site but unfortunately their name escapes me for the time being. If you do a simple site search you should find it. Also CSL made mention of going over to this system for cleaning his cases. He has posted a sticky on the reloading process on the top of the reloading section. Perhaps he has mentioned his supplier.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

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