Perfect Union banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I'm just getting started with reloading and had a question about cleaning brass.

Purchasing a tumbler/vibrating cleaner isn't in the budget right now, but I do have a small rock tumbler one of my kids got years ago.

Has anyone used one of these to clean brass, or can you think of any reason not to try it?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,368 Posts
I have heard of people using rock tumblers. I see no reason it wouldn't work just as well if not better than some cleaners. I have heard of people using stainless steel media in their rock tumblers to get a real nice looking finished brass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
A rock tumbler will work just fine but they are much slower than a high-speed brass tumbler. Let the brass tumble all night, and in the morning it'll look like new.

Use corn cob (20/40 grit) and a capful of NuShine car polish for better looking brass. The 20/40 grade of cob won't get stuck in the flash holes like larger cob.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,164 Posts
You can buy a lifetime supply of Crushed Walnut Shells at Petco for $12.

Make sure what ever car polish you use DOES NOT have any ammonia in it. Nu Finish was a specific recommendation for this reason, others may be a problem.

What the Nu finish does is keep the brass looking nice for along time after you tumble it. otherwise it will tarnish over time. The wax prevents this.

Also Deprime and Resize BEFORE you tumble that way you are loading clean cases with no case lube on them. Your reloads will look very nice if you do it this way.

When I started loading in the 70's there were no vibratory tumblers, only rotary rock tumblers like Thumlers Tumblers (the best). They are just as useful today as they were back then, and like someone mentioned above, if used with SS pin media they are the most effective way to clean extremely dirty cases there is. Cases tumbled with SS media look new when done, inside and out, primer pockets as well, no matter how bad they start out.

So get some Walnut shells and have at it. They will work even without the Nu Finish.

Randy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,216 Posts
I use a Covington 250 Rock Tumbler to clean my brass. If your tumbler is rated for liquids it is by far the best way to go. If not then walnut or corn cobb works well. Mine will clean well with a little lemon juice, dawn, and car wash. Its fast and cleans well. Add some stainless steel pins and they really shine. I dry in in the oven on an old cookie sheet, in the summer I use solar (who said I wasn't green).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for your help and advise.

I decided to experiment before I got all your post. I cracked some walnuts (since the tumbler is small it only took a few), ran them through an old blender, them put them and some brass in the tumbler. I added a little Brasso and let it run overnight.

End result, shiny brass at no cost! Since the drum is so small I can only do a few at a time, but that's not a problem for now.

Did have a question for W.R.Buchanan. Why is ammonia in the cleaner an issue? I didn't read you post until after I started, and noticed Brasso does have ammonia. What does the ammonia do?

Thanks again for the help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
i use to use vibrator tumblers, then i bought the Thumlers tumbler with stainless media, and it is by far the best way to go. when you do buy a tumbler just save up the money and get a Thumlers tumbler with stainless media. like others have said it does clean the dirties range brass you can find and will look like new inside and out. the only thing about the thumlers is you can not leave the brass for more than 2 hours in the tumbler or it about wears out the brass, really you only need about 30 mins even for badly tarnished brass. and make sure their is not any sand in the cases or the brass will come out looking like you sandblasted it. (ask me why i know this):D i only use my vibrator tumbler if my brass has dirt and mud on it to clean it before i size it, i found if i use thumlers before i deprime the water is imposable to get out and makes a mess of the press.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,164 Posts
Captain E: Brasso a nono for just that reason. The ammonia makes the brass very brittle. It is a chemical reaction and I don't know the actual particulars but it is widely known that ammonia makes brass brittle. It doesn't matter on a belt buckle, but it does matter on a high pressure rifle or pistol case.

Since you are just experimenting with a few cases it is not the end of the world. Just scrap them and start over. Don't even think about reloading them. Believe me there are plenty more out there laying on the ground. Very seldom do I go to my range that I can't pick up 100+.223 cases or assorted pistol cases like .45's or .40's. Most people who shoot don't reload. Too bad for them. I very seldom shoot a factory load, and I have several guns which have never had a factory load fired in them.

The Petco walnut hulls are ground to a consistant size and used for Lizard or Snake bedding. Go figure.?

The Dillon Case Polish I recommended doesn't have any ammonia in it and works really well. It's about $10 a bottle. Get some of their case lube as well as it works really well too.

Learning to reload ammo is a very satisfying hobby. If you start out slow with maybe a Lee Classic Loader and a plastic mallet you will learn the purpose of every operation. All reloading whether rifle shotgun or pistol has the same basic steps. For each type of round there may be some slightly different steps in the process but "esssentially" all ammo is loaded using the same basic steps.

You deprime and size the case, you install a new primer, charge the case, put a bullet in, and crimp it in place.

The tumbling part comes under the heading of "Case Preperation." And there are a few other things to do in that area.

All of this is covered in detail in the Lyman 49 Loading Manual I suggested above. You can get one at just about any gun shop or big bookstore or Midway USA, Cabelas etc. @$30.

It will answer pretty much all of your questions and will serve as a referrence, and source for loading recipies for just about every cartridge known to man.

Lots to learn here and lots to know. The benefits are being able to custom taylor a load for any specific gun, improve accuracy, save money, produce ammo you can't buy anymore, and just the pride of accomplishment.

Randy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Captain E: Brasso a nono for just that reason. The ammonia makes the brass very brittle. It is a chemical reaction and I don't know the actual particulars but it is widely known that ammonia makes brass brittle. It doesn't matter on a belt buckle, but it does matter on a high pressure rifle or pistol case.

Since you are just experimenting with a few cases it is not the end of the world. Just scrap them and start over. Don't even think about reloading them. Believe me there are plenty more out there laying on the ground. Very seldom do I go to my range that I can't pick up 100+.223 cases or assorted pistol cases like .45's or .40's. Most people who shoot don't reload. Too bad for them. I very seldom shoot a factory load, and I have several guns which have never had a factory load fired in them.

The Petco walnut hulls are ground to a consistant size and used for Lizard or Snake bedding. Go figure.?

The Dillon Case Polish I recommended doesn't have any ammonia in it and works really well. It's about $10 a bottle. Get some of their case lube as well as it works really well too.

Learning to reload ammo is a very satisfying hobby. If you start out slow with maybe a Lee Classic Loader and a plastic mallet you will learn the purpose of every operation. All reloading whether rifle shotgun or pistol has the same basic steps. For each type of round there may be some slightly different steps in the process but "esssentially" all ammo is loaded using the same basic steps.

You deprime and size the case, you install a new primer, charge the case, put a bullet in, and crimp it in place.

The tumbling part comes under the heading of "Case Preperation." And there are a few other things to do in that area.

All of this is covered in detail in the Lyman 49 Loading Manual I suggested above. You can get one at just about any gun shop or big bookstore or Midway USA, Cabelas etc. @$30.

It will answer pretty much all of your questions and will serve as a referrence, and source for loading recipies for just about every cartridge known to man.

Lots to learn here and lots to know. The benefits are being able to custom taylor a load for any specific gun, improve accuracy, save money, produce ammo you can't buy anymore, and just the pride of accomplishment.

Randy
Randy,

Thanks again for the info and advise. Luckily I experimented on some cases I picked up by accident at the range - wrong size. I will make sure they never get reloaded.

I got a Lee press last year, along with some dies and most the stuff I need, I just never had time to get to it. I also have the Lee Reloading Manual. Is there a big difference in the Loading manuals, enough to make it worthwhile to purchase more than one?

The tumbler was low on the list because of the cost, and because there are other ways to clean the brass (just more time consuming). I'm sure once I get started, you will be hearing more questions from me.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
I cleaned 400 38Sp with ammonia and dish sop They started to split on the 3 loading.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top