Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Paladin
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Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by Paladin »

What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

I've been using a low cost dry media tumbler with modest, but acceptable results. Hand cleaning out the pockets and steel wool to remove corrosion takes extra time. Looks like the rotary tumbler has great results and less follow on work.

What is your experience? Is the rotary tumbler worth it?
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by crazy2medic »

I have a Thumlers Tumbler I bought at a Garage sale ($15) YEARS ago it works well but not fast, I put the brass in and tumble it for a couple of days, comes out bright and shiny! I'm happy with it!
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by Beiruty »

What do you mean by the best way?
Lowest cost?
Most shinny and like new brass?
Quick cleaning cycle? How long is it acceptable?
Easiest to operate?
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by Beiruty »

Once you go wet wash with shredded SS materials, you will never go back.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/mv8Friio3bfXw3Lw8
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madwildcat
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

#5

Post by madwildcat »

Beiruty, that brass looks better than new in many cases I have seen! Care to run us through your process?
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by oohrah »

Add a couple squirts of Flitz to the dry media tumbler. Works wonders, nice and shiny.
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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madwildcat wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:10 pm Beiruty, that brass looks better than new in many cases I have seen! Care to run us through your process?
1) De-cap the cases
2) Put 200-300 pistol cases, or 100 or so rifle case in the tumbler
3) I use Shredded SS material from Southern Shine.
4) Add a blob or 2 of the McGuire Car Wash and Wax
5) Add 1 oz or less of the Lymen Case Cleaner liquid
6 Add very hot water until the the foam reaches the top of the tumbler (70-80% full of hot water)
7) Run the tumbler 45min-1hr depending on how dirty and how many cases you are cleaning
8) Drain the dirty water,
9) Separate the SS chips from the cases (I use a media separator).
10) Dump back the SS chips back into the tumbler and close the lid.
11) Rinse the the cases
12) Dry the case on an old big shower/beach towel or if you are in a rush in dehydrator (your choice)
Done.

The use of compressed air from a workshop air tank is very helpful.
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by orionengnr »

I looked into the wet tumbling process several years ago, and have not gone there...so no need to "go back".

For me, the greatest advantage of the dry process is (using some Nu-Finish every now and then) that my brass has a thin coating of wax/polish and stays tarnish-free in storage for 5 years or more.

Using the wet wash with Lemi-Shine strips everything off the brass and it tarnishes almost immediately.

No, thank you.

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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

#9

Post by MaduroBU »

SS pins with brass cleaner will get you a clean case inside and out very quickly. Further, the lead containing waste is in the form of water rather than dust, which makes it far easier to dispose of versus producing a cloud/area of contamination. The cases WILL tarnish quickly, but that issue is easily addressed if you desire by running them through a dry tumbler. That several step process (rinse, wet tumble, rinse, dry, dry tumble) will produce the cleanest cases inside and out, gets rid of the lead contamination (the lead from the primer is long gone before you get to the dry tumbler), and is takes no longer than dry tumbling if you don't do the extra steps to get shiny cases.
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by Beiruty »

orionengnr wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:47 pm I looked into the wet tumbling process several years ago, and have not gone there...so no need to "go back".

For me, the greatest advantage of the dry process is (using some Nu-Finish every now and then) that my brass has a thin coating of wax/polish and stays tarnish-free in storage for 5 years or more.

Using the wet wash with Lemi-Shine strips everything off the brass and it tarnishes almost immediately.

No, thank you.
McGuire Wash and Wax would do exactly what Nu-Finish would do.
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by flechero »

orionengnr wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:47 pm I looked into the wet tumbling process several years ago, and have not gone there...so no need to "go back".

For me, the greatest advantage of the dry process is (using some Nu-Finish every now and then) that my brass has a thin coating of wax/polish and stays tarnish-free in storage for 5 years or more.

Using the wet wash with Lemi-Shine strips everything off the brass and it tarnishes almost immediately.

No, thank you.
That's a deceiving statement and not completely accurate. Both processes uses car wax to preserve cleaned condition. I use AA Wash & Wax as my soap and add a dab to my rinse water. Here is a batch of brass, untouched for years... no fancy lighting, just a phone pic through the plastic bucket. It's not tarnished at all and still is like new. 2nd pic is new Starline brass for comparison. I have some brass that's 4-5 year old since cleaning with same or better appearance, just too lazy to go dig out for a pic for this post.

You can screw up either cleaning process if you do it wrong.

:tiphat:
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by flechero »

and new.....
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by LTUME1978 »

I wish I could get the results y'all get. I wet tumble to get the brass clean (and hopefully the primer pocket as well but that does not always happen). When the brass first comes out of the wet tumbler, it is bright and shiny. It doesn't take long for it to start darkening. I started out using Dawn dishwashing liquid then learned about lemishine and started adding that. Then I learned about the car wash and wax liquid and tried that. I still have to dry tumble to get the brass shiny (so that I can find most of them on the ground) and, on really dirty primer pockets (mostly from Winchester primers) I have to hand clean them. What am I missing? I use the pins that came with the tumbler and run about 425 - 440 each of 45 ACP (deprimed) at a time. I rinse the brass three times with hot tap water to make sure I have all of the soap off of the brass.

Help!
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

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Post by Beiruty »

LTUME1978 wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:54 pm I wish I could get the results y'all get. I wet tumble to get the brass clean (and hopefully the primer pocket as well but that does not always happen). When the brass first comes out of the wet tumbler, it is bright and shiny. It doesn't take long for it to start darkening. I started out using Dawn dishwashing liquid then learned about lemishine and started adding that. Then I learned about the car wash and wax liquid and tried that. I still have to dry tumble to get the brass shiny (so that I can find most of them on the ground) and, on really dirty primer pockets (mostly from Winchester primers) I have to hand clean them. What am I missing? I use the pins that came with the tumbler and run about 425 - 440 each of 45 ACP (deprimed) at a time. I rinse the brass three times with hot tap water to make sure I have all of the soap off of the brass.

Help!
Make a smaller batches at a time. Say 250 rds
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Re: Article: What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?

#15

Post by flechero »

LTUME1978 wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:54 pm I wish I could get the results y'all get. I wet tumble to get the brass clean (and hopefully the primer pocket as well but that does not always happen). When the brass first comes out of the wet tumbler, it is bright and shiny. It doesn't take long for it to start darkening. I started out using Dawn dishwashing liquid then learned about lemishine and started adding that. Then I learned about the car wash and wax liquid and tried that. I still have to dry tumble to get the brass shiny (so that I can find most of them on the ground) and, on really dirty primer pockets (mostly from Winchester primers) I have to hand clean them. What am I missing? I use the pins that came with the tumbler and run about 425 - 440 each of 45 ACP (deprimed) at a time. I rinse the brass three times with hot tap water to make sure I have all of the soap off of the brass.

Help!
The only "trick" [if you want to call it that] is that after I've rinsed, I throw the separated brass into a colander, sitting in a tub of hot water with a tsp or two of armor all wash & wax mixed in... just swirl it around and let sit a minute. Then dump out to dry. The hot water rinse heats the brass and helps the wax penetrate and helps them dry fast - in a couple minutes after dumped on a towel. (I do run a small fan over them to aid in quick drying- but that's for my own convenience) The wax in the final rinse water keeps them looking same for years (so far).

Smaller batches can help or depending on your tumbler, more pins/shreds.
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