Cleaning Brass Prior to Reloading


September 22, 2008, 03:26 PM
I just purchased my first reloading kit and I am awaiting it's arrival
at the casa. Since I do not (yet) have a case tumbler, my understanding
is that certain folks use cleaning solutions to clean brass.

I have heard of things like using soap and water to clean.
But what is your experience in cleaning brass minus a case tumbler?

What do you recommend I use?

Whaddya call a guy in medical school with a 99 GPA? Cum Laude
Whaddya call a guy in medical school with a 70 GPA? Doctor

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September 22, 2008, 04:02 PM
None of us had tumblers not very long ago. We either cleaned it with a wash/soak or not at all.

Plain soap or detergent and water will "clean" your brass just fine. All you need is clean, "shine" don't count except as eye candy!

If you have any tarnish you may want to remove it with an overnight soak in a 50:50 mixure of white vinegar (the don't stink kind!) and water. The tarnish will turn sorta pink but that's no matter.

With either soak, rinse with fresh water, spread no more than one layer deep over a few sheets of newspaper (to soak up the water) a day or so. Use it after it's dried internally.

September 22, 2008, 04:20 PM
for the brief time I reloaded without having a tumbler, I just wiped the exterior of the cases down with an old cotton t-shirt rag.

Unless your brass was scrounged from a sand pit, or brass bucket that had dust pans dumped in it, it will likely be free of all but carbon on the inside (unless you store your brass in old coffee cans and forget to wash them out :)). Either way, neither coffee grounds or carbon should harm your dies.

dagger dog
September 22, 2008, 04:34 PM
A Scotch-Brite pad or some 0000 steel wool does a real nice job on brass, until you can get your bench up and running.

Plus by doing the cases one by one it gives you the yoga like meditation, to acheive nirvana with your handloads :D ! OM !

September 22, 2008, 05:00 PM
I posted a formula using white vinegar a while back. It's in this thread at post #11
They don't need to soak very long to get them clean.

It will work until you buy a tumbler.

September 22, 2008, 05:24 PM
They look nicer, but they don't have to be as clean as are out of a tumbler.

September 22, 2008, 09:04 PM
Thanks guys!

September 22, 2008, 09:28 PM
Don't use Drano and water like I once experimented.:o

September 22, 2008, 09:57 PM
"Don't use Drano and water like I once experimented."

September 23, 2008, 01:18 AM
Just buy the case tumbler:banghead:.

IMHO, hand-cleaning brass is a time-consuming PITA. In my view, cleaning brass is akin to cleaning your nails - it's something that should be done and something that should be done well, but it need not be your mission in life. Get it done and move on to things that are important/fun, like reloading and shooting:).

September 23, 2008, 07:01 AM
Just buy the case tumbler I have to agree with CU74. You can clean them with soap and water. Or you can do it with steel wool. But it's just more of a pain in the butt then it's worth.

Do it the easy way and buy the tumbler.

September 23, 2008, 09:41 PM
Ive washed mine in a sink with dish detergent ,THEN tumbled, after sizing to get the lube off to reload right away I use brake cleaner ,just spray it off in seconds,a few minutes to dry,ready to go. To lube cases, I lay a sheet of aluminum foil down ,lay cases in a couple rows ,spray lube toward the bases,then 'roll'back and forth and it evenly covers without getting on the case shoulder which you dont want.

September 25, 2008, 08:30 PM
Thanks re223. I tried the vinegar and water solution and they came out ok. Some of the brass became a little discolored as a result. Is this normal?

September 28, 2008, 08:45 PM
Vinegar is an acid thats why. watch using anything ammonia based too,it changes brass properties

October 6, 2008, 12:17 AM
i used a mesh laundry bag,and tossed them in the washer when i did some work clothes,took them out and dried them on some newspaper,worked fine untill i got my tumbler,

October 6, 2008, 07:30 AM
As long as they are clean (ie - free of dirt/grit) they will load just fine, but tumbling is so easy, and relatively inexpensive, that almost everyone uses a tumbler. You don't need one to start, but you will wonder why you did not get one sooner once you do.

The Bushmaster
October 6, 2008, 10:04 AM
Use to clean them by hand (and my wife's oven). Bought a vibrator tumbler 20 years ago (Lyman Turbo 1200) and haven't looked back...

Have a look at this. It might help...

October 6, 2008, 12:21 PM
Wow, has it been a week already?


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