importance of cleaning your brass...


November 21, 2008, 02:12 PM
Well i know a lot of people use tumblers... i was told that hot soapy water does the trick as long as they are properly rinsed and dried.. Well, they seem to shoot fine but my brass looks like crap. Does this effect accuracy at all?

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November 21, 2008, 02:22 PM
It is a well known fact that only shiney brass shoots well. :D:D:D

Of course that is a lie, but us Monkey's like shiney things, don't we?

I tumble brass to remove grease, gunk, dirt, whatever. I don't like scratching my sizing dies. And that is the only reason I tumble brass. The mechanical action of tumbling knocks grease, gunk, dirt off the cases.

I have fired brass that is as brown as a hazel nut, and it shoots fine. And I am still loading it, and it still shoots fine.

November 21, 2008, 02:33 PM
Definately a personal thing that affects accuracy, etc. none at all. I virtually never tumble/polish brass--seems like a waste of time to me. I don't worry about dirt, as my brass rarely ever touches the ground. Do what you like, but shiney brass accomplishes nothing in so far as shooting goes--course it doesn't hurt anything either. A tumbler & media cost money--wasted money in my view.

The Bushmaster
November 21, 2008, 02:36 PM
I like shinny brass:D and dies that do not scratch cases..:).

Did I mention that I like shinny brass?:neener:

November 21, 2008, 02:46 PM
hahhahaah we all know you like shiney brass. you got to put up some pictures of that shiney brass now.

November 21, 2008, 02:46 PM
Does this effect accuracy at all?No, not at all.

However, clean polished brass makes finding defects like neck cracks and incipient head separations sooooo much easier.

I'd still do it for that, if for no other reason.

But I like shiny too!
I take pride in my reloads, and clean & shiny makes me feel good!

Kinda like washing & waxing my truck every once & awhile!


November 21, 2008, 02:47 PM
I don't like scratching my sizing dies.



November 21, 2008, 03:32 PM
good point, money is tight, and i dont mind the worn look.. As long as she shoots good... Maybe in my wealthy future i'll get a

cajun 48
November 21, 2008, 03:52 PM
Don't even have my reloading equipment yet (graf's a little backed up right now). But my tumbler's already tumbled a load of .45 acp. I like shiney things too!

November 21, 2008, 07:53 PM
I'm with rcmodel....shiny brass makes it easier to inspect your brass for defects...... brass does eventually wear out.....

November 21, 2008, 08:27 PM
I like shiny brass too, but handling tumblers and media can expose you to lead and mercury dust if not done in a ventilated place. Since I pick up my brass off the ground, it generally gets basket washed before tumbling... which adds a lot of extra time and inconvenience to the reloading process.

Is anyone aware of a liquid that shines brass? That way I could use it as a second cycle in the wash cycle. It's already wet and in the wash basket, so it's far less trouble to dip into a second bath. I was wondering about very mild acids like vinegar or such. Getting rid of the extra handling steps would sure save time and reduce exposure.

November 21, 2008, 08:34 PM
Apart from being nice to look at and being easier to inspect, I think shiny brass prevents some wear to the reloading dies and perhaps some wear to gun chambers as well.

November 21, 2008, 10:05 PM
The brass has to be shiny, theres no other way.:D Well at least my brass has to be shiny. Like others said it is easier to find defects but also easier to find in the gravel at the range when I shoot it. I use a tumbler to clean my brass because it is much easier than using liquid.

November 21, 2008, 10:07 PM
I still chuckle when I think of reloading back in the 1960's when none of us even dreamed of using a tumbler for brass.
The tumbler was the round drum full of wet polish used by rockhounds at the county fair to polish their precious stones.

For most purposes - including daily practice and plinking - brass doesn't have to be tumbled clean. Just make sure there are no rocks or grit, inside and out. But tumbling is an excellent way to accomplish that. Bravo for the tumbler.

If you're really loading for maximum accuracy, consistency is the key. It is easier to evaluate consistency when the brass is clean.

The Bushmaster
November 21, 2008, 10:43 PM
rfwobbly...I doubt that there is enough lead in the media to harm you. And they haven't used mercury in many years.

If you are worried about lead I would recommend that you wear rubber gloves and a face mask throughout the whole loading procedures...[Look out boys...He's going in.]

November 21, 2008, 11:17 PM
"I still chuckle when I think of reloading back in the 1960's when none of us even dreamed of using a tumbler for brass."

Amen to that, I had an uncle who used one for rocks he collected. It was unheard of for brass. All I ever did back then was clean it up with a rag and go to reloading. Times have changed.

November 22, 2008, 03:34 PM
Times haven't changed at my abode! That's all I did then; that's all I do now! Incidently, I'm still using my first set of dies--.30-06 RCBS from the early '60s. Indeed, I've never had to replace a set of dies. But shine 'em if you like--it's temporarily a free country.

The Bushmaster
November 22, 2008, 04:13 PM
Oh...We'll still be able to shine our brass...We might even be able to reload it if we have serial numbered bullets...Then again, maybe not.

I WILL have the shinniest brass in the neighborhood...

November 22, 2008, 04:49 PM
The fact that you won't be allowed to pocess powder or primers may become a factor.

The Bushmaster
November 22, 2008, 10:00 PM
But I can still tumble my brass until it's nice and shinny...:D

November 22, 2008, 10:01 PM
dont you shoot with nickel as well as brass

The Bushmaster
November 22, 2008, 11:27 PM
I clean those and put them on a shelf and stare at them admiringly with my sunglasses on (safety you know)...

November 23, 2008, 06:28 AM
I still chuckle when I think of reloading back in the 1960's when none of us even dreamed of using a tumbler for brass. Yup, we didn't have tumblers. But if you think back we wiped off our brass before we sized it too. I think the tumbler is easier.

November 25, 2008, 01:12 AM
I use a laundry detergent jug with a wide mouth, about 1/2-3/4 gallon size. I do about 2-300 pieces at a time. Add hot water, dish detergent and about 3/4 cup white vinegar (any would probably work). Shake it around for a while and then let sit for a couple of hours. Rinse well and then you can dry it on baking sheets in the oven on very low heat or put it out by the heater vent.
Brass comes out pretty shiny.

November 25, 2008, 01:57 AM
Moosehunt, you should still wipe the carbon off the cases,, even if they didn't touch the ground.

November 25, 2008, 02:05 AM
As a former scanning electon microscope and focused ion beam guru, I can say this.

Shiny brass is slicker and less rough at the microscopic surface roughness level. In semi's it may make a smidgen of difference, beyond that, it's only microns of surface imperfection and no safety concerns should occur. Unless you picked it up and it was blue and nasty indicating it was leaching out the copper from the mix, I think I'd avoid those range pickups and just recycle them.

It sounds like you shoot at an indoor range, no worries there.

As for the vinegar suggestion, very good, but same for old crusty, very blue range pickups. Acetic acid, aka vinegar, will easily follow the corrosion, to the nanometric level of bad range pickups further degrading their integrity for shooting greatly. This will decrease tje brass's malleability due to the oxidation making very hard sections in your brass that will eat through a waterline at the microscopic level before you can see it.

If you cannot polish out your defects with a piece of fine steel wool or scotch brite with minimal scrubbing, reject the brass. What you're looking for is a line that you simply can't scrub out.

This part only applies to really crusty brass, but I live in the PNW where an outdoor range pickup may sit the a wet environment forever before somone bends over and picks it up.

Ask me how I know? Look up FEI.

Ala Dan
November 25, 2008, 02:25 AM
When at the range, you don't want too show off your recent handloads
in old, dirty brass cases do you~? However, its been proven it does not
make 'em shoot any better~! :D :D :D

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