1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Cleaning Brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by stodd, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. stodd

    stodd Well-Known Member

    Hello Everyone.

    Just wanted to see what people out there are doing when cleaning brass. Do you guys knock out the primers before you put your brass in the tumbler?

    I normally leave the primers in the cases until after i clean them and get ready to reload them.

    Just wanted to see what everyone does and if they is any benefit to de-prime them first.

  2. TBH

    TBH Well-Known Member

    I clean my brass with a Dillon vibrator. Looked at the ultrasonic and the tumbler with stainless pellets, but corn cob is quick and easy.
    I don't de-prime before cleaning. I have a RCBS case prep and have tried cleaning primer pockets but haven't noticed a change of accuracy. My feelings are if you are looking for max accuracy then don't spare the prep steps. For me
    I spend a little less time reloading and more shooting.
    I always work new brass over, trim, de-bur flash hole, true up primer pocket, ect.
  3. 3GunEric

    3GunEric Well-Known Member

    I find that if you deprime first then you need to check the flash hole for any media that is blocking primer hole. I poke a small punch by hand to make sure small pieces of media are out.

    Better to clean then deprime.
  4. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Well-Known Member

    What I do is clean the brass for about 30 mins with walnut, cleans off any debris etc. I then load those up in my Dillon 650 and de-cap with an universal de-capper. Then I clean the brass again with corn cob.
    Find it does clean the primer pocket some what and I don't have a problem with media sticking in the flash hole or primer pocket.

    Does it make any difference in performance probably not but it makes me feel warm and fuzzy...Eric
  5. blarby

    blarby Well-Known Member

    I do.
  6. au_prospector

    au_prospector Well-Known Member

    My understanding is you should clean first because otherwise the grit is too rough on your sizing/decapping die. Often I clean twice maybe that is overkill. 3 or 4 hours on walnut with Nu Finish, decap, then another 4 hours on either walnut or corn cob again with a few dabs of Nu Finish. Usually a speck or two of cleaning media is jammed in the flash hole which can be pushed out with a push tack or a straightened paper clip.
  7. daboone

    daboone Well-Known Member

    I do 10 minutes in a 1 tbs citric acid per gallon of very hot water (with primers removed). Then bottleneck cases go stright to annealing which gets the drying done now!
  8. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    I've tried it both ways, and (to me) there is no benefit in de-capping first. The primer pockets do not get any cleaner by de-capping, and I get particles stuck in flash holes. if I tumble first, then the subsequent de-capping will knock any media out of the flash hole.

    Maybe one day I will spend the big bucks for the stainless pins and liquid set-up. Then I will de-cap, and the primer pocket (and the rest of the case) will be spotless...but it will only be for vanity. They won't shoot any better.
  9. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Everybody does it differently. Myself, I deprime everything as soon as they're sorted out. I never run brass with old primers in the tumbler, because I want all that old carbon OUT of the primer pockets.

    I've also bought a small cement mixer and 25lbs. of stainless pin media. When warm weather gets here we gonna be experimenting! Should be able to run 25# of brass at once, I hope.
  10. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Well-Known Member

    Leave primers in, tumble in crushed walnut with dryer sheets.

    Take brass out, size it, and brush the primer pocket.

    Then you won't need to use the flash hole tool to push out media out of the flash hole.

    My age is young, but I reload like the old timers. Reloading to me is for accuracy, not quantity.
  11. jb27

    jb27 Well-Known Member

    My routine:

    1. Shoot
    2. Deprime
    3. Sonic Cleaner (brush primer pockets when/if needed)
    4. Lube
    5. Size
    6. Tumble (Corn Cob media w/ NuFinish)
    7. Trim/chamfer/debur (when needed)
    8. Load
    9. Repeat
  12. OldTex

    OldTex Well-Known Member

    For almost 30 years, I cleaned them once to get rid of any grit on the cases that might scratch my sizing die (after ruining my first resizing die that way), then sized the brass and got rid of the primers, then tumbled them again to get rid of the lube. Then I started reading about how the black dust that always built up in the tumbler included dust from primer residue that was both abrasive and a source of lead contamination. So I started decapping the primers before the dirty brass went in for the first tumble.

    Now I have the stainless steel setup so I always decap first then tumble. If I'm doing a full length resize, I tumble again after sizing to get rid of the lube.
  13. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    Tumbling with corn cob or walnut media will NOT clean the primer pocket.
    (not that I clean 'em, just saying)

    I do NOT want dirt, fouling etc in my dies.
    So all brass gets tumbled when I come home from the range.

    Then I use a progressive press.
    (for hand gun brass)

    For rifle brass, I tumble, lube, size/deprime, trim, chamfer, tumble a 2nd time etc, etc.
  14. Its clean then deprime then clean, sort by brand caliber and primer size.
  15. Matt Dillon

    Matt Dillon Well-Known Member

    I tumble them in corn cob, deprive them, then tumble in walnut shells.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  16. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    I always leave the primers in while tumbling. Spend some time picking media out of primer pockets and you will know why they should be left it.
  17. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    The only time I will knock out primers before cleaning is when I use Liquid Cleaners. I do not want fluids to get trapped. With dry media I just dump and go.
  18. wtr100

    wtr100 Well-Known Member

    we clean a LOT of brass for resale

    1. extra coarse walnut media from Harbour Freight works better than purpose packaged - the stuff we have seems 'grittier'

    2. more media than brass gives better results

    3. a tiny squirt of flitz metal polish helps a lot

    4. not sure if it's needed but we put 1 cap full of mineral spirits into the media. Though is to keep any 'dust' from forming.

    5. we don't tumble inside the hvac 'envelope' of your home - in case of any lead

    6. wear gloves when handling the used media - I've been told lead can build up in there over time
  19. Belmont148

    Belmont148 Well-Known Member

    Pistol Brass- tumble in Walnut 3 hours with polishing wax and dryer sheet, size/deprime and load

    Rifle Brass- tumble in Walnut 3 hours with polish and dryer sheet, lube, size/deprime, tumble in corn cob 3 hours with dryer sheet.

    Rifle brass comes out looking new, and pistol brass has a little tarnish on a few cases, but shoot great and do not dirty up my dies.
  20. Speedster00

    Speedster00 Well-Known Member

    how much NU finish wax are you guys putting in?

Share This Page