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why do people dry tumble and not wet tumble?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by trigga, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. trigga

    trigga New Member

    before i got into reloading, i did plenty of research on the process. the first stage to reloading was brass prep. most people i've read about dry tumbles their brass which at one point i was going to buy a dry tumbler. then i came upon a video with a wet tumbler and the results were much more desirable. it almost makes me think that wet tumbling would be the method of choice. i'm not the smartest person but common sense tells me everything about it is better in a way unless i'm missing something.

    when dry tumbling you get a lot of dust particles, some of it being lead. wet tumbling captures most if not all the dirt with the water. dry tumbling only cleans and polishes the outside of the case, wet tumbling cleans and polishes the inside, outside AND the primer pocket. Dry tumbling media can only be used a number of times before it needs to be replaces, stainless steel media used in wet tumbling will last you a lifetime if you don't lose them. am i missing something? like the ss media will shorten the life of your cases, will damage the lip? sometimes it makes me wonder why it's not as popular..

    a couple of weeks ago i asked my cousin how he cleans his brass and he told me he uses some chemical. it's corrosive he said. ???, I don't have a fancy wet tumbler but the dual drum version from harbor freight. i've tumbled over 2500 rounds using the same media, bottle of lemi shine and dawn. the results surprised me so much i tested some pennies. i'm not particularly picky about shiny brass but seeing is believing.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Because I simply despise drying wet brass before I can use it.

    I gave up wet cleaning 40 years ago when I built my first tumbler, and never looked back.

  3. bds

    bds Active Member

    I like dry tumbling with fine grit walnut media with NuFinish car polish for the following reasons:

    - Cleans and removes tarnish well (as quick as 15-20 minutes) and puts light polish good enough for me to reload and be proud of showing to others.

    - Residual polymer on the surface of the brass acts like case lube and makes resizing easier (I use Lee carbide resizing dies and resizing takes much less effort than just dry cleaned brass).

    - Residual polymer on the surface of the brass keeps brass shiny longer and prevents tarnishing for years/decades inside a 5-gallon buckets (great for long-term storage of brass). I know many who wet/SS tumble their brass but tumble again in walnut/corn cob with NuFinish for these reasons.

    If you are concerned about lead dust, get yourself a respirator with 3M filters and sort brass/tumble outdoors with good ventilation (I think excellent insurance against lead for $15) - http://www.amazon.com/3M-6391-P100-...ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2G5S4SDVEREB7
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  4. GBExpat

    GBExpat Active Member

    That is how I have always done it and, as they say, "if it ain't broke ...".

    Often I will pre-clean tarnished brass in a citric acid/water solution prior to putting it in one of my vibratory case cleaners (corncob media w/ a bit of polish).

    Dust is not a problem because I don't run the things for any amount of time with the covers off.
  5. Rangemaster

    Rangemaster New Member

    I have the equipment to do wet, dry and sonic.

    I prefer dry over everything else. Wet with pins do leave the brass looking the best, but removes the carbon from inside the brass.
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Active Member

    I use both methods. You can't get much cleaner than wet with SS but you can only post load tumble to knock lube off dry.
  7. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Active Member

    I don't worry about how clean the inside of the case is. But I do find the inside cleaner with small cob media than with walnut. I also don't clean primer pockets, which means I can deprime during the loading process.
  8. Rushthezeppelin

    Rushthezeppelin New Member

    I tried ultrasonic first. It didn't hardly do crap to the brass except let it tarnish easily and the drying process was a pain, I'm an impatient person and would stare at it to make it dry faster :D So far I've been very impressed with dry tumbling in corn cob media. It might not clean the primer pockets like stainless tumbling will but it really isn't a big deal imo, I personally think most people harp too much on clean primer pockets. I think as long as the flash hole is clear it doesn't matter much.
  9. Rule3

    Rule3 Active Member

    Dry tumble, place brass in tumbler turn on with timer. Remove brass.

    Wet tumble, add solution and water, run machine, rinse several times to remove acid, separate stainless pins, place brass somewhere to dry ( I do not think the family kitchen oven is a good place) wait for it to dry.

    Cost of wet machine is much higher, solution is not free it costs also,

    Generally it's a PITA;) I have picked up really dirty range brass full of sand and dirt. I use a 5 gal bucket some citric acid or vinegar and water. Rinse it outside with hose (advantage of Fl weather) Dry on driveway.

    Dry tumbling works just as well if you spend the .29 cents to change the media once and a while. It takes about 2-3 hours with good media and some Nu Finish or similar additive. A 50 lb bag of corn or walnut is cheap at Harbor Freight or online and will last for years.
  10. higgite

    higgite Member

    Just because I'm too lazy to type it for myself, ditto what Rule3 said.
  11. I find the drying process to be very simple. Put the brass in a mesh dryer bag and hang it over the door of the dryer and close the door. Set the dryer to 40 minutes on medium heat.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    But, while you are running up the electric bill running the dryer for 40 minutes drying your wet brass?

    I got my dry brass out of the tumbler and reloaded it!!!

  13. Schwing

    Schwing Active Member

    I have messed around with liquid tumbling. I know several others who have as well. It seems like almost everyone who does ends up going back to dry media. There is no reason to clean the inside of the case and dry media is good enough. Add a little brass polish in the mix and you probably won't be able to tell the difference except dry shells are ready to use right out of the hopper
  14. kevinakaq

    kevinakaq Member

    It works, it's easy, it's cheap.

    If accuraccy improved wet tumbling i would be in....other than that i dont see an advantage.

  15. leefan

    leefan New Member

    Let me put this argument to rest. If the Comanches were crossing the Red River, and you were reloading for a desperately underammoed troupe of Texas Rangers, you wouldn't clean the cases at all. If you wanted to imagine that shiny clean cases shoot better, you'd clean, while the Injuns scalped the Rangers. The more you wanted to believe that, the cleaner you'd make them. Until you got scalped. That said, I like my cases to be shiny clean, and I am absolutely convinced that the accuracy is better. Can't tell that from MY shooting, a course. It's a matter of faith.
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Active Member

    FOR ME, it's just easier to dry tumble and wet. I like easy and wet tumbling is not easy.
  17. rbernie

    rbernie Active Member

    I wash fired range brass by the thousands and leave them to dry in 5gal buckets. When dry, I dry-tumble them in treated walnut without fear of issues with the dust.

    Easy peasy.
  18. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

    That's just my opinion. The wet method is more work and more time involved to do things that are not needed. I also add a little Nu Finish car polish to my media and can store my cases for years without them tarnishing. You can't do that with your cases.
  19. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Active Member

    I dry and wet tumble.

    Most of the time I dry tumble. Quick and dry. Cases can be reloaded immediately after removing them from the tumbler.

    Occasionally, I have a large batch of cases that I want very clean. I will dust off the wet tumbler. Usually several batches over several days and a week or more for drying.

    I never found my dry tumbler produced any dust to speak of and I wash my hands after separating cases from handling cases from the media..
  20. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard New Member

    Because wet tumbling leaves your brass......wet. Which causes the need to.....dry tumble.

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