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Best way to clean brass?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TheReeves, Mar 6, 2008.

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  1. TheReeves

    TheReeves Member

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    What is the best way to clean brass when you don't have a tumbler (that is what cleans it, right?) Picked up a bunch of my brass at the range today for a friend, don't really want to give it to him dirty. Are there ways to clean it? I know nothing about reloading...
     
  2. farmmer dan

    farmmer dan Member

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    My buddy uses a cheap rock tumbler from a hobby shop and corn cob bedding from a pet store. It works better than ever ,but it won't tumble a lot of brass
     
  3. sniper5

    sniper5 Member

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    Take a look at iosso case cleaner. I think their site is iosso.com, but a search in google should pull it up. As I recall you get a lot of milage out of a tub, I think it works like carb cleaner except it won't eat the casings or your hands.
     
  4. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Don't sweat it. If he is a reloader he will have a tumbler, and nothing else works nearly as well.
     
  5. KeithB

    KeithB Member

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  6. shc1

    shc1 Member

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    I have a pre-cleaner for just that.
    It’s a high tech gadget called a cat litter scoop. Put a hand full in and shake.
    If you have a cat and/or litter box, don’t get the two scoops confused.
    (don’t ask) :uhoh:
     
  7. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman Member

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    Too much time is a wasted on cleaning the brass yourself - suck it up and get yourself a tumbler. Dump it and forget it works well.
     
  8. cdrt

    cdrt Member

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  9. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I've washed brass in the sink before, and was supprised how clean it was after shaking the water out of it, in a towel.:)
     
  10. TheReeves

    TheReeves Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. As much as I'd like to buy a tumbler (I'll start reloading one of these days), it is not a viable option right now.

    cdrt - I might try the solution, or I might just throw it in the sink with water like JDGray says. I didn't know soaking brass or getting it wet was ok to do. I only need it clean enough to handle, the friend who gets it will tumble it I'm sure.
     
  11. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Cleaning brass...

    The Reeves--Do I understand that you're just giving the brass to a reloader friend?? If so, don't worry abt whether it is dirty or not. He'll thank you for the brass regardless, and feel grateful.

    He'll clean it himself--probably has a tumbler for this--or, if it's just too dirty he'll sell it for scrap (price is up recently) and use the proceeds to buy some new, clean brass.

    BTW, why aren't YOU thinking of reloading the stuff? Having a good supply of reloadable brass has propelled many and many a shooter into the reloading end of the game. You can make better ammo than you can buy, cheaper.
     
  12. TheReeves

    TheReeves Member

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    I've thought about keeping it because I've always wanted to reload. Kinda why I want to clean it, to see the outcome, and clean brass would be easier to keep around. I want to get into reloading, but I can't anytime soon, so I'll pick up some books and start getting educated in the meantime.
     
  13. ma96782

    ma96782 Member

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    I use a liquid brass cleaner (Birchwood Casey # 33845 CCI). That way I don't have to buy a tumbler or vibrator, mess with media or the noise and dust. Then, spend time, picking the stuck media out of primer pockets and flash holes. And, not to mention, that I save electricity. Follow the instructions on the package. After the cases are cleaned and dry, it’s on to the next step.

    Aloha, Mark
     
  14. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    And keep the lid on your tumbler when it's not in use. (you don't wanna know)
     
  15. Deavis

    Deavis Member

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    Liquid cleaning is fine but not for serious reloading. Go clean 5k worth of cases a pop that way and then tell me you don't want a tumbler.

    Tumble and then deprime. Not the other way around. Even if you don't who cares? Run it through the sizing die again and anything in the flash hole will come out, I guarantee it. If you are trying to tumble of sizing lube, switch to One-Shot and save yourself the time.

    For people who don't have the money to buy a tumbler. The amount of time you waste with cleaning brass in a dishwasher or sink could be spent working to make that money.
     
  16. Grizzly Adams

    Grizzly Adams Member

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    I had one shooter tell me once that he tied his in the foot of his wife's panty hose and put it in the clothes washer.

    Don't know how long he stayed married or lived!
     
  17. Hazzard

    Hazzard Member

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    I've used...

    Coffee pot cleaner (strong citric acid solution)
    Viniger (strong acetic acid solution)
    Lime-away (strong whatever solution)

    The lime-away works best for me. Just use a couple of squirts in a sink full of water and let them soak. It removes corrosion and will let you see where zinc has been leeched out of the brass by acids in the soil at the range. you will see red spots or streaks in the brass that are pure copper. It's also good at removing range dirt.
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    TheReeves,
    The others have already said, just wipe it off and give it to your friend. He will tumble it and thank you for the gift. I know I wouldn't care how dirty Brass was if someone gave it to me for free.

    If you really want to clean it up a bit because it's extremely dirty just fill your kitchen sink with hot soapy water, give it a good shaking in the water with your hand and then strain out the water. Let it sit on paper towels to dry and give it to him. That will be good enough to remove the bulk of the dirt from a range.
     
  19. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    I wish I had a buddy that would scrounge brass for me. If he ain't happy with just the brass, give it to me I'll take it dirty!
     
  20. TheReeves

    TheReeves Member

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    Hah, the more I think about it, the more I think about just stockpiling it for when I'm ready to start reloading.
     
  21. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I have cleaned with steel wool.
    I have cleaned with a vibrator and corn cob media.
    I have cleaned with a vibrator and walnut media.
    I have cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner.
    I have cleaned the inside of the necks with a spinning bore brush covered with steel wool.

    Nothing works.
    The inside of the necks still do not get polished.

    I have a friend who cleans with a vibrator and Comet cleanser powder mixed with the media. He gets away from the house and wears and gas mask to separate.

    I have just given up.
    I run them a few hours in the walnut media with the liquid cleaner that they sell with the media.
    They look clean, but the inside of the necks is still powdery.
     
  22. Whytknyt

    Whytknyt Member

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    I'll follow up on what ma96782 said. I use the Birchwood Casey cleaner when the cases are really dirty. Then I run them for a hour in the tumbler after they are dry. They are clean after the BC cleaner treatment, just shiny after the tumbler.

    The other option (disclaimer: I am a married man ans would never suggest doing this if you want to stay married. Hence I have never done it, but.....) is to use your wife's KitchenAid mixer. Fill the stainless bowl with corncob with a little polish, add 100-200 cases, depending on size, use the hollow mixer paddle for agressive, or the dough hook for less agressive, and set it on medium speed for about two hours. Works great (according to a buddy who is now divorced!).

    I have a bunch of really dirty 44Mag brass soaking in the BC cleaner right now.

    Whytknyt
     
  23. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Member

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    All you guys that clean brass in the sink, dryer, mixer, etc. Have you ever thougt about lead residue that could be left from the cases after you clean your brass in the sink, dryer, mixer, etc.
     
  24. buzzcut

    buzzcut Member

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    Lead is my main concern. I don't like the idea of airborne lead dust from tumbling and sifting. I plan to wash in a dedicated bucket, and air dry on dedicated baking sheets.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    TheReeves,
    I'm curious, what caliber Brass did you pick up?
     
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