Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by project88, Apr 22, 2011.
Tried searching and couldn't find anything. What ways can you clean brass without a tumbler?
I use an ultrasonic cleaner with Hornadys one cleaning solution. It works well as long as you run them through the cleaner a second time with baking soda and water to nuetralize the acid in the first solution.
You can buy these cleaners anywhere, including Cabelas
You put up with the dirt from the tumblers but don't have to nuetralize the shells in a rinse, but you have to dry the shells from a ultrasonic cleaner and that's also a pain.
Old time NRA receipes
1. 2 tablespoons salt per quart of vinegar. Soak 15 - 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse in running water 5 minutes. Use a cotton swab to clean the primer pocket. This cleans serviceably but the cases will soon tarnish.
2. Soak cases 5 - 10 minutes in 5% citric acid solution. Rinse thoroughly in water. The clean cases will not tarnish unduly.
Neither of the above will result in a high polish look like you will get in a tumbler.
Of course the cases will need to throughly dry. I have heard it said to spread the cases on a jelly roll or cookie sheet, heat the oven to 200 degrees, then turn the oven off and put the cases in over night. I have not read it nor have I tried it. Just sayin'.
You can buy the IOSSO liquid cleaning kit. It is available at Midway and other retailers. It works well and I always pre clean my really tarnished brass with it before running it through a tumbler. It will not shine up the brass but it comes out all one dull brass color. You can buy some 000 steel wool and polish the brass with it after or instead if you want it to sparkle. Use a wooden dowel sanded to neck size/taper friction fit in the center to hold the brass then rotate the brass in the steel wool. This method works well for me with small amounts of brass when at the range working up a load and reusing the brass. I bet you will eventually buy a vibratory cleaner, the Frankfort Arsenal brand are often on sale at Midway for a great price BTW.
Gasoline works fairly well but the brass retains a gas odor for a LONG time.
A Lee case trimmer holder chucked in a power screwdriver and some 000 steel wool will shine them up real pretty.
Why do it the hard way??
Project 88--This comes up from time to time:
A vibratory tumbler is (1) cheap (2) easy (3) low "putz" factor (4) less messing around
Why oh why would you not want to use the best method for cleaning brass?? Why not use the best, most effective, least putzy, method for doing anything you want to do???
It's like saying, "I have this meat I need to slice. What's the best way of doing it without a knife?"
Before I could afford a tumbler, I just washed it the kitchen sink with dish soap, then rolled it around in a towel and let it dry over night. That will get the brass "clean". Sure, it won't make it shiny, but it will be clean so as to not scratch your dies.
@Smokey Joe- i dont have the funds to pick up a tumbler right now. I have every intention of getting one when funds allow. For the time being i have a limited budget to get my reloading gear.
I use blackrocks method but use crazy cloth instead of steel wool. I have a tumbler but i load low volume precision and dont use the tumbler.
lemishine and dish washing detergent in hot water, soak and swirl a few times in half an hour. Rinse with cold water and dry in the sun or oven or whatever, just COMPLETELY dry. Clean and shiny. Clean primer pockets with any tool of your choice.
I'm not sure what you mean for sure when you say cleaning but as blackrock said this is what I do if I want a really turned case to shine. I normally just NS & load. If they have some dirt I wipe them with a rag. All range(new to me brass) pickup gets tumbled FL & tumbled again.
You could always get you a coffee can put some Lizard Litter in it & shake or maybe even put it on top of the washer.
Before I got a tumbler I tried a few differnt ways.
Took a old pair of jeans and cut one leg off, sewed one end and tied the other and ran it thru the wash with my work clothes. Worked ok really, just never wanted to wait for them to dry out is why I finally bought a tumbler.
how about make your own tumbler. theres all kinds of ghetto contraptions on youtube. Shoot, get a paint can or 5 gallons bucket and throw it on some wheels. Get a corded drill and attach to a belt mount it all to frame. Bam! BAM!
I use citric acid in hot water. About 1-2 teaspoons per gallon. I about 1/2 fill a 1 gallon spackle bucket with brass, add hot water and the citric acid and a drop or two of dish detergent, put the lid on and swirl/mix for 15 sec and let sit for 5 min, swirl again and let sit another 5 min. Next I rinse them a bunch of times, spread the brass out on a towel overnight and they're done ready to be loaded.
Well, I've done it a bunch of ways... citric + salt was my last liquid version, and I dried them (small batch) in a toast cycle in my toaster oven They were dry and ready in minutes! (basically, by the time they cool off, they're ready!) They did lack shine, but I think follow up will be my other rural method...
crushed walnut shell with some car wax sprinkled in , in a large square cashew jar from wally's... shake shake shake... about maybe 5-10 min *without liquid stage* gets them partially polished, more would do more, but I like what I end up with, and I skip that waiting for something else to polish 'em slower... of course, there is the slightest semblance of a workout to boot! hehe
But hey, that's just me, and no brow beating will change what I do.
Separate names with a comma.