Dry tumbler, Wet tumbler or UltraSonic?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BLACKFIN, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    Once you wet tumble you won't ever go back to dry tumbling.
    It take more time to proccess it but it comes out so much more cleaner. A lot of wet tumber people use food dehydrators to dry the brass. I made drying racks to dry the brass on.
    It take more time to put the brass on my racks but it gives me time to check the brass for any damages, dents or other issues.

    I have so much brass I could shoot any caliber I want all year and still not have to clean or proccess any more brass.

    20200329_162533.jpg
     
  2. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Do what I do, the absolute best method.

    I polish each case with #000 steel wool in bed while we watch movies. Kills two birds with one stone. On a good night during a 2 hour movie, I can get about 75 cases clean and shiny. Also the steel wool fragments embedded in my sheets and pillow case gives my skin a nice reddish tint, but I do admit there are festering bumps as well.
     
  3. DWrso

    DWrso Member

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    I follow the same process. I enjoy the different stages of reloading and am not out to win a race. I will clean a big batch witk simple green/hot water for about 15 minutes in a wet tumbler then rinse well and let them dry. Then I deprime and size in a single stage Hornady. Then wet tumble with pins, rinse, and let dry. Then into the progressive with no decap pin, just size and so on. Keeps dies etc clean and finished rounds look new. Again not efficient but that is my process and I never have issues. For metal case, I only load 9mm.
     
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  4. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    The used antistat sheets you but in the dryer help keep the dust down.
    Having said that I only rarely dry tumble anything since I got my Lyman cyclone.

    I would go with a wet setup.
    A dollop of car wash and wax, some citric acid and cases come out like new.
    In the summer I lay them out in the sun on an old towel to dry, in the winter I just put them on a towel in the corner of a room out of the way.
    In the summer dry in and hour (or less!) inside overnight does the trick.

    I haven't used the Harbor freight one, but if you are planning to do very many pieces of rifle brass you might be better served by a larger tumbler, Lyman Cyclone, Frankford etc.
    Most of the large ones come with pins, a couple lbs of pins are around $25 so add that to the price of the HF if you decide to go that way.
    One of these is handy for chasing down pins, they try to escape
    upload_2020-10-14_18-56-31.png

    I wondered about spending the money for a wet tumbler, but once I did I was glad I spent the money.
    No dust, no dirty media, maybe a little more work but not much more.
    Does spotless like new brass shoot any better, probably not, but it makes me smile.


    edit: fix typo, having an I can't type day...
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
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  5. BLACKFIN

    BLACKFIN Member

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    yeah i live in an apartment and i have a son, so i went with the Dual drums Wet tumbler so i can clean both 9mm and 223 at the same time. Plus i don’t have to deal with the dust ;):thumbup: i will post pictures of my setup tomorrow.
    027290A8-2141-482C-BE10-1F38B2EA645E.jpeg
     
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  6. Sooner1911

    Sooner1911 Member

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    I think Highland Lofts hit the nail on the head. Whatever method you are using to dry, it provides an opportunity for you to perform a thorough visual inspection of your brass. In addition, splits and stress cracks are much easier to identify and cull from a clean surafac
     
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  7. Laggy

    Laggy Member

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    Dry tumbling will get it done. 100%. Always and forever. If you’re a gear whore, then wet is the way to go. Violently unnecessary, but results are visually spectacular. Need to come up with a mild heat drying process. I use a Walmart $40 food dehydrator.

    I dry tumble for 30 minutes just to clean enough for de-capping so I don’t nut up my dies (Although I don’t think dirt does much to carbide, better to be safe). Then wet tumble. The separation process is a pain until you dial it in. You’ll never clean a primer pocket again. Time is not a big deal if you are dialing in 1500yd rounds. But for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s a consideration.

    If your non-reloading time is valuable, dry. Otherwise, wet is cool. Fun. Incredible results. Again though, violently unneccesary. Sonic is somewhere in the middle, results-wise.
     
  8. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    That "160 watts of power" advertised on the ultrasonic cleaner is usually 80w ultrasonic transducer and 80w of heater making for very deceptive advertising and an under-powered ultrasonic cleaner.

    This is a much better cleaner that will handle much bigger batches. https://www.amazon.com/VEVOR-Commercial-Ultrasonic-Capacity-Solution/dp/B01HGNYO0U/ref=sr_1_23?dchild=1&keywords=ultrasonic+cleaner&qid=1602742509&sr=8-23

    Most people that complain about ultrasonic cleaners are the ones that bought a small under powered cleaner. A large powerful ultrasonic cleaner is a wonder to use! ...but usually expensive!

    It is hard to beat a good old dry tumbler for utility, efficiency and minimal fuss/effort to use.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  9. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    I think each system has pros and cons, but I've only used wet tumbling, because it works great for me. It gets the brass very nice and shiny, and the primer pockets are immaculate. Just set them with stainless steel pins, laundry detergent and Lemishine for two hours, then spray them off with hot water, and put them on the shoe-drying rack in the dryer for about an hour on medium heat. I have heard some people claim that wet-tumbling has a negative effect on precision, but I'm skeptical of this statement.
     
  10. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    Every one of us has our own way of tumbling and think our way is the best way.
    That battle will keep going on & on.

    Wet for me.
     
  11. donut1953

    donut1953 Member

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    I switched from dry to wet about a year ago. I bought the FART and love the fact I can clean 1500 9mm cases in about 2 hours. I always pick a sunny day and let them lay on a towel on the driveway to dry. My time during this process is less than 1 hour. I just use lemon shine, armor all, and water. I tumble before depriming so I see no need for stainless steel pins.
     
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  12. gifbohane

    gifbohane Member

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    When I Sonic (wet) clean I have taken the cleaned and rinsed cases and blew them out with an air compressor, hoping to avoid stains and corrosion. A lot of extra work.

    But a big question- when I sonic clean a rifle bolt and its parts I wonder if the inside will rust even with blowing them out with my car tire air compressor?
     
  13. Skeeter300

    Skeeter300 Member

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    I wet tumble with the Frankford Arsenal tumbler. I like not having to deal with the dust from dry tumbling.
     
  14. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I have been cleaning my guns with an ultrasonic cleaner for a couple decades. I always oil appropriately... Don't over do it. I have never had problems with rust. I use Dawn dishwashing soap and water. I also let my tank heat up to quite hot, this makes the remaining water after blowing off with a compressor gun evaporate very quickly.
     
  15. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    A couple tablespoons of mineral spirits in each load eliminates the dust when I dry tumble. The used dryer sheet picks up the dirt.
     
  16. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I both wet tumble and dry tumble but I haven't tried ultrasound.

    I put about a 38 Super case full of LimiShine and a cap full of ArmorAll Wash and Wax in a 15# drum and set the timer for 2 hours. The brass comes out looking better than new. I might get by with a shorter run time but thats what my timer does. It takes about 10-15 minutes to dry the brass in the oven with the temp set as low as it will go. I also have an old towel sewn into a bag that resembles a pillow case that I dump the wet brass into to shake back and fourth. This gets some of the water off and makes drying quicker. I use the hot Summer Sun for drying when I can.

    My dry tumblers are the larger Dillon ones. I usually run them in 12 hour shifts with corncob. I put a cap full of mineral spirits and a cap full of liquid automotive polish in with the corncob and run it until its throughly mixed than add the brass. Once again, I might get by with less run time but 12 hours does a good job. The really dirty stained cases don't get shiney but they get clean. I have also dry tumbled using a rotary tumbler.

    Walnut media cleans dirty cases faster than corncob but corncob gives a better polish. The wash and wax in the wet tumbler and the liquid car polish in the corncob leave a protective film on the brass that retards tarnish.
     
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  17. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    That's going to be my next Ultrasonic cleaner. My Lyman does a really good job but it just won't die. 10 years and going strong. I want a larger one so I can put a N frame revolver in it. I also want one I can put about 500+ rounds in at one time. I can only do about 250 at a time right now with mine.

    I don't mind shell prep at all, and my Lyman is keeping up but it's on the edge.

    I agree with what you saying about some people buying the underpowered ones and then saying ultra sonics don't work. There is a formula somewhere that has the amount of watts of transducer power to the amount of water and amount of Citric acid that must be there for it to work. I believe it's a spec the military uses with theirs.

    Uncle Nick on "The Firing Line" posted it once.
     
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  18. BLACKFIN

    BLACKFIN Member

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    Here’s a quick update, i went with the wet tumbler and this was a test run to see how it performed. No media was used just Dawn and Lemi-shine for 2 hours, now i have a batch of range pickups 9mm
    8D213185-D8D1-44E9-B388-F19712D85899.jpeg 6F0859C9-0230-4B19-8F4D-6768C637FF65.jpeg EC403A4D-DF04-49D0-84A1-93A03CB87E90.jpeg 7155F323-C3A8-4161-B487-0B9D44E0E798.jpeg
     
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  19. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Are you happy with the results?

    Looks good to me.
    If you use auto wash and wax it seems to dry quicker, not tarnish, and be a bit easier to resize
     
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  20. rocirish

    rocirish Member

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    It looks like they turned out real nice.
     
  21. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    Just remember, the best reason to go with wet tumbling is to reduce exposure to lead dust. I guess if you can vibratory tumble outdoors 100% of the time and use a ventilator when you remove the cases it would work. Personally, I wet tumble all my cases and rinse everything off outdoors before putting them through my press. I also recommend d-lead soap, even if you use nitrile gloves.
     
  22. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    Nice results, that is why I wet tumble.

    How do you like the black water from all of the crude from the cases?

    Dry tumbling just doesn't do it for me.
     
  23. BLACKFIN

    BLACKFIN Member

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    Yes, I’m very happy with the results. I didn’t have the media but I don’t know if i need it because it came out very clean.
     
  24. BLACKFIN

    BLACKFIN Member

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    OMG, that was funny, i was like... :eek: that’s was dirty
     
  25. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    :cool:
    Glad you like it!
    Wet is a little more work but the results are worth it IMO.

    Yep, :eek: all that was on my brass!
     
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