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

How to clean cases??

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bullockcm, Jul 22, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bullockcm

    bullockcm Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    I have just started reloading and have used up all my new brass so it is time to start prepping once fired cases. My loads were low power .44 mag loads so I do have some powder residue.

    What is the best way to get the cases cleaned and prepared for reloading?

    Do I need a tumbler of some sort or are tumblers more for making the brass look new again?

    Do I just wash them in hot water? Or something else? I have searched on this and the probably obvious answer is still eluding me.

    Thanks, Mitch
  2. esheato

    esheato Member

    Apr 8, 2003
    Tumbler is probably the easiest.

    Dump in the media, some brass polish/car wax and the brass. Plug in and forget for a few hours. Vibratory work better than the rotary type. Lots of people sell them; Dillon, Lyman, Berry's, etc... Oh, word to the wise, don't ever buy specialty tumbling media. Find a pet store and buy the small size crushed walnut media. Works like a charm and is dirt cheap.

    Alternative methods include washing but it's a bit more labor intensive and you have to dry them somehow (oven or air dry)

    Some people decap (via Lee universal decapping die) prior to tumbling. Personally, I prefer to put clean components into my precision adjusted dies so I tumble first. Also, no harm in tumbling loaded ammo. Depending on your application (precision rifle versus plinking pistol loads), cleaning the primer pocket is hit and miss. Long range or accuracy loads? Yes, I clean them manually after tumble and decap. Pistol? Don't even worry about it.

  3. Alphazulu6

    Alphazulu6 member

    Jun 2, 2007
    +1. And they are cheap. You can find them on www.cheaperthandirt.com or midway, etc.
  4. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    QUICK!!! Before someone tells you a "better" way to clean brass. GET a case tumbler (vibrater type). Get some corncob media and maybe some case polish that you can add to the media in the tumbler...But you better HURRY!!! Oooh...To late. Here they come with their lame brained :D ideas. :neener:
  5. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Member

    May 1, 2006
    Between TN & KY
    I like the tumbler idea. Throw the stuff in and turn it on, go do something else for a few hours then go seperate the media from the brass and start the reloading process.
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    Gotta agree with The Bushmaster here. When you finally get one you will tell yourself "Why in the H*** didn't I do that a long time ago" :rolleyes:

    Welcome to THR
  7. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    I use an old rock tumbler and rice for my 45acp and 9mm cases. Takes about an hour per 50 rds or so. Just put it on a cheapo timer and go to bed, ready for the next day.

    Having a smaller tumbler also keeps me from spending all weekend in the garage loading ammo because I can only do 50 per hour or so.
  8. BAT1

    BAT1 Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    Brass cleaning

    I use the Cabela's Tumbler kit.Get one with a clear lid. It came with a strainer and corn cob [small] media. I use Oneida Brass and copper polish and they come out great, after 4hrs. I was talking to a employee at the range yesterday, and he boils his brass first before tumbling to remove residues.
  9. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Cumming, GA

    Let me be the first to throw out a "lame brained" idea and give ultrasonic cleaning a try.

    It's how I'm going to clean mine when I finally get started, and I think the pictures in the link prove just how well it works. Ultrasonic cleaners aren't much more than a tumbler, you have no toxic dust to worry about, and the media is just about as cheap.
  10. DragonFire

    DragonFire Member

    May 26, 2004
    You will find that everyone has their own method, and use every possible medium.

    Alot depends on how much time and effort you want to put into cleaning your brass, how much brass you have to clean, and what you want it to look like afterwards.

    Having been lazy at times, my pistol brass somtimes looked pretty bad. It was "clean", just not shiny and bright. But it all still fired fine, and was still accurate.

    I've tumble my brass, a few hundred at a time (I put about as many as I could fit into the tumbler at a time while still leaving room for my corn cob, or walnut shells or whatever). Sometimes I add some polish and a cap full of mineral spirits, sometimes I go two or three tumblers full before adding more. I've used "gun supplies" medium, local store-bought tumbler medium, and I'm current using some farm-supply bought bedding (crushed shells).

    I usually let them tumble for an hour or so, more if I have the time. Tumbling too much longer usually doesn't make that much of a difference in their looks.

    I sometime "pre-wash" them if they are especially dirty, or if they've been rolling around the dirt/mud at a match. You need to dry them (same goes if you use a liguid cleaner) or they will tarnish. I've used the oven (on warm or low) or outside on a towel in the sun.

    No matter how the brass looks when I start, they always come out looking better. Sometime very bright, sometimes not so bright. I save my "prettier" ones for matches (just so I don't take too much ribbing) but they all still function fine.

    I don't think there is a "right" method. And the easiest methods may not satisfy your tastes. Try a few different methods or ingredients and see what works best for you.

    As long as your cases are clean (not necessarily bright) they shouldn't hurt your reloader's dies or guns' chambers. Anything more is pretty much cosmetics.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page