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The Best brass Cleaner ever

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Paul "Fitz" Jones, Feb 11, 2003.

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  1. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

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    The best brass cleaning method ever is not in a Gun supplies catalog or seen in a gun shop. I sold hundreds of them in the 1970s and they still exist in rock, lapidary and kids toy stores.

    It is the Lortone Solid Rubber Barrel rock tumbler that is designed to tumble rocks wet in abrasive media to make pretty rocks or jewelry. Most often seen is the small two barrel model but what you need or have them order for you is the model QT12NR a 12 pound capacity barrel that you can use walnut media or corn cobs from your local pet shop in or tide soap powder in water.

    Fill the barrel 2/3rds full of brass, fill to the top with walnut hulls, add 2-3 tablespoons of cheap paint thinner on top, close and tumble. The media is effective as long as the crushing process to make them makes sharp edges on the particle stays sharp. Tumble as long as it takes to get the cleanliness you desire. Tumble the same length of time for subsequent batches. When the media becomes less effective replace it instead of adding brass cleaning chemicals.

    To tumble live ammo use corn cobs. Fill the barrel half full with the ammo, fill to within an inch from the top with corn cobs add tablespoons of kerosene and tumble.

    The lortone is the quiestest tumbler made because of the rubber barrel and no one that I sold them to in the 70s has said that they have died. They sell for about $135 and are so quiet you can have one in a bedroom closet.

    Any brass cleaning chemical is hazardous to children that can get into just about anywhere.

    The sellers of brass cleaning chemicals to newbies laugh all the way to the bank. If you see a bottle of that brass cleaning stuff look closely at the label and try to figure what the active cleaning ingredient is and if you must, get some cheaper from a chemical supply house. Make sure it is stored safely.

    Brass only needs to be clean to extend the life of your reloader and weapon. Brass seen on the range that shines like mirrors is a sign that a newbie to the shooting sports is present.

    Take some time to give them some needed advice and assistance from you experienced shooters.
     
  2. bogie

    bogie Member

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    I use a smaller Lortone to moly coat bullets. Really like it. Had a double-barrel one when I was a kid that I used for its intended purpose.
     
  3. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

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    Kerosene on my live ammo? You have to be kidding!
     
  4. dfrog

    dfrog Member

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    Originally posted by:
    Paul "Fitz" Jones
    I would be more concerned about the lead particles than any cleaning chemicals. I wouldn't recommend cleaning brass in any bedroom.
     
  5. stellarpod

    stellarpod Member

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    Paul states:

    Well I've been shooting for a few decades, reloading for a couple and I prefer my brass to shine like mirrors. I'm hardly a "newbie". Careful with the sweeping generalizations.

    stellarpod
     
  6. PALongbow

    PALongbow Member

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    I just tumble my brass in Lyman treated walnet media for 1-2 hours and they always come out nice and clean. I do have to wipe each casing off with a shop cloth to remove the liquid treatment they use in their media, but they are nice and shiney when done this way. The Lyman treated media is cheap and I don't mind taking these steps to get my brass casings clean. It's all part of why we reload.

    Ron
     
  7. Flash Hole

    Flash Hole Member

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    My brass shines like a mirror, and I've been doing this for 20+ years. Come to think some of my brass is 20+ years so neather of us are newbies.

    JOHN
     
  8. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    I must be one of the only guys out there that takes the brass, loads it and shoots it without tumbling, I could give a hoot what it looks like. I do blow out sand or dirt, but never clean beyond that. Tumbling for shine is a total waste of time to ME, if it works for you great. I am interested in performance alone.
     
  9. Flash Hole

    Flash Hole Member

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    I shine my brass because

    1 It makes it a lot easer to inspect the brass

    2 It saves on reloadind dies (I will not put dirty brass in my dies)

    3 It can help function of the gun

    4 It makes it a lot easer to find on the ground

    5 If I want to sell some I get more money ( I have a LOT of brass)

    6 Pride in what I do

    7 It doesnt hurt

    JOHN
     
  10. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    Fitz - I've gotta agree with Sven on the use of kerosene on live rounds. Kerosene is very penetrating and could easily get around and in the primers. OTOH it might not be all bad, you might have the cleanest bunch of duds at the range. :)
     
  11. Intel6

    Intel6 Member

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    I will side in with many of you here. I am a 20+ year reloader and the brass on my reloads is nice and shiny. Flash Hole and others have stated most of the reasons why. Pride in what I do and the quality of the produced round is the most important.

    I am sorry but when I see someone shooting reloads that are dull and not very clean I look at them as an inexperienced or incompetent/lazy reloader. Either they don't have enough experience in reloading to know the importance of clean brass or they are lazy or just don't care. When I see guys shooting ammo like that I usually stand back.

    I run two vibrating cleaners for cleaning. My old Ultra Vibe 18 is used as an initial cleaning to get off all the carbon and gunk of the cases and then they take a ride in my Dillon for the final polish. This way the final polish media stays lots cleaner as most of the garbage was removed by the really dirty media in the the 1st cleaner.
     
  12. 444

    444 Member

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    I like clean brass. I don't want to scratch my dies and ruin them. In a bottleneck rifle case, tumbing the brass also cleans the inside of the neck which reduces the friction, which reduces the amount of lube needed, which greatly reduces the chance of a stuck case.
    But the #1 reason I tumble brass until it is shiny is because it doesn't take any effort at all on my part. I put the brass in and walk away. I sometimes start the tumbler and go to bed.
     
  13. coonan357

    coonan357 Member

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    my brass is always shiny , Its my sign of pride in the work I do , to go to the range crack open that plastic box is enough to get attention but to pull out a round you can comb your hair in the reflection is grand . and i found its easier to clean them up the next time . it says I take my time rebuilding these things . andalso like 444 I throw them in the tumbler and let it doits thing for 8 hrs while I sleep .
     
  14. STEVE M

    STEVE M Member

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    Shiny brass is also easier to see the powder charge in. If you

    are running a progressive press this is important.


    Also agree 100% with the pride of workmanship, and saving

    my reloading dies!
     
  15. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Ditto...

    Got a mirror finish on my brass for 24 different chamberings, and I've been reloading since the late 1970's. ;)
     
  16. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

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    Kerosene in tumbling live ammo

    I learned the proceedure from Gromak Munitions Systems of Santa Rosa Calif in 1975. He did not want any of his police ammo reloading competitors learning why his live ammo looked so pretty like new and why Gromak ammo and lead bullets did not oxidize in long storage or in an officers ammo pouches. Ron Gromak loaded over a million rounds of police ammo a month and his custom tumbler was over 6 feet tall and at least 3 feet wide and you should have seen him pour in some kerosene while standing on a ladder!! It was a shock the first time I saw it! His factory was the first place I have seen a pile of 3 million live primers on pallets.

    I kept Ron's secret til he sold his factory to Japan for a cool million dollars and he went sailing in the South Pacific the last I heard.

    If you read my initial post carefully there is at least as much corn cobs as ammo and corn cobs being very absorbent there is no way a single drop of liquid kerosene from a couple tablespoons of kerosene dripped evenly around the surface of the cobs could reach a single primer much less penetrate through inches of corn cobs that are tumbled immediately. Ron proved it to me and I used the method flawlessly in the several million rounds of ammo I personally reloaded. His small home was inside a gigantic warehouse he had built over it. It was a very unique plase and I should write up my experiences of visiting there someday. When Ron bought an 18 wheeler to deliver his ammo I bought his propane powerd 4 ton mail delivery bobtail truck with a lift gate for my ammo deliveries and going to gun shows in the Western States I still have it at my ranch.

    If I had any dud ammo my departmental and competitive police and 45acp combat shooting customers would have informed me of it Pronto. After putting in the diminmous amount of kerosene in the barrel on top of the corn cobs you tumble immediately which spreads the kerosene through the media evenly and there are no drops of liquid kerosene anywhere in the tumbler barrel.

    Whenever I mention Kerosene Wow What A Row!!
    Nuff Said Folks!
     
  17. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

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    Brass Like mirrors

    -As an Officer, Rangemaster, Police Weapons Instructor if any of my brass looking like mirrors landed on the deck I would have been laughed at is where my basic opinion originated. Also as a commercial reloader I did not have the time to let my tumblers and cement mixer run that long and it was not cost effective to let the sharp edges of my tumbling media wear off where some fellows instead of replacing the nmedia buy gun shop chemicals that I feel are a waste of money at least for me.

    For my sales of brass at gun shows I did turn in a batch of GI 45 and 308 brass to a metal deburring shop where they had 8 foot diameter circular vibrating tables with asteroid shapes of ceramic vibrating media to deburr metal objects. They gave me back my brass looking better than mirrors and no one at the gun shows wanted to pay extra for it to cover my costs so it was a waste of my money.

    All I needed for myself and my customers was to have my brass clean to not cause wear in my thousands of dollars worth of hand and automated reloaders and case inspection machines.

    Time is money and for entities I sold many hundreds of reloaders too I advocated that they spend most of their time on the range practicing instead of worrying about identical primer flash holes, cleaning primer pockets or having beautiful brass as their weapons could always outshoot them.

    Many indoor ranges steal your brass by not letting you retrieve it.
    I advised customers to buy the best weapon, reloader and large batch of identical components afforded and to strengthen their shooting arm, practice trigger squeeze and breath control, practice, practice and then practice some more. If, when you reach a plateau where you are in sight of the gold medals and trophies then if worrying about the little things just mentioned will give you more confidence in your ammo then "well go for it". They might then make a difference.

    But meanwhile time spent in practicing your shooting skills will have the fastest most immediate results as practice can make the fastest course to almost perfect.

    Regarding a tumbler in a bedroom closet. The Lortone rubber barrel tumbler is quiet enough to be there without bother and how many shooters live in an apartment where their closet is their reloading room and the only lockable place available for their equipment and weapons?

    I traced one fellows insomnia to his having a brass vibrator bolted without padding to a solid wood bench bolted to the studs of his garage below his bedroom and the subliminal vibrations affected his sleep. It stopped after I advised him to go to a truck stop and look for some discarded truck tire rock stopping flap material to mount his vibrator on with rubber gaskets for the bolts also.

    I have a different frame of reference of many shooters and if you can glean anything you feel is worthwhile from what I say well great. Things you don't agree with just ignore.


    Paul Jones
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2003
  18. stellarpod

    stellarpod Member

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    Never had any question Paul.

    I just took issue with your broad-brushed comment of implying that those of us who take enough pride in our personal handywork to want our reloads to look good must be, in fact, branded "newbies".

    You've gone to great lengths to let us all know that you've loaded countless millions of rounds, apparently for commercial resale. This no doubt has given you a wealth of experience, which I readily acknowledge. But, most of us load only for ourselves and perhaps a few friends. What purpose does it serve for you, a moderator, to in a condescending fashion, fling "newbie" insults around at those of us who just happen to prefer a nice, shiny cartridge? If you don't believe the time spent is worth the result, so be it. It is apparent that a great number of us disagree with you. Of course we're just lowly individuals with our lowly manual machines. What could we possibly know about reloading... :rolleyes:

    Finally, and for the record; where is it written that one can't spend time enough at the range to gain proficiency and STILL apply a bit more effort at the loading bench? Is there something wrong with pursuing excellence in ALL aspects of this passion?

    I guess I did have a few questions after all. :)

    stellarpod
     
  19. DamnedDirtyApe

    DamnedDirtyApe Member

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    Every time the cat farted, I would jump three feet.
     
  20. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    That's where I had a problem, too.


    Thought moderators were supposed to be bigger than that. :(
     
  21. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Oh come on!! Lets not get our knickers in a bunch over "newbie", that is pretty sad. Paul may be a moderator, but he is still an opinionated gun nut like the rest of us are, and is entitled to his opinion.

    If you like shiny brass fine, I think it is a waste of time. You like chocolate shakes, I like strawberry, big deal. Thin skin is just another form of political correctness IMO, I have no use for it.
     
  22. stellarpod

    stellarpod Member

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    Well, I've certainly been pegged now...

    A politically correct newbie :D

    stellarpod
     
  23. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    I've got to pop in for a bit to defend my fellow moderator. It seems his words are being somewhat twisted and then taken in a manner I don't feel he meant. With regards to shiny brass, he said:
    Note that he said "shines like mirrors". In other words, getting brass to a mirror finish is a task not worth pursuing. Getting brass clean, which he did advocate, is in order to keep your chamber and reloading equipment in good shape. If he advocated using unclean brass, why would he give advice on tumbling and which chems to add, etc.? Note also that he proceded to say we "experienced shooters" should give some good advice to those we feel need it. Some here are taking his words a little personally which I don't think he intended.

    It all boils down to, "don't be so darned anal about really shiny brass, it ain't worth it." Clean brass? Definitely.
     
  24. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    That's rather subjective.

    What kind of mirror shine? No reflection, blurry reflection, read text off the reflection? It's purely his personal opinion against others, a matter of semantics. He couldn't afford to have a high polish on his commercially-offered products, that's fine. He was trying to pay the bills and put supper on the table, his cost analysis wouldn't allow the extras. But there's no need to denigrate those who would do so on their own, non-commercial time. Sorry, I don't buy it. Same reason I don't buy this:


    As an avid benchrester and long range shooter, I take great pains to uniform primer pockets, flash holes, trim brass, deburr, measure case runout, neck turn, moly-coat the bullets, and the whole nine yards, (or should I say 1000 yards). I learned from some of the greats like Walt Berger, Bill Shehane, Dan Hackett, and the like. It works for my 6mm PPC, and other rifles. Granted, our esteemed moderator is more aligned with the pistol/revolver discipline, so the above techniques may not be so decisive in where the shots land. But if a person shows up at the range with highly-polished handloads, it's no reason to call them a newbie. They just have a different idea of how their lovingly crafted handloads should look.
     
  25. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    I've been reloading for 2 years. Compared to Paul I'm a newbie and proud to admit it.

    I tumble my brass because I know for a fact that I shoot more accurately with shiny brass. Fact.

    Just like my car get better gas mileage when it is clean and shiny. Shiney brass doesn't affect the ozone layer so what's the prob??
     
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