Ultrasonic cleaning

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Nov 29, 2010
Who here uses the ultrasonic method to clean cases? I am going to lay out my method and see if anyone has any tips/ideas.

My dad owned an auto shop for years and we have always used an ultrasonic set up to clean small/intricate parts. Carburetors are a good example. We have also been cleaning our cases this way for about the past 5 years.

We started with the Hornady cleaning solution and have now switched to "radiator cleaner" it smells the same as the Hornady stuff and does just as good of a job at about 1/4 of the cost. After we clean the cases we rinse them using water, 5 gallon buckets, and large kitchen strainers.

We then roll them in a towel to dry, pour into an old baking pan and bake at 180degrees in the oven to finish the drying process (usually about 10-15 minutes). During the summer i just set the cases in the sun to try the oven is only used during the winter.

My reason for posting is that i am preparing to set up my own reloading bench here at home and plan on buying a cheap Harbor Freight ultrasonic to get started.
I tried the big HF unit and took it back, not powerful enough. I got the Hornady small unit, it seems to work OK. It does a good job on pistol cases, have to run twice on rifle to get primer pockets reasonably clean. Dropped my XDm 40 barrel into it (after 2 swipes with bore brush) with Ed's Red and it came out CLEAN. I was shooting lead and plated.
Small Hornady here. A solution of 1/1 vinegar and distilled water with a drop of dish soap. Run it for a few minutes, neutralize in baking soda and water, then rinse. Works well and takes about 5 minutes for a load of brass + drying time. I don't use the oven, but just air dry for a few days in the garage in an open box.
I tried the bigger HF unit and exchanged it for the vibratory tumbler instead. If you buy the $200 Hornady unit or use an industrial cleaner with the appropriately large transducer, you will have better results. If sparkling insides and clean primer pockets in large quantities are your goal, go with stainless steel media wet tumbling. For me, a vibratory tumbler with crushed walnut shells is just the ticket.
I use the big HF unit and have no issues with it. I use a table spoon of Lemi Shine and 2 table spoons of Simple Green per tank. Clean, rinse and dry brass. Then throw in tumbler to get the bling.
I use a 2 1/2 gallon chinese made unit. I use Citranox. http://www.amazon.com/Alconox-Detergent-Acidic-Cleaner-Citranox/dp/tech-data/B0000WU82I At first I thought I would use up the citranox and make my own with Lemi-shine, but it looks like a gallon jug will last me about three years. I will probably keep using it because it works well and the cost is similar.

I put the wet brass into my tumbler for 15 minutes to dry it and make it really shine. No dirty brass is ever put in my tumber, so the media stays pristine and uncontaminated with lead.
I used carmex for size lube last time, lemi-shine and detergent didn't take it off very well. I maygo back to the Lee lube.
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