Wet tumbling question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tcoz, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I’ve dry tumbled my brass since I began reloading but my current tumbler is fifteen years old and it’s likely to give up the ghost sometime in the not too distant future. When that happens, I might consider going to wet tumbling but I have a question. After resizing my bottleneck rifle cases, I tumble them for another hour to remove the excess lube. It seems like it would be a major pain to again take them through a whole wet tumbling/drying process, just for that hour. That would be a deal breaker for me. I’m curious what those of you who wet tumble do to remove the lube. Do you have another dry tumbler that you use exclusively for that, do you just wipe them off (Imperial wax still leaves a very slight residue) or do you have another way of doing it?

    Also, I’ve seen the little stainless steel chips that can be used in place of the pins. Any pluses and minuses I should be aware of with them?

    I’d really appreciate your input guys. Thanks in advance.

    —Terry
     
  2. HDMontana

    HDMontana Member

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    I use imperial on all my rifle brass. I take a cloth and wipe them off after sizing. Takes a little longer, especially prepping .223 brass for the AR. I size and prime all my AR brass in a separate step before loading up batches on the progressive. Been wet tumbling my brass for around 10 years.
     
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  3. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    Change lube.....

    Have tried, ALL....this is the best that works for me. This does not leave a residue. VERY little is used to lube cases when sizing.

    Royal Case & Die Lube (benchrite.com)
     
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  4. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    RCBS case lube 2 is water soluble. Wipes off easily with no sticky residue left. I wipe and inspect each rifle case before loading for the 243 & 223 bolt gun.
    I clean 50 brass by wiping with a cloth/towel. The neck & shoulder is cleaned with fine steel wool, before sizing/ loading.

    M16 brass got put in a fluffy towel, rolled around to clean. Then Lubed & sized, loaded.. . Rolled around in towel, to clean lube off after loading on Dillon RL-450.
     
  5. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I've been using Imperial for as long as I can remember and I’ve never stuck a single case so changing lube isn’t something that I want to consider. I wipe the cases down after sizing and the “residue” isn’t something that you can really feel although when I drop them into the Sheridan gauge they start to stick ever so slightly after 20-30 of them. If I tumble them again for an hour they don’t stick in the gauge.

    Since there is so little residue after wiping them down I might just do what 243winxb does and roll them around in a towel for awhile. Tumbling them again for an hour is probably overkill.

    Anybody with experience using the tiny stainless steel chips that I mentioned? I’ve read that they do an excellent job, are much less expensive than the pins and don’t get stuck in the flash holes but I’d really like to hear from someone who has used them.

    Thank you.
     
  6. jebova2301

    jebova2301 Member

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    I'm not quite sure I'm really following, here. You're saying the extra tumble would be too much, but said you already do an extra tumble afterwards for an hour. Just throw the brass in the tumbler with hot water, soap, lemishine, and NO PINS, then tumble for 10-15 minutes, dump out, toss in oven for 20-30 minutes to dry at 225 degrees, and you're good to go. It would likely be faster than your current method. Best case scenario, you are saving 15-20 minutes. Worst case scenario, you end up spending an extra 5-10 minutes. Most likely scenario, you basically break even.

    To be completely honest with you, I only use the pins every 3rd or so tumble, anyway. Just the brass in there with the water/soap/lemishine will get them looking excellent. Here is a picture of mine with no pins after the first tumble.
    IMG_20201129_185307.jpg
     
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  7. Bat Rastard

    Bat Rastard Member

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    Get the wet tumbler, it's the real deal.

    Keep the dry tumbler for the 1 hour lube removal. If that machine dies, replace it. The first one lasted 15 years, the next one goes for life, an hour at a time.

    I have used the chips. I used the ones recommended by Jerry Miculek on a YouTube video. They work great. My only complaint is they are made from a non magnetic alloy that made the fancy magnet I bought useless. I started my wet tumbling project with the chips, so I cannot compare to the pins.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. GoldieMI
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    GoldieMI Contributing Member

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    this for removing case lube...fast and easy...and you already own the equipment

    I'm a wet tumble no pins guy- I have a bag with the FA pins set aside as well as the Southern Shine Media Chips...Very Very rarely do I even bother with them. Hot Water, Armor All Wash and Wax, and Lemishine. And If I'm short on Lemishine- I use straight lemon juice
    tumble for 45-60 minutes here....then pop out- if they have primers still- I sit under a fan for a hour and then hit the dehydrator for a hour (160 degrees)
    if no primers - than it's straight to the dehydrator for a 1 hour session at 160 degrees
    just my method though....plenty of ways out there.
     
  9. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I think that’s what I’ll do. I was thinking of getting the harbor freight dual drum tumbler and making a single large drum out of 4” PVC. I’ve heard that it’s a little noisy but my tumbler runs out in the garage so that isn’t a factor. With the money I save by getting the HF tumbler, I might buy the FA or Lyman case dryer.

    I already have the FA media separator (old version) which I can use to separate the chips from the cases.

    I guess I could pivot my own thread and ask whether anybody uses one of the dedicated case dryers and do they work well? I don’t really have room to spread the cases out and let them air dry for a day and my wife wouldn’t be thrilled with the oven method especially since I’ve already taken over the guest bedroom with my reloading.
     
  10. GoldieMI
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    GoldieMI Contributing Member

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    I use a dehyrdator that is similar to the case dryers-
    I like it as I can set the time and temp- and not just a turn dial. Plus it was 1/2 the cost of the gun branded units.
     
  11. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    Thanks. I’ll look into that
     
  12. jebova2301

    jebova2301 Member

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    So...put an oven in the guest bedroom. Problem solved.

    Or, the real solution...offer to get her a fancy new oven. She will be excited because you are offering to get her a new oven, you use it for drying brass, everybody wins! Bonus points if you just take the old oven, put it in the guest bedroom, and stick your tongue out and say "nana nana boo boo" to her while drying brass.
     
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  13. Bat Rastard

    Bat Rastard Member

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    I bought a cheap food dehydrator.
    I wish I had bought one from the gun industry.

    The grates on the food dehydrator are sized for sliced food. Brass casings fall through the bigger holes. I have applied tape, and it works, but I wish I had bought a purpose built tool.
     
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  14. Clipper67

    Clipper67 Member

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    I have the dual container Harbor Freight tumbler, have used it for a few years with pins. I don't deprime, extra step I don't need, and I haven't used Lemonshine for a long time, just dish detergent (a drop or two works for me) HOT water for start, let it roll for a couple hours, rinse, separate, then I stole a toaster oven that wife had set aside for a garage sale. Set on Toast, dry and hot...let 'em cool on a towel. I don't shoot as much as most folks, I usually only run one canister, but it's FULL. Haven't tried no pins, might work on cleaner brass..
     
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  15. GoldieMI
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    GoldieMI Contributing Member

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  16. Bosn Ski

    Bosn Ski Member

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    I used camelcamelcamel to watch the prices on the FA Rotary Tumbler and the Frankfort Arsenal Platinum Series Brass Dryer on Amazon. I got the dryer this summer for $25.

    I started with the HF dual tumbler. Based on the manufacture weight recommendations, with pins and water I could wash just over 100 9mm in each bowl. I toyed with the idea of the larger PVC hack but I decided I wouldn’t gain much more brass capacity.
     
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  17. osprey176

    osprey176 Member

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    I started using a wet tumbler recently,and picked up some chips from Southern Shine media. They are magnetic,so my old round magnet goes in the sink drain when I rinse the brass,and I don’t lose any down the drain. I use the wet setup mostly for rifle brass,and still use my vibratory tumbler for pistol brass and,like you mentioned,to remove the Imperial wax from sized cases. About thirty minutes is enough,especially if I wipe them off beforehand. I really like the wet tumbler,as it cleans inside and also the primer pockets. The chips,at least for me,are the way to go. They clean well and won’t get stuck inside some cases like the pins can.
     
  18. HDMontana

    HDMontana Member

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    Another vote for the food dehydrator. I got a rectangular one with 5 trays. Slits in trays are small on mine. Temp goes up to 158 degrees. Dries cases in no time.
     
  19. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    What tumbler is ready to give up the ghost?
    Get a Thumlers Tumbler B model. Wet or dry. Replaceable motor and other parts.
     
  20. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    Check Goodwill for a dehydrator, usually around $5, toaster ovens are about the same.
     
  21. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    I'm tumbling/drying as we speak,,, A large FA tumbler load on hour-long cycles,,,

    A lot of it is based on your own thoughts / desires / amount of brass you need to get done. ('Thousands' here)

    I use a different lube than the OP. (Spray, so both the exterior and case mouth are lubed at the same time) and I use the oven to dry. As the OP does not have or want these options, additional details wouldn't be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  22. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    My process for brass is to:
    • Sort cases by headstamp and clean dirt and trash off of them
    • Decap
    • Wash for 15 to 30 minutes in a solution of hot water, detergent and citric acid. Balance the concentration of citric acid with the exposure time otherwise the cases will turn pink or even brown. Drain and allow to air dry.
    • Lubricate cases as needed.
    • Resize.
    • Tumble in walnut media overnight to remove the lubricant and impart a shine. Strain out the media when done.
    • Reprime.
    • "Seal" primers with fingernail polish.
    • Place in plastic box with individual compartments for each case.
    • If the box will be stored, add a desiccant pouch to the box.
    • Label the box and make record of it that you can carry through to it being shot.
     
  23. osprey176

    osprey176 Member

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    As far as drying the wet tumbled brass,most times I use a large cookie sheet and the sun. If the weather is not cooperating,the oven on low works fine.
     
  24. WeekendReloader

    WeekendReloader Member

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    I wet tumble deprimed brass with a Harbor Freight rock tumbler. SS pins, lemishine and wash & wax. Then I rinse and let air dry.

    If I wanted to remove lube after sizing, I would just tumble using hot water and dawn dish soap (without the pins). Then air dry before loading.

    I use the LEE lube and don't remove it. The sizing die scrapes most of it off anyway. I used to wipe the finished rounds with a towel to remove it, but that was a pain so I stopped. No issues.
     
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