"Best" wet cleaning machine?

Camohunter

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I ran a few small batches through my new wet tumbler with SS pins.
First batch was with a pinch of citric acid and Dawn and 2nd was a pinch of citric acid with a small amount of AA wash and wax. To me the load with Dawn cleaned the inside of the cases much better. Both batches were ran for only one hour. I am letting them “age” for a few weeks to see if there will be any tarnish to them. Super impressed with how this outdoor range pick up brass cleaned up. One piece was a dark gray color before I started and I could not even find it when finished.
 

Dyjital

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AHA!

Had been doing wax/wash as an extra, then rinsing.

I'll have to give eliminating dawn a try, thanks!
and @Camohunter you'll find a little longer is needed because the car soap doesn't contain as strong of a detergent.
You have to rely more on the pins for cleaning. The results are good, just remember to wash with cold water so you don't wash the wax off.

I am letting them “age” for a few weeks to see if there will be any tarnish to them
You may not see much of a difference in a few weeks. I have some that I did Dawn & ultrasonic, after a few days they were spotted and had a rose tint to them. Ultrasonic cleaning it's worth it unless you have a high power commercial machine even then, the brass is stripped pretty clean. Even hit the SimpleGreen purple concentrate. That was the worst for making and keeping brass looking clean.
 

RVTECH

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A lapidary dual drum from Harbor Freight with SS Pins is a good start for low volume cleaning.
Ditto this and if I had to do it again I would have opted for the larger, single drum model but I have no complaints with the dual drum model.

Super impressed with how this outdoor range pick up brass cleaned up.
Don't ya love it?

I recently cleaned some BLACK, probably close to 100 year old .30-30 brass and literally better than new when done.
 
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Ironbar

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Thanks for the info and the cautions, guys. Went ahead and ordered the big FA unit last night, still shopping for a media separator, but not a big deal. Also need to order cleaning supplies. And on that subject, another question. Most of the posts I've read on the subject has folks using Lemi-shine, some sort of carwash/wax, and a little Dawn. I get the first 2, but what's the reason for the Dawn? And is there any reason NOT to sub citric acid for the Lemi-shine, we always have it on hand for canning. For that matter, what about vinegar? Guess I need to do some more reading :oops:. Almost forgot, what's a FART :rolleyes:? Later.

Dave
I believe that most folks use Dawn OR a wax car wash soap, not both.
 
I use the Dawn lemonshine mix with pins along with a RCBS rotary media separator. Dry spread out on towels and watch for missed pins when moving around during drying. I started with an old rock tumbler that had a burned up motor from when I was a kid, has a solid rubber drum. I rebuilt it using pillow bearings instead of bushings like shown in previous post. I have a 1/4 or 1/3hp motor I had laying around and played with pullies until I got the speed I wanted. Basically similar to the Thumblers tumbler but not a metal drum. Below is what it once looked like but only used the drum and shafts on a new frame. It's a large drum (12lb) and does plenty at one time. I have an old industrial rheostat I could plug it into and really fine tune the motor speed but it works fine the way it is.
1611339575647.png
 

RVTECH

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They're small, they're noisy, and I believe they're designed to intentionally fail.
HF stuff may NOT be the best but I doubt it's designed to intentionally fail.

I ran a HF vibratory tumbler for over 10 years with out a stutter until I stupidly did something to burn the motor out....Don't ask.....

I am currently at 5+ years with my dual drum tumbler and it still runs and looks like new.

Quite frankly my original HF vibratory style is/was a carbon copy of some others I eventually saw - but they were almost twice the price, molded in 'blue' or 'red' colored plastic and on the shelf with other reloading accessories.
 

osprey

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M
They're small, they're noisy, and I believe they're designed to intentionally fail.
Well they are small which is a plus in my eyes. I usually do 50-200 often in a couple calibers. As far as designed to fail I will let you know. I am going on 2 years and a hundred or so batches. All wet tumblers are pretty noisy being they are tumbling metallic cartridges. I am not sure it is any noisier than the FA, it may be. To each his own I guess, to me they both have their merits and only you can decide which one fits your loading habits best.
 

Camohunter

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I received my HF unit as a Christmas gift last year.(it was on my list)
This unit was perfect for me for a few reasons. First, it is my first wet tumbler and I did not want to invest more dollars into a wet tumbler just in case i did not like the process.
Secondly, I am only running small batches of 9mm. 100 pieces per drum (200 total per cycle) is a perfect size for my need. If I had got a large FA tumbler I would have had to run it mostly empty or only run a batch a few times a year. Neither of those options really appealed to me.
I did do a lot of research beforehand though because I did not want to just throw money away on a inferior product from HF. After reading a lot of reviews I decided to move forward with this unit. Time will tell about the longevity, but my initial reaction was VERY positive.
Cleaned brass looks awesome!
 
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Picked up the larger FART a couple years ago and it works great. I was a long time vibratory cleaner but the FART makes near factory clean brass. Doesn't shoot any different but looks nicer.
 

Ironbar

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Picked up the larger FART a couple years ago and it works great. I was a long time vibratory cleaner but the FART makes near factory clean brass. Doesn't shoot any different but looks nicer.
Yeah, I definitely like the wet cleaning better, and I was a die-hard dry tumbler for years.
 

PiratePast40

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I used the Harbor Freight dual tumbler for about a year and then went with the FART. I've been using Armorall Wasn-N-Wax and it really makes a difference with tarnish protection and much smoother on the dies. I also put in a .45 cartridge full of Lemi-Shine. Can add some Dawn if you like but the Wash-N-Wax has soap in it.

I use a rotary separator. There are several brands, I use this one from STM. Works really well for spinning out the water and pins. Some people use a magnet but I've never seen the need. Something I have noticed is that you should use room temp or cool water with the wax. If you use hot water, seems to wash it off. I was really surprised to see the difference the wax makes in the resizing and in the powder/expanding die.

ETA - not sure why the link didn't work. Let's try a copy and paste: https://stainlesstumblingmedia.com/media-separator-deluxe.html
 
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Ironbar

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Something I have noticed is that you should use room temp or cool water with the wax. If you use hot water, seems to wash it off. I was really surprised to see the difference the wax makes in the resizing and in the powder/expanding die.
Also, using hot water in your wet tumbler may build up pressure inside the barrel and cause water to leak out.

Speaking from experience!
 
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Thanks for the summary, Dyjital. In doing a Google search, the FA unit consistently comes out on top of the list, and Optics Planet has it in stock for $165, best price I've seen.

On a related subject, what about media separators? I currently use one of the FA sieves that goes in a 5 gal. bucket, works fine for dry media, but not so sure about SS pins. Would one of the magnets be a better choice vs. a rotary separator? And if the latter, which one? I think I've asked this before and the Dillon came out on top, but memory, ya know? Thanks.

Dave
That's the unit I recently purchased and it does a fantastic job, just make sure not to go overboard with the Lemo-shine. After resizing make sure to clean the case lube off the cases before throwing then in the tumbler. :s0092:
 
OP
D

daved20319

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My process with the dry tumbler involved two machines. Initial cleaning was done in walnut with some mineral spirits and Flitz polish, then decap, resize, etc., up to ready for primers, then a short run in plain corncob to remove case lube residue. My plan with the new machine will be decap with universal decapper, something I already do anyway, wet tumble with pins, dry, then my usual process from there, including the short run in corn cob to clean off lube. I still do everything on a single stage press, although I did add a Lee APP to my process early last year, and it's all I use for loading pistol ammo. Later, and thanks again for all the info, guys.

Dave
 
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I've had good luck with the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Case Tumbler Lite. They go for about $99
Easily does 3-400 pistol cases, 250ish 223/300aac and results are good with steel pins.

1611429737919.png
 

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