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Case cleaning question

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Lucky 13, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Lucky 13

    Lucky 13 West Linn New Member

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    Anybody have any input on ultrasonic case cleaners versus vibratory. I've only ever used vibratory, and I'm sort of done with the mess they make. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. chevytruckman

    chevytruckman OLY Active Member

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    I'm using both currently!
     
  3. Classic

    Classic Federal Way WA Well-Known Member

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    I have one that I use on the rare occasion my brass gets wet and turns black. If you use one ya gotta make sure that the brass is totally dry before loading. Don't use the brass liquid to clean your gun though (different stuff) because it will take the finish off (a friend did it ti his EAA).
    I use regular tumblers. I have 2, one has lyman walnut/rouge combo which cleans well and the other has corncob and I use IOSSO polish. All my brass looks new except for the primer pockets which are no big deal. Your other option is steel pin tumbling but if you're on a budget these will break the bank https://www.google.com/search?q=thu...s=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
    and then you'll need the pins that are like $40 for 5 pounds...
    I can replace both my tumblers a few times before I come close to the cost...
     
  4. Papercidal

    Papercidal Vancouver ,Wa Active Member

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  5. vertical ascent

    vertical ascent Vancouver Active Member

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    My preference is cleaning cases in a rotary drum using stainless steel pins. I have used vibratory tumbler, like you mentioned it is messy and dusty (not a good choice if you live in an apartment like I do). Ultrasonic Cleaner gave me a satisfactory result, the one I have has a heater built in, it cleaned the cases, but in my opinion nothing beats the result of a rotary drum with SS pins.
     
  6. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the tumbler with stainless steel pins. It's a little time consuming with rinsing and dewatering, but that would be the same if using an ultrasonic. You can go with the heavy duty ones: Stainless Steel Reloading Supplies | Tumblers, Separators, Media, Brass & More!. Or you can start out cheap with one of the smaller units from Harbor Freight: Dual Drum Rotary Rock Tumbler. I happened to get my Harbor Freight tumbler when it was on sale, plus I had 10% off coupon so it was only around $40. Pins cost another $20 so it's not very expensive to experiment and see how you like it.
     
  7. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    All I use for cleaning cases is an ultrasonic and have been very happy with the results. Fast, quiet, no dust/debris. If you go this route make sure that you get one that will run for more than a couple of minutes so that you don't have to run multiple cycles.

    I have the Hornady Magum and can put several hundred 9's in there at a time...set the time for about 20 minutes and that's it. When it's done I rinse the cases and set them to dry on some micro-fiber towels to get rid of most of the moisture and then just air dry for a day.
     
  8. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Some people tout US cleaning as a way to clean the primer pockets without brushing--but this either requires you to size and decap the brass BEFORE cleaning and trying to keep grit and junk out of our dies is why we clean, or, buy a universal decapping die. Either option adds a pre-cleaning step to the routine. I tried it and gave mine away. The US cleaner and paraphernalia, not the decapper die.

    US cleaners are expensive. Some people make home brewed cleaning solutions, but all I have seen--that work--involve some amount of acidic ingredients. I am not going to soak my brass in acid, no matter how weak it is.

    US cleaners are even messier than tumblers unless you think it it a good idea to leave the cleaner and goo from the cases in there.

    All that needs to happen is that the dirt and grit is removed from the case. The cases do not have to sparkle. The cases do not have to shine. They need no polish. Nothing is gained by having them look as if you hired the Merry Maids to come rud-a-dub them inside and out. I have never seen a shooting match scored on a basis of the cleanest shiniest brass. The deer will not laugh and point at you if your brass does not shine like the sun.

    A vibratory tumbler loaded with crushed walnut shell works just fine to get the brass clean - prior to decapping/sizing. The walnut media will last for years if you do not contaminate it with useless chemicals. If you must have a little shine or want to get rid of really stubborn carbon staining on the neck you can add a dash of comet or Bon Ami to the media every now and then. If you are feeling really high class, *** Zud. None of those screw up your media. Necks can be brushed if you wand--while sitting on your duff watching TV--yes you do watch TV, don't lie. I do my primer pockets and priming while watching the game or whatever.
     
  9. Lucky 13

    Lucky 13 West Linn New Member

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    Thanks for all the input! I think I'll stick with my tumbler for now.
     
  10. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    OK - gotta give you that one :laugh: