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CLEANING BRASS

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mica, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    WHAT IS THE BEST MEDIA TO USE FOR CLEANING BRASS IN A TUMBLER. I HAVE SEEN PACKAGES OF ALUMINA AND OTHER POWDERS.I CANT RECALL THE NAMES OF. IS ONE METHOD BETTER THAN OTHERS.
     
  2. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    Stop shouting, we'll help.

    You can use a corncob or walnut-based media. If you don't want the treated stuff from Lyman or other specialized manufacturer, you can get lizard bedding at the pet store on the cheap. Put a couple of caps of Nufinish or something like that in with it and run your tumbler for ten minutes before you add brass. You don't need any special powder.

    I prefer Lyman's Tufnut because it doesn't stick in primer pockets and leaves my brass spanky clean. I also have an ultrasonic cleaner and that does a good job but is more work.
     
  3. tlfreek

    tlfreek Vancouver WA Active Member

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    skydiver sells walnut and corncob super cheap. You can get two 3.5 gallon buckets full one of each media corn cob and extra fine walnut shell for 30 bucks - screamin' deal.

    http://www.northwestfirearms.com/am...m-fine-grade-corn-cob-walnut-shell-media.html
     
  4. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    thanks, I am new to NF and I just want to say that the people I have talked to so far are very helpful and a big thanks to all
     
  5. actionflies

    actionflies Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Any car wax works good and corn cob bedding found in pet section. A lot cheaper than buying media made specifically made for reloading.
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Here's how it breaks down....

    Corncob will give you a high "luster" finish, like new ammunition has, but it doesn't do a lot for taking tarnish off of brass, it just isn't aggressive enough.

    Walnut will remove caked on black powder tarnish given enough time, and does a lot to scrub the brass, but will never give you that new brass look like corncob does.

    I highly recommend washing your brass before you do anything. I use a mixture of CLR (yes, the coffee pot cleaner) and hot water (1 cup:1 gal) or (1:16). Do this after returning from the range, as it will remove all the dirt, oil and grit from your brass. Soak it for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with clean hot water and set it aside to dry. You can also take an old cracker can, poke some holes in the top, and cut a hole at the bottom and stick a hairdryer into it. This will dry the brass much quicker.

    I personally use the above washing method, followed by tumbling in corncob I buy from the sandblasting shop (usually about .20c/lb) that's mixed with a little bit of baking soda (4 heaping tablespoons) and about 1 cup of automotive wax (I use liquid turtlewax) to a 5-gal bucket of media, I then throw 2 5-gal buckets into my cement mixer, add a 5 gal bucket of brass, and find something else to do for a few hours. If you have already added wax to your media, and it's no longer giving a good shine, add half a cup of mineral spirits, this will loosen up the wax in the media.
     
  7. pyromancer

    pyromancer Portland Freelance Graphic Designer Bronze Supporter

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    I've heard a lot of waxes will effect your powder and primers. I use nu-finish lots of positive feedback about it on other forums and seems to work for a lot of people. Its polymers not wax.
     
  8. The Cheese

    The Cheese somewhere special Member

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    I get the walnut lizard littler from petco. It was like 9 or 12 bucks for a big bag and I have yet to use it up in the 2yrs I have had it. Just add a little nu-finish every once in a while and it cleans the brass up nice.
     
  9. Gunner69

    Gunner69 Hillsboro Member

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  10. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    That's an interesting one Gunner... I keep meaning to get around to trying one of the other types of tumbling materials out there (ceramics, steel balls, etc etc) but never get around to it. How does the finished product compare to factory new brass?
     
  11. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    I use automatic dishwashing detergent and super hot water in a rock tumbler type tumbler. Works great, easy to rinse clean, cheap and I do not require rare media like Walnut hulls and rouge. Leaves a nice matte finish. The slight grit in the detergent really scrubs the cases out
     
  12. Gunner69

    Gunner69 Hillsboro Member

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    I bought some brand new Nosler Premium brass for my .300 and my twice fired came out of the tumbler looking better than that if that gives you any indication... I follow the mfg reccomendation and use the powdered lemon detergent and man I love the way my brass comes out...
     
  13. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    lemony fresh to i bet. i just got in to reloading. i think i will give that a try. once i get my tumbler
     
  14. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    I bought crushed walnut shell from a feed store - paid about $12 for a 50# bag. tossed in a few small chunks of rouge and let it run for a while - worked great and was a fraction of the cost. I'm fairly sure that one of the gun shops was using the same method as they were selling 1 gal ziplocks of the stuff for $5 - heck of a markup for simply repackaging the stuff.
     
  15. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    On the topic of waxes... you want a thin coat on the brass to protect it from oxidizing in the atmosphere. Also, technically, wax is a polymer.

    For protecting cartridge brass you want a very high melting wax, carnauba is the usual choice, which is what they use for automotive and floor waxes, however due to the high melting point of this wax, you can really only apply it to the media in a solvent carrier, thus the polishing compounds that have "petroleum distillates" usually have a wax component to them.
     
  16. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    In a bucket:
    2qts hot water
    1 Tablespoon dish soap (dawn)
    1 Cup of white vinegar

    Soak for an hour or so, agitating lightly every few minutes, until the water is cool.
    Rinse thoroughly.

    Shake/towel off excess water and lay out on a cookie sheet on a couple layers of paper towels and dry in the oven on warm setting. (180*F)
    Drying takes about 15-20 minutes.

    No grit or dust or lube or powder residue, and the vinegar really does brighten it up.

    The results are clean/bright brass.
     
  17. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    I have some very tarnished 30-40 brass to test this on. I might haft to increase soak time. thanks for the tip
     
  18. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Watch out, if you soak too long in any acid solution your brass will turn pink! It doesn't harm it, it just makes you look like the gurly man at the range. Check your work frequently. Also, Birchwood casey makes a soaking solution, which near as I can figure works as well as CLR, it's just 3 times more expensive.
     
  19. CavVet

    CavVet Seattle Member

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    I am pretty much self taught at a lot of reloading, and am in the clear minority from the responses in this thread, but I only use media and nothing more in mine.


    Metals react to chemicals. Brass is a soft metal. Im no metallurgist, but I dont want to put anymore stress or deterioration on my brass than loading and firing cycles does.

    My vote is media only. ;)
     
  20. MrB+

    MrB+ Portland area Member

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    299-5.jpg

    Made this years ago when I was doing clock repair. Works a treat.

    MrB+
    --
    Working my way up to A--

    299-5.jpg