Case Cleaning the better way.

Rootmanslim

Banned
Toss out those shakers and all the dusty media.
Get em' really clean in a tumbler with SS rods, Case cleaning detergent and water.
Unlike media, cleans the insides and primer pockets too.
60 year old but new Norma Re 220 Swift after an overnight tumble.

 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Nothing will make me switch to a wet cleaning process. Miserable. I have had to chemically
brighten 4000 new 5.56 NATO cases and despise it. Will never do it for routine cleaning.

Whatever pleases you. It is not something I want to have anything to do with.

Bill
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Wet tumbling has its place. I like it for really grungy range brass. It cleans the mud and crap better than a dry tumbler will ever dream of.
I dislike the wet but have learned that the sun on a hot day dries brass really quick. A towel on the tailgate of my truck holds a few thousand 9mm cases. Just move them around every hour or so and they dry fast. Get almost too hot to touch.

I don’t clean brass every firing when using carbide dies. I dislike the wet and I really dislike the dust of dry tumbling.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I will never use dry media again. Nasty, poisonous stuff requiring ppe to use safely, media stuck in flash holes, grit on the brass, no chemical reduction of oxides, etc.

Use citric acid and phosphate detergent, just enough detergent to cut case lube or bullet lube and just enough citric acid to reduce the tarnish and they come out perfect every time. Rinse and sift the pins out in a rotary media separator and add liquid car wax to the rainwater rinse if desired, dump brass on a towel in the sun and it's dry in a few hours. Pull the pins out of the rinse bath with a big magnet and transfer back to the tumbler. All the yuck goes down the drain.

Few things qualify as a "game changer" for me, but powder coating and wet-tumbling have completely changed my handloading for the better in the past few years.
 
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Rally

NC Minnesota
It would be five months for me to sun dry brass outside. I give brass cases a quick bath in hot water and Tide, rinse in cold water, then a hour soak in Lemishine. Pour them in a cake pan and bake in the oven at 225 for @20 minutes, usually while washing more brass in gallon buckets. Then tumble with a tablespoon of 50/ 50 mixture of New Finish and mineral spirits. Just bought 107 lbs of brass (.30-06, .30-30, 38 spl, 357, .32-20) last Thursday. Have all of it except the .30-06 ready to load, and already have the .30-30 loaded. Break- up is loading time, can’t do much else. Need to cast some 180 wfn for the .357’s.
 
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waco

Springfield, Oregon
Is it safe to remove a Lanolin base case lube in my wet tumbler using SS pins with citric acid and Dawn dish soap?
I thought I read somewhere this was not a good idea as the Lanolin will stock to the inside of the tumbler. True or false?
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I use lanolin and castor oil for case lube most of the time and never had any buildup whatsoever in my SSTM tumbler. A little less than a tablespoon of Dawn or Lemon Joy is more than enough to cut the crud, in fact often is too much. If you get a massive, foamy head if soap boiling out when opening the lid, you used too much (or at least more than necessary).

Another advantage of the wet method is....I haven't had to spend money on fresh abrasive media in about five years, and at the rate I shoot and considering how quickly it would get carbon-fouled from all the suppressed shooting I do, the system payed for itself long ago and shows no sign of needing maintenance or the pins replaced.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
I have had them gum up from the lanolin and was not amused.
they cleaned up real quick just running another cycle through.

I use a combination of wet then straight into the dry when I use the wet method.
and use just the dry to remove case size/swage lube.
 

freebullet

Well-Known Member
Lanolin crud is easily wiped away by mild warming & wiping.

My wet tumbler is still just parts. Using corn cob with no issues.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I bet you're way past sick of seeing water right now anyway, I don't blame you.
 

Rootmanslim

Banned
Amazing amount of totally uniformed comments ! Betting most who trash wet tumble cleaning have never done it. It does a far better job and doesn't leave you and your family breathing nasty dust.

As for drying --- come on --- here in Key West we have real humidity. To dry those 40 cases, I shook them off, rolled them around in a bath towel and laid them out in the sun on a dry towel for a couple of hours. If you live in the frozen North, buy 2 large zippered pillow covers, put one inside the other with the cases in the inner one and put them in the dryer with the next load of clothes.

Oh yeah, it works much better if you decap the cases before tumbling.

Look up "Luddite" (chuckle)
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
:headscratch:Seems us senior reloaders prefer the old/dry methods of cleaning brass. The only time I wet tumbles is when I purchase grungy military range brass. Even then, I don't use the SS pins. Lemishine, a bit of Dawn and warm water in my Tumbler's Tumbler Model B, suffices. I dry them in the sun on my concrete driveway.

Never have flash holes plugged with media....................I don't decap until after I tumble/vibrate my brass. Decapping pin guarantees that.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
If I put brass in the dryer my wife would kill me.

I don’t wet tumble in the winter because I don’t have a large sink in the house that works well for rinsing the cases. I use the hose out on the drive and that isn’t a good idea when it is in the teens.

Climate makes a huge difference in how we do things. Ian lives in an oven so he gets reliable drying all year. Rally lives in a freezer and he gets 4 reliable drying months per year. Maybe.
 

dale2242

Active Member
I wet tumble dirty/stained range brass with citric acid and Dawn.
Greatest thing for cleaning grungy brass since sliced bread.
2 or 3 rinses in clean water.
Dried on a dark towel in the sun in the summer.
Dried in the dehydrator in the winter.
Once the brass is cleaned the first time they are dry tumbled to remove the sizing lube....dale
 

Dusty Bannister

Active Member
I use both systems. What I do NOT like is the need to run the wet system for three hours to complete the job. Then I can rinse the brass out of the tumbler, straining out the pins and continue to rinse well until ready to add the wet brass to a rotary case shaker to help remove the SS pins. Then I can pour the cases on a towel, dry the outside of the cases and pick up loose pins. Then pour the brass onto a drying screen tray and when dry, again run the cases in the rotary shaker to remove any pins that might be stuck inside the cases. The drying trays can be placed outside in the sun, or during wet cold weather, over a heat register in the house. I also have a magnet on a stick to pick up those little pins that seem to go everywhere when just handling the cases.

Yes, it does a good job, but I can do most cleaning faster with the dry media as long as I can set the cleaner outside and leave the lid off so the dust does not become trapped in the bowl. I do and will continue to use both systems, but do not find one superior to the other in all cases.
 

waco

Springfield, Oregon
I’ll take the wet brass out of the tumbler and put it in my baskets I use to Bake PC Bullets.
Toss them in the convection over at 175 for an hour or so and they are dry.
 

Cherokee

Well-Known Member
Seems we all have various ways of getting the brass ready for reuse. The real key is what works for us to get to where we want to be. Let's keep getting that brass dirty at the range.
 
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Ian

Well-Known Member
Exactly, Cherokee.

Roots, I agree wholeheartedly with your method, but not with your attitude. And I am a Luddite, ask Brad.