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Old October 18, 2002, 12:05 AM   #1
Join Date: August 12, 2002
Location: North Carolina
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Alternative to the Tumbler

Anybody know of an alternative method to the brass tumbler + media comination for cleaning brass?

I only ask because my tumbler died, I'm 2 days away from a match and I need to clean some brass. My new Dillon won't be here til Monday. I need to clean about 300 .45 cases.

Any ideas?
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Old October 18, 2002, 12:19 AM   #2
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Cider vinegar.

1) Take a bucket. Cover the cases with cider vinegar. Add a little more than the bare minimum; it seems to work better the more you use.
2) Let them soak for at LEAST twenty minutes. If you agitate them for that long as well, twenty minutes ought to do it. If you do not, it takes longer.
3) Drain. At this point the cases will look like a million bucks. You will be tempted to stop here. DON'T. The vinegar is pretty acidic.
4) Rinse in good old fashioned tap water. (I use the Britta sometimes just for kicks.) This dulls the shine a little, but that's life! :-)
5) In the summer, I put the cases on a towel in the garage for a little while. If you are impatient, a hair dryer works well too.

Enjoy. I have a tumbler, but it is very useful to get the lacquer off Sellier & Bellot cases, so that they don't have to tumble for such a long time. Before I had the tumbler, this little trick revolutionized my life!
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Old October 18, 2002, 07:10 AM   #3
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I'm adding this only because I've never seen cider vinegar here. (then again, I've never looked for it, so I may just have missed it.) White vinegar works too, and a minute is as long as you need. They must be rinsed thoroughly as mentioned by Cee-Zed. They won't shine like they're going to church, but they'll be damn clean. I cleaned a batch of .308 that'd been store outdoors for a year; soaking for an hour did no more than the first 40 seconds.

After the rinse, I stick 'em in the oven for about an hour at 200 degrees or less.
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Old October 18, 2002, 10:19 AM   #4
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The white vinegar recipes usually have you add some lemon juice or something similar to raise the acidity. Cider vinegar is already acidic. The cider vinegar works so well that I see no advantage to concocting a mixture.

There are quite a few "old fashioned" tricks that don't get discussed on boards these days. New products came along that made them a bit redundant or inconvenient. I am a miser, so if it's cheap and works, sign me up.
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Old October 18, 2002, 12:55 PM   #5
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You must do this when there is no one else in the house for the next couple of hours.....

Place your de-primed bass in a loose nylon mesh bag. Place closed bag in dishwasher, and run the "pots-n-pans" cycle with detergent as appropriate.

Don't forget to remove brass before wife returns home. I forgot once, and when she opened dishwasher to put in a glass....
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Old October 18, 2002, 01:35 PM   #6
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I've used the diswasher before as well in a pinch. It works, but I was worried about getting to much lead styphnate in the system. It would probably take a LOT of deprimed cases though.

If you clean you muzzle loader while your cases are in the cider vinegar, it smells like Caesar salad. Yumm...
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Old October 18, 2002, 09:18 PM   #7
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Moredes wrote:
"White vinegar works too, and a minute is as long as you need. They must be rinsed thoroughly as mentioned by Cee-Zed. They won't shine like they're going to church, but they'll be damn clean."

I tried this method this evening. You should soak them longer (and maybe use the cider vinegar instead). The cider vinegar for a longer time period gets them shiny as well as clean.

I'm not arguing. On one level, I don't give a darn what people do, but this can save folks some money. Most people will not need a tumbler if they use the cider vinegar properly.
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Old October 20, 2002, 01:33 AM   #8
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Spend the $50 and get a Midway 1292 or Berry's tumbler.

Best $50 you'll ever spend in reloading.

Plus it's a lot less work.

Dump in corn cob media and cases, turn on, wait three hours and sort out.

Shiney shiney new brass.
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Old October 21, 2002, 06:14 PM   #9
Unkel Gilbey
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A day late and a dollar short...

A friend of mine used to take all his cases and dump them into a pillowcase. He'd then dump in a pound or two of rice, and then knot the p-case closed. Two more pillowcases went around this and then the whole shebang went into the dryer for a couple of hours (no heat).

It might have taken a couple of treatments, but this seemed to work for him as long as his wife didn't find out he was ruining pillow cases!

I guess that in a pinch, it could work for you too.

Good Luck!
Unkel Gilbey
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