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Old October 14, 2012, 05:21 AM   #1
Moloch
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Clean BP brass

Is there any way to clean brass that has black powder fouling in it without a tumbler?

Shot some black in my.45-70 yesterday ( I never had so much fun shooting a rifle! ) and now I can't get the brass clean. Right after shooting them I dropped the empty brass in a milk carton with warm water and dish washer and let em soak for a couple of hours, then I put them into my washing machine (in a bag) with some dirty laundry.

Now they still look like dirty little chimneys. I tried to clean them mechanically with a 45 caliber bronze brush attached to a drill but that didn't work that great.

Help! Its a race against time because they are already starting to corrode inside.

Why I don't have a tumbler? I never needed one, the washing machine took care of dirty nitro fouled brass!
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Old October 14, 2012, 07:05 AM   #2
Hawg
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You can probably get it out with Windex with vinegar or just vinegar and water and a 410 bore mop.
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Old October 14, 2012, 04:33 PM   #3
Moloch
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Tried it with apple vinegar, let em soak a couple of minutes than ran a brush through them and cleaned them with hot water. Didn't work at all.

Could I simply boil the brass in hot water?
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:03 PM   #4
Mk VII
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I use a very strong detergent, such as they use to clean printed circuit boards with (don't put your hand in it)
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:47 PM   #5
Moloch
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Aside from a few rust removers I don't have any strong detergents. I let my brass soak in a vinegar-salt mix and now I put the cases in boiling water - it works, not very well but its better than letting the brass stay dirty and rot away.
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Old October 14, 2012, 06:10 PM   #6
Hawg
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I don't soak mine immediately after firing and it always has black stains but no corrosion. I do tumble it tho.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:21 AM   #7
Foto Joe
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You're not going to make them shiny again without a tumbler but the staining is nothing more than an eye sore.

I throw mine into a bowl with Dawn dishwashing soap to soak then use a baby bottle nipple brush to just swab the insides. Rinse with hot water then let 'em dry real good. I did very well without a tumbler for quite a while but eventually did buy a Frankfort Arsenal cheapy and 40lb of blasting media to keep it fed. I've found that tumbled brass that has had NuFinish added to the media helps in carbide dies, especially the 9mm that takes a little umph to de-prime and size.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:49 AM   #8
Noz
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If you are going to shoot black and want shiny cases, bite the bullet and get a tumbler. Wet tumbling with ceramic or steel is the best way to go.
I haunted e-bay for about 6 months before I found a Thumler the no one else saw. Got her cheap.
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Old October 15, 2012, 04:59 PM   #9
Rigmarol
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I ruined a Lyman vibrator tumbler and replaced it with a Harbor Freight version. It was far cheaper, and so has lasted far longer.

For media, I get the cheap reptile bedding at the pet store. I believe it is called Lizard Litter. It's almost the same thing as brand name crushed walnut, maybe a little coarser.

I have friends who paid quality money for Thumbler rotary tumblers and are having great success with stainless steel pins!! Photos I've seen look like new brass. Too pricy for me though.
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Old October 17, 2012, 10:49 AM   #10
Malamute
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When I shot black in 45-70 and 44 spl, I'd drop the cases in a pot of water and simmer them gently on the stove, then lay on a towel to dry, then load. They had a dark stain, but as was already mentioned, it doesn't hurt anything. I still have some of those cases in my pile, though I had a freind run them through his tumbler after I quit shooting black. It didn't get all the stain off. Doesnt bother me, I ignore the stain.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:04 PM   #11
mehavey
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Quote:
...cheap reptile bedding at the pet store. I believe it is called Lizard Litter.
+1
LL/walnut works perfectly/beautifully to turn thoroughly-BP stained/"bronzed" cases back to absolutely pristine/shiny
brass overnight in a vibratory cleaner.
Quote:
I have friends who paid quality money for Thumbler rotary tumblers
I have a "tumbler" from well back in the late 70s. Trust me.... just dumping the cases in the top of an open
vibratory cleaner and "switch-on" is the comparative cat's meow.
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Old October 17, 2012, 09:59 PM   #12
TomADC
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If you want them really clean you have to tumble.
I soak mine in a mild dish soap mixture on the way home, then rinse in hot water and tumble.
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