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Old June 16, 2013, 02:14 AM   #1
tech135
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Ultrasonic or Tumbler

I have heard Pros and Cons for both. Do the sonic do a good job of cleaning primer pockets?
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:41 AM   #2
PA-Joe
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With the ultra sound you add the step of having to dry the brass. Never liked the concept of getting your brass wet.
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Old June 16, 2013, 09:01 AM   #3
caz223
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Good, but not great, esp if you tend to overload the cleaner. If you want the primer pockets spotless it will take some time, 4 minutes prolly won't do it. Hot solution works better than using cold solution. If you don't deprime the brass first it won't really help at all, IMHO.
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:58 AM   #4
lamarw
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A couple of weeks ago I was by Bass Pro and picked-up a small container of Hornady "One Shot" concentrate for ultrasonic brass cleaning. You mix a very small amount with distilled water. I first tried it without decapping the brass. It was a pain getting the liquid out of a hundred or so pieces of brass with the old primers in place.

I then tried a load I deprimed prior to cleaning. It worked great and also did a wonderful job of cleaning the primer pocket. The brass looked better than new. The next step after cleaing is to rinse the brass off in the sink and dry it. I find a blow drier is the perfect tool for drying the brass. I leave the brass in the wire basket I use in my ultrasonic for rinsing and drying.

I have now cleaned approximatedly a thousand pieces of brass in .380, 9mm, 45 ACP and .45 Colt. The first batch of cleaning solution is still working great. In my opinion it does a much better job than my tumbler if you want really shiny brass. It also leaves the primer pocket spotless if you deprime first.

Although the "One Shot" recommends only using it with brass, It also worked just fine on several pieces of nickel brass that were in my mix.

The only negative is you do have to deprime first which adds an additional step to my previous process. I can live with it. I used the ultrasonic with heat and without heat and noticed no significant difference. My ultrasonic is a larger high quality L&R brand cleaner.

Make sure you always use a stainless wire basket for cleaning vs. throwing the brass in the bottom of your ultrasonic.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:26 AM   #5
jaguarxk120
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If you you use the Thumblers tumbler with the stainless steel pins, a wet process.

Your brass will come out looking like new, primer pockets clean (if you deprime).

And yes you have to dry the brass but it is clean inside and out, if the brass from a corncob unit is checked you will find the inside dirty or will have dust from the media inside.

Last edited by jaguarxk120; June 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM.
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Old June 16, 2013, 01:49 PM   #6
Pond, James Pond
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I decap my brass, then I clean them in an ultrasonic.

I find that, after a total period of about 30-40 minutes (4-5 cycles of 8 minutes with breaks in between). By the end the water is pretty warm and I am pleased by how clean brass comes out after such a short period of time.

Primer pockets are cleaner, but not spotless. There are sometimes patches of sooty residue. I have a Lee pocket cleaner for those.

So in short: they don't come out shiny like new, but a lot better. The rest of the case is typical all clean.
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:41 PM   #7
tech135
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thanks for all of the advise......gonna make my decision and get something on the way
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Old June 17, 2013, 05:15 AM   #8
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I have tried all 3 methods and Stainless Steel pins with a Thumlers Model B is the way to go.

I have collected enough brass that I don't need to wait for it to dry to reload.
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Old June 17, 2013, 08:46 AM   #9
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^+1 stainless pins and Thumler if you want clean pockets.
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Old June 17, 2013, 09:04 AM   #10
UtopiaTexasG19
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I've tried all sorts of vibrators, tumblers and ultrasonic cleaners for brass and prefer the wet tumbling with stainless steel pins method the best. I set my brass out on a table to dry for a day or two so no problems with that project. I do admit though that a good ultrasonic cleaner is great for small gun parts such as bolts, bolt parts and bolt carriers.
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Old June 17, 2013, 09:50 AM   #11
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Tumbling

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Old June 17, 2013, 10:48 AM   #12
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Every report I have read about steel pin tumbling has been glowing. Someone even posted pictures which indeed seemed to prove the point. (pun intended)

The question I have is the economics of the steel pin process. What is the cost involved and where is the approximate break even point as far as quanity of brass vs. cost of the steel pin method.

There are many of us out here already owning the corn cob/walnut hull tumbler and many of us with ultrasonic cleaners. Some of us even have both. Is it worth going to the state of the art steel pin process?

Then there are those without a process and maybe steel pins is the best initial approach???
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Old June 17, 2013, 11:58 AM   #13
thump_rrr
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Quote:
Every report I have read about steel pin tumbling has been glowing. Someone even posted pictures which indeed seemed to prove the point. (pun intended)

The question I have is the economics of the steel pin process. What is the cost involved and where is the approximate break even point as far as quanity of brass vs. cost of the steel pin method.

There are many of us out here already owning the corn cob/walnut hull tumbler and many of us with ultrasonic cleaners. Some of us even have both. Is it worth going to the state of the art steel pin process?

Then there are those without a process and maybe steel pins is the best initial approach???
In my first year reloading I spent more than $70.00 on ground English walnut and corn cob.
In the last 12 months I've spent $12.00 on corn cob. This is only used for final polishing of completed rounds.


A wet tumbler and pins costs roughly $220.00.
Some people only spend the $40-50 for the pins and build their own tumbler

I like the fact that there is no dust produced while wet tumbling and there isn't a price I can put on that.
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Old June 17, 2013, 12:31 PM   #14
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I also looked at getting a ultrasonic. Did some research and decided not to go that route. Apperantly it get's them so squeeky clean that one can scratch the bullets during the seating step. I have one friend who does use one,but tumbles in media after they come out of sonic. Pictures of magnified case necks show some good scratches in the necks after sonic cleaning. Not from sonic cleaning but from cleaning them so well.
As for dust- I just punch a hole in paper towel and set it on top of tumbler and no dust at all.
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Old June 18, 2013, 03:58 PM   #15
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If I had it to do all over again I'd probably go with SS pins and wet tumbling, but I would worry about the abrasive nature of the pins over repeated treatments to the same brass. I shoot mostly pistol so the brass gets re-used more than is typical for rifle brass.

Since I already have a vibe tumbler and an ultrasonic cleaner, I clean with ultrasonic and polish with the vibe.

The sonic cleaning gets most primer pockets mostly clean. If you're really picky you'll have to hit some pockets with a Q-tip while wet to finish the job.

I've used the Hornady solution and experimented with a bunch of other stuff. CLR (Silver bottle) 1:50 with hot water and a drop or three of liquid laundry detergent works as well as the Hornady stuff at a lower cost. Some folks use vinegar and others use citric acid. You don't want to overdo the acid concentration or time or you could leach some zinc out of the brass and turn it pink.

I don't use distilled water but my local tap water is not particularly hard. I rinse with tap water, drain and then wrap an old towel around the brass to get most of the water off, then dump it in a disposable aluminum roasting pan (that gets used over and over) and stick that in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes. Never had any water spots.
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Old June 18, 2013, 04:11 PM   #16
UtopiaTexasG19
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Some folks gripe that the stainless steel pins are a pain to separate from the casings but I use one of the plastic hand crank baskets for about 1 minute after I am finished tumbling and they all come out. Any pins left in the bottom of the basket after the casings are removed are easily maipulated with a good hand magnet. Yes, all the stainless steel pins I've bought for wet tumbling are attracted to magnets.
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