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Old February 20, 2005, 12:08 AM   #1
Kayser
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Quickie question(s) on polishing brass:

1.) Is there any "preprocessing" I should do to the brass before putting it in the tumbler or is it normal to just dump it straight in off the range?

2.) Does the tumbling take care of cleaning out the crud inside the case, or does that not even matter?

3.) How much exposure to wetness is ok for brass? I spent a fairly wet/muddy day at the range last weekend and collected some spent brass. It sat around for a week or so in the boxes I dumped it in. Does wetness or general moisture degrade the cases at all?

Thanks!
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Old February 20, 2005, 12:40 AM   #2
CaptainRazor
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I always prepare my cases before I tumble them, but, that's just me.

For instance:

1) 45ACP;
resize, deprime, expand case neck, clean primer pocket, dump in tumbler.

I like to have them ready to load when they come out of the tumbler, and if I don't resize them first they get all yucky after tumbled when I chuck them up in the die.

2) The tumbling will take care of the inside, (as much as can be taken care of anyway), they won't be all shiny inside, if that's what you mean.

3) The dampness probably won't hurt anything, I wouldn't think after a week anyway. The tumbler media should soak all that up.

*Note* This is the way I do it. This isn't a "standard" or anything, the only thing wrong with MY way (that I can see) is when you deprime first, you have to poke the little pieces of tumbler media out of the flash holes as you take the brass out of the tumbler.
However, when it's cleaned up, it's ready to load. To each his own I guess.
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Old February 20, 2005, 08:35 PM   #3
norielX
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I like to deprime with a Lee universal decapping die and then start tumbling. I clean the primer pocket before or after, depending on what mood I'm in. Captain Razor must get some really nice looking brass with his method. I get the ring from resizing with my method. Hmm.. might need to try Cap'n method.
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Old February 20, 2005, 10:27 PM   #4
decoy5657
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I seriously woulnd't deprime/size a "dirty" case. It's got grime and dirt and gunk from all over the place. When you run it through your die, you are crushing all of that stuff into the carbide, which is hard, but wont last forever. If I deprime before cleaning, there seems to be a piece of cleaning media in each flash hole!


Steps I use

Clean in tumbler for a few hours
decap/size
expand
prime
powder
seat bullet
crimp bullet
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Old February 20, 2005, 10:55 PM   #5
at2000
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I dump it straight into the vibratory cleaner. At one time, I deprimed first, but found that bits of walnut cleaning media would occasionally get lodged in the primer pocket. So now, I clean the brass before depriming.
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Old February 20, 2005, 11:38 PM   #6
redrooster2
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I probably spend more time than most on brass preparation and all the steps may not be necessary, but it works for me.
(1) decap with RCBS univeral decapping die
(2) wash brass in hot water with dishwasher detergent and rinse
(3) wash brass in Birchwood-Casey liquid case cleaner and rinse
(4) tumble brass in media separator to shake off water
(5) tumble brass in walnut media with a 50/50 mix of NuFinish and mineral spirits
Brass is now ready to be sized or for a progressive loader
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Old February 21, 2005, 08:22 AM   #7
Bass Man
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I always wash off the brass I get the range in the sink to get all of the large grit (sand and mud from the ground) off before I throw it in the tumbler. I don't want all of that grit in my media. I resize after it is cleaned because pieces do get in the flash hole and then you have to pick them out. The grit will also wear out your dies but at $20.00 a set them are relatively (sp?) cheap but I like bright and shiny brass.
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Old February 21, 2005, 01:45 PM   #8
CaptainRazor
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Well, as I said, That was the way I do it. It's not necessarily the best way for eveyone.

decoy5657: I see your point about, about scratching up the dies, but honestly, I've done thousands of rounds this way, and the only problem I have found is after a while (500 rounds maybe?), the die gets dirty.
Obviously, I don't jam, filthy cases (mud, dirt, rocks, small animal carcasses) up in the dies, but if it's just powder residue, I do.
I just spray it out with a can of carburetor cleaner, and it's good as new.
Does it wear the dies prematurely? I don't know, it probably does, but as of yet, I haven't seen any problems.

Anyway, these are all good methods, Kayser, from experienced loaders, I'm sure you can come up with your own "style" from all the suggestions.
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Old February 21, 2005, 04:04 PM   #9
G56
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Unless you are shooting long range high power matches it isn't necessary to clean the primer pockets, most shooters can't shoot better than their equipment and won't know the difference. I shot pistol competition for years (Master class) and never cleaned a primer pocket, nobody I knew did it either. When you are high volume reloading you don't do things that don't really serve any real purpose.

It's fine to deprime before cleaning, but...you shouldn't really resize dirty brass, it will scratch up your dies, and scratched up dies will scratch your cartridge cases, if you have any pride in your reloading you don't want grubbly scratched up cases.
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Old February 22, 2005, 05:36 PM   #10
yesterdaysyouth
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here's what i do

1. dig brass from mud
2. let dry and remove grass and leaves
3. place brass in pillow case
4. throw it in the washer, remove before the spin cycle
5. seperate brass and air dry
6. tumble when ready to load, if necessary
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Old February 22, 2005, 07:05 PM   #11
Russ5924
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Didn't think there was that many ways to do brass.I just dump them in the tumbler when I get a few hundred.But for me I found that 50/50 of Walnut and corncob work best for me.The Walnut gets the heavy stuff and the corncob will clean and polish.But if they get badly burnt clean asap, also use Dillon Rapid polish If not they will tarnish.I let mine run about 1 to 2 hours just depends on how old the cleaning media is
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Old February 22, 2005, 08:54 PM   #12
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I tumble first
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Old February 23, 2005, 08:24 PM   #13
gwalchmai
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When I get home from the range I usually have a big bag of mixed dirty brass. I throw it into a bucket of hot water with a capful of Simple Green (~5% solution) and let it soak for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then I rinse it and let dry for a day or two. This removes all the crud and most of the burnt powder, saving my media. I eventually tumble it in Desert Blend walnut media with a capful of 50% NuFinish and 50% Mineral Spirits for three hours.

After loading I tumble again for 30 minutes. It sparkles.
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Old February 23, 2005, 10:19 PM   #14
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My SOP is to sort the brass (checking for split cases and A-MERC headstamps and tossing those straight away) by caliber, then toss the brass I'm about to tumble into my CM500 and give it a few turns to knock most of the sand and mud out of the cases to help the cleaning media last a little longer. Then I dump the brass into the tumbler, let it vibe for a while, back into the CM500 and then the clean brass is dumped into the appropriate brass bucket.
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Old February 23, 2005, 11:33 PM   #15
Jeeper
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The REASON to tumble is to protect your dies and your gun. If you size first then that defeats the purpose.
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Old February 23, 2005, 11:39 PM   #16
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I dump them in the tumbler with media and pull them out four hours later. Nothing else.
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Old February 24, 2005, 08:19 AM   #17
sindiesel666
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Depends how dirty the brass is, but here's my general cleaning/prepping procedure.. I only load .45 acp

1- Dump dirty brass straight from the range into big bucket of hot water and dishwashing liquid soap. Let sit for a while (10-15 minutes), shake it around in there, get the grit and mud off.
2- Rinse and few times, until water pretty much runs clean.
3- Airdry brass untill completely dry. Some folks put their brass on a cookie sheet and place in oven. My wife would kill me if I did this.
4- Dump brass is tumbler, 100% walnut media with Frankford Arsenal Polish, tumble for 1-2 hours, depends how I feel (I've done overnight tumble runs, like 12-15 hours, but I can't tell the difference in how the brass looks).
5- Separate media, lube brass, and start loading...
6- Usually tumble for 20-30 minutes after the bullets are loaded, they come out real nice and clean looking.

I never deprime/resize first and then tumble, what's the point of running dirty brass thru your dies????
Plus, I don't want junk in the flash holes anyways, but that's just me...
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Old February 24, 2005, 08:57 AM   #18
Austin Charles
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I like to deprime with a Lee universal decapping die also.

That way when I tumble, It gets the primer pockets clean. ( but you do need to poke some holes)

For rifle I do the samething and then clean the primer pocket again.


I use 50% Nu-Finish.
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Old February 24, 2005, 09:14 AM   #19
MADISON
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Polishing Brass

Polishing Brass?
I have an 18 year old Lyman tumbler that is still going strong.
[1]I buy media at the pet store. Have you seen people at the Gun Shows selling tumbler media...that is what they are selling.
[2]You can not get the inside of cases clean.
[3]If you de-prime your cases before you timble them, you must knock the media out of the flash hole[s] before inserting the primer.
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Old February 24, 2005, 09:25 AM   #20
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1) Wash with dishwashing soap and water (only if muddy or outdoor range pick ups) then air dry.

2) tumble for 2 hours

3) decap with universal decapping die

4)clean and size (if needed) primer pockets

5) Seperate by headstamp and inspect then store until ready for use

Works like a champ

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Old February 24, 2005, 09:53 AM   #21
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You ever wonder how you just KNOW something sometimes? Well, when I saw the thread on the menu, before I even looked over to see how many replies there were, I thought, "naw, won't be one of two replies on this one, this is BIG!" How can something so simple as cleaning a piece of brass generate so much response? Well, I'll throw my two cents worth in, too. Ocassionally I'll pick up range brass, dirty, nasty, range brass - alot of it, or I wouldn't bother. If it's really dirty, I'll mix half and half hot water and white vinegar in a large plastic jar, give a good squirt of Dawn, and a couple tablespoons of salt. Give it a hearty sloshing around, let sit for awhile, agitate again, and then rinse with HOT water until all the suds go away. Reuse the mix if you have more brass to clean. After it's dry, throw it in the tumbler to shine it up, and it's ready to go. Sounds like a lot of work, but I'm never at a loss for 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, or a few other sizes. Most of it will be used one time in the woods or down by the river - fire and forget, lost forever. Nothing like 'free' brass to go along with 'free' home cast boolits. A penny for primer, a penny for powder, and away we go. sundog
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Old February 24, 2005, 10:27 AM   #22
50 shooter
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For those of you that don't want to wait a couple hours while your brass is in the tumbler, check out Iosso.

http://www.iosso.com/metal.htm
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