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Old September 16, 2010, 09:59 AM   #1
Doodlebugger45
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Car polish and mineral spirits in the tumbler media

Now that I've had a tumbler for several months, it's inevitable that I tried some of the suggestions posted here about "extra" things to add to get a shiny case with less tumbling time. Up til now, I just put my brass into the tumbler filled with corn cob media and was satisfied with the results. All the brass got clean fairly quickly, some got nice and shiny in a couple hours, others took a few more hours to get kind of shiny. I had read many suggestions to use Nu-finish car polish as well as suggestions to use mineral spirits. Knowing that all the advice posted here is very wise, I ventured into the hardware store looking for those magic elixirs. Surprisingly, I did find mineral spirits with no problem (I'd never heard of it before) and it was pretty cheap stuff to boot. They didn't have Nu-Finish car polish (I live in a small town) but they did have some liquid turtle wax polish that Ifigured would be worth trying.

I didn't know exactly how much to use so I poured 2 capfuls of the car polish in and just a little dab (I'm guessing maybe a teaspoon or less) of the mineral spirits in and turned the sucker on. My expectations were modest, but I came back in about an hour or so and I was totally shocked by the results. They were all bright and shiny looking like brand new!

My question now, is if it is necessary to use both mineral spirits AND car pollish? A true scientific experiment would be to try each one separately to see which was giving the best effect separately, but for now I'll just let it be. Do I need to add a wee bit of each for every batch of brass in the future or am I good to go for awhile?

Thanks for all the suggestions regarding the brass tumbling in the past. Sparkly brass sure is pretty. Although, I do tend to drop it more often than the old brownish stuff. They just slip through my fingers sometimes they are so slick.
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Old September 16, 2010, 10:10 AM   #2
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I don't use the mineral spirits, but....

I do use the Nu-Finish polish. A single cap full every 3 batches of brass seems to do the job. Along with a used dryer sheet cut into pieces which traps a lot of the dust. I add the polish and allow it to "circulate" for a few minutes before the dryer sheet and brass goes into the tumbler.
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Old September 16, 2010, 10:13 AM   #3
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The mineral spirits helps soften powder fouling in the cases and dissolves petroleum-based sizing lubes on rifle cases to let them wick into the cob, which speeds cleaning them off. It will also thin the polish, if it is petroleum-based, and that helps distribute it.

If the polish is water-based, the two might actually repel each other some. In that instance I would put the polish in without the cases and tumble it until it is dry, then put in the cases and mineral spirits.

If you would rather run the cases longer than use mineral spirits, you'll probably land in about the same place.
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Old September 16, 2010, 10:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick
The mineral spirits helps soften powder fouling in the cases and dissolves petroleum-based sizing lubes on rifle cases to let them wick into the cob, which speeds cleaning them off. It will also thin the polish, if it is petroleum-based, and that helps distribute it.
This suggests to me that a dip in mineral spirits, common oil-based paint thinner, would be useful just prior to cases being dropped into media. They could still be wet. It stinks just thinking about it, but this would be a sure way to have case fouling benefit from the mineral spirits. Any arguments against doing that? I use a separate batch of media for actual cleaning. Final polish comes from a batch of clean, plain corn cob media.
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Old September 16, 2010, 11:11 AM   #5
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Use odorless mineral spirits. No problem with it. I've left whole guns (less grip panels) in mineral sprits for a week or two before. When I came back to it, fouling packed into cracks and crevasses has turned to a kind of sludge that has slowly flowed toward the bottom. So it loosens fouling enough for easy removal, but it doesn't actually dissolve it. I now use Ed's Red for this instead, when I want to do it. It sure sets the parts up beautifully for ultrasonic cleaning, if you have a large ultrasonic cleaner available.

I suppose you could buy a quart bottle of Hoppe's #9 to use in the tumbler instead of mineral spirits. A little expensive, but man that banana oil sure smells great to a shooter.
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Old September 16, 2010, 11:51 AM   #6
azphx55
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For what it's worth, I get the best results by starting the tumbler after dinner, and then realizing the next morning that I never turned it off.

To make this easier to do, I found a cheap ($3) 10 gallon plastic tub at Lowes, roughed up the inside with course sandpaper, then coated the inside with spray foam insulation. I turn this upside down over the tumbler, and it's easy to forget it running.

Having just paid my electric bill, though, I'm not sure I recommend this method.
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Old September 16, 2010, 12:15 PM   #7
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Just using a cap full of recommended polishing liquid in the tumbler with my media (I use and like crushed walnut hulls) works just fine. Why screw around with other stuff?
BTW, mineral spirits is a solvent. Putting into a plastic tub doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Although, I'll admit, the small amount you are using might let you get away with it. But, I wouldn't do it.
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Old September 16, 2010, 12:39 PM   #8
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I started with just the media and was reasonably happy with the results. A while back I happened upon some Nu-Finish at the local BJs, so picked it up and added that - I got better results in less time and ran like that for a while. Eventually, I added the mineral spirits and got even better results in even less time, so I use the combination now.
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Old September 16, 2010, 01:20 PM   #9
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The statement I am about to make is just my opinion, and I'm not saying that Nu-Finish is bad.

With that said ... I don't like Nu-Finish polish because it seems to leave a greasy film on my cases after tumbling. I have also run trials of cases using Nu-Finish, Flitz Media Additive, and Iosso tumbler additive as the control.

I then put the cases through several 'torture' tests to see which cases were cleaner after firing.

My findings were that the Iosso were the cleanest ... the Flitz second ... and Nu-Finish came in last. All cases were .308 Winchester loaded with 169 gr. Sierra BTHP Match bullet and Accurate 2520. All of the cases were inspected for accumulation of fouling and grime after firing. Also ... the barrel was cleaned thoroughly between firings to eliminate the possibility of the barrel being dirty during the next test.

Those are just my findings from my personal test folks. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but my results told me to stay with Iosso media additive.
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Old September 16, 2010, 01:21 PM   #10
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I have been using brass polish for this with good results, but it's kinda pricey and it seems that pretty much any liquid polish would be OK, anyone agree/disagree? I have a couple of bottles of Meguiars cleaner/wax in the dark red bottles, probably 2-5 years old.
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Old September 16, 2010, 01:22 PM   #11
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Brass polish isn't good for brass casings. The ammonia in the polish will react with the tin in the casing and can degrade the integrity of the casing.

I have known plenty of people that have used it and gotten away with it. That being said ... the ammonia and brass casings saying is in theory only. I haven't seen personally where it has done any harm. Although, I've never used it.
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Old September 16, 2010, 01:54 PM   #12
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I believe it's this stuff... ammonia free

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=198878

Any verdict on the liquid cleaner/wax for cars? Good idea or bad?
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Old September 16, 2010, 04:17 PM   #13
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I've never used Nu-Finish in a tumbler, but I have some in my garage that I got for an old car I had long ago. It leaves some kind of wetting film behind that acts a little like a glaze on oxidized paint so the original color shows better. I'm not really interested in adding anything like that to my brass, though it may not hurt, either. I just don't like the idea of putting lubricant in the chamber, at least, not for high power rifle. Especially when there's really no need to. Lots of stuff available that doesn't have that.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:21 PM   #14
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A couple years ago I tried the Nu-finish thing in my tumbler and it did make the cases bright and shiney. I never noticed any difference in how any of my handloads shot using those bright cases.

My worn out old 50/50 mix of walnut shell and corn cob gets my cases plenty clean, so I never bothered to "refresh" the Nu-finish in it.
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Old September 16, 2010, 09:14 PM   #15
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Hornady has a great metal polish in its One Shot line of products, non hazardous to boot! I like it but so far I haven't found a One Shot product I don't like.
If any of my friends in Grand Island is hanging out here I'll need another bottle of the polish soon.
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Old September 17, 2010, 09:03 AM   #16
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I use the Nu-finish in my tumbler (Corn Cob) and will throw a cap-full of mineral spirits in once in awhile.

The nu-finish gives most of my brass a brand new mirror like luster and in low/poor lighting conditions makes it almost look like nickle.

I put my brass in the tumbler for a few hours and then I pop the spent primers out. For me, they seem to ride into the die a little easier.

If you use the nu-finish and mineral spirits, it seems to extend the life of the tumbling media. When your media looks dingy and no longer does the trick of polishing/cleaning the brass, it is time to change it.

I also use the dryer sheets, cut into small 1 - 2 inch strips, to help cut down on the dust in the tumbler.
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Last edited by Uncle Buck; September 18, 2010 at 07:19 AM.
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Old September 17, 2010, 09:50 AM   #17
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"this would be a sure way to have case fouling benefit from the mineral spirits. Any arguments against doing that?"

Mineral spirits leaves no residue. it does tend to cut both case lube and reactivates the polish. I've gotten over my fasination with artifical looking glittery cases and gone to just clean.
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Old September 17, 2010, 01:04 PM   #18
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I use walnut from the pet store and add nu-finish. After its well mixed in I throw the brass into the (off) tumbler and with a spray bottle wet the case's
with the mineral spirits. With new media I have had cases come out so clean I couldn't tell if they were brass or silver. I leave the top on the tumbler and have had NO problems with any reaction with the bowl.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:40 PM   #19
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I've used mineral spirits mixed with baby oil for gun cleaning. It works great!
I never found any need for mineral spirits in the tumbler though.
BTW: The M.S. in your tumbler media will evaporate out after awhile.
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Old September 18, 2010, 12:12 AM   #20
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I have not used mineral spirits as of yet. I do use the Nu Finish. I put a bit in the media when I change it. Every so many batches of brass I dab some on a couple of cleaning patches then drop them in the tumbler. I also do the dryer sheets. Seems to help hold down the dust, and makes the media last longer. I change the media when clean looking brass leaves black residue on my hands. That is not very often. I tumble range pick up brass, and use the stuff I do not load as trade fodder.
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Old September 18, 2010, 01:06 AM   #21
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every 4-5 loads i run thru the tumbler i add a glob of nu finish, and a splash of mineral spirits to the empty drum. i let it run empty till the nu finish is thinned out, then i add the media. i leave it run till it all looks moist, and there are no more clumps. then i add several clumps of dryer lint, works as well as the sheets for trapping dust.
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Old September 18, 2010, 07:34 AM   #22
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Quote:
I have been using brass polish for this with good results, but it's kinda pricey and it seems that pretty much any liquid polish would be OK, anyone agree/disagree? I have a couple of bottles of Meguiars cleaner/wax in the dark red bottles, probably 2-5 years old.
That's what I use. They come out nice a shiny and seem easier to size.
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Old September 18, 2010, 08:19 AM   #23
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I mix the OMS and NuFinish about 50/50 in a plastic squeeze bottle. It tends to thin the NuFinish and allows it to mix in with your media much quicker.

I also find the NuFinish on the external surface of the brass reduces the effort when resizing using a carbide die and tends to protect the brass from tarnishing during storage.
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