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Old April 20, 2011, 01:58 PM   #1
T-CAIN
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Are sonic case cleaners any good?

I stumbled across an add for a lock and load sub sonic case cleaner. Seems like a good way to clean cases considering it cleans the inside of the case as well. Just wondering if anyone has one and if they would recommend it. Thank you.
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Old April 20, 2011, 02:21 PM   #2
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My dad said his is amazing and it goes much faster than with the regular old media case cleaner.
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Old April 20, 2011, 08:18 PM   #3
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unfortunately, I have no personal experience with the sonic cleaner. However, I do have a good bit of experience with Hornady products, and I would bet all I own that it's excellent for cleaning cases. Not only that- but you can throw pistol parts, rifle bolts, etc and clean them that way instead of scrubbing and poking away at them with a cu-tip. Jus my two cents
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Old April 20, 2011, 11:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
My dad said his is amazing and it goes much faster than with the regular old media case cleaner.
They do clean much faster.


....But the drying time required afterward, is a bigger time sink that my vibratory tumbler requires for a full cycle.
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Old April 21, 2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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I would recommend that you purchase a purpose built model designed for reloaders.
I purchased a mid range Harbor Freight model. I was underwhelmed. While it works ok, it's slow and it has to be attended so you can reset it every few minutes.
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Old April 21, 2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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If you insist on cleaning brass with a wet cleaner, there's noting better than an ultra sonic cleaner.

Some will point out the stainless steel pins in a rotary drum type tumbler will clean as well, but they're slow and you still have to get the cases dry.

I have the harbor fright model in this pic;



every bit of primer residue, carbon inside the cases was removed. Cycle time was 3 480 cycles with a rest period between so as not to over tax the transducer. Total time 1 hour.



Drying was done in my oven @ 150 degrees for another hour, ready to load.

As for cleaning guns, you simply dump the part in it, turn it on, come back to all the sludge, gunk, and dirt on the bottom of the tub.

I use the shooters choice US cleaner for gun parts. It's uber expensive, but it works wonders;

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=838613

I dropped an entire glock m-22,(simply removed the slide and barrel), into it, the apcray that came out of it was incredible. No disassembly of the lower. Just let it dry, re-lubed it works better.
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Old April 21, 2011, 07:30 PM   #7
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Wow!! More info than I ever expected. I sure am glad I found this forum!!! Thank you so much for your info. I noticed that overkill0084 says his harbor freight model did not impress him, but snuffy you seem to like yours do. Do you guys think they are different models and that is the difference?
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Old April 21, 2011, 07:46 PM   #8
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http://www.realguns.com/articles/202.htm
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Old April 21, 2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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My results using a US cleaner for brass or handguns have not been acceptable. You must decap your dirty brass before you use the US cleaner or the primer pockets will not be cleaned--this adds a step and/or a die to the process. Or else you risk screwing up your sizing dies.

In my experience, handguns, especially revolvers, are not cleaned acceptably in a US cleaner--The only cleaning solution I have found that even comes close to cleaning the bore and the forcing cone and cylinder face is Shooter's Choice Aqua Cleaner--I bought some of it by mistake since one of their bore cleaners has the same name---another irritation. A serendipitous result was that I re-ordered the bore cleaner and found it to be REALLY good.

The one and only use I can find for my US cleaner--which is allegedly one of the best, most powerful,l heated la-DE-DA cleaners available---is to clean and oil AR bolts without having to disassemble them. The original Hornady unit was one of the weaker jewelry cleaners with a different label.

I will not use a cleaning solution that is acidic--the reasons should be self evident to anyone who has any knowledge of metals, especially the copper alloys.
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Old April 21, 2011, 08:19 PM   #10
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I have used my ultrasonic cleaner for brass. Here is the good and the bad.

Good: about 5 minutes in the ultrasonic is about equal to 4 hours in my vibratory tumbler with corncob media. The inside of the case is as clean as the outside of the case. If you play around with the solution that you use, you can get them pretty shinny as well.

Bad: the ultrasonic has a far less capacity than the traditional tumbler. although the ultrasonic cleans faster, you have to change out the cases much more frequently because of the lack of capacity.

After you are done in the ultrasonic, the brass is still filled with water. You have to dump each one, and dry them off. Ultimately, it is more labor intensive than the tumbler.

As a note, I shoot in very high volume (2000-3000/month). All pistol (I am an avid USPSA/IDPA/Steel Challenge shooter. with the amount of brass I go through, the ultrasonic is not practical.

Now, If I were a benchrest shooter (ie-lower volume shooter), ultrasonic is the way to go!!!

-George
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Old April 21, 2011, 09:38 PM   #11
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I use an ultrasonic and am very happy with the results. Brass comes out clean and shiny, inside and out.

As far as drying, I liberated an old food dehydrator from my wife. Take the brass out of the ultrasonic, rinse it a couple of times, and put it in the dehydrator for about an hour at 145°F. Dry and ready to go.
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Old April 21, 2011, 10:30 PM   #12
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Don H thanks for article links I think the article from real guns kinda seals the deal for me. I just think that getting the inside of the brass that clean has to be a good thing. My tumbler litterally does nothing to the inside of the cases, not even the inside of the necks.
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Old April 21, 2011, 10:54 PM   #13
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You're welcome!
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Old April 22, 2011, 10:24 AM   #14
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I have a Kendell brand name ultrasonic cleaner sold as a jewelry cleaner but is sold under other names including reloading brands. It easily holds 250 45acp cases at a time but won't get that many clean. It works real well 50 to 100 cases at a time. I used a 50-50 mixture of water and vinegar at first but had trouble getting the primer pockets clean now I am using Hornady One Shot ultrasonic cleaner. At $23.00 for 32oz. it has a high initial cost but it mixes 40 parts of water to one of cleaner so is not going to be more expensive than vinegar in the end and cleans better. My wife loves it for cleaning her jewelry in, so it's the first piece of reloading equipment I have bought that I received brownie points from her for.
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Old April 23, 2011, 09:14 PM   #15
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Not mine, they come out clean but dull finish.


Jim
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Old April 24, 2011, 05:42 PM   #16
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"Are sonic case cleaners any good? "

Sure, they wouldn't be made if they didn't work. But, IMHO, the common bench top units sold to reloaders suck for cleaning cases. A conventional vib. tumbler does all that's needed for reloading and does it without giving small quanities our constant personal attention. And the clean cases are ready to be used as soon as they are taken out of the machine.
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Old April 30, 2011, 07:12 AM   #17
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Yes if you get a decent one. Mine cleans my guns and the few pieces of brass I have run though it "surgically clean". It is truly shocking how clean a gun will be when it comes out. It is putzy though. 15 minutes per cycle and loud. Mine is a commercial grade unit and I wear earphones around it when working.
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Old May 1, 2011, 06:33 PM   #18
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Caution!!!

I purchased the Harbor freight sonic cleaner and it works great. But be forwarned! DO NOT try to clean your blued pistol parts. I was using a 50/50 mix of water and vinagar HOT to clean casings and it was doing great! So I decided to try the upper of my Colt in this mixture. Turned it on and you could just see the stuff comming out of the upper, grease and dirt ... after 3 minuntes NO BLUING WAS LEFT behind! The pistol was stripped to the metal! Ruined!!! Be careful with these things, and what you want cleaned.
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Old May 1, 2011, 09:14 PM   #19
Don H
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jb683,

It wasn't the ultrasonic device that removed the bluing, it was the vinegar. The same thing would have happened if you put the slide in the same solution in a bucket but possibly not as quickly.

Last edited by Don H; May 2, 2011 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Corrected typo.
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Old May 2, 2011, 04:53 PM   #20
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Don H ... true, but I did not want anyone else to find this out the way I did.
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