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Old March 10, 2013, 07:29 PM   #1
jlcrss
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Whats better? Standard Tumbler or Ultrasonic cleaner for brass

Whats better? Standard Tumbler or Ultrasonic cleaner for brass. I would be concerned about moisture issues with Ultrasonic cleaner. However I think it would do a better job getting into the primer pocket so on. Thoughts and experiences appreciated.
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Old March 10, 2013, 08:17 PM   #2
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Better for what? The ultrasonic will probably get them cleaner throughout, but a vibratory tumbler will probably make the outside shine better.

Either will get them clean enough to reload.
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Old March 10, 2013, 08:33 PM   #3
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I abandoned the ultra-sonic cleaner and went back to the tumbler. To much hassel washing and drying. Had to run several cycles (at least 4) and stack cases vertical in plastic plastic ammo box trays that i drilled holes in so the sonic waves could directly work on cleaning the primer pockets.

Thought about SS pins. To much time waiting for cases to dry. My opinion.

On the good side the ultra-sonic cleaner works great small engine carborators.

Have fun making a decision.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:12 PM   #4
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My take was that the ultra sonic wight the fluid dealings was a pain in the management butt and the above pretty well covers what I thought.

Get a good vibratory like ultra max 10 or bigger if you need, works great and no serious mess (a few corn cob granules here and there).

I clean em after I shoot them and then de-prime and all that so no crud in the primer hole, but its easy enough to clan out latter with a pin of some kind if you needed to.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:57 PM   #5
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Want clean primer pockets? Stainless steel pins & wet tumbling.

I process brass long before I load so drying isn't a problem.

You would need to be working with larger quantities to justify the addition expense of a stainless set up.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:53 AM   #6
Old 454
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I use both an ultra sonic and a tumbler, for pistol brass, and just ultra sonic for rifle, as I only load for a 303 british and dont have much of it to clean.

But when I use the ultra sonic after I decap the brass I sonic clean then rinse and just shake in a towel to get most of the water out then just hit with a hair dryer, it will heat the brass up enough to evaporate the remaining moister, then tumble the pistol brass in my tumbler to shine. This methode for me really reduces the tumbler time.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:53 AM   #7
jlcrss
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Thanks guys. I think Im gonna stick with the tumbler for now. I just bought the Dremel 443 carbon steel brush for my dremel. I am going to try it out on the primer pockets. It looked like it was similar to the RCBS primer pocket cleaning tool.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
I just bought the Dremel 443 carbon steel brush for my dremel. I am going to try it out on the primer pockets.
Why? I can see a Dremel making a primer pocket oversize in a hurry.

Unless you shoot benchrest competition I doubt you'll see the difference between a clean and dirty primer pocket. Take the brass out of the tumbler, deprime, and reload. You don't even have to look in the primer pockets to see if they're dirty, IMHO.
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Old March 13, 2013, 02:53 AM   #9
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Okay, you asked... The very best brass cleaner is a rotary tumbler using stainless steel pins.

The most common rotary tumbler is a Thumler's Tumbler as seen here:

http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/

Read the website thoroughly and carefully. Best of Luck, they really are worth

the added expense.

Tony
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Old March 13, 2013, 04:07 AM   #10
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Honestly the tumblers don't do much to get the cases clean. They're really more for shine. I love my ultrasonic cleaner. I got it at harbors freight for $80.

The ultrasonic cleaners are REALLY good for cleaning the primer pocket/flash hole and getting them CLEAN not shiny. For that new brass shine I use the tumbler

Here is what I use when I want to restore brass to like new conditions.



I start by de-priming and sizing. This will keep your solution much much cleaner and you'll get more use out of it.


Then I load them in the ultrasonic cleaner. Not too much no more than 2 cases on top of eachother. It works best if it's not overloaded.Then I add my solution. It consists of:

1-2 vinegar-water ratio with a shotglass or two full of lemon juice.

I run that solution for 480sec with heater on. 3 times, stiring the brass between sessions. Then I run it 1 time without the heater.

Then I drain the solution and run the brass through cool water with about 1/4cup of baking soda. This helps neutralize the acid in the lemon juice and vinegar. Run this twice with heater off.


You can use the solutions for several batches of brass without having to change it. The solution will become dark but it still cleans.



After I'm done with the sonic cleaner I toss them into my tumbler with fine walnut media a little bit of mineral spirits, a capful of NuFinish car polish, and a used dryer sheet cut up. I add the spirits, dryer sheet and car polish after about 3-4 batches of brass. leave the brass in the tumbler for about 1 hour or till your next batch of brass is done in the sonic cleaner. The tumbler also works as a way to dry your brass quickly. I prefer the real fine media, because the larger media will tend to get lodged in my flash holes.

The mineral sprits and car polish will help give your brass a nice shine and the dryer sheet keeps your media clean by pulling the dirt out.

I'll run THOUSANDS of cases through my walnut media before changing. It will workl very effectively for a long time. I process quite a few cases and hardly use any media. A 10# bag will last me forever.


The result of this whole process is super clean, super shinny brass. It really looks factory new. a dozen or so out of every 1-200 won't quite clean up like I want them to but that's fine with me. I keep those and reload them for myself. The rest I usually sell to my buddies that want high quality used brass.


I normally don't mess with cleaning pistol cases, unless it's for somebody else. Rifle cases I like to be REALLY clean



That's my method.



Ike
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Old March 13, 2013, 04:09 AM   #11
BigTex308
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Quote:
Why? I can see a Dremel making a primer pocket oversize in a hurry....


This. Sounds like a real quick way to ruin a primer pocket.




Ike
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Old March 13, 2013, 06:07 AM   #12
jlcrss
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Whats better? Standard Tumbler or Ultrasonic cleaner for brass

Quote:
Originally Posted by paw080 View Post
Okay, you asked... The very best brass cleaner is a rotary tumbler using stainless steel pins.

The most common rotary tumbler is a Thumler's Tumbler as seen here:

http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/

Read the website thoroughly and carefully. Best of Luck, they really are worth

the added expense.

Tony
I really wish you hadn't showed me that. Now I have to go buy it. Damn you!!!!
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Old March 13, 2013, 06:09 AM   #13
jlcrss
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Whats better? Standard Tumbler or Ultrasonic cleaner for brass

I am using Ar full length sizing dies. Does hurt the die to decap and resize with dirty brass?
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Old March 13, 2013, 06:35 AM   #14
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I've got a scratched die, likely from decapping dirty brass, so I picked up a Lee universal decapping die ( if you read the reviews, which I did, & bought an extra decapping pin, they must have changed them, as there are a couple people talking about broken pins, & mines been flawless even on crimped military primers, & running into a couple Berdan primed cases )... a couple things to remember, one, don't force it, & don't over tighten the decapping pin, & you haven't sized your cases yet, so when you set up to load, after your brass is clean, you need to resize, even though the cases have already been deprimed

BTW... I used to tumble ( with a rotary ) with walnut shells & or corn cob media, I bought a Hornady ultra sonic cleaner, & then some stainless pins for wet tumbling in my RCBS Sidewinder... I'll never use walnut or corn cob media again, & now only use the ultra sonic for a handfull of cases, or for nickel plated cases... I run my wet tumble load, rinse well, & knock the pins out, & set the brass in my strainer in front of a small fan forced space heater for a couple hours, I use a couple drops of dish soap, & 3-4 cc's of crystalized citric acid, & 3-4 hours of wet tumble with the pins, gets me cases that look brand new, every batch, no matter how ugly they look before
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:31 AM   #15
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Brass that's tumbled in the stainless pins takes less effort to resize.

And with the brass clean inside and out, the necks are clean and soo much less to pull the bottle neck case's over the expander ball.
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