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Old August 19, 2013, 07:57 AM   #1
schmellba99
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SSTL Tumbling

So I lucked upon a Thumler's tumbler, picked up some sstl pins, deprimed a whole mess of brass (.45 ACP, if that makes any difference) and followed what I can best tell as the general instructions - 5 lbs of pins, 1 gallon of water, 2 lbs of brass, a shot of dish soap and some Lemi Shine.

I did not, however, get the high luster brass that everybody else posts pictures of. My bras was clean, don't get me wrong, but it was not the shiny gold color we are all accustomed to with clean and polished brass - rater it is a dull color, best described as having a very light brown tinge to it.

Will it load and shoot? Undoubtedly it will. But it is not what I expected given what I have seen posted on here using the sstl method.

My only guess is that I probably put too much citric acid in the mix - would too much have this type of effect?
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:03 AM   #2
Swampman1
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I put 2 tablespoons of Dawn and 1/4 teaspoon of Lemishine let it tumble for 2-2.5 hours and they come out nice and shiney(even the primer pockets). Now if the brass is very tarnished I change the water out and run it through a second time.
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:16 AM   #3
schmellba99
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1/4 teaspoon? Hell, I think I just discovered my problem. I put in way more than that.
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:27 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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My first cycle with the pins gave very ugly gray brass.
It took two or three cycles to get the pins themselves clean and quit transferring whatever was on them (Wire drawing lube?) to the cases.
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:36 AM   #5
schmellba99
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I ran the pins by themselves with a healthy squirt of dish soap for a good hour before even putting brass in.

That may well be a contributing factor though, as I know that there is a lot of surface area amongst the pins and that it may take more time than I think it should to burnish the surface clean.

I'll keep going, with less lemi-shine and see how it turns out.
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Old August 19, 2013, 02:47 PM   #6
serf 'rett
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In my small 3# Thumler, I use three or four pinches of Lemishine; a very small amount is all that is needed to obtain an acidic solution.
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Old August 19, 2013, 03:37 PM   #7
zplinker
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Only time I've had brass come out with a dull color, I'm pretty sure I didn't use enough Dawn dish soap. Now I give it a good shot, two tablespoons or so. My new .047" pins eliminated the problem of pins in the flash hole too; should have gotten them a long time ago.
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Old August 19, 2013, 09:48 PM   #8
schmellba99
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So I am still having the problem. This last cycle I used 2 tbsp of dish soap and 1/2 tsp of liquid Lemi Shine.

This is what my brass looks like before tumbling:




This is what it looks like after tumbling (it started the last cycle like this - basically no change):



This is what brass that was 25x worse looks like after member scottriqui tumbles it with exactly the same recipe:



There is something not right here.

My brass has gone through several cycles. Granted, i had way too much Lemi Shine to begin with and that may ge the case. I have different brass with 2 tbsp of dish soap and 1/2 tsp of powdered Lemi Shine. That may make the difference.

The brass is clean as a whistle and will certainly load and fire as good as the next, but I want the ahiny brass just because everybody else seems to tet it without any problems.
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Old August 19, 2013, 10:23 PM   #9
serf 'rett
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What is your water source? Do you have any way to check the pH of your solution?
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Old August 19, 2013, 10:39 PM   #10
schmellba99
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Water is tap water from the community well. PH is something like 6.8 or 6.9 - almost perfect for neutral.

It is hard as a rock though - very high calcium. I use lemi-Shine in my dishwasher and it works perfectly in terms of eliminating calcium buildup.

I don't think its the water.
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Old August 19, 2013, 10:46 PM   #11
schmellba99
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I just pulled some brass from the current batch - it is bright and shiny.

I can only assume that the first batch was a result of way too much citric acid. The brass is still useable (hell, it's only .45 acp), it will just be a little dull. No biggie, and a cheap lesson learned.

I am digging this method of brass polishing noe that it is working the way it should.
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Old August 20, 2013, 11:43 AM   #12
JimDandy
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Yeah, I love it myself. I have a Lee Hand Press with a Universal decapping die to deprime everything I shoot before tumbling, use lubes that don't have to be tumbled off, and so on.
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