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Old February 28, 2007, 09:27 PM   #1
Join Date: February 27, 2007
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Cleaning Brass

Lets here how some of you clean your brass, I have a ton of brass that I need to clean before I can tumble it. I'm talking about cleaning dirty, dirty brass that has been in the mud and dust. Any ideas will be appreciated. Thanks
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Old February 28, 2007, 09:43 PM   #2
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If you have one and can get away with it. Get one of those clothes bags the ones like a fine fishnet. put the brass and a few rags in the bag. toss it in the clothes washer with some heavy duty pants. Hot water. gentile cycle will hold down the noise. take them out before the spin cycle. dump the brass in a colendar and rinse in the sink. put them boiling water bring water to a boil. restrain shake a lot. and put on a cookie sheet place in a preheated oven at 200. for 30 minutes. the idea is to get them in the oven while they are still hot. so don't shake too long. When on the cookie sheet be sure none of the brass is mouth up. they must be on their sides. and not stacked. A single layer.

Naturally, when they come out of the oven they are too hot to touch. I use one that has a lip. an old beat up one I picked up at a garage sale.
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Old February 28, 2007, 09:47 PM   #3
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If I ever put my dirty brass in the clothes washer with my wife around,,, well,, I probably would be able to sing in a Boys Choir after that.
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Old February 28, 2007, 09:49 PM   #4
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I found by accident one day that RV "Black Streak Remover" works great in cleaning brass. No ammonia in it and it is safe for painted surfaces so it won't harm the brass. Takes out the soot and most all the dirt accumulated on the outside. I have also tumbled brass in my RCBS Sidewinder using water and Cold Water Laundry Detergent. No foam and it cleans good.
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Old March 2, 2007, 12:54 AM   #5
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I found a bunch of .40S&W brass after the snow melted that was full of mud and gunk. I put them in the sink with dish soap and hot water and strirred with my hand. It got all the major stuff out. Tumbling will be next.
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Old March 2, 2007, 07:59 AM   #6
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Sink , dish soap, and hot water.
If really burned and/or tarnished. Use some Tufnut. From Lyman.
I use 90/80 % corn cob, 10% Tufnut, and brass polish. Gets that, bad burn mark, from using Titegroup.
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Old March 2, 2007, 09:11 AM   #7
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I normally chuck my brass in some gasoline, leave it for a half hour, then rinse out with water and dishwasher detergent.
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Old March 2, 2007, 11:24 AM   #8
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Last weekend I bought nearly 1000 once fired Speer 38spcl nickel brass at a gun show, for $5. They came from a local state prop. range and were full of dried mudd. I split the brass up between 2 coffee cans filled with hot water. I allowed them to soak for and hour or two and then drained. You can also put the lid on and give them a good shaking. Repeating this method three or four times left me with dirt free cases. When dry I put them in my Cabela's vibratory cleaner with cobb media. They came out looking like a new watch. I would think adding a touch of soap, if need be, wouldn't hurt a thing.

Not to put down anyones elses procedures, but I'd be reluctant to use any solovents, fuels, or cleaners other than simple soap that weren't intended for cleaning brass. Nor do I see the need. Water cleans away dirt and grime, even grease or oils with the addition of a little soap. As far as tarnish or light corrosion goes, that's what the tumbler is for. I'm no pro and I've only been doing this for a year, but that's is my humble opinion.

The washer idea (if you can get away with it) is a good one. Though I don't dare use it, my wife had a net bag used for washing nylons. I'd imagine even a nylon would work as a shell bag. A question though. Why the oven step? Are you trying to dry the brass or someting else with that step?
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Old March 2, 2007, 11:28 AM   #9
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the oven is just for fast dry. putting it in a dryer is just too much noise

The bag your wife uses for her nylons is just what I was talking about. you can get them is several sizes.
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Old March 2, 2007, 01:42 PM   #10
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Have any of you tried tumbling with rice instead of regular media? I heard it worked well for really dirty casings and it doesnt cost as much as regular media.
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Old March 2, 2007, 05:49 PM   #11
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For a nice shine....
Add automotive finish 3m brand "Swirl Make Remover" to corn cob, set timer on vib cleaner for 2 hours....
Takes the stains off and makes em shinny.
Rick H...
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Old March 2, 2007, 09:57 PM   #12
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If you have a concrete mixer, or have access to one, put the brass in there with warm water and liquid Tide for 20-30 minutes, then rinse. You won't even need to tumble after this wash.

This is what commercial reloaders use.
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Old March 3, 2007, 02:46 AM   #13
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" the mud and dust..." Go to a dollar store and buy a collander. Brass in, run 'em under the tap. That'll take off any mud and dust. Then onto a cookie sheet and into the oven, set on warm, for about 15 minutes. Dish soap will leave a thin film on the brass. No big deal as you're tumbling, but it'll likely muck up your media faster.
Buy replacement media in a pet supply shop. Crushed corn cobs and walnut shells are sold as small pet bedding. A 50 pound bag runs less than $10 or so.
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Old March 3, 2007, 09:11 PM   #14
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Put the shells in a bucket. Add really hot water , just enough to cover the shells plus a tad more. Add a healthy squirt of dish detergent and a few ounces of bottled lemon juice.Sit vigorously for a few minutes. Let soak for an hour. Dump and rinse. You will have really bright and shiny casings.
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