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Old March 20, 2001, 03:19 AM   #1
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Join Date: March 17, 2001
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I am just getting started and trying to decide on which equipment I want. My personality is such that I will probably not be happy unless I am working with nice clean brass. I see that RCBS and others offer tumblers that utilize liquid as well as dry media. Do the liquid medias work well? Can the cases tumbled in liquid simply be rinsed and spread out to air dry for a day? Will the liquid media cut case lube if they are thrown back in for another session after sizing? My choice of method for case cleaning is driven most by convenience and least by cost. My work area contains a utility sink. I don't see many postings refering to liquid cleaning other than simple green etc. Is dry media the best way to go? Thank you for your response.
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Old March 20, 2001, 06:02 AM   #2
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First off. Welcome to TFL. I can't answer the parts about liquid media since I never tried it. There's a couple of things in your post though that I can address. Recleaning after sizing isn't necessary if you use carbide dies. Carbide dies don't require the cases to be lubed. in practice, a sized case is also deprimed, and if you're using corn cob media, it will plug the flash hole. Tumbling unsized media will plug the flash hole also, but the decapping of the case removes the media. Some people do it, but to me it's not worth the extra step to go back and use a needle to clear the flash hole. If you're building match quality ammo, then a primer pocket cleaner takes care of cleaning the flash hole.

I prefer to put a teaspoon of mineral spirits (paint thinner) into the cob media when it's new. Not so much for it's polishing properties as it is for keeping the media from clogging up. It might be a cock-eyed viewpoint on my part, but I equate the mineral spirits in the media, with water/oil on a whetstone. Using it in the media did seem to reduce the amount of time the cases spent in the tumbler (Actually a vibrator). The cases don't have to be bright and shiny to be clean. Bright and shiny isn't necessary for anything but appearances. The main object of cleaning IMHO, is to protect the dies, and not to produce "show quality" brass cases. If you use jacketed bullets and carbide dies, then cleaning after assembly or sizing is a non issue. OTOH, if you use lead bullets and a non carbide die, then there can be some case and bullet lube left on sized or finished rounds. Even bullet lube isn't too awfully bad to remove if you use lead bullets. The final step of my reloading is a visual inspection of each finished round. If I'm loading lead, which is 99% of the time, and the lead uses a soft lube, I use a paper towel to remove the lube. some folks suggest tumbling the finished rounds to remove any lube, but I've never felt comfortable doing that myself. YMMV vastly there, but I can't recall a single mishap from tumbling finished rounds, and it's a fairly common practice.
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Old March 20, 2001, 09:21 AM   #3
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I am a fanatic about clean and shinny brass. But getting it is very easy. My brass can pass for new or shinier then new,
Just by tumbling the brass in a vibrator with walnut or corn cob media and a polish. I use walnut, time frame 4 to 10 hours. However long you think it needs. Then cleaning the primmer pockets.
If your really a fanatic, for 380 to 45 brass I use to take a 410 gauge shotgun felt bore cleaner, put it in a drill so that you can run it inside the brass with a little gun scrubber on it and clean the inside. Let me strees that the cleaning of the inside is not necessary! But I used to spend the time making sure that the inside was shiny clean too. I don't clean the inside any more.
I have some brass that has been reloaded 30+ times and still shines like new.

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Old March 20, 2001, 05:57 PM   #4
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Ditto the above remark about the time in the tumbler. I used to go nuts adding mineral spirits or Brasso to the media. Now I just leave the tumbler going all day (sometimes all night if I forget). It comes out shiny as new. I get a lot of compliments about the reloads looking like new. When I start getting compliments on my shooting, I'll feel even better.

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Old March 21, 2001, 09:23 AM   #5
Join Date: October 11, 1999
Location: Loveland,CO,USA
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Dose Brasso Have ammonia in it? If so it is a big no no for cleaning your shooting type brass as it weakens the case.
I put a capfull of Dillon's rapid polish in with my corn cob media and tumble for two hours. The brass comes out nice and clean.

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Old March 21, 2001, 10:00 AM   #6
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Marks, welcome aboard.

I started using an RCBS Rotary Case Tumbler over 15 years ago. After years of trying dry media (walnut shells and corncob), and liquid media (a solution using RCBS Liquid Case Cleaner Concentrate) I have gone to liquid exclusively for the past 5+ years.

The main advantage of dry media to me is that you can reload immediately after tumbling. With liquid media you either have to wait for the cases to dry, or pop them in the oven at low temperature on a cookie sheet until they dry.

OTOH, I found several disadvantages to dry media. It takes considerably longer to clean than liquid media (at least in a rotary tumbler; I can't speak to vibratory cleaners). Sometimes I would tumble for over 8 hours and cases would still be somewhat dirty, especially if the media had been used a few times and the cases were really dirty.

Dry media gets stuck in the flash holes of deprimed cases, requiring a visual inspection of each case, and poking the media out of flash holes. Dry media also leaves a powdery residue on the cases that I don't like.

Liquid media cleans quicker (usually 2 hours for normal soil, or 3-4 hours for heavily gunked up cases), and rinses clean. It does a great job on case lube. I use the strainer cap on the tumbler drum and dump out the solution into a slop sink, and then rinse with hot water. Heating up the cases with the hot rinse water speeds the drying process, and spreading them out will usually air-dry them in a day or two. A brief stay in the oven at 200 - 215 degrees also works.

- Leonidas of Sparta, 480 B.C.
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Old March 22, 2001, 10:13 PM   #7
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Like one of the other posters, I feel that time is the key. Some people want to clean their brass in an hour or 2. I use corncobs with Turtle wax and let the Midway tumbler run overnite. Seems to work fine.
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