The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 29, 2009, 11:39 PM   #1
Atroxus
Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2009
Location: Marysville, WA USA
Posts: 88
Case cleaner

This thread is only about chemical case cleaners. If you use a tumbler I am not interested in hearing about it in this particular thread. What I *am* curious about is chemical cleaners, how they work etc. I had read in a thread somewhere else that tumbling brass with fired primers could increase your exposure to lead as the dust from the primer can be tossed into the air during the tumbling process unless you moisten your media, add fabric softener sheet, or seal the tumbler to prevent dust leaks. This got me wondering if chemical cleaner is a good alternative since it was mentioned briefly in ABCs of reloading.

So my questions are for anyone that uses chemical solvents/cleaners on your brass cases.(if anyone here does)

If you do, why do you use chemical cleaner and what brand(s) do you prefer? Do you deprime your brass before soaking it? If so, or if not why? How long do you soak it for? How many times can you reuse a batch of chemical cleaner? I am guessing that cleaning brass with the primers in would shorten the number of reuses since you are cleaning the primers as well, or am I guessing totally off base? Also if you left the primers in would the primer pockets get cleaned during the soak or would you have to then have to clean the primer pockets after depriming?
Atroxus is offline  
Old November 30, 2009, 01:09 PM   #2
edward5759
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ. 30 miles from water, two feet from Hell.
Posts: 355
case cleaning

Once fired brass I wash with just soap and water. dirt and other crap that forms on the brass, after firing and or ejected to the ground. "NOTE as a commercial loader for over 35 years, I would not take time to PRE wash brass. It would simply get dirt shook out.
People say this causes die wear. I had over two million loaded rounds on a set of dies that were still in spec.!
After resizing and decapping I will wash in detergent soap and warm water. This will bind to the resizing lube and wash it away. Spray and wash works well.
While there in the sink and in water, try adding a tea spoon of naval jelly. This will make your cases look new.
During this ”wet time” you may want to clean out the primer pockets as well. The black stuff will just wash out of the pockets with little effort.
I use warm water and get the cases as hot as I can using tap water.
This will aid in case drying.
Now I am ready to trim, cut, remove primer crimps etc and the nice part is I'm using clean brass.
edward5759 is offline  
Old November 30, 2009, 01:16 PM   #3
Hook686
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2005
Location: USA The Great State of California
Posts: 2,090
I also simply wash my brass. I use a cheap Harbor Freight Rock Tumbler, add a couple cups of water, a well used cut up green 3M scrubbie pad, a table spoon of dishwasher detergent and about 100 (.44, .30 carbine, 9mm or .357) shells. I tumble for about 1-2 hours. Rinse, and set wet shells on a towel to dry for a couple of days. Cleans my brass just fine, cheap and easy. No dust, no fuss.
__________________
Hook686

When the number of people in institutions reaches 51%, we change sides.
Hook686 is offline  
Old November 30, 2009, 02:31 PM   #4
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 13,636
Years ago, I used to use a rock tumbler with a commercial tumbling compound called "drum cleaning compound" (bought from machine tools supplies vendors) with a bit of dish soap added. It gave the cases a bright, clean, but slightly etched look (ie dull, not shiny). It worked satisfactorily for me for years, but with the usual issues with drying the cases (corn cob in the tumbler worked OK). I replaced it years ago with a Lyman Turbo Tumbler just for convenience sake.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old November 30, 2009, 03:30 PM   #5
jaguarxk120
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 28, 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,488
Edward you use Navel Jelly, wow!! Your brass didn't split, fail, disintegrate, turn green or pull out the esental metals from the brass? You finger nails split, turn blue or other colors, hair fall out, and your not barking at the moon?

There are some on this forum that swear that all that and more will happen if you use Navel Jelly.

By the way I use a tablespoon to a gallon of windsheild solvent as a final cleaning step, then a hot water rinse, the brass come's out looking like new.

Last edited by jaguarxk120; December 1, 2009 at 08:35 PM.
jaguarxk120 is offline  
Old December 3, 2009, 07:07 PM   #6
Atroxus
Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2009
Location: Marysville, WA USA
Posts: 88
Now you got me considering soap and water. If I was to use water and dish soap in a sealed container with a batch of brass, would shaking it around for awhile get the cases pretty clean? I don't need perfect clean job as I just reload target ammo. I go with factory loads for defense ammo since I am still new to reloading. Also for drying how long do you figure it would take to dry a batch of 200 9mm luger cases in the oven, and what temp would you reccomend for that?
Atroxus is offline  
Old December 3, 2009, 10:16 PM   #7
Shane Tuttle
Staff
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 8,921
Dawn or Palmolive dish soap and hot water will do just fine. Swirl a batch in a 5 gallon bucket and rinse thoroughly. Place them on a couple ofdonated cookie sheets. Make sure you have them single layered. Heat your oven to about 250 degrees. Pop 'em in for about 30 minutes.
__________________
If it were up to me, the word "got" would be deleted from the English language.

Posting and YOU: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting
Shane Tuttle is offline  
Old December 3, 2009, 10:37 PM   #8
Slamfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 5,261
Quote:
Dawn or Palmolive dish soap and hot water will do just fine. Swirl a batch in a 5 gallon bucket and rinse thoroughly. Place them on a couple ofdonated cookie sheets. Make sure you have them single layered. Heat your oven to about 250 degrees. Pop 'em in for about 30 minutes.
I turn the oven down to low, when the oven thermometer I lay on the brass reads above 210, I know the water is gone.

I also use a cheap stainless colander to hold the brass.
Slamfire is offline  
Old December 4, 2009, 06:56 AM   #9
draggon
Member
 
Join Date: April 16, 2009
Posts: 91
Naval Jelly is usually phosphoric acid. Diluted it won't harm brass, even passivates the surface preventing further corrosion.

When I wash brass instead of tumbling or sometimes after tumbling depending on circumstances, I usually do this step after sizing. I use a solvent first to get rid of residual lube, anything will do, mineral spirits, paint thinners or my favourite, acetone or MEK because of rapid evaporation of solvent.

I used to follow this first wash with a strong water based detergent wash, tried everything including dissolved dishwasher powder, all of them worked pretty well but it is important to get the solution really hot and slosh the cases around for a while. The simplest way is to make the solution freshly each time using boiling water. Rinse several times with boiling water and shake dry in a towel.

Because the cases are hot they actually end up fairly dry soon after. I never really liked the idea of oven drying so in summer I just leave them in the sun on the car dash, in winter just distribute them over the home floor heating duct if you have one. Either way, safely dry in a few hours.

Now that I use an ultrasonic cleaner a lot of the time I would use the same solution to wash cases with, namely a 5% citric acid solution with a dash of windscreen detergent. Make it fresh and hot or reheat old solution, slosh cases around for 10 minutes and rinse once or twice.

Citric acid seems to work a little better at shining the brass up than Naval Jelly and it also passivates it.

All the above solutions can be reused multiple times though the detergent based ones are so cheap that it is easier to make fresh each time.
draggon is offline  
Old December 4, 2009, 10:49 AM   #10
edward5759
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ. 30 miles from water, two feet from Hell.
Posts: 355
jaguarxk120

With a degree in Chemical Engineering I started finger nails splits, they turn blue, my hair fell out, and I am barking at the moon. After my freshman year.
It turned me into a sexual beast.
That is why my wife married me 40 years ago.
ed
edward5759 is offline  
Old December 4, 2009, 03:21 PM   #11
whitefish
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 100
Very interested in all of this. I don't have an agitator or tumbler of my own, so I had a buddy put my 300WM cases in his Lyman with walnut media. The cases are clean and shiny, but now I have to get all of the walnut crap off of them.

I'm definately leaning toward using a chemical cleaning process rather than agitation/tumbling in media. In my ABC's of Reloading book, they show chemical versus media cleaning. For the chemical process, they used commecial products such as Iosso. After reading up on this stuff and reading various forums, the cleaning action is essentially from the phosphoric acid.

Will any acid work? Citric, vinegar, oxalic? I don't want to just get the brass clean, I want to remove the tarnish to see early signs of case failure (e.g. head seperation).
whitefish is offline  
Old December 4, 2009, 04:53 PM   #12
whitefish
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 100
Here's one of the forum posts I mentioned. This is from rec.guns:

Here's another trick I've used for a couple of years with very good success: start by cleaning your brass in hot, soapy water. Next, using the same container (unless it is metal -- its preferable that you use glass), add more hot water (as hot as you can stand to the touch), add phosphoric acid at about a half a teaspoon per gallon, and swirl your brass.
The good thing about this method is you can tailor your acid concentration, it cleans even powder residue from the inside of the cases and the primer pockets, and any corrosion is highlighted by a coppery-like look to the brass. Most of these wipe off with a finger unless they are deeper. In such instances you should probably toss the case.
When done, neutralize the acid by pouring in baking soda in until it stops fizzing. After that rinse the cases in hot water again and set them aside the dry. Sounds easy enough, huh? Well, it is. It has a few nice features:
• the acid action is very fast, and cases will come clean almost faster than you can stir them by hand.
• the acid action is self-limiting. You can leave the cases in for an hour, or a week. No harm to the brass because the acid acts only on the corrosion and residue.
• by a procees called "passivation" the brass is actually left more resistant to corrosion after its bath.
• this process is environmentally safe
• you can actually save the solution if you'd like, just don't neutralize it when you are finished. It will last a good while.
I'm also toying with an even more friendly solution using citric acid (sure smells better at the bench), but haven't found the best mix yet. If anybody has any questions I'll be glad to address them if you e-mail me.


Also, with respect to drying cases that have been washed, Sierra Bullets recommend to never dry cases in an oven:

http://www.sierrabullets.com/techser...ve/vol3no1.pdf

Last edited by whitefish; December 4, 2009 at 05:04 PM.
whitefish is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.06586 seconds with 8 queries