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Old March 1, 2009, 07:22 PM   #1
ar15man2009
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how to clean brass without a tumbler?

i have been reloading for a few months now and i dont have enough money to invest in a tumbler but i would like my cases to be clean.what woud be the best way to clean them in bulk quantities cheap.ive heard using a dryer n some things like that but havnt tried them yet because i didnt know what would be the best way to do it.any information would be apreciated
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Old March 1, 2009, 07:36 PM   #2
tjhands
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If your wife won't injure you, maybe soaking them in the kitchen sink with some detergent overnight and then a good hand mixing in the morning?

When I started handloading I thought about trying that but chose to spend a few bucks on a tumbler. I reckoned my testicles were worth more than $50.

Edited to add: Here's the one I bought 4 years ago. It's still going strong. http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...set=ISO-8859-1
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Old March 1, 2009, 07:41 PM   #3
orionengnr
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Just so I'm sure I got this right:
You can afford an AR15, you can afford .223 ammo...
You can obviously afford reloading equipment and components...
But you can't afford $40-50 for a tumbler?
Really?
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Old March 1, 2009, 08:07 PM   #4
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Geez, if the man says he can't afford a tumbler now, then he probably can't.

Cases need to be clean - not necessarily "pretty" to function right for reloading. A sink or large bowl, some hot water and dish detergent, a colander and a small circular brush will get them clean. Make sure everything's 100% dry inside and out before loading. Lowest heat setting in an oven on a paper towel lined tray will accelerate the drying process.
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Old March 1, 2009, 08:58 PM   #5
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Dittos to Ram...CLEAN is significant, purty, glittery cases ain't. And, if polished, they will soon tarnish anyway so why some people have such a fasination for mirror finished brass is beyond me. Guess I've been doing this for too many decades for such petty trivia to impress me? (I do like tiny groups tho!)

I and many others simply washed, or did a vinegar/water soak, for years before viberator tumblers were common and affordable, our ammo did as well then as now. Flush the cases well after swishing around in a good wash, drain them, spread them one layer deep on newspaper (to soak up the exterior water) and let them dry over night, in sun light or under a fan if possible, so the interiors can get completely dry. On damp days I have let them sit for as much as three days to make sure they were totally dry but that's just what I had to do before I got a tumbler. Still do it that way sometimes.

Last edited by wncchester; March 1, 2009 at 09:03 PM.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
And, if polished, they will soon tarnish anyway so why some people have such a fasination for mirror finished brass is beyond me. Guess I've been doing this for too many decades for such petty trivia to impress me?
I tumble my brass for 3.5 to 4 hours in fine corncob media with just a bit of NuFinish in there, so I'm not one of the guys who gets the "mirror finish." But I can see the attraction to it, it's a pride thing, being happy with something that you've built and use. It doesn't have to be some big secret or mystery, it doesn't have to be something where there's only ONE right way to do it.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
And, if polished, they will soon tarnish anyway so why some people have such a fasination for mirror finished brass is beyond me. Guess I've been doing this for too many decades for such petty trivia to impress me? (I do like tiny groups tho!)
Taking pride in my work is my excuse. Kinda like keeping your car washed and cleaned. Not necessary, but it reflects that you take care of the things you own...

Take a 5 gallon bucket. Throw some Dawn in it. Spray water in it to get the suds goin'. Chuck your brass in and add elbow grease. Rinse thoroughly. Get some used cookie sheets that the better half no longer uses. Pre heat the oven on warm. Spread out the brass in a single layer. Pop 'em in for a half hour or so. Take 'em out. Let cool. And eat....I mean reload.
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Old March 2, 2009, 01:12 AM   #8
Sixer
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I just did this last week...

1 qt. of water
1 cup of white vinegar
1 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of liquid laundry detrgnt

Stir it up in a large bowl (with a lid) and just add brass. Let the brass soak for 30 to 45 min. and shake it up a few times while it soaks. Drain the bowl, rinse with water and drain again. Dump the brass onto a towel to get the brass as dry as possible. Put the brass on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet w/ brass in the oven at 150 degrees for 30 min. Remove from oven an enjoy your clean brass!
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Old March 2, 2009, 02:57 AM   #9
SKULLANDCROSSBONES65
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G'day, Isn't it funny how the mind sees things the way it wants to?
Quote:
how to clean brass without a tubmler?
What is a tubmler and how do they clean brass?
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Old March 2, 2009, 06:11 AM   #10
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We know what he's talking about Skull. Lighten up.
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Old March 3, 2009, 01:25 AM   #11
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how to clean brass without a tubmler?

Store the brass until you can afford to buy a tumbler!

C.
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Old March 3, 2009, 01:36 AM   #12
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Sorry, I thought it was funny too.

What ever dishes you use don't use for food again. You may get all the lead out, but why take chances? I use sixer's recipe with a gallon mayo jar with a screw on lid and save the solution for using more than once. If you deprime first and then rinse with water most of the crud will be gone before you soak in the solution.
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Old March 3, 2009, 04:23 PM   #13
luis7
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Hi guys.
I use alcohol in a bottle removing all brass and dust and oil go out in some minutes, then I put all brass in my homade tumbler with rice and one hour late are all shiny.
Greetings from Spain.
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Old March 3, 2009, 04:30 PM   #14
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I wash and rinse them as some of the guys said already using one of those plastic coffee cans with a lid. Shake it up real good several times and let it sit for 30-40 min. Rinse several times. Dry overnite on a old towel. For tumbling sew up an old leg off a pair of jeans on one side and pour in your brass with just a few of them run through auto polish...trick is not too much polish. Use a zip tie on the open end and throw the jeans leg into the dryer with the wet towels, dark clothes, etc. They will come out looking really shiny, and don't make too much noise tumbling with heavy laundry like towels. None of the clothing gets harmed as the jeans material is very strong and absorbent.

Joe
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Old March 3, 2009, 04:36 PM   #15
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If you are not in a hurry, Get a piece of 4" PVC and a couple caps. Dump in some walnut or corn cob (small granual) from the pet shop, dump in some brass, cap it and secure the cap, then let it roll around in the back of your truck or in the trunk of the car for a week.
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Old March 3, 2009, 05:03 PM   #16
SKULLANDCROSSBONES65
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G,day and sorry, I wasn't trying to flame anybody. I read it several times before I saw it. Thank goodness for EDIT, I use it myslef.
My wife is always getting up me for my spelling and that is without including typos.
Back on topic. So far all I have done is wipe down my brass, but the bug has not bitten yet. I am still in the market for other equipment before I worry about a tumbler.
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Old March 3, 2009, 10:13 PM   #17
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luis7 raised an interesting point. He uses rice to tumble brass with. What all have you tried and what was the result? I am thinking about using dried used coffee grounds. Since I don't drink much coffee it will take a while to accumulate enough to use. Has anyone else tried that?
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Old March 3, 2009, 10:56 PM   #18
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Truck Technique +1

Dakota,
You are about the10th guy I've heard use the "Toss it in a container with some crushed walnut shells and drive to work for a few days," open container dump & sift brass to sparate media and PRESTO, clean brass.
Simple works.
I'm using a tumber, but my 401K is heavily invested in whore houses, bootleg stills and politicians. True, it's not a very diversified portfolio, but ya gotta go with what ya know.
YMMV (but not by much!)
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Old March 3, 2009, 11:10 PM   #19
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If you pick up your brass soon after shooting it, and it didn't land in mud, the only thing on it is a little soot which can be rubbed off with a cotton rag. It doesn't need to be tumbled or washed. After brass has been around a while it will get slightly darker in color, but that doesn't matter either, so long as there isn't gritty stuff on it which will perhaps wear on the dies.

Any brass that has gotten wet may have some bad discoloration. Use some fine steel wool to shine them up.

Hunting brass goes in a pocket and gets jiggled around enough by the time you get home to have cleaned it already.

Tumblers are nice as they shine up the brass and make it look great, but it is not necessary to tumble it. Those darker casings work just as well.
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Old March 6, 2009, 04:36 PM   #20
chuck_in_texas
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I finally got myself a tumbler a couple of years ago, but for about 15 years I did it this way (and I think there are 3 other posts on this)

I'd put all of the cases in a plastic bucket, add about a cup of laundry detergent, fill it with hot water and let it stand overnight

next morning I'd dump them in an old colander (NOT used for food) to drain out the sediment, rinse, and them put them back in the bucket and let a slow trickle of water rinse them for about half an hour

tossed them around in an old towel, placed them on a cookie sheet (again NOT used for cookies anymore), and pop them into a 225 degree oven (too cool for annealing them)

it DOES work, and the cases while not shiny are functionally clean with no gunk anywhere

but I finally figured out that tumbling was faster The point is, if a new handloader has some financial priorities, put the money into the things you CAN'T do without, like presses, dies, etc first
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Old March 6, 2009, 10:48 PM   #21
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A friend of mine, understand this guy can’t stand spending money on anything new, and would rather build something than buy something.
He found an old beat up paint mixer at a garage sale. The kind you mount a 1 gallon pant can on, clamp it down and turn it on.
He took an old pant can filled it with cleaning media and dirty brass, I kid you not, he can clean really nasty brass in 15 minutes and it looks like new. The only thing he has to do is make sure that the can is as full as possible with media, other wise it can damage brass.
Total money output $5.
Garage sales are a great place to find great ideas.
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Old March 7, 2009, 03:46 PM   #22
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I got a real tumbler (not a vibrator) from Harbor Freight. It is kinda small but I can clean about 100 38/357 or 50 or 60 44 mag. cases in it, and it only cost me $30.00. Found some walnut shells (Lizzard Litter) at a Petsmart for about $8.00 a bag, 10 lbs IICR. Works for me as I only reload 100 or so rounds at a time.
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Old March 7, 2009, 03:53 PM   #23
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There are lots of liquid cleaners a lot thinner than Brasso that will do just as well available at most gun show reloading booths. Mine was called "Quik Shine", and just took a good rinse through really hot water to finish off small batches. -7-
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Old March 8, 2009, 10:40 PM   #24
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save some money

I liked the one with the pvc pipe and in the trunk but with the price of gas why not tie it to the wheel a lot less miles to get the same thing.
but are none you rednecks?
here is how you do it
you take a big ziplock put your cases in with a hand ful of sand or some dried corn that the cows didn't dijest tie it on your cats back and turn the dogs loose next day take the cases and rinse them in the creek though a screen off the window
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Old March 8, 2009, 11:05 PM   #25
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I picked up a lot of brass as the snow started melting at the range it was some pretty dirty brass and I did not want to throw it in the tumbler like that so I tried Sixer's receipie other than not being shiney it is ready to reload very clean after it was dried.

I did get busted though my girl came home early and found 400 .45 shells in the oven it was hard to explain in the short time she gave me but once I told here that my other option was the dishwasher or the washing machine she decided that I did the right thing well sort of....I did use one of her good pans.
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