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Old June 26, 2002, 02:05 PM   #1
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Cleaning Brass?

What is the best way to clean brass by hand??
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Old June 26, 2002, 02:27 PM   #2
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Other than a tumbler or vibe cleaner, the only productive method I've heard of (but haven't tried) is nylon mesh bags in the dishwasher. Sounds wild, but a friend swears by it.
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Old June 26, 2002, 02:31 PM   #3
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I've heard of the dishwasher method, but haven't tried it since I don't reload.

But I can just imagine the wife's face when she opens the dishwasher to put in a dirty cup, and sees a bag or 2 of brass
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Old June 26, 2002, 03:02 PM   #4
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I am forbidden from using household items and or utensils for anything related to shooting. This includes the use of butterknives for a screwdriver. I think the downward spiral began when I used her cupcake pan for lead ingot molds. I know its crazy..but they do make perfect ingots.

Do yourself a favor and forget trying to clean by hand. Save up some cash and buy a good case tumbler/vibrator. You will be extremely pleased by the results. Unless you are trying to clean loaded brass. Then it is very inadvisable that you use a case tumbler or vibrator. I just use a scotchbrite type of pad to remove tarnish so I can inspect old milsurp ammo better. Otherwise I shoot it as is.

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Old June 26, 2002, 03:03 PM   #5
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Before I got a tumbler I used to use a wooden dowel chucked in a cordless drill, slip your empty case over the end and hit it with some steel wool while it spins...

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Old June 26, 2002, 03:12 PM   #6
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Though this isn't strictly a reloading question, I'll move it to that forum since that is where folks know all about brass.
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Old June 26, 2002, 04:38 PM   #7
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I use 0000 steel wool to just clean up the neck, and I pick the brass up once out of the loading block with a nylon brush (easier to demonstrate than to explain - very rapid in process). Since my "accuracy rifle" brass never hits the ground, I don't worry about the rest of it.
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Old June 26, 2002, 04:42 PM   #8
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Old June 26, 2002, 09:06 PM   #9
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If you are only loading, like 17 rounds, then polish them by hand while watching Mayberry RFD reruns, one at a time, just like Barney. If you load for competition, like, 2,500 rounds a month, then get a good tumbler and an appliance timer. Here is my deal. Put about 500 9mm's into the tumbler with the walnut media and tumble for 4 hours. Sift media and reload with corn and polish for 4 hours. End result? Shiney and clean brass, ready to push thru the progressive. Rifle rounds are an exception because typically you are loading far fewer rounds, unless you compete in 3-gun...
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Old June 26, 2002, 11:20 PM   #10
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Net bag & dishwasher works well enough. Best of all methods is using the dishwasher & then the clothes dryer to dry 'em out. Most certainly do the drying bit while The Wife is at home. The racket will allow her to see the wisdom of a tumbler = case solved (& cleaned).

After doing without or doing by hand for 20+ years, my (The) Wife bought me a tumbler/vibratory-type cleaner for somethingor'nother .... well worth it. Dump the brass in, turn it on, walk away for a while, come back, sift it out & go. Good deal!

Hmmmm, rereading that last makes me do an obligatory clarification. I never went without or had to do it by hand regards anything other than cleaning brass .... lest there be some mistakes - intended or otherwise. Youse guys!

Grab yourself a tumbler. Even the ones that don't take more than 100 or so 9mm cases are still well worth the savings in time & hassle.

If bucks are way tight, you just can't justify a tumbler, wash 'em up only as you think they need - brass does work quite well when tarnished & all but really filthy - & make really sure the brass is dry, dry, dry. Priming & dumping powder into a damp case isn't the best of all worlds .....
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Old June 27, 2002, 01:48 PM   #11
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Bucket of hot water and dish soap, stir vigorously with a stick, rinse and airdry and they are plenty clean enough to reload.

Disadvantage to this method is with autoloader cases that you have to pick up off the ground; over time the brass assumes the color of...the ground.
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Old June 27, 2002, 03:34 PM   #12
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Cheap Redneck Way

Git yerself a large plastic mayo jar from yer favorite hash house. Git some RCBS Liquid Case Cleaner. Mix accordin to instructions. Put brass in mayo jar and cover with cleaner mix. Put the jar in the bed or floorboard of yer pickup. By da time you git home dis evenin, yer brass'll be clean! Cheap! ... Crude! ... Effective!
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Old July 1, 2002, 01:30 AM   #13
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A really great cheap reusable cleaner is white vinegar. 99 cents / gallon at Safeway. Thirty seconds' immersion and a water rinse to kill the acid process and they're done.
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