The Firing Line Forums

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 20, 2005, 12:08 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: May 29, 2002
Location: Illinois :(
Posts: 550
Quickie question(s) on polishing brass:

1.) Is there any "preprocessing" I should do to the brass before putting it in the tumbler or is it normal to just dump it straight in off the range?

2.) Does the tumbling take care of cleaning out the crud inside the case, or does that not even matter?

3.) How much exposure to wetness is ok for brass? I spent a fairly wet/muddy day at the range last weekend and collected some spent brass. It sat around for a week or so in the boxes I dumped it in. Does wetness or general moisture degrade the cases at all?

Kayser is offline  
Old February 20, 2005, 12:40 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: February 16, 2005
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 302
I always prepare my cases before I tumble them, but, that's just me.

For instance:

1) 45ACP;
resize, deprime, expand case neck, clean primer pocket, dump in tumbler.

I like to have them ready to load when they come out of the tumbler, and if I don't resize them first they get all yucky after tumbled when I chuck them up in the die.

2) The tumbling will take care of the inside, (as much as can be taken care of anyway), they won't be all shiny inside, if that's what you mean.

3) The dampness probably won't hurt anything, I wouldn't think after a week anyway. The tumbler media should soak all that up.

*Note* This is the way I do it. This isn't a "standard" or anything, the only thing wrong with MY way (that I can see) is when you deprime first, you have to poke the little pieces of tumbler media out of the flash holes as you take the brass out of the tumbler.
However, when it's cleaned up, it's ready to load. To each his own I guess.
CaptainRazor is offline  
Old February 20, 2005, 08:35 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: January 10, 2001
Location: Texas
Posts: 164
I like to deprime with a Lee universal decapping die and then start tumbling. I clean the primer pocket before or after, depending on what mood I'm in. Captain Razor must get some really nice looking brass with his method. I get the ring from resizing with my method. Hmm.. might need to try Cap'n method.
-- norielX
norielX is offline  
Old February 20, 2005, 10:27 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: February 20, 2005
Posts: 1
I seriously woulnd't deprime/size a "dirty" case. It's got grime and dirt and gunk from all over the place. When you run it through your die, you are crushing all of that stuff into the carbide, which is hard, but wont last forever. If I deprime before cleaning, there seems to be a piece of cleaning media in each flash hole!

Steps I use

Clean in tumbler for a few hours
seat bullet
crimp bullet
decoy5657 is offline  
Old February 20, 2005, 10:55 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: February 29, 2000
Posts: 128
I dump it straight into the vibratory cleaner. At one time, I deprimed first, but found that bits of walnut cleaning media would occasionally get lodged in the primer pocket. So now, I clean the brass before depriming.
at2000 is offline  
Old February 20, 2005, 11:38 PM   #6
Join Date: September 23, 2004
Location: north of Acadiana
Posts: 80
I probably spend more time than most on brass preparation and all the steps may not be necessary, but it works for me.
(1) decap with RCBS univeral decapping die
(2) wash brass in hot water with dishwasher detergent and rinse
(3) wash brass in Birchwood-Casey liquid case cleaner and rinse
(4) tumble brass in media separator to shake off water
(5) tumble brass in walnut media with a 50/50 mix of NuFinish and mineral spirits
Brass is now ready to be sized or for a progressive loader
redrooster2 is offline  
Old February 21, 2005, 08:22 AM   #7
Bass Man
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Missouri
Posts: 92
I always wash off the brass I get the range in the sink to get all of the large grit (sand and mud from the ground) off before I throw it in the tumbler. I don't want all of that grit in my media. I resize after it is cleaned because pieces do get in the flash hole and then you have to pick them out. The grit will also wear out your dies but at $20.00 a set them are relatively (sp?) cheap but I like bright and shiny brass.
Bass Man is offline  
Old February 21, 2005, 01:45 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: February 16, 2005
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 302
Well, as I said, That was the way I do it. It's not necessarily the best way for eveyone.

decoy5657: I see your point about, about scratching up the dies, but honestly, I've done thousands of rounds this way, and the only problem I have found is after a while (500 rounds maybe?), the die gets dirty.
Obviously, I don't jam, filthy cases (mud, dirt, rocks, small animal carcasses) up in the dies, but if it's just powder residue, I do.
I just spray it out with a can of carburetor cleaner, and it's good as new.
Does it wear the dies prematurely? I don't know, it probably does, but as of yet, I haven't seen any problems.

Anyway, these are all good methods, Kayser, from experienced loaders, I'm sure you can come up with your own "style" from all the suggestions.
CaptainRazor is offline  
Old February 21, 2005, 04:04 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: June 10, 2004
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 302
Unless you are shooting long range high power matches it isn't necessary to clean the primer pockets, most shooters can't shoot better than their equipment and won't know the difference. I shot pistol competition for years (Master class) and never cleaned a primer pocket, nobody I knew did it either. When you are high volume reloading you don't do things that don't really serve any real purpose.

It's fine to deprime before cleaning, shouldn't really resize dirty brass, it will scratch up your dies, and scratched up dies will scratch your cartridge cases, if you have any pride in your reloading you don't want grubbly scratched up cases.
G56 is offline  
Old February 22, 2005, 05:36 PM   #10
Join Date: November 26, 2002
Posts: 22
here's what i do

1. dig brass from mud
2. let dry and remove grass and leaves
3. place brass in pillow case
4. throw it in the washer, remove before the spin cycle
5. seperate brass and air dry
6. tumble when ready to load, if necessary
yesterdaysyouth is offline  
Old February 22, 2005, 07:05 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: February 18, 2005
Posts: 1,874
Didn't think there was that many ways to do brass.I just dump them in the tumbler when I get a few hundred.But for me I found that 50/50 of Walnut and corncob work best for me.The Walnut gets the heavy stuff and the corncob will clean and polish.But if they get badly burnt clean asap, also use Dillon Rapid polish If not they will tarnish.I let mine run about 1 to 2 hours just depends on how old the cleaning media is
Russ5924 is offline  
Old February 22, 2005, 08:54 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: June 28, 2001
Location: Sunny Tucson Arizona
Posts: 1,148
I tumble first
If you see a Military man or a Vet, stop him and say "Thanks".
Lennyjoe is offline  
Old February 23, 2005, 08:24 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: December 7, 2001
Location: outside the perimeter
Posts: 333
When I get home from the range I usually have a big bag of mixed dirty brass. I throw it into a bucket of hot water with a capful of Simple Green (~5% solution) and let it soak for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then I rinse it and let dry for a day or two. This removes all the crud and most of the burnt powder, saving my media. I eventually tumble it in Desert Blend walnut media with a capful of 50% NuFinish and 50% Mineral Spirits for three hours.

After loading I tumble again for 30 minutes. It sparkles.
gwalchmai is offline  
Old February 23, 2005, 10:19 PM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: April 22, 1999
Location: Chandler, Arizona, USA
Posts: 6,014
My SOP is to sort the brass (checking for split cases and A-MERC headstamps and tossing those straight away) by caliber, then toss the brass I'm about to tumble into my CM500 and give it a few turns to knock most of the sand and mud out of the cases to help the cleaning media last a little longer. Then I dump the brass into the tumbler, let it vibe for a while, back into the CM500 and then the clean brass is dumped into the appropriate brass bucket.
Guns cause crime like spoons cause Rosie O'Donnell to be fat!

I hunt, therefore I am.
blades67 is offline  
Old February 23, 2005, 11:33 PM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: November 1, 2001
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 776
The REASON to tumble is to protect your dies and your gun. If you size first then that defeats the purpose.
Gun control theory - A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
Jeeper is offline  
Old February 23, 2005, 11:39 PM   #16
bill k
Senior Member
Join Date: December 9, 2004
Location: Dog Creek, CA
Posts: 457
I dump them in the tumbler with media and pull them out four hours later. Nothing else.
Retired Air Force
8th TFW
The Wolfpack
bill k is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 08:19 AM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: November 17, 2004
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 270
Depends how dirty the brass is, but here's my general cleaning/prepping procedure.. I only load .45 acp

1- Dump dirty brass straight from the range into big bucket of hot water and dishwashing liquid soap. Let sit for a while (10-15 minutes), shake it around in there, get the grit and mud off.
2- Rinse and few times, until water pretty much runs clean.
3- Airdry brass untill completely dry. Some folks put their brass on a cookie sheet and place in oven. My wife would kill me if I did this.
4- Dump brass is tumbler, 100% walnut media with Frankford Arsenal Polish, tumble for 1-2 hours, depends how I feel (I've done overnight tumble runs, like 12-15 hours, but I can't tell the difference in how the brass looks).
5- Separate media, lube brass, and start loading...
6- Usually tumble for 20-30 minutes after the bullets are loaded, they come out real nice and clean looking.

I never deprime/resize first and then tumble, what's the point of running dirty brass thru your dies????
Plus, I don't want junk in the flash holes anyways, but that's just me...
sindiesel666 is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 08:57 AM   #18
Austin Charles
Join Date: December 16, 2004
Posts: 32
I like to deprime with a Lee universal decapping die also.

That way when I tumble, It gets the primer pockets clean. ( but you do need to poke some holes)

For rifle I do the samething and then clean the primer pocket again.

I use 50% Nu-Finish.
Austin Charles is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 09:14 AM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: January 1, 2000
Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Posts: 2,678
Polishing Brass

Polishing Brass?
I have an 18 year old Lyman tumbler that is still going strong.
[1]I buy media at the pet store. Have you seen people at the Gun Shows selling tumbler media...that is what they are selling.
[2]You can not get the inside of cases clean.
[3]If you de-prime your cases before you timble them, you must knock the media out of the flash hole[s] before inserting the primer.
MADISON is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 09:25 AM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: January 25, 2005
Location: Texas of course
Posts: 277
1) Wash with dishwashing soap and water (only if muddy or outdoor range pick ups) then air dry.

2) tumble for 2 hours

3) decap with universal decapping die

4)clean and size (if needed) primer pockets

5) Seperate by headstamp and inspect then store until ready for use

Works like a champ

BigSlick is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 09:53 AM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: November 22, 1999
Location: Green Country, OK
Posts: 732
You ever wonder how you just KNOW something sometimes? Well, when I saw the thread on the menu, before I even looked over to see how many replies there were, I thought, "naw, won't be one of two replies on this one, this is BIG!" How can something so simple as cleaning a piece of brass generate so much response? Well, I'll throw my two cents worth in, too. Ocassionally I'll pick up range brass, dirty, nasty, range brass - alot of it, or I wouldn't bother. If it's really dirty, I'll mix half and half hot water and white vinegar in a large plastic jar, give a good squirt of Dawn, and a couple tablespoons of salt. Give it a hearty sloshing around, let sit for awhile, agitate again, and then rinse with HOT water until all the suds go away. Reuse the mix if you have more brass to clean. After it's dry, throw it in the tumbler to shine it up, and it's ready to go. Sounds like a lot of work, but I'm never at a loss for 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, or a few other sizes. Most of it will be used one time in the woods or down by the river - fire and forget, lost forever. Nothing like 'free' brass to go along with 'free' home cast boolits. A penny for primer, a penny for powder, and away we go. sundog
safety first
sundog is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 10:27 AM   #22
50 shooter
Senior Member
Join Date: August 6, 2002
Location: SoCal PRK
Posts: 707
For those of you that don't want to wait a couple hours while your brass is in the tumbler, check out Iosso.
I see the world thru bloodshot eyes
Streets filled with blood from distant lies
The dogs of war never compromise,
No time for rearranging.
50 shooter is offline  

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 04:41 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10671 seconds with 7 queries