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  #1  
Old 11-15-2012, 9:48 AM
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Default Brass cleaning tips???

I have been cleaning brass for months and its driving me nuts that i can get them fairly clean, but not like brand new clean.

it has become an obsession of mine to have the nicest looking brass on the west coast. i want to show up at the range and have people tell me "holy siht, that is some clean brass"

so what do you add to your tumbling media to make those golden shells sparkle??? im using corn cob BTW
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2012, 10:19 AM
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I buy the walnut shell media at petco. it's untreated, so I add 1 cap full of Nu Finish car polish and a little bit of mineral spirits. run the tumbler a little while to blend.then add your brass. brass looks better than new.
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  #3  
Old 11-15-2012, 10:31 AM
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Don't bother. If you must have the best. Use stainless media.
http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2012, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SixPointEight View Post
Don't bother. If you must have the best. Use stainless media.
http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/
This. Clean as new inside and out.
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:09 AM
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i will eventually switch over to stainless but cant afford to yet. id imagine that all that stainless is really loud when it tumbles too???

i will try the nu finish and mineral spirits
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:21 AM
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Until you go stainless, I wouldn't worry about having pretty brass
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:29 AM
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Stainless is quieter than the walnut stuff. The water deadens the noise. The only way you'll have people ask, "why do you reload if you always use new brass?" Is by going stainless media. It's the baddest cleaning method on the block
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Rat View Post
I buy the walnut shell media at petco. it's untreated, so I add 1 cap full of Nu Finish car polish and a little bit of mineral spirits. run the tumbler a little while to blend.then add your brass. brass looks better than new.
This... but I don’t even use mineral spirits... just coarse walnut and nufinish and I’m more than happy with my results. I tumble for about 4 hours…

+1 for stainless if you must have the best, every time I see the results from stainless media I am pretty impressed.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:41 AM
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Don't forget to toss in a dryer Cling-Free sheet

It will pick all the fine dust in the tumbler
Works for me !
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:41 AM
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so you run stainless with water???? wow, im off to do some research because apparently i dont have a clue.
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  #11  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:46 AM
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WOW!!!! holy crap that brass looks good.

but need to buy tumbler, and media. kinda starting from scratch..... looks very expensive but well worth it. i will definitely be getting into that at some point, but for now i will stick to the corn cob and will try the nu finish (think i actually have some with the car stuff)
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  #12  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthCoastTargets View Post
so you run stainless with water???? wow, im off to do some research because apparently i dont have a clue.
Yes, stainless is a wet tumble… they usually add some other agents in there too like lemi shine
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  #13  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthCoastTargets View Post
but for now i will stick to the corn cob and will try the nu finish (think i actually have some with the car stuff)
Use walnut not corn cob for cleaning…. I never liked my results with corn cob; it’s more for polishing after using walnut.

I gave away my corn cob to another reloader, I get enough shine with walnut and nufinish to skip the corn cob all together.
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  #14  
Old 11-15-2012, 12:02 PM
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$250 will get you going with stainless steel media tumbler. If you reload for precision, case mouth peening might be an issue for you unless you can trim it off with a Giraud or something...
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  #15  
Old 11-15-2012, 12:08 PM
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anybody have tips for keeping brass looking nice after tumbling? does the nu finish keep it from oxidizing after being exposed to air again
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  #16  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:13 PM
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Soak your brass in dissolved Lemi-Shine. 2-3 tablespoons in a gallon of water in a bucket. Soak for an hour. Then drain. Your brass will only nedd to be tumbled for an hour or so.
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  #17  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:15 PM
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Look into the thumlers tumbler model B. Brass comes out looking new.
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  #18  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:21 PM
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When I first started reloading I wanted clean shinny new looking brass. Now I just want my brass clean enough to not hurt my dies! My guns don't seem to care, so neither do I

Seriously I just don't care anymore. I run them in a vibrating cleaner with 1/2 untreated corn and 1/2 Lyman treated walnut. The start reloading.
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  #19  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:33 PM
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If STM is too much, you can do this:

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-ro...ler-67631.html

and just buy some stainless steel media and dishwashing soap. Cost under $100.
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  #20  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:44 PM
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Anyone use the HF tumbler?
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  #21  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoneedsafety? View Post
Anyone use the HF tumbler?
I use their 5lb vibratory tumbler, not the rock tumbler listed above.
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  #22  
Old 11-15-2012, 2:03 PM
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I've been using a HF vibratory tumbler for the past several years of pretty heavy use (about 5-10k cases/year). It works great with the $17/50# crushed walnut I bought at Western Feed and Pet Supply. Set the lamp timer to 2 hours, add a couple of cut up dryer sheets and they come out clean. For kicks I can set it for 4 hours and they are clean and shiny bright. Shiny bright does not make them any more accurate and I shoot way too much to care about what others think about my brass so 2 hours is more than enough.

I agree that ultrasonic or SS pins are the way to go if looks are the most important. I personally prefer to spend more money on powder, primers and lead and more time loading than cleaning so I can shoot more.
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  #23  
Old 11-15-2012, 4:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoneedsafety? View Post
Anyone use the HF tumbler?
I'm using one now for the first time. I will post up pictures. As for the cost. My brother in law not longer wanted his HF rock tumbler so that was free. I bought the STM refresher packer 2.5 lbs of media and 12 oz of lemishine. right now I'm into it less than $29.00 including media.

Last edited by calixt0; 11-15-2012 at 4:59 PM..
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  #24  
Old 11-15-2012, 6:48 PM
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how are you guys seprating the stainless from the water, do you use clean water every time? do not want to lose stainless down the drain. just got my tumbler today have not tried it yet.
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  #25  
Old 11-15-2012, 7:43 PM
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I am just getting into SS media tumbling after burning up 3 RCBS vibrating tumblers. I have decided to build my own tumbler rather than fork over the money for the smallish Lyman tumbler. If you search the web you can find many examples of home built tumblers. They can be built much stronger and larger for less money. A motor, pulleys, pillow block bearings, a couple of shafts mounted on a thick piece of plywood turning some PVC tubes and your set.

I am even going to make my own strainer. 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom, double layered steel mesh insert so the top layer catches your brass and the lower layer catches the SS media. Empty, shake and rinse your freshly tumbler brass and media at one time. Remove the brass and lay it out for drying, collect your media for the next batch.
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  #26  
Old 11-15-2012, 8:49 PM
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Don't think that the wet stainless steel media would work for me since I clean 800+ at a time.
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  #27  
Old 11-15-2012, 9:06 PM
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Decap brass. Toss into a $100 Harbor Freight cement mixer with 5# of SS pins (1,000 pistol or 250 rifle cases) a capful of LemiShine and a little dish washing detergent to a gallon of water. Run for 30-40 minutes, then let dry (I use the brass screen to sort brass from pins, then use a magnet part pickup tool to get the strays)
Size and prime, then run it through walnut with NuFinish and it will be bright and pretty.
I also sell new walnut media cheap. Nothing better than clean brass!
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Walnut media for bright brass
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=621214
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  #28  
Old 11-16-2012, 12:49 PM
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I gold plate each case, then bedazzle them with real diamonds. Yeah, I'm a high roller baby! Best cases on the west coast!
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  #29  
Old 11-16-2012, 4:07 PM
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here is the difference in walnut for 4 hours and 2 hours of stainless steel in the HF tumbler

believe it or not this doesn't really show the difference in how different they are.
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Old 11-16-2012, 4:19 PM
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Back to the question;

Yes, the brass will not tarnish for quite some time when Nu-Finish car polish is used in the vibratory. It really does a nice job in cleaning and polishing in one step.

I made the switch to SS and don't use the vibratory any longer, at least not since the beginning of the year when I went SS. Thumblers from STM (stainlesstumblingmedia.com)
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  #31  
Old 11-16-2012, 5:07 PM
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Here are my results for the HF tumbler, coarse walnut, 4-5 hours, with a cap of Nufinish.

Not as clean as stainless, but Nufinish sure does help put a shine on things.

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Old 11-16-2012, 5:54 PM
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I use a Franford Arsenal vibratory tumbler. Here are whats left of 250 cases run for 45 minutes with ground walnut from the pet store with about an ounce of 50/50 diesel and mineral spirits. I get about the same results with corn cob and Nu-finish in about the same time. I don't think the media makes as much difference as the set up.

[IMG][/IMG]

There is still some residue in the primer pocket, but I'm not trying to win the brass beauty contest, and for only 45 minutes of tumbling, it works for me.

There are two things you can do with a vibratory tumbler to optimize performance:
1. Don't overload it. If the total volume of cases and media fills more than about 2/3 of the bowl-thats too much. If you pack it full, the cases won't have much random motion as they go round and round, and thus less cleaning. I typically do 250 pistol cases a at time, and 200 .30-06. I wonder if overloading accounts for some of the motor burnouts as well.

2. Put your tumbler on a slightly inclined surface-about 1/8" per foot of incline (my garage floor) seems to work well. I noticed that on a level surface the "load" of media and cases just goes round and round, and there is little other movement of the cases in the bowl-they stay in the same place relative to each other.
On an inclined surface, they travel more in an elliptical pattern, and go up one side of the bowl (the down slope side) where they are completely buried in media, and then fall to the middle of the bowl above the media as they travel to the uphill side of the slope.

YMMV, but it works well enough for me...
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  #33  
Old 11-16-2012, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SixPointEight View Post
Don't bother. If you must have the best. Use stainless media.
http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/
This ^^^^
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  #34  
Old 11-16-2012, 8:40 PM
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The only downside to stainless (for me) is the amount of brass you can do. I use the large dillon tumbler and can usually knock out 1500-1750 of .45 brass in one sitting. Stainless in that amount would take forever...

I only tumble a few times a year.

My shiny brass gets dirty anyway once it leaves the gun

I use very fine corn cob from grainger and some nu finish.
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Old 11-16-2012, 9:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief-7700 View Post
Don't think that the wet stainless steel media would work for me since I clean 800+ at a time.
800 of what caliber?

I can do 1000 9mm with the thumbler tumbler model b in 4-5 hours

I find the 2-5-8 that stainless media recomends waist a lot of potentil of the systerm. I found a 5-5-5 ratio works great and I can do 150% more brass per load

5 lbs of 9mm is over 500 pieces.

Other people use a cement mixer and stainless media to do a 5 gallon bucket at a time. There is a stainless system for you.
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  #36  
Old 11-17-2012, 12:01 AM
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Don't overload your tumbler with media. Brass on brass with a moderate amount of crush walnuts, a bit of car wax, and dry sheet strips cleans nicely in about an hour.
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  #37  
Old 11-17-2012, 7:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M27 View Post
800 of what caliber?

I can do 1000 9mm with the thumbler tumbler model b in 4-5 hours

I find the 2-5-8 that stainless media recomends waist a lot of potentil of the systerm. I found a 5-5-5 ratio works great and I can do 150% more brass per load

5 lbs of 9mm is over 500 pieces.

Other people use a cement mixer and stainless media to do a 5 gallon bucket at a time. There is a stainless system for you.
So when you 5-5-5, do you still tumble the recommended time of 3-4 hrs??

Less or more soap foam?

Still as efficient at cleaning insides and primer pockets?

Thx for the info, sorry to hijack.
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  #38  
Old 11-18-2012, 8:32 AM
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more hassle and cost? until my lyman tumbler packs it in i won't be changing the way i clean brass. still using the media it came with 5yrs later, along with the cheap midway polish. once that runs out, i'll be getting walnut and nu-finish. this tumbler will probably last until my kids inherit it.
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  #39  
Old 11-18-2012, 9:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnate View Post
So when you 5-5-5, do you still tumble the recommended time of 3-4 hrs??

Less or more soap foam?

Still as efficient at cleaning insides and primer pockets?

Thx for the info, sorry to hijack.
I usualy do 3-4 hours but I have experimented with as little as 2.

Same amount of soap and a 45acp case full of lemi shine.

I find using cold water also makes a difference.

Clean primer pockets.
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  #40  
Old 11-18-2012, 9:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat Dirt View Post
Don't forget to toss in a dryer Cling-Free sheet

It will pick all the fine dust in the tumbler
Works for me !
+1 I tried that out and it work real well. The cleanest I have ever gotten my brass was when I tried the mineral spirits and the car wax and accidentally leaving my tumbler on all night.
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