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Old March 18th, 2012, 11:56 AM   #1
chale127
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Cleaning Brass

Ok, i have got to be doing something wrong and i'm not sure what it is yet..

I have two tumblers, a Midway and a Harbor freight (the HF one IS much quieter to my surprise)

Doing up a PILE (3-5k Rds) of .45 brass that has been stockpiling for quite a while and i am handling the cleaning and initial sorting

in the past we used corncob with an assortment of cleaners, mothers, 3m polishing compound and a few others..

all along i have been less than impressed with the cleaning results, they have been acceptably clean but not almost "new" looking as the results i have seen and bought used from some vendors

So last night i got 25lb of walnut and loaded up two runs, first was walnut with 3M polishing compound, it ran for about 5 hrs and turned the media almost black, the brass was cleaner than when i put it in but not as clean as one would think for the amount of darkness that the media changed

then early this morning i ran batch two which was just the walnut media for about 4hrs, the results were amazingly similar, clean, but not CLEAN

SO, my next step is to find the "magical" flitz reloading compound everyone is using....any other suggestions???

First two runs


sifting bucket, you can see quite a contrast between the media that had compound in it and by itself


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Old March 18th, 2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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Stainless tumbling media with water, dawn dish detergent and lemi-shine. If you decap first, you'll have trouble telling it from new...
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Old March 18th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fa18hooker View Post
Stainless tumbling media with water, dawn dish detergent and lemi-shine. If you decap first, you'll have trouble telling it from new...
unfortunately that requires a rotary tumbler, i have two vibratory type


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Old March 18th, 2012, 01:15 PM   #4
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Shell media works fine and throw in a used Dryer Freshiner like" Bounce" to pick up the grime,The used bounce sheet keeps the media cleaner as well!
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Old March 18th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #5
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Try running with fewer cases in the tumbler. I've found that with 175-200 or so .40 cases in my Frankford Arsenal tumbler, for about 2 hours I'm good to go. Had poor results if overloaded.
I use Mother's Carnuba Cleaner Wax in my cob. Drizzle a couple rings around the media, let it run 15-20 minutes, then add brass. They don't come out "new brass" shiny, but have a nice shine.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 04:07 PM   #6
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I use crushed walnut shells and add some Frankford arsenal brass polish to the media. I have seen media with a reddish color to it that I believe is jewelers rouge, and it works well for a while. I am sure that the walnut shells become polished themselves over time and loose the cleaning properties. My brass looks real nice to me, but if I compared it to new stuff it won't be as pretty, but it sure does work just fine.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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Maybe Im in the minority - but the used dryer sheet thing, hasn't done jack shit for me. The sheet comes out looking like when I put it in. Maybe its my tumbler or media.

That being said - Walnut is a better cleaner (for removing carbon stains etc) corn cob is a better polisher. I stick to corn cob media, and it works fine.

Not sure if your buying treated media or not - some guys use lizard bedding stuff (Whatever T F you call it), I just break down and buy treated Lyman media, and add Flitz once it gets dirty or slows down.

I know Im like a broken record - but the Flitz brass tumbler additive works really good. The brass does come out, almost white gold looking. I find the next time you go to tumble (after the rounds have been fired, and ran through a tumbler with Flitz) the tumbling seems less, and comes out clean. Flitz will actually retard the tarnishing of the cases as well. The dirt gets collected in a grunge in the bowl, that can be scraped or wiped out, once the media is out of it. Once you notice cleaning slows down - retreat it, and its at it again. Ive had my media pretty black, and it would still clean great. There does come a time, you have to pitch the media though.

Ive used the Midway orange scented stuff - its works OK, but Flitz blows the doors off that stuff.


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Old March 18th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep Creek Rock View Post
Maybe Im in the minority - but the used dryer sheet thing, hasn't done jack shit for me. The sheet comes out looking like when I put it in. Maybe its my tumbler or media.

That being said - Walnut is a better cleaner (for removing carbon stains etc) corn cob is a better polisher. I stick to corn cob media, and it works fine.

Not sure if your buying treated media or not - some guys use lizard bedding stuff (Whatever T F you call it), I just break down and buy treated Lyman media, and add Flitz once it gets dirty or slows down.

I know Im like a broken record - but the Flitz brass tumbler additive works really good. The brass does come out, almost white gold looking. I find the next time you go to tumble (after the rounds have been fired, and ran through a tumbler with Flitz) the tumbling seems less, and comes out clean. Flitz will actually retard the tarnishing of the cases as well. The dirt gets collected in a grunge in the bowl, that can be scraped or wiped out, once the media is out of it. Once you notice cleaning slows down - retreat it, and its at it again. Ive had my media pretty black, and it would still clean great. There does come a time, you have to pitch the media though.

Ive used the Midway orange scented stuff - its works OK, but Flitz blows the doors off that stuff.
been using the dryer sheets for few times now.. and all comes out dirty.

the lizard/bird litter is just a plain crushed walnut shell.. i bought some and have not use it yet. been using corn cob since i started reloading.

+1 on flitz.


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Old March 18th, 2012, 05:19 PM   #9
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When I started tumbling brass the main problem was putting too much brass in at once. Another time was similar, I put less brass in but it was very dirty. My DE makes the 50AE brass very dirty. When the media gets too dirty it starts to clump too. If I put in about 50 rounds it works well.

I like the walnut too, bought it at HF and then add about an oz per pound of Lyman's tumbler polish or Flitz, let it run a few minutes and break up the clumps before throwing the brass in. Make sure the media is flowing/rolling well. When you put the brass in you should see it rising to the surface on the periphery then sink towards the middle.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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A vote for plain walnut.

I've worn out three vibratory cleaners and have always gotten wonderfully clean brass with a pretty good shine by using untreated walnut media and tumbling at least 8 hours after decapping. I have a little Lee Reloader press with a modified Lee decapping die (spun down to fit into .17 necks) that does nothing but decap. Best results come from changing out the media every 10-15 batches and keeping the volume down to 100 or fewer rifle cases.

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Old March 18th, 2012, 09:38 PM   #11
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The dryer sheet really only helps keep dust down, with its anti-static properties. It doesn't do much for polishing.
I've never had too many dust issues though, but I always run mine with the lid locked down.

Last edited by jayc0968; March 18th, 2012 at 09:40 PM. Reason: addition
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Old March 18th, 2012, 10:25 PM   #12
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I used the treated walnut stuff and it worked okay. Still had to take the time to clean out the flash holes and the primer pockets were not very clean, and the insides were not clean at all, so I started looking around. I ended up getting a Hornady magnum Ultrasonic cleaner after debating between that and the stainless steel media.

I am happy with my choice. The brass comes out very clean, although maybe not as clean as the stainless steel method, but it takes about one fifth the time and there really was no mess with it.

I still have the tumbler and for really dirty brass I would run it through that first, and then de-cap before using the ultrasonic, but so far I have not had any brass that was that dirty.

Just my .02 cents.


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Old March 19th, 2012, 08:23 AM   #13
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The walnut i got from Harbor Freight was un-treated

well...i went to bass pro yesterday and picked up some of the Lyman Cleaning additive, used less brass and ran for about 4hrs, was better but not quite what i wanted, added a touch more Lyman and ran for about another 2-3hr and it was VERY nice looking

I'm going to actually get a rough count on the amount of brass i'm dumping in and work that angle, i did load it up pretty heavy in the first two runs as you can see in the photo so that may have been part of the issue all along


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Old March 19th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #14
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I've got two Lyman Turbo Tumblers (1200) and use crushed walnut hulls in one to knock the crud off, and will either go to the press for pistol, or, switch to corncob media to polish rifle brass.

After lubing/sizing rifle brass, they go into the second tumbler, with 'pelletized' red jeweler's rouge, to remove the case lube, and put a final shine on brass.

Brass comes out of the jeweler's rouge, looking like new!!!
(Even old LC 69 M2 Ball cases look new!)
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Old March 19th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #15
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I use the large Dillon vibratory case cleaner. I use Walnut for a first run for about 3 hours, then I run it again with corn cob media for another 1-2 hours. It comes out pretty clean. I also use the Dillon case polish in the corn cob media.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 05:49 AM   #16
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Dropped my round count from an eyeballed 300+ to exactly 200 and the results are MUCH better, ordered some Flitz Tumbler/Media additive and we'll get to cleaning, just need to get to de-priming this 5gal bucket full of rounds....sounds like a night or two drinking a beer, listening to the kerchunk of the press and the hum of the tumbler....good times


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Old March 20th, 2012, 07:18 PM   #17
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I'm using a Frankford Arsenal tumbler, with corncob media treated with the flitz.

For pistol, I'll do around 150-200 cases at a time, intial cleaning is usually overnight. Dryer sheets work to soak up dust and dirt, but the cases are cleaned the same that I can see.

For rifle (currently only doing .223), the same initial cleaning as above prior to lubing/resizing/decapping, then I'll do a quick 1-2hr tumble in different media (I have a different jug of corncob media just for removing lube) and that seems to work well. I find it easier to trim/chamfer/deburr clean brass, and of course it looks nice in the box when they are all finished and shiny.

Shiny......like.....the Precious.......


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Old March 20th, 2012, 09:56 PM   #18
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unfortunately that requires a rotary tumbler, i have two vibratory type
If you have a treadmill (maybe being used as a laundry rack right now?), and one of those Homer Home Depot buckets for $3, you've got yourself a rotary tumbler!
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Old March 20th, 2012, 10:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
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If you have a treadmill (maybe being used as a laundry rack right now?), and one of those Homer Home Depot buckets for $3, you've got yourself a rotary tumbler!
According to what i read about stainless pins, it requires a "hex shaped" or other multi sided drum, simply because the pins would just roll in place and not provide any abrasion. I do like the idea of the media and it appears to work very well but i'm trying to work with the investment i already have made


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Old May 11th, 2012, 08:03 PM   #20
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I find that if I sonic clean (Lock n Load) with Hornady brass cleaner (3 cycles) then dry and tumble with Lyman treated corncob the brass always comes out clean and bright. the sonic cleaner get most of the crud off and the corncob polishes to a bright shine, looks like new brass.
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