Old March 31st, 2021, 01:43 PM #41
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Originally Posted by trickg View Post
Other than the dust, I've never seen a reason to wet tumble - it just doesn't get things functionally any cleaner than dry. Maybe if I was a competition bench rest shooter, I'd want to take the case back down to its basest basic format - as clean as a whistle inside and out - but for what I do, the vibratory tumbler is where it's at for me. I don't have to worry about pins, I don't have to worry about drying, and I don't have to worry about red rot - that's something else that can happen with wet tumbling.



Red rot is basically the de-zincification of brass where the zinc gets leached out due to a chemical reaction, leaving just the copper behind. What's left behind is very weak and brittle. Red rot, if it gets bad, is the kiss of death for brass musical instruments. I've seen situations on reloading groups where someone wound up with a whole bunch of ruined brass because of that - I've never seen that with dry tumbling.
It's mainly the dust for me. I frequently tumble really grimy, bottom of the bucket brass that would probably get dry media all dirty and gunked up in a few cycles. Soap, water, and citric acid sounds cheaper and more expendable.

Red rot can totally be avoided while wet tumbling. This occurs because of adding too much citric acid. If you really want to get "scientific" with it, you can grab those litmus paper test kits to see how acidic/basic the solution is.

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Old March 31st, 2021, 01:46 PM #42
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Originally Posted by guzma393 View Post
It's mainly the dust for me. I frequently tumble really grimy, bottom of the bucket brass that would probably get dry media all dirty and gunked up in a few cycles. Soap, water, and citric acid sounds cheaper and more expendable.

Red rot can totally be avoided while wet tumbling. This occurs because of adding too much citric acid. If you really want to get "scientific" with it, you can grab those litmus paper test kits to see how acidic/basic the solution is.

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If I had a source for a bunch of grimy range brass (which I would LOVE) I'd probably have a setup for both - I'd wet tumble the range brass to get it clean, and dry tumble from then on out. I mean, it really wouldn't be too much skin off my back to get into wet tumbling - the smaller FA setup is only $80 - I've paid that much for a set of dies.
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Old March 31st, 2021, 02:33 PM #43
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I have dry tumbled some pretty bad looking range brass.

Most of it cleaned up with several hours.

But even it did not, it was fine, just looked dark.
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Old April 3rd, 2021, 07:34 PM #44
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So far the only pain has been getting the pins out of 556. Ive had some old nasty range pickup that cleaned up well.

I'm thinking I'll be able to cut the time down for normal use brass, and my big reason to swap was the dust and mess I was making with crushed walnut.

Thanks for all the info guys
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Old April 5th, 2021, 08:11 PM #45
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I've been working my way through a bucket of fairly cruddy once-fired 9mm brass. I had been using a mix of walnut and corn cob, but it was really really really dirty so I swapped it out with some walnut lizard litter I had. I'm running the tumbler about 6 hours per load, and it's getting it pretty clean, but it's far from being polished. The cases are smooth though, so it will reload up ok, but I wonder if I couldn't get them a lot cleaner and maybe even polished if I was wet tumbling.
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Old April 5th, 2021, 08:34 PM #46
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Quote:
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I've been working my way through a bucket of fairly cruddy once-fired 9mm brass. I had been using a mix of walnut and corn cob, but it was really really really dirty so I swapped it out with some walnut lizard litter I had. I'm running the tumbler about 6 hours per load, and it's getting it pretty clean, but it's far from being polished. The cases are smooth though, so it will reload up ok, but I wonder if I couldn't get them a lot cleaner and maybe even polished if I was wet tumbling.
6 hours sounds like forever to me. I wet tumbled some ~500 really sandy and growdy looking 223 last weekend, some even looked like steel cased ammo. I tumbled it for 30 minutes and they came out "smokey" colored and frosted looking; typical signs that the cleaning solution was way too contaminated with junk and grit. I used a media separator with water poured in the tub to sift out all the sand out of the cases (i don't use steel pins) and re-tumbled it again with new cleaning solution for 30 minutes. Cases came out so bright that staring at it at a sunny day almost gave me a migraine. I then towel dried them, purged out unfavorables, and sticked them in an oven at 170C for an hour to dry.
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Old April 5th, 2021, 08:44 PM #47
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I'm also a convert to wet tumbling. I hated the dust from the dry tumbler and it went everywhere. I use SS pins with a Frankford rotary separator. Always amazed at how well that works. I dump the pins on a towel to dry off so they are dry when stored. Dehydrator to dry the brass. Usually, the day before I want to reload I'll tumble all the brass for a couple of hours with dawn and lemishine then throw it in the dehydrator for a few hours overnight. Good as new in the morning. One thing I have found is that really clean brass lets you see damage much more easily than dry tumbled. I've found a few split cases on 223 and 9mm. That's just me and my old eyes though. In addition, it also makes it really easy to see which rifle brass has been annealed. Drips everywhere while you're emptying things but working at the shop sink it's no big deal. For the tumbler it makes a hell of a racket so I put a storage bin over it and a couple of UHaul shipping blankets over that. Quiets it right down.
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Old April 6th, 2021, 01:18 AM #48
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Originally Posted by guzma393 View Post
6 hours sounds like forever to me. I wet tumbled some ~500 really sandy and growdy looking 223 last weekend, some even looked like steel cased ammo. I tumbled it for 30 minutes and they came out "smoky" colored and frosted looking; typical signs that the cleaning solution was way too contaminated with junk and grit. I used a media separator with water poured in the tub to sift out all the sand out of the cases (i don't use steel pins) and re-tumbled it again with new cleaning solution for 30 minutes. Cases came out so bright that staring at it at a sunny day almost gave me a migraine. I then towel dried them, purged out unfavorables, and stuck them in an oven at 170C for an hour to dry.
See, it's posts like this that make me start itching to give it a try. It wouldn't even be that hard - the smaller FA isn't that expensive, and more and more I'm reading that you don't even need pins - just solution, your brass, and the tumbling action does the rest.

It's definitely piquing my interesting.
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Old April 6th, 2021, 01:38 AM #49
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See, it's posts like this that make me start itching to give it a try. It wouldn't even be that hard - the smaller FA isn't that expensive, and more and more I'm reading that you don't even need pins - just solution, your brass, and the tumbling action does the rest.

It's definitely piquing my interesting.
The pins really help clean the cases inside and out, as well as polish it to an exceptional shine. The pic below was the cleanest I've ever gotten brass tumbled with ss pins.

I've since set the bar to get brass clean enough to only identify defects easier. Brass still tarnishes and picks up oil from being handled overtime. I try not to overthink it and just go for efficiency.

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Old April 7th, 2021, 11:24 PM #50
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The pic below was the cleanest I've ever gotten brass tumbled with ss pins.
Nice pic. Yes, it's a beautiful sight. This is what you can expect. Just make sure that you get ALL of those pins out.
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