Old April 8th, 2021, 12:14 AM #51
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Originally Posted by trickg View Post
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.
So I worked through a 40mm can of 556 brass that was old and nasty. Range pickups from two years ago, had dirt and water sealed up in it. Some of the brass was completely brown.

2 hrs in the wet tumbler with ss pins, water, and frankford arsonol cleaner and most of it cleaned up decent to good. But this stuff started out rough! I'm going to swap over to soap and lemi shine for cost purposes once I use up what I have.

If your cleaning normal dirty brass you can get away with 30 min to an hour and then roll right into drying.
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Old April 8th, 2021, 07:12 AM #52
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Originally Posted by trickg View Post
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.
I grabbed a Thumbler a few years ago, but found that wet tumbling was a PITA for cleanup/drying compared to dry so it got shuffled to the corner. Reading some of the posts here about NOT using SS pins was enough to get me to try it and it actually makes the process feasible for me again. I've been given some nasty brass thats been poorly stored for years and the walnut just never recovered it. An hour in the wet (dawn and a dash of citric acid) made them almost new again..

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Old April 13th, 2021, 09:31 AM #53
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Stepped up the game a bit with my HF mini mixer that I was using with 25lb of walnut and ~2gal of brass for 4-6hr runs. Going wet I was able to process an entire 5gal bucket of brass at one time, and for only 1hr runtime. Few squirts of Dawn and dash of lemishine and the process worked great (No SS pins). I'm holding off doing more until I can get full 75deg sunshine days for drying.



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Old April 15th, 2021, 06:13 AM #54
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In my case I find wet tumbling extremely useful. Biggest purpose is to get the dirt off the cases. I don't see a reason to use the pins as they still remain in the bag serving as a door stop.

2.5 hours wet tumbling. a healthy squirt of dish detergent, a teaspoon of Millards citric acid and hot water.

.5 hours rinse with fresh detergent.

Cleaned
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Old April 15th, 2021, 07:27 AM #55
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When it comes to the topic of cleaning brass with dry media or wet tumbling there are several questions that need to be asked. Simply put, how much brass needs to be cleaned and how shiny do you want it.

However, there is one thing to get out of the way. There is cleaning and polishing, and sometimes they get mixed up. At a minimum, the brass needs to be cleaned enough so that it will not damage the dies during the reloading process. After that it becomes polishing. How shiny one wants their brass to be is an individual choice.

Each process has its advantages and disadvantages, and it isnít necessary to repeat them since that is a topic that has been discussed enough.

If one wants clean and shiny brass most variants of the wet method will produce the desired result. The problem for me is that one is limited to doing relatively small quantities of brass when wet tumbling.

Most of the commercial reloaders use a combination method. They wash the brass with soap and water, then after rinsing, clean the brass again with a solution of soap and the ďsecretĒ stuff. After rinsing, the damp brass is loaded into a dry media tumbler for the final cleaning. This method has several advantages. By cleaning the brass in soap and water to start, most of the dirt will be removed. The result is the dry media lasts longer because there is less dirt going into it. Then since the brass is still damp when it goes into the dry mixer the dust is reduced. And finally, by the time the damp brass has finished tumbling it is dry.

Iím hoping that Harbor Freight will have a sale on mixers so I can get one just for washing brass. Given the supply chain problems Iím not optimistic and may just have to bite the bullet and pay regular price.
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Old April 15th, 2021, 08:29 AM #56
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Originally Posted by Scrounger View Post
When it comes to the topic of cleaning brass with dry media or wet tumbling there are several questions that need to be asked. Simply put, how much brass needs to be cleaned and how shiny do you want it.

However, there is one thing to get out of the way. There is cleaning and polishing, and sometimes they get mixed up. At a minimum, the brass needs to be cleaned enough so that it will not damage the dies during the reloading process. After that it becomes polishing. How shiny one wants their brass to be is an individual choice.

Each process has its advantages and disadvantages, and it isnít necessary to repeat them since that is a topic that has been discussed enough.

If one wants clean and shiny brass most variants of the wet method will produce the desired result. The problem for me is that one is limited to doing relatively small quantities of brass when wet tumbling.

Most of the commercial reloaders use a combination method. They wash the brass with soap and water, then after rinsing, clean the brass again with a solution of soap and the ďsecretĒ stuff. After rinsing, the damp brass is loaded into a dry media tumbler for the final cleaning. This method has several advantages. By cleaning the brass in soap and water to start, most of the dirt will be removed. The result is the dry media lasts longer because there is less dirt going into it. Then since the brass is still damp when it goes into the dry mixer the dust is reduced. And finally, by the time the damp brass has finished tumbling it is dry.

Iím hoping that Harbor Freight will have a sale on mixers so I can get one just for washing brass. Given the supply chain problems Iím not optimistic and may just have to bite the bullet and pay regular price.
Great perspective. My main goal right now is to clean the 55gal drum of mixed headstamp 223/556, enough so that I can read the headstamps for sorting. Once sorted, most of the cleaning will be small batch and mostly dry media as I'll be cleaning my own fired brass, not nasty bulk range brass.
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