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Practically Shooting

Brass cleaning methods other than tumbling

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There are various other ways to clean brass like Iosso which is a liquid dip. It does a super job but it's not a cheap date. If the cases are reasonably clean and just need to be brightened up, a cup of 9% vinegar in a qt of warm water with just a drop of Dawn works good. Rinse well and I put mine in a bread pan, put in the oven at 150F for about 20 minutes and they're ready to load. Make sure not to use too much heat in the oven as temps beyond 350F makes the brass too soft.

When you do decide on a tumbler, look around at the various suppliers like Natchez, Midway, and others as well as Harbor Freight carrys a vibrating tumbler. Don't pay a lot for it and I'd suggest avoiding the Lyman red media...unless you like cleaning the red rogue off of the brass.

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It's not a "toss them in for 3 hrs" and forget process. I use some citric acid (Lemishine) and a little dish detergent, it gets them very clean but not super shiny like tumbling. Then they get a rinse in the sink and a US cycle of clean clean water. Finally a blast of compressed air to remove most of the water.

I like the US cleaner because I can clean other parts in it also.

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Didn't even think of Harbor Freight for a tumbler. I'll check it out.

I'm not concerned about bright and shiny. Mainly just want to get them clean and get rid of the powder residue inside. A Google search on cleaning cases wasn't helpful. People try all sorts of crazy stuff. The only common response is to avoid products containing ammonia.

Was hoping just dumping them in a bucket with some Simple Green or dish soap would work. I suppose that would be too easy.

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  • 9 months later...

When I started reloading I had the same ideas about not wanting to invest in a tumbler. I went the Iosso case cleaner route which worked fine for a while.

The drying part of the process and having to use the kitchen sink to rinse all of the solution off of the cases finally became too much of a hassle and I purchased the Cabella case tumbler 'kit' which came with corn cobb media, liquid cleaner for the media, and a sifter plate to seperate the media from the brass for $60.

What a great purchase!!

The beauty of the tumbler is that you can just dump your brass, turn it on and leave it for 10 minutes to several hours depending on what you are trying to do. It saves me time and the end result is brass that looks like new - much better than the Iosso cleaner.

After several years of reloading, I'm still on that first bag of media and bottle of cleaner, too.

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