Brass Cleaners - Vibrate Or Tumble?

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by pokute, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    For the last 4 years I've been using this vibrating brass cleaner: http://www.amazon.com/SmartReloader-SR787-Dream-Case-Tumbler/dp/B004ZIO3W4

    It works real good with corncob media with a little metal polish added. Takes 2-4 hours to make very shiny brass. Still works fine after nearly 50k (Yes, I shoot about 12k a year) cases cleaned.

    Last week I took the plunge and bought a Thumler's Tumbler: http://www.amazon.com/Model-Heavy-Duty-Rock-Tumbler/dp/B000BUXY0W

    It uses steel pins in water with a few drops of dish detergent and a half teaspoon of "lemishine". You pop your primers before cleaning your brass in the tumbler, and it cleans the inside of the case AND the primer pocket. The brass comes out looking like you just bought it from Starline!

    If you cheap out and get the vibratory cleaner, you need to keep corncob media stocked, and you need to clean your primer pockets by hand, AND the insides of your cases will get cruddier and cruddier over time - Sometimes the flash-hole will get partially plugged.

    Yes, the tumbler is expensive, but you only buy pins once, they last forever, and if you collect a pile of range brass and tumble it, it's damned easy to sell at a premium price. And you can use the tumbler to polish rocks.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  2. squirrelhunter

    squirrelhunter Well-Known Member

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    Hmm,sounds good. I may have to check into that sometime........If I remember that is.:eek:
     

  3. Balota

    Balota Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    That tumbler sure sounds like the way to go.
     
  4. Teddybear

    Teddybear Member

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    Something to think about.
     
  5. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

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    I have been using a Dillon Vibrate-or for long time and just bought the frankford arsenal tumbler I like it so far only done 1500 45acp brass so far ran it for two hours with 500 at a time it did not get the primer pockets clean on all of them but inside and outside shine like new and no dust to breath! think I am going to like it.
     
  6. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    I think the size of the pins determines whether the primer pockets get clean. I bought the small pins on a chance, and the pockets get shiny! The small pins are a pain to handle.
     
  7. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

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    what size are these small pins the ones that came with the Frankford are about .040 diameter and .3 long I think will have to measure again but two cold and dark to go to shed to night.
     
  8. Vee_Kay

    Vee_Kay New Member

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    I'v been running the Thumbler's tumbler for a few years now. It gets the bras soooo clean and shiny. But if the brass sits for a while, it starts to lose a bit of that gleam. I've just started to run them through a short vibration run, walnut shell, with brass polish, to apply a little brass polish that the tumbler cleans off. Now, after shooting, when it comes to finding those cases they jump right out!
     
  9. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Oops. Thought I responded to that. Yes, those are the pins I've got.
     
  10. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    After a bit of experimenting, I found that the discoloration was due to too much Dawn. It only takes a couple drops in a gallon! Same for the Lemi-Shine... Less is better.
     
  11. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

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    thanks for the tip Pokute and vee-kay I think I will try less and may be a short time in the corncob next time.
     
  12. Vee_Kay

    Vee_Kay New Member

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    Just to clarify, the brass comes out of the tumbler like brand new. But, sometimes they may sit for a while before they get primed, powdered and seated. The brass was just starting to look a little dingy. Only conclusion I could come to is the tumbler cleaned the polish off that protected against tarnishing...
     
  13. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    If the brass develops spots within a week of tumbling, it's the Dawn. Discoloration from the air is usually pretty even over the surface of the case after tumbling. The LemiShine softens the water AND leaches Zinc from the brass. The Dawn breaks the surface tension between the water and media and cases (It's primary purpose is to keep the pins from clumping, surprise! The detergent ingredient in Dawn is very powerful, even at very low concentrations, and the slightest residue will cause the cases to spot.

    Storing brass in airtight plastic bags will prevent discoloration from the atmosphere.

    There is one hazard with wet tumbling that has me a little worried. The LemiShine gets the lead residue from the primers into solution. If you don't use gloves during the rinsing process you could get SEVERE lead exposure leading to vein embrittlement and spontaneous bleeding over a long period of time. The dissolved lead goes right through the skin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  14. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

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    I will try no lemishine and about a 1/2 teaspoon Dawn on my next load then run them through the corncob to coat with wax I think that might help when sizing.

    I have this new problem I bought some new brass Starline 45acp, I looked at it and thought all it needs is to deburr mouth of case so I did 20 of them and had a hell of a time with them hanging up in sizing and belling operations, how due you treat new brass this is a first for me, the first time I ever had any new brass?
     
  15. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Woah, woah! Half teaspoon is WAY too much! 2 drops and a pinch of LemiShine!

    Starline straight cases don't get deburred. They don't need sizing either unless you've got tight chambers. Belling should be done using a Lyman M Die. After firing, they should be sized using a Lee U Die.

    HOWEVER - Factory barrels usually have slightly oversize chambers, and modern brass is extremely strong and resistant to expansion. If your ejected brass has a smear of lead on one side, your chamber is oversized and you need to get a custom made oversized Die. I was planning on contacting Lee about this, and trying to get them to make an oversized die part of stock.

    An interesting experiment is to load up just until the smear of lead disappears (should happen by 18ksi) - Accuracy usually takes a big leap at that point, and trajectory flattens. 6.5 grains of Unique will hit that spot with all bullets I've tried.

    45ACP brass can be reloaded indefinitely. If you want to buy new brass, get the +P brass and load some 22ksi loads!
     
  16. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    Oh yeah, if your brass is landing somewhere in the next county, go to a higher power recoil spring. You'll find it dampens felt recoil quite a bit. Of course, your SA gun will only last 150 years that way, not 200.

    Unless of course you need the exercise.
     
  17. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

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    ok less soap and pinch of lemishine
    I have been using a Dillon Square Deal with carbide dies for 30 some years and wore out the powder through expander and had a oversize one made for lead bullets thats all I shoot (called Dillon and they did not make one big enough for me).

    this new starling brass that I bought diffidently needs deburred and it sizes and bells a lot better afterwards but still needs some help I think the polish left from corncob treatment must be what has been making every thing size better I even notice the old brass is a little harder to size after cleaning with SS pins and Dawn.

    6.5 of unique that sounds wild boar loads I used 3.6 of Clays 185gr swaged for the short line right now, still working on long line load can't seam to get good group at 50 out of this 35 year old Colt GM.
    thinking about a SA RO for a Bullseye gun saving my pennies!
     
  18. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    I guess Starline's new factory is getting a little ahead of itself.

    Spraying a little Hornady One-Shot case lube into the dies works wonders. It doesn't poison the powder. Not saying that polish in the corncob does, just that the One Shot does not.

    Ah, you're shooting bullseye! My loads are for 50 yards and beyond - I shoot silhouette. I like swaged bullets for precision work too. Do you seat right up to the lands? The cases will expand and seal at low pressure if you seat for your barrel, and right up in the lands. I only know a few folks that do this. I shoot too many 1911's to do it! If i ever decide on a favorite, maybe.

    Is the Square Deal one of those that's made for one cartridge?

    Your old Colt will get a new lease on life with a Wilson Group Gripper. It's a drop-in item (well, almost - You do need to change the link to the one that comes with the GG) and it will tighten things up considerably. The POI will drop when you install it, but group size will close right up. You won't believe the lockup (and you can save your money for building your next gun!).

    The RO should make a great start for a bullseye gun. The frame/barrel/bushing fit should be perfect from the factory. I'd add an EGW tungsten guide rod to get some weight out front and Herrett adjustable grips. An EGW hammer and sear should drop right in and give you a sweet trigger. A Clark 4-finger sear spring should finish it off nicely (sounds like I'm making stone soup, doesn't it?) by letting you go as low as you want with the trigger pull.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  19. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

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    Yes I do load long but not touching lands, the Dillon Square Deal is a four position auto indexing once set up and going I put a bullet in station 3 and clean case in station 1 and cycle press out comes a loaded round, and I have shell plate and dies for 38spl/357mag and 45 colt also the Square Deal is for pistol only but I really like mine I have the old Pacific single stage press for ever thing else.
     
  20. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    I'm finding that loading enough 45 is getting to be a chore. Maybe I should get one. My shooting partner has been trying to convince me to go progressive.