Cleaning Brass on the Inside?

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bearing01

Bearcat
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Sep 15, 2009
Messages
71
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San Diego
I don't have a tumbler yet. I cleaned a couple hundred cases over the weekend using vinegar/water 50/50 and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad. It did a good job, but it is quite labor intensive. I see a tumbler in my future.

Question:
1. How often do you clean your brass? Before reloading every time? I assume that the cleaner the brass the less damage the press will do and therefore the longer the brass will live.

2. How often to do you clean the brass on the inside? I used a barrel cleaner to wipe out the inside of the brass. I imagine you will get quite a bit of buildup in there over time. I also assume a tumbler will not clean the insides.

Thanks.
 

pvtschultz

Blackhawk
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Oct 11, 2005
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West Allis, WI, USA
I don't... Heck, I didn't even before I had a vibratory bowl, but only loaded them a few times before I bought one. The media in a vibratory bowl probably does a good job scrubbing the inside, but I don't do it intentionally.
 

LightningMan

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
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Location
midwest
bearing01":1p6sslw8 said:
I don't have a tumbler yet. I cleaned a couple hundred cases over the weekend using vinegar/water 50/50 and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad. It did a good job, but it is quote labor intensive. I see a tumbler in my future.

Question:
1. How often do you clean your brass? Before reloading every time? I assume that the cleaner the brass the less damage the press will do and therefore the longer the brass will live.

2. How often to do you clean the brass on the inside? I used a barrel cleaner to wipe out the inside of the brass. I imagine you will get quite a bit of buildup in there over time. I also assume a tumbler will not clean the insides.


Thanks.

I don't clean the inside of the case, but I mostly load pistol ammo. I do sometimes load some black powder rounds for some vintage firearms, and while cleaning them in my salution, I use a bore brush inside them. Maybe if I were wanting to optain extreme accuracy with a modern rifle, I could see cleaning the insides of a smokeless cartridge case. I would keep that bore brush used for this task seperate from my others, because I wouldn't want to get any gun oil residue inside my cases to contaminate the powder charge. LM
 

Pal Val

Buckeye
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May 30, 2006
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S.E. PA, USA
I run my brass threough a vibratory cleaner, but don't expect that to clean the insides of my cases. For bottlenecked cartridges, I run a bore brush in the inside of the neck prior to resizing, just to make sure none of the cleaning media got stuck there.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
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Mar 10, 2002
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Redlands CA USA
bearing01":25ioghhv said:
I don't have a tumbler yet. I cleaned a couple hundred cases over the weekend using vinegar/water 50/50 and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad. It did a good job, but it is quote labor intensive.

Hi,

It's been quite a few years since I used a "solid media" type tumbler. I've used several "hand" cleaning regimes. But, as you said, most were work.

I saw a suggestion once on another forum for "the world's cheapest tumbler" and tried it. It works "plenty good" for general cleaning and involves virtually no real work:

Take a plastic tub (the new style coffee jugs like Folger's uses are perfect) and put 100 or so pistol cases (or fewer rifle cases) in it, cover 'em w/ water (warm seems to work faster but cold is fine) and give 'em a good squirt of dishwashing detergent (I know Dawn and Ivory work well.)

Put the lid on so you don't slosh all over (it's NOT completely watertight) and swirl everything around for a few minutes. You can shake 'em back and forth like a paint mixer if you wish, too. Dump the cases out into some kind of strainer, rinse w/ running water, and put 'em on a pizza/baking pan. Make sure they're all knocked over sideways so water can run out. Stick 'em in the oven at 200+ degrees for a few minutes until they're dry. Wash and dry any articles you "borrowed" from Mama's kitchenware when you're finished.

They'll be plenty "clean" though not necessarily "shiny."

Reload. Shoot. Repeat.

Rick C
 

bearing01

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
71
Location
San Diego
Hmmm....

Rick, good idea. Makes me think, all I need is a good seal able sack (say - pillow case with a zipper or draw string or closed off using a zip-tie) and throw the cases in there with some walnut shell (from my sand blaster). Throw it in the dryer with a few towels and no heat. Let her spin for an hour - see what I get.

Maybe I'll give the home made water tumbler a try also.
 

eric conrad

Buckeye
Joined
Sep 8, 2003
Messages
1,471
Location
So. Ca.
Midway has some good tumblers at good prices.
Way better and CHEAPER than a pi#@ed off wife and new dryer :wink:
I like the corn cob media and Dillon polish.
Eric
 

Driftwood Johnson

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Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
699
Location
Land of the Pilgrims
Question:
1. How often do you clean your brass? Before reloading every time? I assume that the cleaner the brass the less damage the press will do and therefore the longer the brass will live.

2. How often to do you clean the brass on the inside? I used a barrel cleaner to wipe out the inside of the brass. I imagine you will get quite a bit of buildup in there over time. I also assume a tumbler will not clean the insides.

Howdy

Yes, I clean my brass every time I reload it. The real idea behind cleaning brass is to remove any grit than it may have picked up. This is particularly true with rifle or semi-auto brass that has been ejected and has hit the ground. Grit is fine silica particles that are often present in the soil. Grit is harder than brass and harder than most steel. If you run brass with grit on it through a die, the grit will imbed itself in the brass. Then the grit scratches the inside of the die. Once a die is scratched it tends to scratch all the brass that runs through it. That is the real purpose behind cleaning brass, to remove grit. No, shiny brass is not necessary. Shiny brass looks pretty, and is easier to find in the grass, but it does not shoot any better than dull or stained brass. The important thing is removing any foreign material like grit that may damage your dies.

No, I never clean the inside of my brass. Never. It is not necessary. Most tumblers will clean up the inside of the brass a little bit, leaving behind a bit of powdery buildup. This does not hurt anything. I have brass that I have loaded zillions of times, I never worry about the insides. It does not matter.

I also shoot a great deal of 45 Colt and 44-40 loaded with Black Powder. With my BP loads I throw them in a jug of water with a little bit of dishsoap in it. This keeps the fouling soft until I have a chance to attend to it further. It also keeps the BP fouling in suspension in the water. No, it does not neutralize anything, it dilutes the residue. I then rinse the brass several times until the rinse water runs clean. This rinsing action also removes any grit the brass may have picked up. If I had a mind to, I could just reload the brass after rinsing, but I always throw it in my tumbler to shine it up a bit. By the way, after my BP brass has sat in the jug for a while, it gets stained. Even after tumbling it never comes really shiny again. As I said before, shiny does not really make it shoot any better, it is just pretty to look at.
 

bearing01

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
71
Location
San Diego
So, I took a couple empty plastic water bottles (500mL) and threw in some 9mm brass and some walnut shell sandblaster media. Wrapped each bottle with a towel & bungee chord. Threw them, and a blanket, in the dryer without any heat. Tumbled it for 50 minutes.

Before
IMG_4593.jpg


After
IMG_4601.jpg


The noise wasn't too bad. At times sounded like a pair of sneakers in there. Towards the end my wife was starting to get annoyed. This method certainly will get you out of a pinch. But if you're going to be cleaning cases every week I think the tumbler is the way to go.

Also looks like the tumbling does a pretty good job cleaning out the insides of the case too.
 
Joined
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Messages
11,396
Location
Kentucky
I use an ancient Thumler tumbler, and tumble my cases in crushed walnut hulls every time they are used. This works to my satisfaction.

I de-prime before tumbling, and the primer pockets seem to be OK afterwards, if not exactly shiny.

When the cases are re-sized, the decapping pin in that die removes any walnut bits that might be stuck in the flash holes.

YMMV
:)
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
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Mar 22, 2004
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Location
51st state of Jefferson
I like to concentrate my cleaning efforts to the primer pockets along with uniforming flash holes. Yeah, I'm "picky" I know. The outside gets wiped DRY and clean of any residue while inspecting but "shiney" don't matter too much to me unless maybe for "show off" belt loops. Accuracy doesn't care if they gleam! :lol: That said, when I eventually buy a tumbler I'll use it. At present, I'll spend my dinero on powder and primers when I run across them!.....Dennis
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,369
Location
Butte, MT
First, I never clean the inside of my brass. I used to 'diligently' clean the primer pockets. No longer do that either.

If my shells hit the ground, they will get tumbled.... but since I shoot almost 100% Single Actions, this doesn't happen. Therefore I rarely tumble anymore. If I have brass that has sat for a long period of time, I'll tumble it before reloading it if it looks like it needs it.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
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51st state of Jefferson
90% of my shooting is from a benchrest searching for those elusive one hole groups. I consider uniform flash holes and hand primer seating to be little effort in that quest. Uniform trim lengths (crimps) are also on my agenda. I agree it's overkill for CAS type shooting, but I enjoy the time spent "fiddling" at the reloading bench. Beats TV....JMO, Dennis
 

Rclark

Hunter
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Location
Butte, MT
Just want the cases clean of any powder/primer/lead/lube residue.
It's a 'personal' thang :) . Nothing wrong with that! I found just a simple wipe with paper towel before resizing does the job for me. I don't think it matters either way though :) .
 

Sonnytoo

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
631
Location
florida
Well, I'm the worst of all these guys. I never have cleaned my cases. I visually look into the case with a bright light, tap the case upside down, and deprime and I do clean the primer pockets with the steel cleaning brush in an electric drill; the drill is held in my bench vise. Can clean a primer pocket every 6 seconds of so. Been doing it for a long time, maybe 50 yrs, with no bad effects that I'm aware of. I've reloaded Starline .45 Colt cases at least 10 times. I think cleaning cases is a fine idea; I've just never done it. Once I full-size resize my case, it looks pretty shiny to me.
Sonnytoo
 

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