Lee PrecisionRotoMetals2Wisconsin TriggerTitan Reloading
Inline FabricationStainLess Steel MediaGraf & SonsMidSouth Shooters Supply

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30

Thread: Cleaning Brass with fine steel wool?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Mid-Missouri
    Posts
    548

    Cleaning Brass with fine steel wool?

    I have some old 30-06 brass that is really stained black and doesn't seem to clean up very well with the walnut stuff in my vibratory case cleaner. I tried spinning one in my hands with some fine steel wool and it seemed to clean up pretty shiny with not much effort. Since others have gone to using steel pins to clean brass, I wondered why steel wool is not used? Does it cause fine scratches that result in case failure? Or embed pieces of steel in the case wall that caused problems?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Omega's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Clarksville, TN
    Posts
    1,074
    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    I have some old 30-06 brass that is really stained black and doesn't seem to clean up very well with the walnut stuff in my vibratory case cleaner. I tried spinning one in my hands with some fine steel wool and it seemed to clean up pretty shiny with not much effort. Since others have gone to using steel pins to clean brass, I wondered why steel wool is not used? Does it cause fine scratches that result in case failure? Or embed pieces of steel in the case wall that caused problems?
    Because it would take forever to do a batch.
    "Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
    ~Pericles~

  3. #3
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Mid-Missouri
    Posts
    548
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega View Post
    Because it would take forever to do a batch.
    So, it would be ok along with my Ideal 310 reloading tool? It has the same problem?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Omega's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Clarksville, TN
    Posts
    1,074
    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    So, it would be ok along with my Ideal 310 reloading tool? It has the same problem?
    Yes, for awhile all I did was clean out the primer pockets of my brass unless it happened to land in the mud. If the brass is free of debris, carbon buildup and such they don't need to be cleaned, they just look better and then easier to inspect.
    "Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
    ~Pericles~

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    6,488
    Years ago it was accepted practice to clean with steel wool or a polishing cloth. A jersey Alot used the lee case trimmers base and appropriate case ring in a drill motor to spin the case then a pass back and forth to clean with either of the above. A jersey glove with the fore finger and thumb impregnated with flitz or simichrome works well like this also. Using the glove saves picking up the polish rag every time. I would go with the very finest steel wool and a light oil for this.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    JWFilips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Northeastern part of Penn's Woods near Slocum Hollow.
    Posts
    2,056
    Just A question: Have you tried washing them it in hot water with Citric acid, then after drying put them in to your walnut hull vibrator

    It is what I do & It sure saves your hands
    " Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation: for it is better to be alone than in bad company. " George Washington

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    144
    #4 or (0000) bronze wool. Lasts longer and doesn't rust. And maybe a little soap and water to help lubricate.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Michigan Lansing Area
    Posts
    4,723
    Quote Originally Posted by JWFilips View Post
    Just A question: Have you tried washing them it in hot water with Citric acid, then after drying put them in to your walnut hull vibrator

    It is what I do & It sure saves your hands
    This is what I would try. The citric acid wash and rinse with clean water will reduce the tarnish a great deal and help keep the brass from tarnishing in the future.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    England,Ar
    Posts
    1,969
    Steel wool will work fine and will not harm your brass. Its just slow. I use 4/0 when I do this and the shell holder from a Lee trim tool, like someone else already posted.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    mdi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So. Orygun
    Posts
    4,632
    I reloaded 12 years before I got a tumbler, just wiped each case with a solvent dampened rag as I inspected it. If I wanted BBQ brass, I'd push the case onto a hardwood mandrel (hardwood rod tapered a bit to accept the case mouth) chucked into my drill and polished with steel wool. I also used a bit of paste wax or non- ammonia metal polish to keep the nekkid brass from tarnishing. Worked for me (but I have never been in a hurry with any reloading step)...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Michigan Lansing Area
    Posts
    4,723
    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    ..... Worked for me (but I have never been in a hurry with any reloading step)...
    This post made me think about today we can order stuff and have it the next day, remember allow 4-6 weeks for delivery? We can shop at a large number of stores all in an evening from our couch. And many of the items we buy are of superior quality or perform their tasks in innovative ways. Yet the real joy comes from the time taken to enjoy our hobby, not from the ability to produce ammo faster, unless you're talking about trimming brass, then faster is better. We consider waiting for a week to get something a huge inconvenience as opposed to enjoying the anticipation of something good that will soon be ours.

    Side trail finished - back to the topic - sorry for the diversion.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Pressman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    In the Heartland, Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    1,258
    For all the 310 users and others who dream of the golden age of reloading. These spinners are the way to clean cases. Steel or bronze wool, or a rag and Brasso. Hold the case on the spinner and polish away. Of course listening to the 1/4 inch electric drill whine and grind for an hour would make you tone deaf, but we didn't worry about such things back then. Sure it was slow, but it got brass clean and there was not to many other options. Tumblers were limited to rock hounds and the vibratory models were still 25 years away.

    Ken
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_6525.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	33.8 KB 
ID:	190274  
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
    Newsletter editor: Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    Archive manager, Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    email: pressman@antiquereloadingtools.com
    www.antiquereloadingtools.com

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



    TexasGrunt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Kaufman, Texas!
    Posts
    543
    Quote Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
    This post made me think about today we can order stuff and have it the next day, remember allow 4-6 weeks for delivery?
    Back when I was just out of the Marines I didn't have a credit card nor were debit cards around. I used to get money orders and use those for orders from Cabela's, Bass Pro and the like. It always took at least a couple of weeks to get something. 3-4 weeks wasn't uncommon either.

    People are spoiled now, but then again Amazon was really quick to deliver the wrong Lyman M die....four times.
    Semper Fi!


    Currently casting for .223, .308, .30-06, .30-40 Krag, 9mm, .38/.357, 10mm, 44 Mag and 45 ACP.

    I like strange looking boolits!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



    TexasGrunt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Kaufman, Texas!
    Posts
    543
    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    For all the 310 users and others who dream of the golden age of reloading. These spinners are the way to clean cases. Steel or bronze wool, or a rag and Brasso. Hold the case on the spinner and polish away. Of course listening to the 1/4 inch electric drill whine and grind for an hour would make you tone deaf, but we didn't worry about such things back then. Sure it was slow, but it got brass clean and there was not to many other options. Tumblers were limited to rock hounds and the vibratory models were still 25 years away.

    Ken
    Brasso contains ammonia which will make the brass brittle.
    Semper Fi!


    Currently casting for .223, .308, .30-06, .30-40 Krag, 9mm, .38/.357, 10mm, 44 Mag and 45 ACP.

    I like strange looking boolits!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Mid-Missouri
    Posts
    548
    Well, I spent the day hand turning 50, 30-06 brass while holding a handful of 0000 steel wool against them. After they had spent several hours in the walnut media in a vibrator type case cleaner (Lyman 1200). I got most of the black stuff cleaned off of them. All except around the case mouth where I had annealed them all with a manual, home-made dual propane torch case annealer. Which seemed to work pretty well. Except for the towel I initially dumped them on that turned out to be something besides good old cotton. Because it melted. I had to spend a looong time turning that one. I plan to try some of the other suggestions made. Thanks for your help.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    England,Ar
    Posts
    1,969
    If you don't have a shell holder like the Lee trimmer uses you could lightly chuck the case up in a drill to spin it and then turn it around and polish the other end. Light is the key word here or the chuck will squeeze the case mouth. You can get the Lee case gauge, shell holder and stud for 10-12 dollars.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Bullwolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    California/Nevada border
    Posts
    1,086
    The Lee Quick Trim stuff (re-post)

    The Lee Universal Three Jaw Chuck for around $12-13 bucks, along with an electric or battery operated drill.



    If you do it this way, you'll also need a Lee 3 Jaw spinner stud, ($3-5 bucks) so you can spin the Lee 3 jaw chuck using your drill.



    They really should be packaged together. It would be less confusing, and more convenient to have both on hand.

    This is an easy solution for old arthritic hands, or folks with wrist problems when it comes to automating much of your case preparation. Links below from the usual suspects.

    3 Jaw Chuck at Titan Reloading.
    http://www.titanreloading.com/lee-un...l-3-jaw-chuck-

    3 Jaw Chuck at Midway.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/352...ck-case-holder

    Lee Spinner Spindle (with drill shank) for use with 3 Jaw Chuck.
    Titan Reloading.
    http://www.titanreloading.com/lee-3-...=Lee%20spinner

    Lee Spinner Spindle (with drill shank) for use with 3 Jaw Chuck.
    Midway.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/174...th-3-jaw-chuck



    A few additional pics





    The two parts together will hold the cases for you, and allow you to easily chuck brass in and out of the drill by hand, without the use of any additional tools. Think of it as a mini lathe, just for your brass prep.



    A simple way to automate a large portion of your case prep operation.

    Nice write up here, where I borrowed the above images from
    http://jeffersonian.therealgunguys.c.../reload-r.html


    Or if you are more into watching videos to learn...
    Here's a You tube link, with a Lee 3 Jaw Chuck in action.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1dH5-tYKFk

    I use this same setup myself at times, instead of my manual RCBS case trimmer when I have larger amounts of cases to process.

    Depending on how nasty your brass is, using either some 0000 steel wool, Flitz metal polish, or whatever you prefer, you're able to clean up a bunch of grungy cases surprisingly fast.

    It'll quickly power through a pile of badly tarnished cases. Which is nice IF you don't want to, or are unable to put them in a tumbler.



    - Bullwolf

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    6,488
    My set up is the opposite of yours bullwolf, I made a case holder from the collet and back mount of a rcbs trimmer the case is in the holder on the table of my drill press and the tool is in the chuck. This way the spindle can stay running whike the case is changed. Saves waiting for the spindle to stop. The Lee holder in a block of aluminum brass or steel would allow the same. I made a simple rod with hole drilled for the inside and out side chamfers from a Lyman tool to thread into. When chamfering I don't use the collet but just hold them by hand.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Bullwolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    California/Nevada border
    Posts
    1,086
    Interesting approach Country Gent. Looks like a great idea.

    I just picked up the Lee stuff for easy use with a drill, and used the pic of the automated case prep station as an example.

    A few years ago, when component shortages were more common... I had a few pieces of 50 Action Express brass I had fired at lower pressures, using starting charges of AA#9. Doing so left stubborn hard to remove carbon stains on the case mouths that I could not easily clean, or tumble away.

    At the time, Starline and Midway were both completely out of stock on 50AE brass, so I ended up re-using 20 expensive ($55) brand new pulled factory self defense cases over and over again. I had none of the Lee quick trim stuff pictured above as of yet. So I trimmed a rubber bob down into a cone shape, and chucked it into an electric hand drill to spin my 50AE cases from the front. A piece of 0000 Steel Wool quickly removed the stubborn carbon right off the case mouths while they were spinning. I couldn't remove the carbon from the cases with a vibratory corn cob tumble, citric acid bath, or easily polish it away by hand.

    I thought afterwards, there was probably an easier way to do this. Yet it was still a few years before I actually purchased the cheap Lee Quick trim stuff to chuck cases into the drill. Mostly because I had never seen the Lee 3 Jaw collet stuff before. Somebody on Cast Boolits posted them here before, and they seemed like a great idea to me at the time.

    While I haven't used my drill press for case prep yet, I could use it just as easily along with those inexpensive Lee Ziptrim items.

    I also have an older manual (Hand-Cranked) RCBS Rotary Case Trimmer 2



    It is my only case trimmer.

    I've considered a motor, or another case trimmer that will readily accept an electric drill chuck to spin the trimmer, a time or two.

    Since I only trim/load small batches of rifle cases, so far the somewhat slow hand trimming hasn't been a problem for me. (With the exception of 30 Carbine)

    If my RCBS case trimmer was more easily adapted an electric motor, or if I had another spare parts trimmer laying around, I'd probably have gone in a completely different direction.






    - Bullwolf

  20. #20
    I think the real reason steel wool isn't more popular is that it is cheap, and too transparently the same as kitchen store or woodworker's steel wool to market in little green or orange packages. Tumblers, on the other hand, aren't cheap even in lapidary shops, and few shooters happen to wander in there

    There is no reason to clean brass but the look of the thing, and chemical cleaning (e.g. citric acid)would do just as well. But it wouldn't do any better. A cordless screwdriver will turn fast enough and more quietly than a drill, and that makes it into television-watching work. I've also bypassed the machine age altogether by attaching the device to a piece of broom handle which you can roll on your thighs in silence.

    The Lee spinner looks good, but I made a holding device in which a long screw, hand-tightenable at the case-mouth, passes through the flash-hole and holds it up against a sheet rubber pad. That allows you to clean as far as the rim. Or a friction mandrel fitting the neck would enable you to do the base too.

    The main arguments for bronze wool are that it doesn't remove bluing on steel, and it doesn't leave fragments to rust in light coloured wood. Neither applies on brass, and although it lasts longer than steel, that is more than offset by the price. The dangers of ammonia have been much debated in previous threads, but I think they are non-existent when it is removed and the brass is dried. IAmmonia is a gas.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 03-12-2017 at 08:18 AM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check