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Thread: Cleaning cases

  1. #21
    Boolit Man
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    Been there with vibratory and dry media, wet rotary with pins and ceramics. Nothing works as well, as fast, or as quiet for me as a 30 min ultra-sonic bath. I do use the vibratory for drying off after a u/s wash, 10 min and done. Brass shines inside and out.

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy Rapidrob's Avatar
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    I have a three gallon heated ultra sound cleaner but found it did not remove the debris in the primer pockets as well as the SS MEDIA.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenjoytj View Post
    Does the 3mm ceramic balls get permanently stained black after cleaning cases that were fired with black powder?

    I clean my cases with the stainless steel pins and Cascade dishwasher machine powdered detergent. It works fine.
    Lately I have reduced my cleaning time by not striving to get the stains off the inside of the cases just remove all loose fouling.
    I found a little carbon staining inside the neck reduces the amount of brass that gets bonded to the neck expanding plug.
    No I haven't seen any discoloration with any of the ceramic media. Slant cut tube or round. I been using it for many years.
    There is a difference between the 3mm and 4mm ball. The 3mm when I pul it out of the tumbler gives the brass a polished look and the 4mm gives the brass a brushed brass look.
    I cut down the tumbling time to 1/2 hr using the 3mm but the 4mm takes a little more time.
    I used the angle cut 3/8 long and added SST pins to get the primer pockets clean and this worked fine but the 3mm ball for me is the way to go because spending less time in the tumbler and the cases come out bright inside and out.
    I might get some 2mm to see if it works in the primer pockets but it's very close to the flash hole in diameter so some might stick in the hole as the media wears down from use.

    Using a set of screens like these with a small mesh of 50 or 100 mesh that fits on top of a 5 gallon bucket https://prospectinggear.com/collections/classifiers saves you from loosing it. I use two, a 3/8" on top of a 50 or 100 mesh this makes separating the brass from the media. The media will fall through the 3/8 and collect on the fine screen. It makes it better separating the cases.
    The muddy water I leave in the bucket and when that bucket gets 3/4 full of the muddy cleaning solution, I use a tab of Cascade dishwasher and a little lemishine. This he muddy wader from cleaning will settle in two days and it will be a clear blue liquid and I just dip a coffee can in the clear and put it in the tumbler to clean again. Once or twice a year I will pour off the clear settled and wash out the mud in the bottom of the bucket. There might be an inch of mud in the bottom of the bucket, but I shoot a lot of rounds.

  4. #24
    Boolit Man
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    I had case mouth peening with s/s pins, I don't like that kinda brass cleaning. If I deprime a just fired case before going into the water/soap jug, then the U/S cleans the pocket quite well. But I don't deprime at the range, no time for that, so I can live with having to manually lightly primer pocket clean.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Frank,

    I think a lot of the peening comes from what I see some do shaking the brass in a jug with water.
    I use a Tumblers tumbler and a Frankford Arsenal. The Arsenal is a larger drum and it's hard and spins faster than the tumblers and I don't see a peening issue using ceramics, but I use more that might be cushning the brass keeping the brass from peening.

  6. #26
    Boolit Man
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    Yep, I heard about that happening with some folks, LP. I'm pretty set with my U/S brass cleaning process/routine, it all works well and purty easy. The cleaning followup is always an annealing, then I'm ready to load up again.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidrob View Post
    I have a three gallon heated ultra sound cleaner but found it did not remove the debris in the primer pockets as well as the SS MEDIA.
    huh !....... spotless clean primer pockets was about the first thing I saw with the ultrasonic cleaner
    - mine is only a small one (I shoot often but not a lot so small suits)

  8. #28
    Boolit Man
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    The brass cleaner used with a U/S matters, at least for me - haven't found any commercial or DIY cleaner better than the Hornady. Deprimed and presoaked brass comes out shining inside and out, primer pockets too.

  9. #29
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    Agreed.. if I have the time.. the US cleaner has always made the best looking brass for me.. it's just very time consuming.

  10. #30
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    Agreed.. if I have the time.. the US cleaner has always made the best looking brass for me.. it's just very time consuming.
    I don't find the U/S cleaning time consuming, in fact it's less time than a rotary or vibratory, and it's quieter, too.

    Back from the range it starts with washing the just fired brass that was dropped in the water/soap jug - about 10 minutes to wash off and deprime 50-75 brass, 30 minutes in the U/S, 2 minutes to wash off, 2 minutes to towel off, 10 minutes in an open top vibratory to dry, done and ready to anneal.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by smkummer View Post
    So I shot a sample batch of 45 colt and 44-40 blackpowder cartridges for vintage blackpowder colt single actions. I immediately put them in a container of water. 45 minutes later when I got home, they soaked in a solution of dish soap/water. After rinsing, they soaked in a solution of vinegar/ dish soap. They are clean but have a copper colored tinge to them. Maybe thatís as good as they can get OR now would tumbling them with corn Cobb media return them to shine brass? Thanks for your experience.
    Hot water and Dawn detergent. Soak for no more than about 30 minutes. Rinse with water, allow to dry and then tumble in walnut shell media. Good enough.

  12. #32
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have done this for a long time After each string I deprime and drop in a jug of water with dawn and lemi shine. When I get home and everything is put away. the brass jug is poured out and rinsed several times with hot tap water. As I put them in the drying rack each gets a swirl with a nylon brush. Usually the first 2 rinses are dirty the 3rd is a light gray. the brush loosens any deposits left. When dry its in the vibratory and corn cobs treated with iosso brass cleaner for 1/2 hour to 45 mins.

  13. #33
    Boolit Man
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    Lotta good ways to skin the brass cats.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankJD View Post
    The brass cleaner used with a U/S matters, at least for me - haven't found any commercial or DIY cleaner better than the Hornady. Deprimed and presoaked brass comes out shining inside and out, primer pockets too.
    I tried the hornady cleaner - great stuff - I reckon citric acid + a drop of dish soap is at least equal on the innards but I get a dull clean on the outside not shiny with it.
    still trying to figure the time consuming part of US but then I only do small batches of brass
    never had a tumbler cleaner and the U S sure beats the heck out of doin it by hand !

  15. #35
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    I tried the hornady cleaner - great stuff - I reckon citric acid + a drop of dish soap is at least equal on the innards but I get a dull clean on the outside not shiny with it.
    still trying to figure the time consuming part of US but then I only do small batches of brass
    never had a tumbler cleaner and the U S sure beats the heck out of doin it by hand !
    Same for me, so I pony up the big dollars for the Hornady cleaner.

  16. #36
    Boolit Man Etienne Brule's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragnar View Post
    Kurt, where do you get the 3mm ceramic balls? The inside of my cases never come out bright and shiny no matter what Iíve tried.
    Mike
    Hi

    I use this kind of ceramic: I find that they are better than the round ones, to clean primer pockets...

    https://www.amazon.ca/Tonmp-Pounds-T...704099917&th=1

  17. #37
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankJD View Post
    I don't find the U/S cleaning time consuming, in fact it's less time than a rotary or vibratory, and it's quieter, too.

    Back from the range it starts with washing the just fired brass that was dropped in the water/soap jug - about 10 minutes to wash off and deprime 50-75 brass, 30 minutes in the U/S, 2 minutes to wash off, 2 minutes to towel off, 10 minutes in an open top vibratory to dry, done and ready to anneal.
    Depending on what I'm shooting if it's rifle I like brand-new looking brass with no stains so I will generally ultrasonic clean it for an hour then dry it so that's where my time way comes from that's why I prefer just vibratory tumbler ring it for a little bit to get soot off

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by smkummer View Post
    So I shot blackpowder cartridges.
    They soaked in a solution of dish soap/water. After rinsing, they soaked in a solution of vinegar/ dish soap. They are clean but have a copper colored tinge to them.
    Either your case soaked too long in the vinegar acid or you used too much acid (too concentrated)

    The acid leaches out the zinc from the surface of the brass alloy leaving copper as the prominent metal on the case surface which shows as pinkish copper colour. Too much citric acid will do the same.

    I know some BP shooters are super anal about getting their fired case submerged in water/detergent ASAP.
    Thatís not necessary, my 45 Colt cases are thoroughly slimed inside and out from bullet lube vapour.
    The dry cases stink less of sulphur, once the water hits them that really brings out the sulphur stink.
    I want my case dry because I de-cap and clean the primer pockets to remove a lot of the worst fouling so the case wonít be tumbling in more fouling (concentrate) than necessary.
    I try to reduce the time my cases spend tumbling to reduce case mouth peening.
    I can feel and see the peening with a hand magnifying glass (or my cell phone camera) my non aggressive LEE deburring tool works great to remove the peening high spots.
    I use an RCBS tumbler, SS pins, one litre of water, one heaped tbs of Cascade dishwasher machine detergent. Tumble for 1 hour then check the state of cleanliness, rinse.
    If I want more shine Iíll tumble another Ĺ hour with 15 ml of Hornady One Shot ultra sonic cleaning solution.
    I used to power brush the inside but the small pistol cases it wasnít worth the added time & effort.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master


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    I don’t tumble after washing. After a quick rinse in citric acid I put them to dry and then reload. I’ve heard that citric acid gives them a protective etching against corrosion, as well as shining them up a bit.

  20. #40
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    While it has been a few years since I shot B/P cartridge rifles (muzzle loaders only now) I refered to the notes I took when I first started aand was told by the late Doug Knoell how he did his case prep and since he was VERY highly reguarded as a B/P shooter and champion I thought "why mess with success"!
    Here is his procedure:
    - Fire form the new cases, looking for any blow back
    - Use your blow tube, at least 3 good breaths then punch out the primer
    - Immediately drop the case in a container of pure water with a dash of Dawn shake the container frequently
    - Immediately at home dump the container into a collander and flush well
    - Put cases in a tumbler with pure water, very small ceramic balls and a dash of Dawn
    - Testing will determine how long you have to run the tumbler, I used 4 hours minimum. I use a double Harbor Freight one.
    - Dump the whole thing in a collander and flush with pure water then blow dry while using rubber gloves, don't touch the cases
    - Make sure primer pocket is clean, measure case length and adjust as necessary, expand case mouth very slightly so bullet is a slip fit.
    - Seat the new primers all exactly the same
    - Load the powder using a drop tube, insert the milk carton wad, insert the news paper wad then compress the powder with your compression die, NEVER compress the powder with the bullet!!
    - Insert the bullet, Doug said he never did a crimp so I never did either. I usually had to use a "bullet seater" since the slightly belled case mouth will rub on the chamber sides. This prevents blow back.

    That is from the notes I took when Doug was working on my original Rolling Block and explaining how to shoot this new, to me, stuff.
    John

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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