Reloading: Tumblers or Ultrasonic for case cleaning???

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Thread: Reloading: Tumblers or Ultrasonic for case cleaning???

  1. #1
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    Reloading: Tumblers or Ultrasonic for case cleaning???

    Years ago, I use to reload for my 308 for hunting. Given the cost of ammo, I am going to start reloading again.

    I need to add a case cleaner to my set up. Any comments, pro or con, about tumblers vs. ultrasonic case cleaners?

    Any brand or models to say away from?

    Thanks

    Dale


  2. #2
    Senior Member WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN BADGES hyperdog's Avatar
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    I never liked the idea of using chemicals to clean my brass. I personally think it wears more on the brass than tumbling.

    Not sure how long the chemicals last in an ultrasonic but since I added new corn cob it has lasted about 2000 rounds and still works great.

    Just my .02
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    Vibratory case cleaning as well as a Thumblers Tumbler here.

    I deal with enough chemical compounds in my system.

    (meds)

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  4. #4
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    I use stainless steel pins in a dual drum rotary rock tumbler from Harbor Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/dual-dr...ler-67632.html

    One pound of pins, one cup of water, around two hundred pieces of pistol brass, a squirt of Dawn, and a small amount of lemi-shine. You should be able to do around 100 .308 cases at a time. Takes about 3 hours but is worth the wait. Rinse in clean water and let dry for 24 hours. Cleans the brass to near perfection (like new) including the primer pockets if you deprime first. It is a wet tumble process that is clean with no dust. Think of the health benefits. No more lead infested dust flying around for you to breath in. I'll get a lot of BS for this with people saying they use old dryer sheets to collect the dust, or tumble their brass outside or in the garage (not a smart move if the garage is attached to the house). In Florida, due to the humidity and heat, I do all my reloading in a bedroom turned office in my house. Garage is too hot and humid. Outside is unbearable due to the heat. Any lead dust in the garage or outside will eventually be tracked in to the house one way or another. I know of too many people that have reloaded for years and are now suffering from the effects of lead poisoning due to years of exposure to lead dust that they were not careful enough to avoid in the cleaning process or loading process (holding a lead bullet in their lips/teeth while reloadings, etc...)

    Seperating the brass from the pins is the harders part. I use an old cotton T-shirt placed in a metal spaghetti colander to catch the pins. I rinse the brass while in the colander (good time to seperate head stamps if you are OCD) and place the brass on a towel and let air dry for 24 hours. Some people use an oven (could damage the brass if not careful) or other type of heating device to assist the drying. I have so much brass that by the time I loaded all my .40 cal brass, it would be a week later so it is not an issue with me. You can also use a seive to seperate the pins from the brass but good quality sieves are expensinve. See here: http://www.lmine.com/mm5/merchant.mv...ry_Code=sieves You would need two stackable. One to seperate the brass from the pins, and one to catch the pins and let the water through. Or you could use one to catch the pins and brass and then rinse the brass under running water to remove the pins from the inside of the brass.

    You can take range brass that has been exposed to the element for years and make it look like new. I use it on all my brass except for 5.7x28 due to the coating on the brass. I have done thousands and thousands of cases this way.

    See here: http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/

    You can get SS pins elsewhere for half the price. See here: http://www.pelletsllc.com/Contact Call them and speak with the nice lady. She has been doing this for years and knows what you will need. She will send you the SS pins for the above price.

    Harbor Freight dual rotary rock tumbler: $46.00 on sale with 20% off coupon. Stainless Steel pins: $25.00 plus $5.00 S&H (you will never have to replace them as they do not wear out). Dawn and Lemi-Shine at the local Wally World, around $5.00.

    Some people have indicated that there may be a problem with the 'peening' of the pins on the brass, making it brittle. This is a concern but only after the brass has been cleaned this way for more than 25 times which is more than the life of reloaded brass. Do not let this discourage the use of SS pins. The brass is 'damaged' more from consectutive firings than the pins can ever do.

    I also have a vibratory tumbler that maily sits around now that I use stainless steel.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN BADGES hyperdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK SD9 Tactical
    I use stainless steel pins in a dual drum rotary rock tumbler from Harbor Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/dual-dr...ler-67632.html

    One pound of pins, one cup of water, around two hundred pieces of pistol brass, a squirt of Dawn, and a small amount of lemi-shine. You should be able to do around 100 .308 cases at a time. Takes about 3 hours but is worth the wait. Rinse in clean water and let dry for 24 hours. Cleans the brass to near perfection (like new) including the primer pockets if you deprime first. It is a wet tumble process that is clean with no dust. Think of the health benefits. No more lead infested dust flying around for you to breath in. I'll get a lot of BS for this with people saying they use old dryer sheets to collect the dust, or tumble their brass outside or in the garage (not a smart move if the garage is attached to the house). In Florida, due to the humidity and heat, I do all my reloading in a bedroom turned office in my house. Garage is too hot and humid. Outside is unbearable due to the heat. Any lead dust in the garage or outside will eventually be tracked in to the house one way or another. I know of too many people that have reloaded for years and are now suffering from the effects of lead poisoning due to years of exposure to lead dust that they were not careful enough to avoid in the cleaning process or loading process (holding a lead bullet in their lips/teeth while reloadings, etc...)

    Seperating the brass from the pins is the harders part. I use an old cotton T-shirt placed in a metal spaghetti colander to catch the pins. I rinse the brass while in the colander (good time to seperate head stamps if you are OCD) and place the brass on a towel and let air dry for 24 hours. Some people use an oven (could damage the brass if not careful) or other type of heating device to assist the drying. I have so much brass that by the time I loaded all my .40 cal brass, it would be a week later so it is not an issue with me. You can also use a seive to seperate the pins from the brass but good quality sieves are expensinve. See here: http://www.lmine.com/mm5/merchant.mv...ry_Code=sieves You would need two stackable. One to seperate the brass from the pins, and one to catch the pins and let the water through. Or you could use one to catch the pins and brass and then rinse the brass under running water to remove the pins from the inside of the brass.

    You can take range brass that has been exposed to the element for years and make it look like new. I use it on all my brass except for 5.7x28 due to the coating on the brass. I have done thousands and thousands of cases this way.

    See here: http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/

    You can get SS pins elsewhere for half the price. See here: http://www.pelletsllc.com/Contact Call them and speak with the nice lady. She has been doing this for years and knows what you will need. She will send you the SS pins for the above price.

    Harbor Freight dual rotary rock tumbler: $46.00 on sale with 20% off coupon. Stainless Steel pins: $25.00 plus $5.00 S&H (you will never have to replace them as they do not wear out). Dawn and Lemi-Shine at the local Wally World, around $5.00.

    Some people have indicated that there may be a problem with the 'peening' of the pins on the brass, making it brittle. This is a concern but only after the brass has been cleaned this way for more than 25 times which is more than the life of reloaded brass. Do not let this discourage the use of SS pins. The brass is 'damaged' more from consectutive firings than the pins can ever do.

    I also have a vibratory tumbler that maily sits around now that I use stainless steel.
    I dont care what you say, stainless steel is much harder than brass...much more abrasive than walnut or cob. More wear on the case the less reloads you get out of your brass. Yes most of the wear comes from using the case over and over but why add more wear to it with chemicals and a harder media?

    As far as lead in the air? Don't buy a tumbler with holes in the top. Make sure the lid seals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyperdog
    I dont care what you say, stainless steel is much harder than brass...much more abrasive than walnut or cob.
    Stainless steel is harder than brass. It is 'probably' more abrasive than corn cob or walnut media. The wear on the cases is minimal. A Brinell Hardness Testing of brass that has been cleaned with SS pins after 15 cleanings indicates "substantially no hardening" of the brass using this method using the formulae BH=(2P/PiD(D - SqrRt(D^2 - d^2))). It is surmised that the H2O media lessens the impact of the pins on the brass resuling in the findings.

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperdog
    More wear on the case the less reloads you get out of your brass. Yes most of the wear comes from using the case over and over but why add more wear to it with chemicals and a harder media?
    I agree that more wear on the case equates to less reloadable cases. As I mentioned in the earlier post, the wear is minimal and there is more damage done to the brass from repeated firings and repeated resizing than from the "peening" of the brass from the SS pins. This is a non factor in the life of the brass unless you always use fire formed brass. I rarely load brass more than 2 to 15 times depending on the load and brass itself and the caliber of the firearm utilized.

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperdog
    As far as lead in the air? Don't buy a tumbler with holes in the top. Make sure the lid seals.
    And what about media seperation? Is your brass magically seperated from the media with no dust? What form of media seperation do you utilize? Do you take out each cleaned case from the media by hand resulting in lead dust on your hands? Do you use a media seperator that puts lots of dust into the air resulting in the inhalation of the dust and toxic compounds?

    I am probably not the sharpest pencil in the drawer but if you use a dry media, you WILL be exposed to some type of toxic material during the cleaning separation process, just like you are when you pick up fired brass, handle fired brass, deprime fired brass, each and every time you touch the fired brass until it is thoroughly cleaned and seperated from the cleaning media. What do you think that dark stuff is on your hands when you handle dirty brass?

    Exposure to lead compounds is cumulative as the body does not filter lead out of the system. Minimizing exposure to lead is the only way to reduce your potential poisoning.

    No method is perfect but I would rather throw away brass after 15 loadings instead of 25 loadings to minimize my exposure as much as possible. Let's see, 100 new .308 cases = $100.00 divided by 2500 (25 firings X 100 cases = 2500) = .04 cents each case. $100.00 divided by 1500 (15 firings X 100 cases = 1500) = .0667 cents each case or a total difference of $2.67 for the "lost" 10 firings (assuming a worst case scenario).

    Either way, ultrasonic, dry media, SS pins - you will be exposed to toxic substances. It is inevitable. The idea is to minimize your exposure to toxic materials. I'll use my SS pins in a wet media and spend the extra $2.67

    I have an RCBS vibratory cleaner that I use walnut husk in and I also have a dry media seperator. I have used both methods and I find that the SS wet method is my prefered method of cleaning. I will spend more on replenishing my walnut husk/corn cob media than I will ever spend on the difference in the price of brass. I like clean brass and this is the best way to get the cleanest brass, inside and out, including the primer pockets.

    The OP asked for cleaning solutions. Dry media and ultrasonic was discussed. I added wet media with SS pins. It is for him to decide once he has the relevant information.
    "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop

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    Quote Originally Posted by HK SD9 Tactical
    One pound of pins, one cup of water, around two hundred pieces of pistol brass,"
    One pound of pins in each tumbler container & 1 cup of water?
    Last edited by HK SD9 Tactical; 01-24-2012 at 09:36 AM. Reason: Fixed quote

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakeray
    One pound of pins, one cup of water, around two hundred pieces of pistol brass," quote]

    One pound of pins in each tumbler container & 1 cup of water?
    Yes, one pound of pins in each tumbler if you are using the HF dual rotary drum tumblers.

    I use a postal scale to make sure that I do not exceed the three pound limit on each of the drums (three pounds not counting the weight of the drums). I use one pound of pins, add the brassto about the 5/6th full level, then add the water to cover the brass, a couple drops of Dawn (I have a water softener so I do not need a "full squirt" as recomended - results will vary dependent on the "softness" of your water supply) and about 1/4 tsp of the Lemi Shine. Tumble for three hours and brass is clean.

    On the Dawn, if you still have bubbles in the water after the three hours of tumbling, you have used enough. If not, add a little more the next time until the bubles are there after the three hours of tumbling.

    On the brass, the count will vary dependent of the caliber. You obviously won't get the same count of .45 as you will of 9mm.
    Last edited by HK SD9 Tactical; 02-24-2012 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Fixed quote.
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    I'm not a reloader (yet), but HK SD9 Tactical's information and arguments makes a lot of sense to me. I'll probably choose this method myself when I someday do start reloading.

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    Thanks for the comment.

    I am going to start out with the traditional set up and go from there. I payed $60.50 for a new Lyman 1200 (w/ shipping), that should arrive this week.

    The brass that I have has been fired once, at an indoor rang, and should not need much to clean them up. Corn cob media should do the job.

    Be Safe

    Dale

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