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Cleaning brass

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Category: Reloading
Forum Name: Reloading .303 British
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URL: http://www.enfield-rifles.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=10551
Printed Date: October 20 2020 at 1:59pm
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Topic: Cleaning brass
Posted By: Bear43
Subject: Cleaning brass
Date Posted: May 05 2020 at 2:52pm
I have almost everything I need to start loading up some .303 but in all of this I found another question for you all. How do you clean your brass? I see all sorts of stuff and was just wondering what you all do.



Replies:
Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: May 05 2020 at 3:22pm
I'm old school. I stole my kids Thumbler Tumbler once she outgrew it. I put a couple of cups of "Iguana Cage lining" (crushed walnuts) in it, and add a dollop of Brasso. Prior to this, I have a little old broken down flat head screw driver that cleans the primer pockets out perfect. About 1-2 hours on slow tumble, remove. Make sure you have a round tooth pick to get any residue out of the primer whole. My brass turns out pretty nice...


Posted By: Marco1010
Date Posted: May 05 2020 at 3:53pm
Hi Bear

If you don't have a tumber or an ultrasonic cleaner, try this method that works well for me.

4 litres warm water, small amount of dishwashing detergent (few drops) 1 teaspoon of tartaric acid. mix together, makes a very weak acid solution, dump in brass for about 10 minutes, longer if really dirty. swirl around by hand a bit every few minutes, when clean , drain out and flush with fresh clean water, lay out on a towel to dry in the sun. Look just like new and the primer pockets are real clean as well.
I use this on range pick up brass, and did some old 80 year old military brass (was real tarnished). any shoulder or neck defects & cracks will be obvious on inspection. Just did 300 x .308 win cases that had essentially rotted in their boxes at the bottom of someones gun safe, had to ditch about 10% as pitted with corrosion.
Don't dry the cases in an oven as this discolours / tarnishes the cases.


Posted By: Stumpkiller
Date Posted: May 05 2020 at 8:10pm
I use an old rock tumbler with BC Precision stainless steel pins and a product called Lemi Shine Booster (we have hard water - it's basically powdered citric acid) and a bit of Dawn detergent with a cup of water.  Two hours and 20 or 30 cartridges are bright and clean.

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Charlie P.

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.


Posted By: Bear43
Date Posted: May 05 2020 at 9:11pm
Eventually I would like to get a tumbler but for now I will probably give Marco's method a shot. Getting a bit excited now that I am close to starting on loading my own ammo.


Posted By: Marco1010
Date Posted: May 06 2020 at 1:18am
Hi Bear

Don't be afraid to increase the acid content if necessary, if brass is really bad add a teaspoon of citric acid.
Both acids might be already in the kitchen as used for baking etc.
otherwise easily got from the grocery for a couple of dollars.
good to make up seperate batches of brass, that way you don't have to sort later.
I use 2 litre plastic icecream tubs, but any plastic container will work.


Posted By: Stanforth
Date Posted: May 06 2020 at 4:11am
Wash the cases in warm water with washing up liquid. For stained brass use a mixture of water an a week acid, I muse vinegar, leave it overnight then use the water/washing up wash liquids.

To polish cases I use a tumbler but (as a cheapstake) I use dried rice as a cleaning media.


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Life.. a sexually transmitted condition that is invariably fatal.


Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: May 06 2020 at 7:29am
Hows about this:

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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: shiloh
Date Posted: May 06 2020 at 7:54am
I use k spinner made up to friction fit any given neck.
It chucks into your drill press.
On a medium speed slip a brass on to it use 0000 steel wool, cleaned and polished one step.
Been doing it like this for ever.

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shoot em if you got em


Posted By: paddyofurniture
Date Posted: May 06 2020 at 7:59am
I like it.

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Always looking for military manuals, Dodge M37 items,books on Berlin Germany, old atlases ( before 1946) , military maps of Scotland. English and Canadian gun parts.


Posted By: RogueAussie
Date Posted: May 06 2020 at 10:47pm
1. Full Length Resize and Deprime
2. Primer Pocket Ream and Uniform
3. Chamfer and Debur the neck
(2 and 3 done on a Lee Case Prep Station)
4. Tumbled in Walnut Husk overnight


Posted By: Stumpkiller
Date Posted: May 07 2020 at 6:53am
Originally posted by Bear43 Bear43 wrote:

Eventually I would like to get a tumbler but for now I will probably give Marco's method a shot. Getting a bit excited now that I am close to starting on loading my own ammo.


Mine's like a $30 Harbor Freight "Chicago" (the one just down the road from WuHan) rubber drum version for polishing rocks.  Works great for the small batches I clean.


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Charlie P.

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.


Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: May 13 2020 at 9:53am
My cleaning recipe appears similar to Marco's.
I use the Lyman Ultrasound bath, with warm water, a cap full of Citric acid, a squirt of dish wash liquid and a splash of dish washer rinsing fluid.
When the brass is clean enough (usually 2 x 8 minute cycles) I put the cases in a salad spinner with warm water and rinsing fluid. Then drain off the water and spin to extract more of the water, then roll them around in a dry cloth. Let them dry fully inside before reloading.

I've found the rinsing fluid helps to prevent water staining the cases as they dry.
There are photos of this and the results on the PDF file in the "Case Prep" post posted a few days ago.


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It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: May 13 2020 at 10:17am
Lyman tumbler, corn media (50 lb bag from Amazon, last me a lifetime), cap full of Nu Finish.  Tumble for about 30 mins to an hour.   Shiny and clean brass comes out.


Posted By: Marco1010
Date Posted: May 13 2020 at 9:53pm
I think that using the ultrasonic cleaner if you have one hurries up the process and probably cleans the internal case areas better. But then again its another tool you need to she!! out for. Time sometimes not being such a problem, but money yes. the acid wash works well. Just don't force dry the cases ! then end up looking all spotty !!! but then again some might like that look.


Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: May 13 2020 at 11:41pm
Marco, try the dishwasher rinsing fluid when rinsing the cases; it does help with the drying spotless.


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It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: May 14 2020 at 5:17am
I’ve used a UT cleaner, does work fairly well, but I don’t want to wait for the brass to dry, they get resized right out of the tumbler.  


Posted By: MJ11
Date Posted: May 14 2020 at 7:11am
I have three tumblers of the shake and tumble all worn out sitting on the floor. After that I went to de-prime, get out some .30 cal bore brush an old wire colander and a plastic bucket of DAWN dish washing soap and get to town.

When I'm real lazy after de-prime I used a heavy mesh net bag and drop 100 case in the clothes washer. Drain and spread on the cookie sheet into the oven at 100F for twenty minutes wipe with a clean rag lube and size.

I have small SS end brush in a small cordless two seconds up the primer pocket and your lubing and loading from there.

I stopped using abrasive liquids in corncob media because you never get it off the case then it wears on the inside of the die and rifle chamber.

One think I recommenced not letting the wife come home and find 100 cases in the oven on her cookie sheet.


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The Spartans do not ask how many the enemies are but where they are


Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: May 14 2020 at 8:36am
i use a tumbler with corn cobb or walnut medium , im cleaning straight wall cases so mine are easier to deal with that your bottleneck but the principles are the same 


Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: May 14 2020 at 9:37am
I have an old Lyman Orange vibratory tumbler & I use walnut media. A couple of hours is all it needs you don't need to polish to a high gloss, in fact some don't like that as its thought too slick isn't good.

I separate the media with a home brewed gadget involving a couple of plastic colanders. I clip & zip tie them together to make a mesh "ball" & just rotate it by hand over a 5-gallon pail to collect the media.



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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: Marco1010
Date Posted: May 14 2020 at 10:07pm

Drying cases in the oven on the baking trays.......

Yeah I'm sure all of us have tried out some method of doing something that has a tendency to piss off the wife !!
I was in the dog box for burning off about a kilogram of unstable 60 year old powder in the back yard. I think she thought that the 20 foot high flaming inferno might have been a tad too much.
That and the blistered paint on the wall of the house from the radiant heat.
Or maybe it was because the kids had no eyebrows and an instant sun tan.
All I know is that I had to retreat to the workshop for a while.... days.....weeks.


Posted By: Bear43
Date Posted: May 17 2020 at 5:45am
Marco, after that adventure with the powder..... how are you still married? LOL


Posted By: paddyofurniture
Date Posted: May 17 2020 at 11:10am
Might still be in the dog house.

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Always looking for military manuals, Dodge M37 items,books on Berlin Germany, old atlases ( before 1946) , military maps of Scotland. English and Canadian gun parts.


Posted By: englishman_ca
Date Posted: May 17 2020 at 11:40am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twivg7GkYts" rel="nofollow - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twivg7GkYts

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Look to your front, mark your target when it comes!


Posted By: paddyofurniture
Date Posted: May 17 2020 at 12:05pm
Sorry to hear about your untimely death. Hope it was quick.

Please let me know what she wants for your guns?


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Always looking for military manuals, Dodge M37 items,books on Berlin Germany, old atlases ( before 1946) , military maps of Scotland. English and Canadian gun parts.


Posted By: Marco1010
Date Posted: May 17 2020 at 6:00pm
Heck guys I'm not dead Yet !!!   

You know how the saying goes...

Cant live with them (without being in the Sh*t)
Can't live without them (always saying you'll get in the sh*t for something).

Eyebrows on the kids did grow back eventually, so all good now.
Just snuck another new N0 5 rifle project home, without her indoors seeing it.



Posted By: Black Prince
Date Posted: June 25 2020 at 2:49am
Originally posted by Bear43 Bear43 wrote:

I have almost everything I need to start loading up some .303 but in all of this I found another question for you all. How do you clean your brass? I see all sorts of stuff and was just wondering what you all do.
Mine after decaping go into a plastic bucket and just cover them with house hold vinegar (while or brown it's the same oh! I keep the vinegar in the shed, just in case the little lady needs some, better taste a brassy twang to salads etc) for about a hour or two.
Then drain the vinegar back into the container, place the clean cases in my dogs old stainless dinner bowl wipe excess of and place on top of the wood fire for an hour or so to dry out inside, summer time I put them in the sun for half a day or so, depends on the temp of the day.
Aussie backyard mechanics.  





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I know what I like & like what I know.



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