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  #1  
Old 03-03-2010, 05:14 PM
SamS Male SamS is offline
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Default homeade brass polisher

Hey I'm just starting out and bought almost 800 once fired .45acp brass for $5.00 a 100 from the local gun range. It's an outdoor range and the stuff is a little dirty to mud covered. Don't want to spend $$$ on a tumbler if I don't have to right away. I was wondering if any of you reloading vets have come up with a way to clean brass without using a tumbler?

Thanks


Sam
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2010, 09:18 PM
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I think I would just dump them in a pan of dish soap and water, let them soak a bit, then scrub and wipe off.
Let dry really good, the check out the condition?

I don't use a polisher unless the brass is very tarnished and I want to check for cracks and pin holes.

Last edited by hunter63; 03-03-2010 at 09:19 PM. Reason: splin'
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2010, 12:54 PM
kawalekm kawalekm is offline
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Here's a recipe that I like. For each gallon of hot water add about 1/2 cup of vinegar, a tablespoon of table salt, and enough dish washing detergent to make suds. The salt makes the brass come out shinier than if omitted. Dump in your brass and let soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Stir the brass occasionally. You can gauge the results incrementally and let the brass soak for longer/shorter periods of time based on what level of cleanliness you need.

After the wash/soak is finished, dump out the dirty water and rinse repeatedly 5-6 times till the brass is completely clean. Make sure that you stir your brass to drain all trapped water, and make sure all the brass fills up inside with rinse water (no air pockets). After your final drain, leave the brass laying in the sun and it will be dry and ready for sizing in about an hour. You can clean chrome plated brass this way too, but cut down the soak times because the vinegar will start to strip off the chrom.

Good luck,
Michael
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:03 AM
SamS Male SamS is offline
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Cool. That's what I was looking for. Cheap and easy.

Thanks

Sam
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2010, 10:54 AM
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Default yep that works

Brasso works as well as anything. I've seen some nasty crud come off in seconds.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:36 PM
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Are you talking about polishing one case at a time?
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2010, 08:41 PM
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I read a post somewhere about putting a bunch of dirty brass in a pillowcase with some medium and tumbling it in the clothes dryer.

I'd wait till the wife is visiting her sister or something before I try this trick. I'm just saying...
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
I read a post somewhere about putting a bunch of dirty brass in a pillowcase with some medium and tumbling it in the clothes dryer.

I'd wait till the wife is visiting her sister or something before I try this trick. I'm just saying...
this is what laundromats are for....
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:52 PM
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IF the brass isn't too dirty, I bypass the cleaning. Some handgun brass has been loaded with clean burning powder and I can see the primer hole when I look inside. If I don't see any problems with the brass, I just go right to reloading. That saves me several hours, a lot of noise, and one step.

I wouldn't do that with rifle brass though. Too much chance of missing a split case. In that case, go the vinegar and salt route. I've tried it with good results. However, when I added salt, I found a white residue after the brass dried. So now, when I use it, I eliminate the salt. I don't need shiny, just clean.
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:53 PM
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I'm thinking the dust would still find it's way out of the pillowcase. I don't want lead and gunpowder in my clothes from any residue, thank you.
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  #11  
Old 04-21-2010, 01:01 PM
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be careful using vinegar to clean brass.

Both metals used in brass cases (copper and zinc) are soluble in acetic acid (vinegar). The salts, copper acetate and zinc acetate, are also soluble. Zinc is more soluble than copper so it dissolves faster. In addition a galvanic action occurs that cause copper to be dissolved and then redeposited on the surface at the expense of the zinc.

When you clean brass cases in a vinegar solution you change both the chemical and physical properties of the surface of the case. There have been comments about cases being too clean, primers hard to seat, deposits on mandrels, etc. When you change the surface by dissolving some of it and etching it these things will happen. Whether they happen to the point of being a problem becomes the issue.
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  #12  
Old 04-21-2010, 01:16 PM
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You can get away without a tumbler for a while. I did just that by wiping them off with a rag with a little CLP on it. This does get old after a while though. Eventually you will want a tumbler.

If you are going to soak them, try drying them in the oven on low temp. Just to make sure they are dry.

Some recommend not using brasso because it weakens the brass. Some say this is BS. I have never used it though.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:41 PM
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Thanks guys. Been way to busy to even think about any reloading yet. Went from being bored to no time to breath. Hope I get caught up soon cuz I'm really starting to wear down. Will probably go in halves on a tumbler with one of my bro in laws that does reload and needs one too.

Really appreciate all of the advice.


Sam
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  #14  
Old 11-28-2010, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Thanks guys. Been way to busy to even think about any reloading yet. Went from being bored to no time to breath. Hope I get caught up soon cuz I'm really starting to wear down. Will probably go in halves on a tumbler with one of my bro in laws that does reload and needs one too.

Really appreciate all of the advice.


Sam
Now that is a winning idea!

If ya wanna clean the brass without tumbling, soak it in a solution of citric acid - 2 or 3 teaspoons to a quart of hot water - in a NON-METALLIC container. 5 to 30 minutes. Overnight will not hurt, it won't do much better than an hour or two but my point is that the procedure does NOT require supervision. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly with hot water and dry in the sun, with a hair dryer, or low temp oven or whatever works for you.

The citric acid has an additional benefit in that it passivates the brass. That is, tends to prevent corrosion.

If you cannot find citric acid locally or conveniently, try UNSWEETENED Kool-Aid. I would prolly use "lemon-lime" flavor to help prevent any other discoloration of the brass.

NON-METALLIC container and utensils are absolutely essential! There is a likely possibility of electrolysis when using steel or aluminum (or other metal) containers or utensils!
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Old 11-28-2010, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHForester View Post
You can get away without a tumbler for a while. I did just that by wiping them off with a rag with a little CLP on it. This does get old after a while though. Eventually you will want a tumbler.

If you are going to soak them, try drying them in the oven on low temp. Just to make sure they are dry.

Some recommend not using brasso because it weakens the brass. Some say this is BS. I have never used it though.
Second that. There are just too many risks in using chemicals on brass cases. A tumbler IS a necessary reloading tool.

You will be amazed at how many other things you can clean in a tumbler too !
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  #16  
Old 08-19-2012, 01:11 PM
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When I have used the 'wet' method, I deprime the brass first. It dries faster and you can get the primer pockets clean, also. I have used Oxy-clean , about cup in a plastic gallon jar. It works fairly well.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:26 PM
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Here is a thought...........

I know people have used white rice as an abrasive in rock tumblers. I believe it works well.
I suspect they were using a small amount of Brasso with the rice. Walnut shell should also be available at sporting stores with reloading supplies.

With that in mind, get an old gas dryer that runs on 120 V and put it in the garage, double bag your brass in pillow cases.

I read once someone even used sand in a small home project cement mixer.......... Wonder how that worked out ?

Good luck
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:34 PM
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Sand scratches the heck outta brass. Comes out very dull with visible scratches. Which also increases the friction when trying to remove the reloaded brass from the chamber after firing. Don't use sand.

Both walnut shells and ground corn cobs are used to line lizard and other reptile cages. A pet store or sometimes a feed store will sell it in big bags much cheaper than you can get it at a reloading store. Just makes sure to get the stuff that's finely ground, the bigger grains will plug up primer pockets and small case mouths.
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  #19  
Old 08-23-2012, 12:56 PM
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Default Brass polishing-cheap!

I have recently done some cleaning of brass items found at yard sales. I think it might apply here too. I used ketchup! Amazingly quick,and it was wipe-on, wipe off. I think if you doused your casings in ketchup, stir it well, let it sit 10-15 minutes. Follow with a soapy,hot water bath. I imagine it will surprize you. And the "tumblers"?? I always see the rock polishers that kids use at yard sales. $1-$5 in price. Would those work any different than what you are speaking of.
?
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  #20  
Old 08-23-2012, 01:40 PM
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Ammo brass tumblers are usually quite a bit bigger than the little rock tumblers you mentioned, but the idea is the same, something to rub a mild abrasive against the brass until it wipes off the tarnish and goop. Some use the rotary tumblers, but most often they use a tub that vibrates and a person just waits several hours for the cleaning medium to do its job.

The ketchup is a good idea! Oldtimers would use salt and vinegar, and except for the tomato and sugar, that's what ketchup is!
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