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c10bonanza

Brass Tumbler for Newbie

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I don't reload my ammo (yet), but I've made it a habit to collect some of my range brass over the years.  I currently have approximately 1000 9mm brass, 1500 5.56 brass, 150 or or so 30.06 brass, and 50-60 .308 brass.  Currently, all brass are stored in a ziplock bag.  Some of it was retrieved from wet grass, etc. and very dirty.  

I'd like to get these cleaned up and ready for eventual reloading.  If nothing else, the brass will look good while stored!

It sounds like the hotness these days are wet tumbers, such as Franklin Arsenal's Wet Tumbler.  Frankly, I don't want to drop $150+ on a tumber right now.

Would this dry tumbler, using crushed walnut, be a good option?  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001MYGLJC/?coliid=I23RRGP2F10598&colid=3H1ZVDMT6BHM6&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

I'm also planning on purchasing Franklin Arsenal's hand deprimer tool since I don't have a reloading press to deprime. https://www.cabelas.com/product/FRANKFORD-ARSENOL-PLATINM-DEPRIME-TOOL/1969774.uts?productVariantId=4011399&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=04026742&rid=20&ds_rl=1252079&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5eHI2pD83QIVx7jACh03IgUsEAQYASABEgLYDfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I appreciate any and all input!

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Here is my tumbler and brass.

IMG_1789.thumb.JPG.78bd59494ed7015a22ad1d7cd045d7cd.JPG

 

The tumbler you show should be fine. I just use corncob; not walnut. Wet tumblers get the brass shinier; I'm not worried about how shiny it is. It does do a good job on cleaning primer pockets, but so will a wash in hot, soapy water.

 

 

 

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Now THAT's a tumbler!  I've seen where Jerry Miculek uses a concrete mixer to tumble 5 gallon buckets of brass at a time!  :eek:

I'm also considering just doing it by hand.  Put 100 pieces of brass or so in a jug with Dawn, lemi-shine, and maybe a handful of stainless steel pins and shake by hand for awhile.  It wouldn't cost much to experiment!

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1 hour ago, c10bonanza said:

I don't reload my ammo (yet), but I've made it a habit to collect some of my range brass over the years.  I currently have approximately 1000 9mm brass, 1500 5.56 brass, 150 or or so 30.06 brass, and 50-60 .308 brass.  Currently, all brass are stored in a ziplock bag.  Some of it was retrieved from wet grass, etc. and very dirty.  

I'd like to get these cleaned up and ready for eventual reloading.  If nothing else, the brass will look good while stored!

It sounds like the hotness these days are wet tumbers, such as Franklin Arsenal's Wet Tumbler.  Frankly, I don't want to drop $150+ on a tumber right now.

Would this dry tumbler, using crushed walnut, be a good option?  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001MYGLJC/?coliid=I23RRGP2F10598&colid=3H1ZVDMT6BHM6&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

I'm also planning on purchasing Franklin Arsenal's hand deprimer tool since I don't have a reloading press to deprime. https://www.cabelas.com/product/FRANKFORD-ARSENOL-PLATINM-DEPRIME-TOOL/1969774.uts?productVariantId=4011399&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=04026742&rid=20&ds_rl=1252079&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5eHI2pD83QIVx7jACh03IgUsEAQYASABEgLYDfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I appreciate any and all input!

 

I started with dry tumbling and changed over to wet tumbling with stainless steel media. It is night and day, literally. My brass looks like new. Dry tumbling will leave dirty primer pockets behind, and there will be dirt inside the brass as well.

If the Frankfort kit is too much, you can also get a Harbor Freight tumbler for $44:

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-rotary-rock-tumbler-67631.html

And a stainless steel media kit. This 2lb bag will be plenty. Lime shine from Wally World is only a couple bucks.

https://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/reloading-products/media/stainless-tumbling-media-refresh.html

 

How my brass locks like:

after.jpg

 

Img_3493.jpg

 

 

That hand held depriming tool will only give you cramps and is not a good long-term investment. If you would add $40 you could have a really decent press like the Lyman Brass Smith Victory.

https://www.cabelas.com/product/LYMAN-BRASS-SMITH-C-FRAME-PRESS/2726079.uts

7726350_press_white_01_4.jpg

 

Plus the LEE universal decapping die for $13:

https://www.cabelas.com/product/Lee-Decapping-Die/1200579.uts?slotId=3

When you decide to reload, you only need to add a set of dies, a scale and a measure.

Edited by crockett
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1 minute ago, crockett said:

That hand held depriming tool will only give you cramps and is not a good long-term investment.

Do you deprime before tumbling?

13 minutes ago, c10bonanza said:

I'm also considering just doing it by hand.  Put 100 pieces of brass or so in a jug with Dawn, lemi-shine, and maybe a handful of stainless steel pins and shake by hand for awhile.

Any thoughts on a "poor man" method of shaking for awhile by hand?  

Really trying to avoid dumping $200 right now.

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7 minutes ago, c10bonanza said:

Do you deprime before tumbling?

Any thoughts on a "poor man" method of shaking for awhile by hand?  

Really trying to avoid dumping $200 right now.

 

Yes, I deprime before tumbling. My brass is super clean inside and out. I hate realoading with dirty brass, let alone shooting dirty brass in any of my guns.

I tumble my brass for about 90 min. Less time will leave some grime behind. You would need to shake it for a very long time to get anywhere near the same result. That being said, soaking the brass in hot water, dish detergent and lime shine, then shaking it for 3 minutes, should get it somewhat clean. You can try it with any container and see if you like the result. You can also add some liquid car wax for some shine.

If you don't have the cash right now, that's what I would. That being said, the time invested is also valuable. My minimum would be the HF tumbler and the 2lb bag of SS pins.

Edited by crockett
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When my Lyman tumbler finally gave up the ghost after years of service, I went cheap and bought a tumbler at Harbor Freight.  Don't bother.  Get a decent one from any of the major reloading equipment companies.

And welcome to the world of bullet packing. 

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Well, I called an audible and ordered a Lee Hand Press and Universal Decapper.  This should accomplish the same purpose of the Franklin Arsenal deprimer, but also allow me to handload some rifle rounds down the road.

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I sometimes use the Frankford Arsenal depriming hand tool.

It does the job, but more than a hundred or so rounds at a time tends to start rubbing my hand, and it can hurt.  Less painful if I wear some type of a glove, but it can still take a lot of effort, especially if you're trying to do brass with crimped primers.  It's easy enough to sit down and watch tv or a movie while depriming some brass.  You should be able to do the same with the Lee Hand Press.

 

As for cleaning the brass, it really depends on how clean you want it.  As was said before, soak it for a little while then shake with some steel pins will get most of the softer/looser crud out.  Brass doesn't need to be spotlessly clean to function, you just don't want too much carbon building up over time to reduce case capacity and gunk up the primer pocket and flash hole.  

I've been cleaning brass in an ultrasonic tank for a while because I have one for my job, but finally broke down and ordered Frankford (not Franklin) Arsenal's Wet Tumbler to do a better job with the range brass that's been sitting out for a while.  

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I actually just got the Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler a couple days ago.  Ran two batches of 600 .223 cases through it.  

First batch used their cleaning solution.  Brass was clean, but not that shiny.

Second batch was dawn dish soap, and half a teaspoon of Lemi Shine dishwasher rinse aid stuff.  Brass came out noticeably more shiny than the first batch.

Both batches the water was absolutely filthy, not a whole lot of residue left in the brass that I could see.  

For the amounts you have, this tumbler is massive overkill.  If you could find someone in your area that has one it could all be done in 3 or 4 tumbling sessions, or less than a day.  

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55 minutes ago, Cougar_ml said:

I actually just got the Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler a couple days ago.  Ran two batches of 600 .223 cases through it.  

First batch used their cleaning solution.  Brass was clean, but not that shiny.

Second batch was dawn dish soap, and half a teaspoon of Lemi Shine dishwasher rinse aid stuff.  Brass came out noticeably more shiny than the first batch.

Both batches the water was absolutely filthy, not a whole lot of residue left in the brass that I could see.  

For the amounts you have, this tumbler is massive overkill.  If you could find someone in your area that has one it could all be done in 3 or 4 tumbling sessions, or less than a day.  

 

Try hot water and run it for over 2 hours. If that's not enough, add a good squeeze of car wash with wax.

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1 hour ago, Cougar_ml said:

I actually just got the Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler a couple days ago.  Ran two batches of 600 .223 cases through it.  

First batch used their cleaning solution.  Brass was clean, but not that shiny.

Second batch was dawn dish soap, and half a teaspoon of Lemi Shine dishwasher rinse aid stuff.  Brass came out noticeably more shiny than the first batch.

Both batches the water was absolutely filthy, not a whole lot of residue left in the brass that I could see.  

For the amounts you have, this tumbler is massive overkill.  If you could find someone in your area that has one it could all be done in 3 or 4 tumbling sessions, or less than a day.  

I ended up buying the dual drum rotary tumbler at harbor freight for $45 or so.  Add another $15 to make a larger drum out of 4” pvc and 2lbs of stainless pins and I’m in business.  

I use hot water, dawn, and a little Lemi shine.  Run, drain, rinse, and then run for another 15 minutes with water and a couple of sprays of Optimum Spray Wax.  

Wow.  Results are amazing.  

I can’t do batches as large as the FA unit, but for my needs (usually 100-200 cases every few months) this thing is the cat’s meow.  

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