Best Way to Clean Brass for Reloading (With & Without Tumbler)

No matter what kind of product you have that’s made of brass, sometimes it can become dirty or tarnished. This is even true of the cartridges that you use with your ammunition, and will require you to clean them ammunition at times.

Unfortunately, not enough people who create their own ammunition take this task seriously. If you are a person who is looking to create the most accurate and efficient rounds, then cleaning your brass is an essential part of that process. This is why you need to make sure that you have the proper equipment to be able to perform this task.

What Is a Tumbler?

Some use a tumbler, while others do not. If you are unfamiliar with the tumbler, then a little explanation may be in order. This is really nothing more than a device that cleans your ammunition through use of vibration. The hopper to the tumbler is shaped like a bowl, and uses an electric motor that shakes or vibrates the brass inside the hopper. As this occurs, the products used to clean the brass interact with the brass so that dirt, oils, and other debris is removed.

This is an exceptional way to be able to clean the brass you use for your ammunition, and tumblers are created to give you two different ways that they can be used to clean your brass – dry or wet tumbling.

#1 How to Clean Your Brass Using Dry Tumbling?

If you purchase yourself a tumbler and decide to go with the dry tumbling option, then you do not use any water or other solvent. All you need is the tumbler, a type of media which is either walnut shells or corncob bits, some polishing compound if you choose to use it and a media separator. From there, here is all you need to do:

  • Begin by filling the bowl with the cleaning media, either using the walnut shells or the Cobb bits.
  • Turn on the tumbler so that the motor will begin to vibrate.
  • Slowly begin to pour in brass, but not all at once. Gradually add it to the media. When you have completely failed the bowl, secure the lid and allow the device to continue to work for at least two hours.

After two hours of use the vibration will cause a great deal of friction within the bowl, cleaning the brass so that it become shiny. It will remove dirt that has gotten inside the cartridge and helps to clean the media to perfection. You may find that if your cartridges are especially dirty that they need additional time.

Safety Note.

It is important to realize that primer is a type of poison. This means that you should wear gloves whenever handling it so this does not get absorbed into your skin.

Also, while the bowl is rotating ensure that there are no objects that it can come in contact with. Keep it clear and away from your pets and your family.

#2 How to Clean Your Brass Using Wet Tumbling?

The wet tumbling option allows you to use water or another form of liquid cleaner. Some even use dish soap mixed with water.

The materials you need include the tumbler and a cleaning solution. You will add water and you will need steel pins. This is important in cleaning the brass. Here is the procedure:

  • Begin by getting a tumbling machine that is capable of handling liquids. Surprisingly, these are the same types of machines that people used to use to tumble rocks to clean them. They have a drama instead of the bowl.
  • Pour the cleaning solution as well as water into the drum. Pour the brass into the container and then add the steel pins.
  • Close the drum and lock it in place and then start the motor.
  • Leave it running for at least two hours. You may find that is necessary to run it for six or seven so that you can thoroughly clean dirt and debris from the brass.

When completed, you will find that the brass is incredibly clean and shiny. It will look well polished. Take the brass and spread it out on a towel and allow it to dry in a warm place, like in the sun.

Safety Note.

You should always keep a certain distance from the drum while it is operating, and ensure that there are no materials around it. This helps to keep other items from getting damaged or from something damaging your tumbler.

After the cleaning process is completed, you also want to collect all pins and store them properly.

#3 How to Clean Brass Without a Tumbler?

While a tumbler can be an extremely useful device for you to have to clean your brass, it is not necessary for you to properly clean. You can clean your cartridges and brass by collecting a bucket, a cleaning solution, soap, and hot water. Here is the procedure:

  • Pour the hot water into your bucket.
  • Mix the cleaning solution with soap in the bucket.
  • Pour the brass into the water and use your hand to swirl and mix around the solution over the brass. Continue to do this much in the same way that you would stir a soup.
  • Continue this process until all of the cartridges are cleaned.

While your brass may not be a shiny is if you used a tumbler, you will find that it will still become quite clean using this method. If there are areas that are difficult to remove debris, use a brush that are common for cleaning baby bottles.

To dry, spread the brass over a towel and allowed to lay in the sun for some time. Within a couple of hours, your brass should be clean and dry.

Safety Note.

Since you are not using any dangerous chemicals or a device, there are really no health risks involved. Just make sure that the water that you use is not too hot so that you do not get burned while mixing the solution around the brass.

That is really all it takes for you to clean your brass. Follow these steps and you should be able to keep your brass clean making it much more accurate.

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