.

Cleaning and polishing brass

calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
Right now, I don't have a tumbler. Is it ok to load brass that hasn't been cleaned and polished? Last time that I went shooting outdoors, I picked up some 44 mag brass from the ground that was pretty dirty. I put it all in a ziploc bag with some warm, soapy water, "washed" them, then rinsed and dried them. Is that bad?

I'm new to reloading so I appreciate any advice.

Comments

  • cash777cash777 Member Posts: 213 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    As long as there is no grit on them your good to go, or it Scratches the dies and brass. [:(] Some guys just like em bright, thats all. Best Dave
  • laylandadlaylandad Member Posts: 960 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think that washing in soapy water is just fine. I would then size the brass and then use Birchwood Casey brass cleaner after I wash all dirt and grime away. With that said, make sure that the brass is dirt free before you size to prevent damage to your dies. That's what I did before I got a tumbler! I think that you will be just fine washing your brass. The only difference in the brass that I tumble vs. the liquid brass cleaner is the tumbled brass is completely scratch free and you can still see some scratches in the liquid. They still shoot the same, may not be as "pretty"!!!!

    Eric
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    Will dirt scratch TC dies? I would think that it would do more damage to the brass than the dies, right?

    Also, this may all be for nothing. My buddy just said that I can bring my brass over and use his tumbler. He said that he has walnut and that media lasts a long time so there is no need to even buy media for him.
  • WarGamesWarGames Member Posts: 106 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Dirt will definitely not hurt the TC dies.

    WG
  • shoff14shoff14 Member Posts: 11,994 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by callcameron
    Will dirt scratch TC dies? I would think that it would do more damage to the brass than the dies, right?




    It will scratch the dies.

    You can add some vinegar to your soapy water, then do another batch of soapy water to rinse the vinegar off. This will clean them a little better.

    You can get a Lyman tumbler for about $50 from midway. Go to a pet store and buy some walnut for bird crappers and pick up some polish when you buy the tumbler. You could be tumbling away for about $70.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by shoff14
    quote:Originally posted by callcameron
    Will dirt scratch TC dies? I would think that it would do more damage to the brass than the dies, right?




    It will scratch the dies.

    You can add some vinegar to your soapy water, then do another batch of soapy water to rinse the vinegar off. This will clean them a little better.

    You can get a Lyman tumbler for about $50 from midway. Go to a pet store and buy some walnut for bird crappers and pick up some polish when you buy the tumbler. You could be tumbling away for about $70.


    I thought that nothing scratched Tungsten Carbide.

    Also, do I need to get a media separator? If not, do you just pick the brass out and shake the media out of it?
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    One more thing: what do they mean by "auto flow" on tumblers?
  • WarGamesWarGames Member Posts: 106 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Shoff14 is wrong.
    Dirt will not scratch the TC at all.
    AutoFlo means it has a plugged up hole in the bottom so the media will flow out.
    Waste of money to me.
    I just dump into my separator.

    WG
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by WarGames
    Shoff14 is wrong.
    Dirt will not scratch the TC at all.
    AutoFlo means it has a plugged up hole in the bottom so the media will flow out.
    Waste of money to me.
    I just dump into my separator.

    WG


    Thanks. I think that maybe he didn't catch that they are tungsten carbide.
  • shoff14shoff14 Member Posts: 11,994 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If your telling me that a rock, which is in dirt, will not scratch a carbide die, then your full of it.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by shoff14
    If your telling me that a rock, which is in dirt, will not scratch a carbide die, then your full of it.


    I'm no expert but I believe that tungsten carbide is harder than your ordinary rock.
  • BGHillbillyBGHillbilly Member Posts: 1,927 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A cat litter scoop makes a pretty good media separator.
  • clownboyclownboy Member Posts: 85 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I am not the seller nor do I know him but I felt I got a FANTASTIC deal on a tumbler. It came with a large capacity Tumbler, media, polish, sifter and bucket all for $89. He is still selling them on Gun Broker at this link.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=143184324

    I can tell you that I have not regretted buying it!

    Brad
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by clownboy
    I am not the seller nor do I know him but I felt I got a FANTASTIC deal on a tumbler. It came with a large capacity Tumbler, media, polish, sifter and bucket all for $89. He is still selling them on Gun Broker at this link.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=143184324

    I can tell you that I have not regretted buying it!

    Brad


    Thanks for the info. Now if you can just make payday get here faster.
  • clownboyclownboy Member Posts: 85 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    You are most welcome.

    He says that it takes 15 days but I had mine within 5. Didn't find that too unreasonable.

    Also says to replace the media after several uses but I haven't yet and have tumbled countless brass since I got it. My theory is to replace it when I don't see it cleaning any longer.

    Good Luck!

    Brad
  • cpermdcpermd Member Posts: 5,416
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by shoff14
    If your telling me that a rock, which is in dirt, will not scratch a carbide die, then your full of it.


    I think you should do some research.
    Dirt will NOT scratch Tungsten Carbide.
    Hardened steel will not scratch it.

    If you can find some data otherwise please post it.

    CP
  • shoff14shoff14 Member Posts: 11,994 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by cpermd
    quote:Originally posted by shoff14
    If your telling me that a rock, which is in dirt, will not scratch a carbide die, then your full of it.


    I think you should do some research.
    Dirt will NOT scratch Tungsten Carbide.
    Hardened steel will not scratch it.

    If you can find some data otherwise please post it.

    CP


    It has nothing to do with hardness. Carbide is in the neighborhood of 62 RC. Its hard, damn hard. However you are putting force against it, it could be possible to scratch it. Every time? no but there is the possibility there.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by shoff14
    quote:Originally posted by cpermd
    quote:Originally posted by shoff14
    If your telling me that a rock, which is in dirt, will not scratch a carbide die, then your full of it.


    I think you should do some research.
    Dirt will NOT scratch Tungsten Carbide.
    Hardened steel will not scratch it.

    If you can find some data otherwise please post it.

    CP


    It has nothing to do with hardness. Carbide is in the neighborhood of 62 RC. Its hard, damn hard. However you are putting force against it, it could be possible to scratch it. Every time? no but there is the possibility there.


    Wouldn't it depend on the hardness of whatever is against it that is putting the force on it? For example, you could force a cotton ball against it over and over and I doubt that it will ever scratch.

    I don't believe that I have any diamonds in my dirt.
  • Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,815
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by callcameron
    Wouldn't it depend on the hardness of whatever is against it that is putting the force on it? For example, you could force a cotton ball against it over and over and I doubt that it will ever scratch.

    I don't believe that I have any diamonds in my dirt.

    There are a lot of minerials that while "softer" than a diamond, are harder than RC-62
    Flint, obsidian, granite, garnet, aluminum oxides, etc are all commonly found in "dirt".
    On a similar note, aluminum is softer than steel but the aluminum oxide on it's surface, and the dirt embedded in it's surface, are both harder than steel (BTW, that's why it's recogmended that you use a stainless steel cleaning rod over an aluminum one).

    Even if your blessed with dirt that won't scratch'" TC, why take the chance?
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Tailgunner1954
    quote:Originally posted by callcameron
    Wouldn't it depend on the hardness of whatever is against it that is putting the force on it? For example, you could force a cotton ball against it over and over and I doubt that it will ever scratch.

    I don't believe that I have any diamonds in my dirt.

    There are a lot of minerials that while "softer" than a diamond, are harder than RC-62
    Flint, obsidian, granite, garnet, aluminum oxides, etc are all commonly found in "dirt".
    On a similar note, aluminum is softer than steel but the aluminum oxide on it's surface, and the dirt embedded in it's surface, are both harder than steel (BTW, that's why it's recogmended that you use a stainless steel cleaning rod over an aluminum one).

    Even if your blessed with dirt that won't scratch'" TC, why take the chance?


    Like I said, I don't really know much about this. I don't know anything about "RC-62" but from what I've read online, TC has a hardness of 8.5-9.0 on the Mohs scale (which I also know nothing about) and diamonds are a 10. My guess is that TC is not going to easily scratch just because a little bit of dirt is in there.

    However, you are correct in that I am not just going to ignore dirt since I have TC.
  • gregoryhart1gregoryhart1 Member Posts: 518 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If a piece of dirt gets into your die it doesn't matter if it's harder than the carbide or not, because brass is softer than both. The brass is what will really take the beating.
    GH1[:)]
  • cpermdcpermd Member Posts: 5,416
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by gregoryhart1
    If a piece of dirt gets into your die it doesn't matter if it's harder than the carbide or not, because brass is softer than both. The brass is what will really take the beating.
    GH1[:)]


    Bingo!

    CP
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by cpermd
    quote:Originally posted by gregoryhart1
    If a piece of dirt gets into your die it doesn't matter if it's harder than the carbide or not, because brass is softer than both. The brass is what will really take the beating.
    GH1[:)]


    Bingo!

    CP


    So dirt is really going to be a problem if I start reloading Tungsten Carbide cases, right? [:D]
  • Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,815
    edited November -1
    Dirt is a problem, regardless of die material.
    Kind of like a hard slap to the nuts vs a punch in the same place, neither one is a good thing.
  • haroldchrismeyerharoldchrismeyer Member Posts: 2,213 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If you want your brass to look nice, don't use walnut in a tumbler. It is too harsh. Use corncob, and some brass polish in it helps too. Or you can use rice, but I prefer the corncob.

    Dirt will not only scratch your brass if it isn't clean when sized, it imbeds the dirt into the brass. I don't think it will scratch carbide dies, but unless you have a pile of money, you will have steel dies for bottleneck cases.

    Case prep is a basic step in reloading. Sure, you don't have to get it clean, but I won't load dirty brass.
  • JustCJustC Member, Moderator Posts: 16,036 ******
    edited November -1
    water is softer than glass,..but have you ever seen a peice of glass rounded off by years in a stream/ocean??

    it is not about the one time you do it,..it is about the doing it over time
  • nuttinbutxsnuttinbutxs Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Geez, quit arguing about the dirt. Anyone that will reload cases with dirt and grit on them shouldn't be reloading. Now as for the free flow tumblers...I use one and all it will do is drain the tub. It won't take the media out of the cases. The cases will all rotate around the tub full of media once the media drains. I use a large peanut butter jar with 1/4" holes in the top that I put the cases in and shake the remaining media into the drain tub. Works quite nicely. And using brass cleaner in the media will supposedly deteriorate the brass over time. I was told to use a spoonful or so of mineral spirits since it wont eat away the brass. I have used it for several years and it works great. I also shoot with a guy that washes his brass in lemon juice. Just get a tumbler, load it and come back later and it's done.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by nuttinbutxs
    Geez, quit arguing about the dirt. Anyone that will reload cases with dirt and grit on them shouldn't be reloading. Now as for the free flow tumblers...I use one and all it will do is drain the tub. It won't take the media out of the cases. The cases will all rotate around the tub full of media once the media drains. I use a large peanut butter jar with 1/4" holes in the top that I put the cases in and shake the remaining media into the drain tub. Works quite nicely. And using brass cleaner in the media will supposedly deteriorate the brass over time. I was told to use a spoonful or so of mineral spirits since it wont eat away the brass. I have used it for several years and it works great. I also shoot with a guy that washes his brass in lemon juice. Just get a tumbler, load it and come back later and it's done.


    Glad to hear that you're doing your reloading in a clean room environment. For the rest of us, dirt is a possibility no matter what.

    The original question included that I washed the dirt off the brass but wanted to know if that was sufficient. I added that I use TC dies later in the thread to clarify that I wasn't too concerned with scratching the dies as others may have to be.

    "Anyone that will reload cases with dirt and grit on them shouldn't be reloading" Or they may just not know. You might want to get the whole story before jumping to conclusions.
Sign In or Register to comment.