What’s the Best Way to Clean Brass for Reloading?
Ron Gunner 09.25.18
I have been reloading now since I was 7 years old, which means I have been doing it now for a total of 46 years. And I started with my grandfather and then some friends and even a couple bosses I have had through the years, which means I have done just about everything to clean brass.
I started with a bucket and dish soap and shaking, stirring really anything I could do to get the hot water and dish soap to clean the brass. Then I discovered the dry media tumble, life was good or so I thought. About 8 to 10 years ago I got a new at the time, Hornady sonic cleaner and dry tumble was out the window!
My first sonic cleaner
Then I got another model Hornady sonic cleaner with a built in heater and a much longer timer! To me this was it; I knew I have crossed over into the shiny brass bridge! I didn’t even mind turning each piece of brass over on a metal rack so I could put them in the oven on low to dry for 30 minutes of so. But then one day I tried just taking them from the cleaner to rinse under hot water to a towel.
Towel dried but some of the insides are still not cleaned great
I take the towel and put the brass in the middle, fold the towel over and let the brass sag a little and roll the edges up and work the towel back and forth to shake and roll and tumble the water out of the cases. After a couple minutes I dump the brass into another towel that is dry and do it for about 3 to five minutes and the brass is dry and ready to use!
I was satisfied until a friend of mine comes over to give me some 9mm and 45acp he cleaned. It looked like brand new brass, in fact I would have bet money on it. This brass was also deprimed and resized but the inside of each case looked like it has never had powder in it and I swore he was giving me new brass. Well I was wrong, he said he tumbled it. I called him a liar and laughed saying I tumbled brass for years and it NEVER looked like new inside and out!
Current brass cleaner I have and use with 5 pounds of stainless steel media
He then said, “Wet Tumble” and do it with stainless steel pins. He bought a brand new wet tumbler and as great friends do, he passed his older model to me, stainless media and all. So now I will say there is NO BETTER WAY TO CLEAN ANY USED BRASS, even the old black looking found lying in the wet grass at the range the WET TUMBLE with stainless media! I am using hot water with a little of the Hornady sonic cleaner fluid for now because I have a few left, but you can use hot water and a little dish soap or Simple Green.
Hard to see but the inside of these 223 brass are just as clean as the outside with the wet tumbler!
Get one, and if you are just starting out in reloading, don’t waste time and money on dry tumbler or sonic cleaner (unless you want to sonic clean gun parts) and get a wet tumbler with stainless media first and be done with it!!!
Here is a link to Amazon with some of the wet tumblers they sell: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=reloading+wet+tumbler&sprefix=Reloading+Wet+tu%2Caps%2C175&crid=2JBGYY4U3OHCT
Stay safe, share the sport!