Case Cleaning

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by DannoBoone, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. DannoBoone

    DannoBoone Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    Something I've never done in 35yrs of reloading, other than buffing the
    outside of the cases, so my ignorance on the subject is that of a

    For you who do it, do you use tumblers or rotating drums? Which does a
    better job?

    What is the best media to use to get the inside of the cases really clean?

    Do you add liquid cleaner to the media?

    How do you get all the media out of the cases once they are cleaned? I
    would think the smaller the caliber, the more difficulty to be had with this
    part of the operation. Air compressor with blower?

  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    I use a vibratory cleaner (large dillon for the large jobs) small hornady for the small jobs. That said, I don't think I've every used them on any of my bottleneck cartridges. I use them to clean my pistol brass (as it falls in the snow etc. and I have 1000's of them to clean). I don't let my rifle brass get dirty, I typically take a shot and then drop it back in the ammo box or my pocket. I suspect on soft/annealed brass, the automated cleaning (vibratory, tumbler etc) would dent the necks.

    For example, the last time I re-barreled my 7mm Rem Mag, I bought 100 Norma brass to use in that barrel. I have 98 of them left (lost the other 2 hunting) and have never cleaned them (shot them all 3 or 4 times). I just wipe them with a rag before I lube them for sizing.

    If I get some dirt in one of the cartridges, I just scrub it a little with a nylon brush.


  3. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

    Jun 11, 2005
    This is one of those things where you will get all kinds of answers. Some will not clean at all and some will go to the other extreme. I guess you would say that I go to the other extreme.

    I use vibratory cleaners with a type of corncob media. I also add Rooster Bright periodically to the media.

    Before I do anything I first de-prime with a universal decapping die. I feel that this lets me feel the tightness of the primer pocket. It is kinda of hard to feel if you are full length resizing at the same time. This way I don't end up finding out a pocket is loose after I prime it. Waste of my time and a primer.

    After decapping I then run the cases through the vibratory cleaner before going any farther. I also run them through the cleaner after resizing and before priming. After each cleaning I blow each case out with compressed air inside as well as the outside. Before the last cleaning and blowing out I chuck up a brush in the drill press and run each case up and down on the brush. I feel that this gives me a more consistently clean necks inside and that helps with consistent neck tension.

    There are other steps involved that I do but this gives you an idea when and how much I clean cases. I figure that I've got some expensive dies and an even more expensive chamber so I want nice clean cases whenever possible. Kinda gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see all of those bright and shiny cases during the processes I go through.;);)

    I just think that I've got way more time than money so anything I can do to make my feeble little mind happy is just one more thing I do.:rolleyes:
  4. keithcatfish

    keithcatfish Active Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    I'm from the less is more school of thought. I soak my cases overnight in carburator cleaner. It doesn't make them shiny but it removes powder fouling and makes the residue in the primer pocket really easy to clean out.
  5. devildoc

    devildoc Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2006
    I too go the OCD route, Cleaning is always done just prior to priming and dropping powder & bullets. I run em' in a tumbler with corncob & some midway polishing juice, then throw em' in a bucket with some simple green, agitate by hand, then rinse & dry. I figure that way I get any brass shavings/crud out during tumbling and then get any sizing lube or polishing agent off the brass with the simple green. Pistol brass I just tumble.

    As for getting the media out of the brass, I just use a midway media separator and then poke out any flasholes that have media stuck in em' with a pen/pencil etc.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

    Jul 1, 2007
    When finished shooting pickup fired brass, come home and tumble
    it to get the dirt off as well old carbon from being shot the reason
    for this is not to mark up dies they score from the carbon.
    Size, deprime, clean primer pockets, brush out necks, trim if needed
    and tumble again to to reclean and get off marks as well as
    A standard match is 300 to 500 rounds pistol and rifle.
    In the past ruin one set of dies by not cleaning.
  7. BHP9

    BHP9 Well-Known Member

    Dec 4, 2007
    I started out with a Lyman Turbo 1200, and am still using it, but I also have a Lyman 2500 Pro Magnum tumber too, that I use mainly for pistol and .338 LM (it only takes 100 cases to fill it).

    As for media, I prefer the Lyman treated corn cob, but it's starting to get spendy, so I mix it 50/50 with corn blast and it works just as well.

    Corn blast on its own does a great job, BUT, it's very dusty after 4 or 5 usings.
  8. sjadventures

    sjadventures Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2007
    I clean the first time with the shot primers still in them (I don't like putting dirty brass in my dies) then deprime and FLS them and clean again to remove any lubricant. I use a vibrating Lyman 1200 Turbo Pro with auto flo, walnut shell media with Lyman's Turbo Brite Brass polish added to the walnut media, about 3 caps per 1 pound media. I wipe down every case when the tumbling is done and they look like brand new shiny brass. I tried the corncob but it is a pain to get out of the cases and out of the primer pockets.
  9. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2006
    I use a ceramic media that cleans the inside, outside and primer pocket. When done the cases are hard to tell from new.
    First decap with the Lyman universal decap die then I use a Thumbler's Tumbler and enough water to just barely cover the media in it and a teaspoon of polishing liquid then throw in the cases. Tumble for a couple of hours or until I remember that it's running and rinse in fresh hot water, dry in the convection oven at 150F for an hour and done.