Tumbler issues

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olafpfj
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Tumbler issues

Postby olafpfj » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:55 pm

My old Cabelas tumbler burned out a while ago and was replaced with a Frankford Arsenal one.

My brass doesn't get completely clean anymore. I have tried everything I can think of with the media that used to produce fantastic results in my old Cabelas but to no avail. The Frankford Arsenal one just doesn't seem to be getting the job done.

Does anyone have any experience like this? Could the tumbler really be making that much of a difference? (ie. vibration speed, bowl shape, etc...)

Thinking of just giving up and chalking this up to experience and buying something else. I only really got the Frankford because I was being cheap. Perhaps another of the Cabelas brand which only lasted about 6 years of light use or does anyone have any suggestions?
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Richbirdhunter
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby Richbirdhunter » Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:00 pm

I've had a RCBS tumbler for about six years and I've been happy over all, about 2 years ago I moved to the Hornady ultrasonic cleaner and I really like that. The thing I like about the ultrasonic cleaner is no media gets caught in the flash hole.
Disclaimer: Anything I state can not be applied to 100% of all situations. Sometimes it's ok to speak in general terms.

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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby olafpfj » Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:10 pm

Richbirdhunter wrote:I've had a RCBS tumbler for about six years and I've been happy over all, about 2 years ago I moved to the Hornady ultrasonic cleaner and I really like that. The thing I like about the ultrasonic cleaner is no media gets caught in the flash hole.


The only thing I've been reluctant about the ultrasonic stuff is all the talk about the dull film it leaves. According to the internet you have to run them through a regular tumbler afterwards to get that high luster shine. Is this true?
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mr surveyor
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby mr surveyor » Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:09 pm

if "high luster shine" is your goal, then ultra-sonic isn't for you. If "clean", inside/outside/primer pocket/flash hole, is your goal then you can't beat ultra-sonic with a dash of Lemi-Shine and a couple drops of Dawn dish soap. I prefer clean and trouble free brass, but I'm not one to wear any type of jewelry or flashy clothes either. Matter of choice only.


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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby PBR » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:06 pm

have you tried smaller batch / less media -- just thought but new one might not handle as much correctly -- i switched to wet tumbling and havent looked back, comes out super clean inside and out, primer pockets and all, great shine too -- i have the frankford wet tumble
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby Richbirdhunter » Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:07 pm

mr surveyor wrote:if "high luster shine" is your goal, then ultra-sonic isn't for you. If "clean", inside/outside/primer pocket/flash hole, is your goal then you can't beat ultra-sonic with a dash of Lemi-Shine and a couple drops of Dawn dish soap. I prefer clean and trouble free brass, but I'm not one to wear any type of jewelry or flashy clothes either. Matter of choice only.


jd



This is all true, it's not showroom shiny new but it's clean inside and out
Disclaimer: Anything I state can not be applied to 100% of all situations. Sometimes it's ok to speak in general terms.


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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby mr surveyor » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:22 am

PBR wrote:have you tried smaller batch / less media -- just thought but new one might not handle as much correctly -- i switched to wet tumbling and havent looked back, comes out super clean inside and out, primer pockets and all, great shine too -- i have the frankford wet tumble



That would be my second, and most likely next option. Just not sure I want to deal with keeping track of the pins.


jd
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PBR
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby PBR » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:15 am

mr surveyor wrote:
PBR wrote:have you tried smaller batch / less media -- just thought but new one might not handle as much correctly -- i switched to wet tumbling and havent looked back, comes out super clean inside and out, primer pockets and all, great shine too -- i have the frankford wet tumble



That would be my second, and most likely next option. Just not sure I want to deal with keeping track of the pins.


jd

frankford has a magnet that makes it really easy dealing with the pins -- and honestly the brass comes out super clean without the pins, even primer pockets if removed -- the pins do seem to make the brass more shiny but even without them still comes out really clean
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby olafpfj » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:59 am

PBR wrote:
mr surveyor wrote:
PBR wrote:have you tried smaller batch / less media -- just thought but new one might not handle as much correctly -- i switched to wet tumbling and havent looked back, comes out super clean inside and out, primer pockets and all, great shine too -- i have the frankford wet tumble



That would be my second, and most likely next option. Just not sure I want to deal with keeping track of the pins.


jd

frankford has a magnet that makes it really easy dealing with the pins -- and honestly the brass comes out super clean without the pins, even primer pockets if removed -- the pins do seem to make the brass more shiny but even without them still comes out really clean


I have thought about the wet clean...

I think I'm going to take the plunge and get an ultrasonic cleaner. I can use it for other things like my nscale train wheels that are horribly gunked up. If I really want to have the shine I'm still keeping my current tumbler as it will still shine. It was just leaving areas dirty that I could scrape off with my finger nail. What it cleaned shined up nice it just wasn't 100% no matter the size of the batch, length of time, media or how much shine I poured in there.

So with that said...recommendations on an Ultrasonic cleaner? I've heard Hornady mentioned in this thread. :tiphat:
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby george » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:25 pm

My revolver brass never hits the ground, and a vibrator works well for them.

I also have an ultrasonic from work, so have experience with that, too. The problem is that, unless you turn the brass over a few times, the dirt stays in the bottom of the cases.

But, for automatic, range pick-up brass, I have a different technique. I am too cheap to spend $200 for a wet tumbler. And, I worry about having a stainless pin remaining hidden in a case and ruining a barrel. And, my brass has a lot of dirt, mud and grass on it. In a normal wet rotary cleaner, it seems like the dirt will stay in the barrel with the brass.

I do have the rotary media separator from my vibrator. So, I stick my nasty and dirty brass in the rotary cage, and put it in the bucket that came with it. I fill the bucket with some citric acid (LemiShine) and car wash soap, to the top. So, the rotary basket is half submerged in the water. I crank the handle on the cage for 5 or 10 minutes. The dirt falls out of the brass to the bottom of the bucket. The brass gets super shiny bright and clean, but not the primer pockets or the inside.

I suppose you would have to use the pins to get the inside shiny.

I do have to dry the cases. I tried heating them in a small oven, which does dry them quickly, but gives the cases a mottled, old appearance. So, now I just put several thousand spread on a towel to air dry for a few days. They stay shiny like that.

I believe using the car wash with wax keeps the shine longer, and seems to help lubricate them in my dies.
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby mr surveyor » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:44 pm

I've heard both good and not so good comments on most of the commercially available u/s tubs in recent years, but have no personal experience with the "purpose built" models. I still consider myself to be a bit of a newcomer to reloading (a little over 5 years), but when I started out I was looking for a way to clean my revolver brass. I hadn't even noticed advertisements for u/s brass cleaners, but remembered a small tub ultra-sonic tool I bought in 1983 for cleaning drafting pens. I retired it in 1992 when I finally, reluctantly forced myself into the autocad world. It's small, but fast and will easily keep me in clean brass.

There are a lot of substances most folks already have in their kitchen cabinets or refrigerators that work extremely well in the u/s cleaners, generally mild acids. Cheap white vinegar (acetic acid), mixed 50/50 with plain water and a drop or three of Dawn dish soap will get my brass clean in 10-15 minutes. Citric acid, whether from the pickling spices at the grocery store, Lemi-Shine Automatic Dishwashing additive, concentrated lemon or lime juice, or some of the Kool Aid varieties. Then there's the commercial stuff labeled for cleaning brass cases such as Birchwood Casey's that relies on a mild phosphoric acid. Most of the concentrates don't take much, particularly Lemi_Shine.

And, just a warning, do NOT use ammonia containing compounds. Ammonia will react with brass on the molecular level and strip the tin from the copper/tin alloy leaving your cartridge cases brittle.


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Don2
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby Don2 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:57 pm

I've been using vibratory brass cleaners for many years and all my brass comes out just fine. Not like wet cleaning, but almost as good.
Main thing you want is the grit and grime off of them that could affect your dies.

My procedure is simple, I always deprime brass, I use Frankford arsenal walnut media ( Or others ) with some Nu-Finish polish and a splash of mineral spirits.
The amount depends on the size of your bowl.
I make mine where it is just less than damp. Run the tumbler for about 15 mins for all the items to mix well.
Then put brass in and run until you get the desired results. (few hours? )

My brass has always come out very shiny, sometimes most of the insides get clean and same with primer pockets.

One thing I have found is that all vibration cleaners do not clean the same, it all depends on the amplitude and the amount of power they have.

For the last several years I have been using a big Burr-King 200, it's been GREAT, but bought it used in great shape for $100..!! ( Every now and then you find a good deal! )

Before that I was using the RCBS one with the same procedure with good results too.

The Polish and mineral spirits make all the difference....!
Without them it takes forever and the brass does not come out very good.
Read about this procedure online, many use it great results & without issues.

Don2

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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby blackdog8200 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:18 pm

I have both the Frankford SS wet tumbler and the dry media one.
If I have a lot of brass or really dirty brass to process I Deprime (lee Universal de prime) then wet tumble with SS media and they look brand new, clean pockets and shiney inside etc. 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Then I lube, size, trim if necessary and then dry tumble with lizard walnut, a squirt of Frankford brass Polish and a ounce +- of mineral spirits to clean the brass and get that really polished look before priming and loading. Usually 1~2 hours if that long. I use the nitrile gloves for the prime through load stages to keep sweaty hands off them.

If it's just some load testing and a few cases that aren't gritty or dirty I follow the same routine without the wet SS tumble. Or just a 30 minute walnut knock the dirt off tumble.


Santa brought a bag of 500 lake city nato once fired.... They were nasty out of the bag. Two hours later they looked brand new from the stainless steel, Dawn and lemeshine wet treatment. Made them easy to sort damaged and head stamp lots. Small based sized with hornady case wax on the lower 1/3 and a cotton swabed neck on cheap rcbs partner press for "feel" and no stuck cases or hard motions needed.


For what it's worth the bench rest competition guys I know don't tumble brass..... But it never touches the ground. For me it is a OCD pride of workmanship deal. Don't know that the rifle cares.....
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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby uthornsfan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:58 pm

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Re: Tumbler issues

Postby Yankee Girl » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:42 pm

mr surveyor wrote:
PBR wrote:have you tried smaller batch / less media -- just thought but new one might not handle as much correctly -- i switched to wet tumbling and havent looked back, comes out super clean inside and out, primer pockets and all, great shine too -- i have the frankford wet tumble



That would be my second, and most likely next option. Just not sure I want to deal with keeping track of the pins.


jd

It's pretty easy to deal with the pins, but you have to think a bit out of the box - if you've ever made cheese, you already know what I'm thinking of. After you've drained and rinsed the brass, pour the water with the pins through a piece of fine muslin. I just lay the fabric on top of the brass sorter (once it's empty). Rinse water goes through, pins stay on top. Gather up the fabric and twist to get rid of the excess water, and you're done. ;-)
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