Need to clean really tarnished brass?

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Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#1

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:44 pm

I've been way behind tumbling brass for so long I didn't know where to begin. I use the large Dillon tumbler CV-2001, with crushed walnut shells from Clemtex. I used a brass polish called Rooster Bright for years, but the price that was always high finally got to the point I had to do something else. For about five years now, I've been using the cheapest car polish I can find and it's usually NuFinish.

Today I found some brass that was severely tarnished. I tumbled it for two hours with walnut hulls and NuFinish and although it was clean, it looked terrible. I decided to try a small amount of Mequiars' #2 and the results were amazing! I may start using it on all of my brass. It's only about $2 higher than NuFinish when bought through Amazon, so cost isn't a factor. Plus, unless you are cleaning muddy brass, the same load of walnut hulls will last a long time.

So, if you have some really nasty brass, you may want to give this a try. I may even try some Turtle Polishing Compound on severely tarnished brass. A polishing compound is abrasive, but only marginally so, but I'll use it only on the worst of the brass.

Chas.

Edited to Add: Forget what I said about using Meguiar's!!! Some of it works very well, some of it is terrible. Stick with car polish or whatever else you like.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#2

Post by SRO1911 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:03 am

I'm not familiar with the Maguire, but I try to remind everyone - be careful with any compounds which include ammonia. Ammonia will weaken brass over time.
Even though media is cheap, I'm cheaper. To make your tumbling media last longer, cob or walnut, tear a used dryer sheet into quarters and throw it in the tumbler. Change it out when it's black.
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#3

Post by Beiruty » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:12 am

I went from Ultrasonic Cleaning to SS Wet Tumbling, Once I saw the first batch done, the Hornady Ultrasonic Cleaner is collecting dust on the rack.
I only use a squeeze or two of Armorall Wash and Wax and half a spoon of Lemishine in Frankford Arsenal Wet tumbler.

50mins and here is a sample
Image
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#4

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:12 am

I used a Tumler's Tumbler for many years, but went to vibratory cleaners because they are so much faster! I must admit that I like the looks of brass that have been cleaned in a rotary tumble using stainless steel pins, but it would take a huge rotary tumbler to match the capacity of my Dillon. Also, I don't want the added work of having to dry the brass.

I'd be surprised to find any car polish that has ammonia. It would be very harmful to both clear coat and base coat.

Chas.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#5

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:17 am

Beiruty wrote:I went from Ultrasonic Cleaning to SS Wet Tumbling, Once I saw the first batch done, the Hornady Ultrasonic Cleaner is collecting dust on the rack.
I only use a squeeze or two of Armorall Wash and Wax and half a spoon of Lemishine in Frankford Arsenal Wet tumbler.

50mins and here is a sample
Image
Thanks a lot; now I have another iron in the fire! I need to build a large (5 gal.) wet tumbler. How do you dry the brass? The primer/primer picket would tend to hold water quite well and I don't want it in my press.

Chas.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#6

Post by Beiruty » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:20 am

Chas,

The last batch (in the picture above) was run maybe 45min to 50mins. I have the food dehydration type dryer for Brass. However, To get the SS pins out of the cases, I do use Lyman media separator and I spin the cases in both directions for few minutes. This way, SS pins are out, water is expelled out of the cases. I lay the cases down on old shower towel 30 minutes or so. Then, rubbing the cases with the towel and said cases are good to go on the press.

Also, if I need to clean the primer pocket.
1) SS Wet tumbling for 30 mins
2) Air Dry or Hot Air Dehydration.
3) Deprime and size, On AP with case feeder, 1-stage only. It goes very fast...
4) SS Wet tumbling for 30 mins
5) Air Dry or Hot Air Dehydration.

Result: As clean as new including the primer pockets.

I tried the oven drying method too. Pre-heat to 175F-180F, lay the cases on cooking sheet in the oven for 20min or so. Remove the cases from the oven. Let them cool and they are good to go too. Media Separator may cut the oven time by 50%.
That being said, my wife was like :bigmouth :anamatedbanana :anamatedbanana
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#7

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:23 pm

Forget what I said about using Meguiar's!!! Some of it works very well, some of it is terrible. Stick with car polish or whatever else you like.

Chas.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#8

Post by SRO1911 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:20 pm

FYI
Putting several pillow cases full of brass in your dryer is very effective, and loud.
Forgetting to remove said brass before the spousal superior returns home is also VERY LOUD.
When any govt, or church,says This you can't read, are forbidden to know, the result is tyranny and oppression. Little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked; no force can control a free man, not the rack, bombs, not anything, you can't conquer a free man, at most you can kill him.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#9

Post by Crossfire » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:46 pm

Are you guys shooting this or making jewelry? ;-)
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#10

Post by Keith B » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:10 pm

Crossfire wrote:Are you guys shooting this or making jewelry? ;-)
"rlol"
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#11

Post by mrvmax » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:30 am

SRO1911 wrote:FYI
Putting several pillow cases full of brass in your dryer is very effective, and loud.
Forgetting to remove said brass before the spousal superior returns home is also VERY LOUD.
Smaller amounts of brass are dried quickly in a sock (I use the gun storage "socks") using a hair dryer - it takes 30-40 seconds to dry around 50 pieces of brass. I can see how the clothes dryer would work well for large amounts, I never process over 100 rounds at a time so the hair dryer method works for me.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#12

Post by 1wise1 » Mon May 16, 2016 2:50 am

For tarnished or really dirty brass I use Citric Acid (Whole Foods or health food stores have it). A very small amount - quarter of a tea spoon of the powder in a gallon of hot water poured over a dish pan or bucket of brass. Stir or swish it around and let it sit for 10 or 20 minutes then drain off the mixture and keep it for the next batch. Just reheat to a boil and pour again. Air dry for a dull shine or tumble in walnut or other mixture of choice.
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#13

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Mon May 16, 2016 12:33 pm

I'm starting to agree with Crossfire. We aren't making jewelry!!

I seriously looked into wet tumbling, but that's way too much work. Separating the stainless pins from the brass, then drying the brass are two operations I don't have to deal with with my current system.

I can run my Dillon vibratory cleaner for about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs using walnut hulls and car polish and the outside of the brass looks great. It doesn't clean the inside, but in 40+ years of reloading, that's never been a problem.

Thanks for the information folks, but added work is something I don't need.
Chas.

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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#14

Post by tomneal » Mon May 16, 2016 12:47 pm

My brass seems shinier when tumbled with corn cob than it does with walnut.
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Re: Need to clean really tarnished brass?

#15

Post by flintknapper » Mon May 16, 2016 1:19 pm

I can run my Dillon vibratory cleaner for about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs using walnut hulls and car polish and the outside of the brass looks great. It doesn't clean the inside, but in 40+ years of reloading, that's never been a problem.
I use a vibratory cleaner, walnut shells, NuFinish AND a few used 'dryer sheets' (clothes softeners). My wife thinks the dryer is eating them. I'm good with that. :mrgreen:

The dryer sheets collect a lot of the dirt/grime that is removed by the walnut shells. If you don't 'clean' your media this way then you will always have less than shiny brass.

The NuFinish does help impart a protective 'finish' on the brass and probably helps a little in removing tarnish, but the abrasive action of the Walnut Shells is responsible for most of the work.

The Dryer sheets come out looking pretty dirty after a couple of uses, proof that they are helping remove the crud that is floating around in the media.
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