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TheOldPro

Need a little more help on case cleaning

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I have run a few batches of 9mm cases through my Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ vibratory tumbler lately, and have not been totally satisfied with the results. On the cases with powder burns near the mouth of the case, the powder burns are still visible after cleaning. I have been using Lyman Turbo Tumbler walnut media for the first run (I know I don't have a turbo tumbler, but it is walnut, after all, and I didn't notice the distinction until after I got it), and then come back with the corn-cob media, but the discoloration still remains, and I let it run all night. I know that the discoloration won't hurt the shooting, but it irritates me that I can't get rid of it short of using steel wool.

Am I expecting too much, or is there something I am not doing that I should be doing? When you shoot as poorly as I do, you at least want the cases to be pretty. Any suggestions short of "Give it Up" will be appreciated. Even that might if I can't get this figured out. Take a break from getting ready for the Rondy and let me hear from you.

 

OP

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Can you post a picture of before and after you tumble your brass?

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Can you post a picture of before and after you tumble your brass?

I can do an "after", but I might have a little trouble right now with doing a "before" on the last batch. I'll try to do the "after" tomorrow on this batch, if you will check back then. I'll also try to run another batch of 50 or so tomorrow, picking out only the ones with powder marks, and I'll take the "before" and "after" pictures of that batch. With my luck, they will probably come out perfect, and you won't be able to tell anything.

 

Do you add any polish to the media?

Yes, to the corn-cob media, not the walnut. I'm wondering if that helped or hurt.

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Really dirty brass I do a short run to knock off the big stuff , then follow with a long run with polisher in it . But mostly the discoloration doesn't bother me .

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Can you post a picture of before and after you tumble your brass?

My camera is not good enough to do a close-up that you can make anything out of. You really can't tell much by these pictures. When I can, I'll borrow my grandson's camera and re-post. This is what my camera takes: (with the multiple cases, you can barely see the discoloration on the ones on the right.

The one 2nd from the left didn't clean up well at all, as you might be able to make out.)

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I don't have any before pictures but heres some brass that was range picked up grungy as could be , after running 45 minutes in a wet tumbler with stainless steel pins. It is way faster and nicer then I could ever get with my vibrator .

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Those do look good. Are the steel pins exclusive to the wet tumblers? No way to use them in the vibrators, I don;t suppose? Before I got this vibratory tumbler, I used my grandson's rock polisher tumbler in a wet medium using the fine abrading material provided in his kit along with some corn cob chunks I made myself from corn cobs picked up in a nearby field. It worked, and would get any case clean, no matter where it had been. It was also messy, and worked best set at the far end of a long field where I could just barely hear its noise. A jumbo jet was quiet by comparison. That's why I started looking for another cleaning method I could afford. I don't shoot or load enough to justify one of the $300 set-ups, since this is more of a time-killer for me than anything else.

Mark, if you would, post a picture here of your set-up with those steel pins. I've read a little about them, but seeing would be better. I might be able to figure out a way to combine or adapt methods by seeing what it is supposed to look like. Thanks for the picture, by the way.

 

OP

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Heres a picture of my tumbler I got it on sale a few years ago for way less then they cost now. I have seen several online homemade out of large pvc pipe and old electric motor , shouldn't be that costly to make.I don't know if you can use the pins in a vibrator or not I don't think they would though.

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I almost forgot to tell you to not get spots on then after tumbling rinse them off and put in a food dehydrater for a little while no spots and they look as good as or better then new brass.

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Mark, thanks for the pictures. I think I could make the rock tumbler that I already have work by just buying a pound or so of the steel media. Mine looks to be about 1/3 the size of your set-up (about a quart), but then again, I'm dealing in smaller quantities of cases, so the principle is the same. I see you have a magnetic pick-up (I've been reading on this since your reply). On a small scale, is it possible to get by without one, or even on a small scale do you think I need one? In other words, is it possible to recover the pins effectively minus the magnet? I would only use this for the dirtiest of cases, and the ones with the burn marks, so I would usually only be cleaning maybe 30 or so cases at a time.

 

OP

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Jerry,

I sent you a PM.

 

:D

Got it. Pm'd back. Thanks.

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The rock tumbler should do fine on small batches, you just need to get some liquid brass cleaner and stainless steel pins and something to strain them to separate the brass and pins. I don't know any place that sells les then 5lbs of pins might have to do some looking for that. The magnet does make separating much easier but for small batch just any magnet should work.

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I don't know any place that sells les then 5lbs of pins

eBay has them in virtually all weights, from 1 lb. to 50 or more. I'm leaning toward the 2 lb. package for $18.50, if I decide to give it a go. For that rock tumbler, 1 lb. should be enough, and the extra pound is for eventual loss of the pins over time. Some of the reading I did earlier said that using a couple of teaspoons of Dawn or Ivory dishwashing soap, and some Lemi-shine gets the job done with the pins. I might give that a go to start with if I go with this.

One of the knocks I have read on this system is that it can deform the case mouth by actually rolling them inward somewhat. I don't really see that as being an issue, but have you had any problems with that happening?

 

OP

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