How to Clean Brass for Reloading With & Without Tumbler

Brass is one of the essential metals, and we use this metal for various purposes. It’s crucial for industries as well as daily life. And thus, this metal gets dirty.

So, for using this metal incessantly, we need to clean it. We can clean it in different ways. Such as Tumbling, Ultrasonic cleaning, or without Tumbling.

How to clean brass for reloading

Here we will talk about two ways only. They are:

  1. Cleaning with Tumbler
  2. Cleaning without Tumbler


What is a Tumbler?

Tumbler is a bowl cleaner that vibrates. It has a bowl-shaped hopper with an electric motor. The hopper is covered, and the motor is mounted to the bottom. You will find an offset weight installed on the motor’s shaft.

When you turn on the motor, it makes the bowl vibrate. The purpose is to vibrate the container, not to spin it. And the motor does a decent job vibrating the bowl.

The bowl looks like a cake pan. It is upside down in shape. It has a central pedestal and rounded bottom. The shape of the bowl, actually, helps in cleaning.

Cost: A tumbler costs around 50-200$. People mostly use these for industrial purposes. You can check out our buying guide about the best case tumbler from here.

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Cleaning Brass for Reloading with Tumbler

Cleaning with tumbler is again of two types:

  1. Dry Tumbling
  2. Wet Tumbling

Dry Tumbling

As we don’t use any water in this process, it is called dry tumbling.

Materials: Some materials are essential. Such as;

  • Tumbler: It’s a must, while the process has a name cleaning with Tumbler Cleaning.
  • Media: Crushed walnut shells or corn cob bits.
  • Media Additives: You can add some polishing compound to the media additives.
  • Media Separator: It will help you to clean separate brasses from the mixture.

Procedure: To clean the brasses with a tumbler, you need to follow some steps;

  • Fill the bowl with cleaning media. Such as walnut shells or cob bits.
  • Turn the switch on. The motor will vibrate the bowl.
  • Pour dirty brass into it. Don’t pour all the brasses at a time. Give it gradually.
  • Wait for two hours.

Result: After a couple of hours, brass will come out of the vibrator. Due to the vibration and friction inside the bowl, brass will be clean, shining. The dirt remains downside. It gets stacked with the cleaning media.

Safety: You need to take some safety measures as well. Like, the below-mentioned;

The tumbler removes residue from the brass. It mixes with the additive media. Primer residue is dangerous. It contains a poison called Lead Styphnate. It is terrible for blood and lever. To get rid of this poison, get rid of the media as soon as possible.

While the bowl is rotating, always keep a safe distance.

Wet Tumbling

We use water or liquid in this type of tumbling.

Materials: The materials that you will need are;

  1. Tumbler
  2. Cleaning Solution
  3. Water
  4. Steel Pins

In the place of a bowl, you need an old rock tumbling machine. It has a drum. You need to use a motor to spin this drum.

Procedure: It’s almost the same procedure. Just need to use water in this process.

  • Fill the drum with water. Pour some cleaning solution into it.
  • After that, pour the brass you want to clean into it. Then pour pins.
  • Start the motor. It will spin the drum.
  • Leave it for some time. The drum will spin. The cleaning solution and pins will get every dirt out of the brass.

Result: You will get clean wet brass after some time. You need to dry them also. Otherwise, the task will remain incomplete.

Drying procedure: Spread all the brass in a towel. After that, dry them under the sun. It will take some time. But eventually, you will get clean, dry brass.

Safety: You need to keep a certain distance from the drum. Some pieces may get out of the drum and hit you. It might be dangerous.
Collect the pins immediately after you have finished. They might be harmful.

Tips: Always sort the brass before tumbling. It is applicable for both dry and wet tumbling. Otherwise, the smaller cases will get logged into larger ones. You will have a problem to differentiate then.


Cleaning Brass for Reloading without Tumbler

You can clean brass at your home also.

Materials: The equipment’s you are going to need are:

  1. Hot water
  2. Bucket
  3. Cleaning solution
  4. Soap

Procedure: The procedures are pretty simple:

  • Pour the hot water into your bucket.
  • Mix the cleaning solution and soap with the water.
  • Pour brass into the water.
  • Use your hand. Squash the brass with the mixture. Do it over and over again.
  • Repeat the procedure multiple times.

Result: After doing it for sometimes, you will get clean wet brass.

Drying Procedure: Take all the brass. Spread them all over a towel. Take the towel under the sun. Keep it for some moments. You will get clean, dry brass.

Safety: As no heavy equipment are used in this procedure, you don’t need to take a lot of safety measures. But for basic safety, you may wear gloves during the process.

Also, make certain the water is not too hot.

Tips: Sort out the brass before action. It’s very important. After cleaning brass, restore the bucket properly. Try not to use it for other purposes.


Wrapping up

Well! Guess what! We are done with cleaning. Hope it helped.

From those two procedures, try to use the first one for industrial purposes. You can use the last one if you have a few brass to clean. Definitely, the first two procedures will give you a better result.

And don’t forget to take the safety measures before you perform. It’s inherent.

That was all for today. Will be back with some more informative article.
Stay safe! Stay happy.

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox writes on a variety of topics ranging from reloading ammunition to gun cleaning. He has been featured on various publications like thetruthaboutguns, Sofrep & many more. Joseph is also the founder of Gunloading, where he reviews different types of reloading & firearm products available on the market.