myglimk2 wrote:How important is it to tumble the brass? Are there any other methods to cleaning them?
I don't personally use this, but I know a lot of people who do. Some do this then tumble, others use it instead of tumbling:
Fellow reloaders, I would like to share with you a super secret-squirrel method for getting a fantastic shine on your brass when you do your initial cleaning. Getting our brass shiny is a subject that is near and dear to most of us, some more than others... I would consider myself a Tier 1 brass shiner, and with great brass shinification skills, comes the great responsibility of sharing these methods with my friends!
So without further boasting about my metalurgical magic trickery, let us begin: First we are going to need some brass... For the purposes of this period of instruction, I am going to use some once fired, HXP .30-06 surplus. It was picked up right after firing, and is in not bad shape, such as would be most range pickups that have been sitting around tarnishing for millenia. Next, we need to gather our magical ingredients. The easy one, which you probably have under the kitchen sink already, is Dawn dish detergent. I use the ultra-concentrated flavor for more magical sudsiness. I like suds. The next ingredient, is a product called Lemi Shine. It can only be found on the shelves of Walmart, in the dishwashing aisle. Be sure to purchase the powder form of the product, and not the liquid. The liquid form is about as useful as........nevermind...its useless. Now we are ready to make said magical brass shinin' brew... You will need a tupperware container with lid. I am using a 3 liter Rubbermaid bowl with lid. It is big enough to hold a couple hundred pieces of brass, and enough magic brew to get the job done. Begin by adding a squirt of Dawn.... Now we add a pinch (I use anywhere from a .45acp shellcasing, to a tablespoon full) of Lemi Shine. Any more than that, and your just wasting it. A container of this stuff should last a LONG time. Next we want to fill the container about half full of HOT tap water. Then dump in your filthy brass....Notice the awesome suds. Now place the lid on the container. Be sure to not seal it good so your significant other can laugh at you during the next step.... Ahhhh.....my favorite part! SHAKE IT LIKE YOUR MAD AT IT!!!!!! Now we are going to let this wonderful sudsy concoction work its magic overnight. If I start early enough, I like to go and give it a good shaking every couple of hours or so to keep everything sudsy and happpy....If you are really motivated, (and want to get to Tier 1 brass shining status with extra credit bonus points and a gold star), then you can refresh the entire brew with newly mixed brew and hot water. This step is not necessary, but will yield measurable results. Here are the nasties soaking in the brew.... Now that our filthy little brass pieces have soaked overnight, lets open the lid and get these bad boys rinsed off....Grab yourself a cheap plastic collander from the dollar store if you dont already have one (makes a good poor boy media separator too!), and dump the brass in and give a good rinse. Now let us compare and see how the brew worked..... Filthy, unwashed heathen brass on the left, soaked happy cleansed brass on the right. (does anyone detect my subtle symbolism here?) As we can see, the Lemi Shine concoction has done its job and loosened a lot of the carbon and filth from the brass, making the job of our tumbling media a little easier...It also helps keep your media clean longer. Although I never do this myself, a step you might want to take is to dry your brass off a bit by either laying them out on a towel, or out in the sun. I usually just shake mine out really well in the collander. Now its time for the fun part! Dump that brass in your favorite vibratory tumbling device, with some CLEAN media. I have only used corncob, but walnut probably works just as well. You will not need to put any additives such as polish in at this time. I would also reccomend not using walnut media that has been treated. If you must use walnut, grab some lizard bedding from the local pet store and save yourself a bunch of money! Now that we have let our brass run for a while...(times will vary depending on just how filty your little pieces of brass are), lets put on our sunglasses and take a look..... Tadaaaaa! I let this particular batch run about 2hrs because they had some stubborn tarnish from being stored for 60 years. And now for the comparison....Once again, nasty uncleaned brass on left, Lemi Shine soaked brass in the middle, and soaked/tumbled brass on the right. I hope you have found this document informative, and that you have good results using this method of putting the ultimate shine on your brass. Happy Reloading!