Cleaning your brass after firing (or after storage for years) is a necessary part of the handloading process, for a variety of compelling reasons:
- makes the sizing process soother and more effective
- makes it easier to spot cracked, split, or damaged cases
- keeps your dies cleaner and more effective
- makes firearm loading and extraction safer and more effective
There exist 3 ways to efficiently and quickly clean your brass. The use, benefits, and cost will be discussed on the net. Quick preview: they each have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your budget and your willingness to add effort to the cleaning process.
STANDARD TUMBLERS USING ORGANIC MEDIA
Being the "eco-conscious" guy that I am, I put this method of cleaning at the top of the list, as it uses natural walnut shell or corn cob as the cleaning media (thus the terms' "organic", and, hell, it's probably gluten free, for all I know.) The Lyman tumbler, pictured below, is just one example offered by the major manufacturers, all of which will do a fine job of cleaning.
Tumbler media is treated and will not last for ever. Replacing it is a good option, as it is quite inexpensive. Recharging it is another option. Lyman also makes such a product (https://www.lymanproducts.com/brands/ly ... vator.html
ULTRASONIC CASE CLEANERS
Ultrasonic cleaning is not a new thing, as jewelers have been using it for decades. It is relatively new to the shooting world, however. Several of the major manufacturers offer them, and features and cost are usually the only thing which will differentiate them. The RCBS unit is an excellent example (https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10129 ... se-cleaner
.) Here is what they say:
Save time and get reloading faster with the new RCBS® Ultrasonic Case Cleaner. Its 3.2-quart stainless steel tank holds a huge volume of brass cases, rapidly removing tarnish, carbon buildup and metal oxides. Use the keypad and display to select one of five preset temperature settings and set the timer from 1 to 30 minutes to match their case-cleaning needs. Use with RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (sold separately) for perfect results every time. It features a powerful 60W transducer, 100W ceramic heater, 36kHz ultrasonic frequency and a sensor that indicates when to change out solution. The cleaner has a degas function, plastic basket, and convenient drain valve and tube.
From the RCBS website:
TUMBLERS USING STEEL BALLS IN SOLUTION
Using steel balls as a cleaning media is a relatively new process. This media is placed in the tumbler along with your cases, water, and dish detergent. Sinclair offers this unit and has prepared a video of its features, benefits and instructions, see: https://www.sinclairintl.com/reloading- ... 42993.aspx
Here is what Sinclair says:
CLEANING MADE EASIER
The Sinclair Stainless Steel Tumbling Kit features Thumler’s Tumblers Model “B” 15 lb. tumbler and 5 lbs. of Stainless Steel tumbling media. This kit can handle up to 2 pounds of brass and is designed for wet tumbling use. DO NOT DRY TUMBLE!!!! Put the 5 pounds of Stainless Steel media into the tumbler, fill with 1 gallon of cold water, and add up to 2 pounds of brass and a couple teaspoons of dish washing detergent. The tumbler usually needs about 3-4 hours to completely clean the brass. Remove brass from solution, rinse with cold water and dry. Once finished, your brass will be cleaned inside and out, even in the primer pocket. For additional shine on your brass, tumble them for a short time in a standard vibratory tumbler with corncob media and polish.
If you are using a traditional walnut shell/corn cob media cleaner, you know how big of a PITA it is to separate the media from the brass. The solution is simple and inexpensive - a tumbler separator. Just about everybody makes one or has their name put on one, and they all operate the same. You dump the contents of your tumbler (brass and media) into a slotted basket, which is turned until all of the media exits out the slots. What is left in the basket are the cleaned cases, sans the media.
RCBS makes one and says this (http://rcbs.com/Products/Case-Preparati ... rator.aspx
In short order, separate the cleaned cases from the cleaning media. Merely empty the cases and media from the case cleaner into the separator basket. With several turns of the basket handle, the media falls to the bottom of the separator, leaving the cases clean and ready to use. The fine dust from the media is trapped inside the separator.