June 11th, 2019

Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass — Some Smart Solutions

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Ace tactical shooter and gunsmith Jim See of Elite Accuracy LLC recently tested a Frankford Arsenal rotary brass tumbler. Like the older Thumbler’s Tumblers, this can tumble your cases in a liquid solution. The wet-tumbling process worked very well Jim reports. Posting on Facebook, Jim noted: “I was super impressed with the Frankford Arsenal rotary tumbler and cleaning packs they sent me. I ran 350 pieces of brass for one hour. They now look great.” Jim appreciated not having to deal with dry tumbling media, such as crushed walnut shells. Dry media produces dust and can leave residues or clog flash-holes.

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers Frankford Arsenal wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Interestingly, Jim recommends you try wet-tumbling WITHOUT using stainless media. At least give it a try. Tumbling without media simplifies the process and you don’t have to worry about pins stuck in flash-holes or case-necks*. Jim reports: “Stainless steel pins come with the Frankford kit, but mine hit the trash right out of the box. There is no need to clean the inside of your cases 100% and that’s all the pins add to the equation. The brass bumping brass with hot water and Frankford’s liquid cleaner works great all by itself.” One wag stated: “That’s great to hear. Stainless steel pins are a PITA.”

Other Facebook posters concurred with Jim’s evaluation of the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler:

“I’ve had one for a couple years, and it works well. I usually run about 250-300 Dasher cases at once in it. But I use the pins because I’m OCD about clean brass.” — David W.

“I’ve had one for a year and a half and it definitely works with or without pins.” — Luke C.

“I got one about six months ago and have yet to use any SS media. I just use some dawn, distilled water, and Lemi Shine®. Turns nasty 5.56 range brass bright and shiny.” — Brian D.

“I don’t use the pins either and use a combination of Dawn soap and Lemi Shine.” — Jon N.G.

This video shows how to assemble and operate the Frankford rotary tumbler. But note, Jim See does NOT feel that it is necessary to use stainless media.

How to Dry Your Brass — Hair Dryer Vs. Machine

The downside of wet tumbling is that you end up with a pile of wet brass at the end of the cleaning cycle. There are many ways to dry brass, from drying in the sun to using a kitchen oven (be careful not to “overcook” your brass). One Facebook poster asked Jim: “What is your drying method for wet brass, and how long does it take?”

Jim See replied: “To start I just drain off the dirty water, and rinse the brass with clean hot water. Then I roll the brass on a towel for 30 seconds and put the brass in a one-gallon bucket. Next I insert a hair dryer in the bucket (with the brass) and let it run for about 5 minutes. With this procedure, the drying process for me is done in less than 10 minutes.”

Jack Lanhart has another method: “I use a food dehydrator. It takes 30 to 45 minutes.”

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass Frankford Arsenal stainless media lapua cleaning dryer dyhydrator frankford Lyman Cyclone

For those who don’t want to mess with towels and hair dryers, Frankford Arsenal offers a matching Platinum Series Case Dryer that simplifies the process of drying brass. Lyman also makes an excellent Cyclone Case Dryer. Both drying machines cost about $60.00 and both have multiple levels so you can separate different types of cartridge brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The Lyman dryer can also be used for ultrasonically-cleaned gun parts.

Cyclone Lyman Case cartridge dryer dehydrator


*The Frankford Rotary tumbler does include media separators if you choose to use the provided pins or other media. CLICK HERE for diagram showing how to use media separators.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
April 16th, 2019

Brass Cleaning Options — Tumbling, Ultrasonic, Chemical & More

cartridge brass cleaning tumbler tumbling vibratory Wipe Out

Shiny brass — it may not shoot more accurately, but it does make you feel better about your hand-loaded ammo. While it’s not necessary to get brass “bright and shiny” after every firing, it is a good idea to clean powder residue, grime, and grit off your brass before you run cases into sizing dies. There are many ways to clean cartridge cases. A quick wipe with solvent on a patch may suffice for recently-shot cases. Older brass with baked-on carbon may require lengthy tumbling. Ultrasonic cleaning is another popular option that gets your brass clean inside and out.

Sinclair International has a series of helpful videos on brass cleaning. These short “how-to” videos, hosted by Bill Gravatt, Sinclair’s past President, cover the various processes you can use — tumbling, ultrasonic cleaning, chemical cleaning, and cleaning by hand.

Video ONE — Cleaning Brass in Vibratory or Rotary Tumbler

TIP: Brass that has recently been shot will clean more easily than brass that has been sitting many days or weeks. If your tumbling media is fresh the job should be done in an hour or less. It’s your choice whether to tumble with primers removed or with primers still in the cases. If you choose to tumble with primers out, we suggest you deprime with a depriming die, rather that put dirty brass into your sizing die. Some people like to add a teaspoon of liquid polish to the media. This does work, cutting tumble time, and making your brass more shiny. However, if you add liquid polish, do that BEFORE you add the brass and let the tumbler run for a 15 minutes to get the polish completely mixed into the media. Otherwise you can else up with gooey gunk inside your cases — a very bad thing.

Video TWO — Ulstrasonic Case Cleaning

TIP: There are many different types of solutions you can use. Soapy water suffices for some folks, particularly if you add a little Lemi-Shine. The Hornady and Lyman solutions work well, and can be used multiple times, provided you strain the solution to remove dirt and grit after cleaning sessions. Many ultrasonic cleaning machines have timers. Experiment with dwell time to see how long you need to immerse your brass. A very small amount of Ballistol in the solution will help lubricate your necks on the inside. This can make bullet seating go more smoothly, with more consistent neck tension.

Video THREE — Chemical Cleaners (Soaking without Ultrasound)

TIP: After using chemical cleaners, such as the Iosso solution, you need to water-rinse your brass thoroughly. A kitchen strainer helps with this (see video at 0:20). Also, don’t forget your brass in the chemical solution — follow the manufacturers recommendations and don’t exceed the recommended dwell time. Chemical cleaners work surprisingly well to remove grease and grime, and the solution can be re-used multiple times. However, if you want your cases to look bright and shiny (like new brass), you will probably have to tumble. [Editor: A very effective new chemical cleaner is the Brass Monkey product from the makers of Wipe-Out and Carb-Out. Add a teaspoon to a gallon of water then soak your brass for 20-30 minutes. It really works — the cases clean up dramatically].

Video FOUR — Manual Cleaning (By Hand)

TIP: Keep some oversize patches in your range kit. At the end of your shooting sessions, wipe off your fired brass with a patch dampened with a mild, non-corrosive solvent (once again Ballistol works well). Before the carbon sets up on your brass it is very easy to remove. For tougher jobs, you can use 0000 Steel Wool (as Bill recommends in the video). You may find that timely hand-cleaning lets you avoid tumbling altogether — or you may choose to tumble (or ultra-sound) your brass only after a half-dozen or so firings.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »
April 8th, 2019

Bargain-Finder 185: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Midsouth — Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler LITE, $99.99

Frankford Aresenal Tumbler Sale

Wet-tumbling with stainless media gets large quantities of cartridge brass clean inside and out. If you’ve wanted to try wet-tumbling, here’s your chance. Midsouth has the Frankford Arsenal Platinum LITE Tumbler on sale for just $99.99 — a total steal. If you run large quantities of brass, you can get the larger-capacity Frankford Arsenal Platinum Tumbler for $179.99. Either one of these is a reliable, durable (and watertight) machine that should provide years of worry-free tumbling.

2. Grizzly Bald Eagle — Great Range Bag and Rifle Case Sale

Deals of the week Grizzly rifle case gun bag utility case blowout closeout sale

Grab one of these Bald Eagle rifle cases or range bags at up to 50% off. These are way better than typical too-skinny rifle cases or flimsy fabric bags. The rifle cases have plenty of storage for your match needs and the padding is very good. The box-style range bags have thick closed-cell foam panels in the base, top, and sides. That gives these bags good “wall strength”, so they don’t collapse like typical range bags. These are more like a quality camera-case.

AccurateShooter.com Editor’s Bald Eagle 20″ Range Bag with Spotting Scope:
bald eagle range bag 20 spotting scope

As you can see, the Bald Eagle 20″ range bag is quite big inside with lots of padding. We use this bag to carry our spotting scope and a small tripod, plus lots of other gear in the pockets. The near-full-width front pocket is very handy. We really like this 20″ range bag, which is a total steal at just $15.97. In fact the Editor likes his 20″ Bald Eagle bag so much he just ordered a second, along with two 15″ bags.

3. Graf’s — Frankford Arsenal M-Press + Extras, $249.99

frankford arsenal m-press sale

Frankford Arsenal has been getting a lot of press since SHOT Show with a bounty of new products. Topping the list of must-have items is the M-Press. This press takes all the proven concepts of a Co-Axial press and improves on them. It has reversible cam-over bars plus an LED light, quick-adjusting shell-holders, and many other notable features. Right now Grafs.com is offering the new Frankford M-Press for $249.99. If you need any more incentive, Graf’s is offering a FREE set of three (3) additional die blocks, plus a handy kinetic bullet puller. Nobody else is offering anything like this especially since the M-Press is so new. [Editor: Watch for our M-Press review later this month.]

4. Midsouth — Sierra Loaded Ammunition Sale

Sierra ammunition sale

Sierra is renowned for making quality bullets but did you know Sierra also produces great loaded ammo for hunters? Available in many of the most popular calibers and featuring GameKing bullets, Sierra’s GameChanger Ammunition could just be the edge you’re looking for on your next hunt. Midsouth has GameChanger ammo on sale right now. Stock up before hunting season arrives and prices go up.

5. Bruno Shooters Supply — Nightforce NXS 5.5-22 Scope, $1699

“night

Nightforce NXS scopes are some of the best optics in their price range. Given their popularity, it’s rare to find NXS models on sale. Right now Bruno’s is discounting these fine scopes, so this is a great buying opportunity. Grab either the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x50mm or the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56mm at a blow out price of $1699. This power range is one of the most popular out there so to buy one of these for over $300 off is a deal you can’t pass up.

6. Bullet Central — Bix’N Andy Trigger with Free Cleaning Kit

BixN' Andy B&A Trigger sale

Bix’N Andy makes some of the very best trigger systems on the planet. It’s rare that you ever see them associated with any kind of promotion. If you’ve been waiting for a good reason to get a Bix’N Andy trigger, here is your chance. Bullet Central is now offering a free 8 oz. ThorroClean kit with every Bix’N Andy purchase. ThorroClean by Iosso works is a two-part bore flush/bore cleaning package that removes fouling with minimal dwell time. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed with a Bix’N Andy trigger, and the deal provides a little extra incentive.

7. Amazon — 60 Jourdak Quality Earplugs for $12.95

disposable earplug sale

Ever arrived at the range and realized you left your earmuffs at home? It’s happened to us all. That’s why you should keep some extra ear-plugs in your rifle cases and range bags. Right now you can buy a 60-count bottle of Jourdak soft earplugs for $12.95. Buyers say these SNR 35 dB plugs, which “heat-mold” to your ear canal, are very comfortable and effective. Plus there is a 10% Off instant coupon for the Jourdaks. We also recommend the Howard Leight Max-1 ear-plugs. These NRR 33 plugs are comfortable and easy to insert. You can get 20 pairs of Max-1s for just $4.95. Either option comes with free shipping. Remember, always wear effective hearing protection while at the range.

TECH NOTE Concerning NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) and SNR (Single Number Rating)
The highest NRR rating for earplugs is 33, and the highest available NRR rating for earmuffs is 31. These values reflect the level of noise protection available for each device when worn alone. Combining earplugs with earmuffs can offer a NRR protection level of 36. The SNR (single number rating) is a rating system used in the European Union to indicate the amount of protection offered by correctly-fitted hearing protection devices. Source: Protectear.com

8. Palmetto State Armory — S&W M&P 15-22, $299.99

SMITH & WESSON M&P 15-22 SPORT RIFLE .22LR

In our view, every gun guy (and gun gal) should own a nice self-loading .22 LR rimfire rifle. And if you own an AR, it makes sense to have a rimfire rig with the same balance and ergonomics. That’s what the M&P 15-22 is all about — AR ergos with rimfire economy. With bulk .22 LR ammo, your cost-per-shot is under nine cents per round! Right now at Palmetto State Armory, the popular Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport is just $299.99 on sale. That’s not much more than a basic Ruger 10/22 and we like this S&W 15-22 much better — it’s great for plinking and rimfire action disciplines. This rifle can use most AR15-family accessories, and it comes with Magpul MBUS sights, and M-Lok rails.

9. Amazon — TACVASEN Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt, $29.99

military shirt sale

Let’s face it, looking good at a match can be almost as important as feeling good. Now you can do both with lightweight TACVASEN Long Sleeve Shirts. The TACVASEN Men’s Slim Fit Long Sleeve Combat Shirt is available in nine different colors, including four with camo sleeves. PRS guys would like these shirts. They fit right so you can run stages without snagging range carts or barriers. These zip-collar shirts feature 65% polyester, 35% cotton fabric for breathability and quick drying. These shirts have earned a 4-star rating with 163 buyer reviews.

10. Amazon — 2.5 Pounds Stainless Tumbling Pins, $19.50

stainless tumbling pins

Are you considering the Frankford Arsenal tumbler featured above? It’s a great machine. But you’ll also need stainless media for it. Here’s your solution. Amazon sells 2.5 lbs of stainless tumbling media for a mere $19.50. Amazon also offers even larger quantities of stainless steel tumbling pins if you need more than a couple pounds for those really big jobs.

Weekly Deals sourced by F-Class John.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 27th, 2017

New Hornady Reloading Products for 2018

hornady reloading tools 2018

With its 2018 product roll-out, Hornady has introduced two new reloading products that look promising. There is a new modular, vibratory powder trickler, plus a new rotary tumbler for wet-tumbling brass.

New Cordless Vibratory Powder Trickler:

hornady reloading tools 2018

Hornady’s new modular Vibratory Trickler, powered by two AAA batteries, features variable settings to trickle all kinds of powders. The clever modular design allow you to separate the actual trickler dispensing unit from the base (a cord connects base to trickler). That lets you position the trickler next to your scale with the separate control unit convenient to your hand. This also makes cleanup more easy.

    Product Features:

  • Trickles all powders
  • Light-up LED screen
  • High, low, and variable trickle settings
  • Use in base or outside of base
  • No-slip base, weighted for stability

New Hornady Rotary Case Tumbler

hornady reloading tools 2018

Hornady’s new, large-capacity rotary tumbler can be used to wet-tumble cartridge brass. This will clean and polish brass inside and out quickly when used with the included steel pin tumbling media. The large, six-liter drum holds five pounds of brass cases. Set tumbler to run for up to eight hours in half-hour increments using the digital timer. This new rotary tumbler is designed to be used with Hornady One Shot Sonic Clean Solution.

Note: we do recommend you test with your brass to ensure the steel pin media does not jam in flash holes. And always inspect each case after the tumbling cycle.

See other new Hornady reloading products at https://www.hornady.com/new-products/reloading.

Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 22nd, 2016

New Lyman Cyclone Rotary Tumbler with Dual Media Separators

Lyman Cyclone stainless media tumbler rotary brass cleaning cleaner

If you’re the kind of guy who likes to get his brass shiny inside and out, then wet-tumbling with stainless media gets the job done. For heavy-duty wet-tumbling jobs, it used to be that you had to buy a Thumler’s Tumbler and then figure out your own solution for media separation. Now there are other options on the market which may be more convenient for many users.

Lyman has just introduced its Cyclone Rotary Tumbler. For under $190.00 on Amazon.com, this ships as a complete system with everything you need — even the stainless media and media separators. The Tumbler unit itself holds up to 1000 pieces of .223 Rem brass and features a rubber lining to protect your cases and reduce noise during operation.

Conveniently, a built-in timer can be set from 0 to 3 hours, shutting off automatically. The drum features a large, screw-on end-cap to allow easy loading and unloading. In addition, the tumbler comes with two special sifter pans that make it easy to separate pins from brass. Simply empty the tumbler into the stacked pans. The first pan catches the brass, while the second, finer screen pan catches the pins. Very clever. The Cyclone Tumbler system ships with five pounds of stainless media pins and a sample packet of Brass Cleaning Solution.

Video shows Lyman Cyclone wet tumbling system in action:

Lyman Cyclone stainless media tumbler rotary brass cleaning cleaner

TECH TIP: Wet-tumbling brass with stainless media really works. With enough “run-time” the process will definitely remove stubborn carbon on the inside of cases. However, some folks observe that case-mouths can occasionally get peened during the process. This is not a big deal but it is worth noting. In addition, with large flash-hole cases, it is possible (though rare) for a pin to stick in a flash hole. Therefore you should inspect every case before loading in a progressive press or bulk-priming cases with a bench tool.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
August 4th, 2014

Sinclair Videos Show Cartridge Brass Cleaning Options

Shiny brass — it may not shoot more accurately, but it does make you feel better about your hand-loaded ammo. While it’s not necessary to get brass “bright and shiny” after every firing, it is a good idea to clean powder residue, grime, and grit off your brass before you run cases into sizing dies. There are many ways to clean cartridge cases. A quick wipe with solvent on a patch may suffice for recently-shot cases. Older brass with baked-on carbon may require lengthy tumbling. Ultrasonic cleaning is another popular option that gets your brass clean inside and out.

Sinclair International has a series of helpful videos on brass cleaning. These short “how-to” videos, hosted by Bill Gravatt, Sinclair’s past President, cover the various processes you can use — tumbling, ultrasonic cleaning, chemical cleaning, and cleaning by hand.

Video ONE — Cleaning Brass in Vibratory or Rotary Tumbler

TIP: Brass that has recently been shot will clean more easily than brass that has been sitting many days or weeks. If your tumbling media is fresh the job should be done in an hour or less. It’s your choice whether to tumble with primers removed or with primers still in the cases. If you choose to tumble with primers out, we suggest you deprime with a depriming die, rather that put dirty brass into your sizing die. Some people like to add a teaspoon of liquid polish to the media. This does work, cutting tumble time, and making your brass more shiny. However, if you add liquid polish, do that BEFORE you add the brass and let the tumbler run for a 15 minutes to get the polish completely mixed into the media. Otherwise you can else up with gooey gunk inside your cases — a very bad thing.

Video TWO — Ulstrasonic Case Cleaning

TIP: There are many different types of solutions you can use. Soapy water suffices for some folks, particularly if you add a little Lemi-Shine. The Hornady and Lyman solutions work well, and can be used multiple times, provided you strain the solution to remove dirt and grit after cleaning sessions. Many ultrasonic cleaning machines have timers. Experiment with dwell time to see how long you need to immerse your brass. A very small amount of Ballistol in the solution will help lubricate your necks on the inside. This can make bullet seating go more smoothly, with more consistent neck tension.

Video THREE — Chemical Cleaners (Soaking without Ultrasound)

TIP: After using chemical cleaners, such as the Iosso solution, you need to water-rinse your brass thoroughly. A kitchen strainer helps with this (see video at 0:20). Also, don’t forget your brass in the chemical solution — follow the manufacturers recommendations and don’t exceed the recommended dwell time. Chemical cleaners work surprisingly well to remove grease and grime, and the solution can be re-used multiple times. However, if you want your cases to look bright and shiny (like new brass), you will probably have to tumble.

Video FOUR — Manual Cleaning (By Hand)

TIP: Keep some oversize patches in your range kit. At the end of your shooting sessions, wipe off your fired brass with a patch dampened with a mild, non-corrosive solvent (once again Ballistol works well). Before the carbon sets up on your brass it is very easy to remove. For tougher jobs, you can use 0000 Steel Wool (as Bill recommends in the video). You may find that timely hand-cleaning lets you avoid tumbling altogether — or you may choose to tumble (or ultra-sound) your brass only after a half-dozen or so firings.

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