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 »
August 4th, 2018

Wet Tumbling Brass with Stainless Media — Eye-Opening Results

Stainless Tumbling Media Brass Cleaning

On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.

CLICK HERE for Stainless Media Brass Cleaning System Review »

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. Check it out:

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

Works Great on Both Rifle Brass and Pistol Brass
The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass (see below). Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise in his reloading room. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

.45 ACP pistol Brass STM Stainless Media

.45 ACP pistol Brass STM Stainless Media

You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
April 18th, 2018

TECH Tip: TOP TEN Ways to Dry Wet Cartridge Brass

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Many shooters these days clean their cartridge brass ultrasonically, or wet-tumble their cases with stainless media (above). Both methods get brass clean and shiny, inside and out. However, when those wet-cleaning processes are completed, you’re left with a pile of soaking wet brass. How do you dry your brass quickly and efficiently, without unsightly water spots? Read on for some great answers…

In our Shooters’ Forum, Forum Gold Member Terry asked: “How do you dry your brass after Ultrasonic cleaning?” In an interesting Reloading Forum Thread, many smart suggestions were posted. A dozen fellow members outlined a variety of effective case-drying procedures, which work equally well for both wet-tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned cases. Here are the Top 10 brass-drying suggestions from our Forum members.

TOP TEN Ways to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

1. Food Dehydrator — Shake the brass in towel to get the bulk of water off. Next leave in the food dehydrator for 45 minutes or until there are no signs of moisture inside the cases. — Lawrence97

2. Lyman 5-Level Case Dryer — Rinse off cleaning solution(s), then load brass by type into racks in Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer. This is easier to load/unload than food dehydrators and holds more cases.

Lyman Cyclone Case Drier

3. Hot Water + Compressed Air — Rinse all your cases as a batch using scalding hot water from the kitchen sink. Hot water evaporates off of brass very very quickly. Then hit them with compressed air. Takes 10 minutes. Simple. — SG4247

4. Oven Dry in Pre-Heated Oven — After pre-heating to 200° or so, turn off oven and put brass inside on a tray. Most important! Tell your wife what you are doing so she doesn’t crank it up to 425 to heat pizza! — MClark

NOTE: Many other members suggested oven drying at 150-200°. We recommend turning OFF the oven so you don’t cook your brass if you forget to remove the cases.

Dry Cartridge Brass heat gun5. Towel Dry then Warm with Heat Gun — Roll brass in a towel until no more water shakes out. Lay out on cardboard box top and blow off with Harbor Freight heat gun. $9.99 on coupon. Two minutes of heated air and about half hour of wait and they are good to go. This is with primers removed. — Shaggy357

6. Compressed Air, then Sun Dry Outside – I rinse the brass, then blow them out with compressed air. Then, dependent on the time of year, lay them on a towel in the sun. — HogPatrol

7. Dishwasher on Dry Cycle – In the winter, I drop my wet brass cases neck-down on the rack pegs in the dishwasher, then turn on the dry cycle. In the summer…well, I’m in Texas. They go to the porch for a bit. — Toolbreaker

8. Alcohol Rinse then Air or Oven Dry — Rinse in 90% Isopropyl alcohol and either let air dry or stick in 175° oven for half an hour. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. — Zipollini

9. Slow Air-Dry in Loading Blocks — I have a reloading block with holes drilled in it. I simply load the block up and let it air-dry in the cupboard for a couple of days. — JCS

10. Wipe with Towel Then Anneal Normally — This thread is stirring my OCD side. Seems complicated for just drying — my brass dries just fine when I anneal it. This entire process can’t take an hour per batch. When finished, the brass is cleaned, annealed, and ready to size. — CHLuke

  • Deprime, then tumble brass with stainless media, water, Lemishine, and dish detergent.
  • Shake them easily in a strainer to knock out most media then grab 4-5 pieces, shake them over the bucket for the last of the media then inside a towel.
  • Finally blow out the primer pockets and wipe with a towel, load in the Annealeez.

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
June 22nd, 2017

Shiney Savings: Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass on a Tight Budget

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Super Clean Brass Without Breaking The Bank

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sierra Bullets
Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

I recently purchased 1,000 rounds of once-fired 5.56 LC brass that was fully processed and ready to load. The brass had been wet tumbled, using stainless steel pins and looked great inside and out, including the primer pockets.

I had always used a vibrating tumbler with either corn cob or walnut media and I always thought my brass looked pretty good until I saw what the wet tumbling and pin combination did.

Being the budget minded reloader that I am, I started looking for a cheap way to wet tumble my brass using stainless steel pins. Harbor Freight had recently opened a store nearby and I had received coupons in the mail, one of the coupons was 20% off any one item.

So I headed for the Harbor Freight store and after roaming around for 20 minutes or so I found a dual drum rotary rock tumbler for $55.00 and thought it would do just fine for what I was planning. The drums are rather small and only have a 3 pound maximum load limit each, but I figured that was big enough for around 150 .223 cases or maybe 300 9MM cases at a time.

I pulled the wrinkled up coupon out of my pocket, paid, and walked out with my new $47.00 brass cleaning machine. I didn’t have any stainless steel pins and couldn’t find any locally. At our local hardware store I picked up some brass plated ½” finishing brads that I thought might work until I could get some pins ordered.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads(1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

When I got home, I started depriming .223 brass for my new toy, I mean brass tumbler. I deprimed 100 cases, put 50 in each drum, dropped a package of brads in each one, filled them ¾ of the way with water, gave each drum a small squirt of Dawn dish soap and a tablespoon of Lemi Shine. I sealed up the drums and fired up the tumbler.

After an hour and a half, I just couldn’t stand it any longer and had to see the results. The water was filthy but the cases were super clean, I couldn’t be happier. For a total investment of around $55.00, I can now get my cases looking almost new.

Here are the before and after pictures of my first run of brass:

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

I have since ordered two pounds of stainless steel pins, I put one pound in each drum. To be honest the brass really doesn’t look any better, but the pins don’t seem to get stuck inside of the cases near as bad as the brass-plated brads did.

Tip: Make sure to inspect your cases and look inside each case to ensure all of the brads/pins are removed.

Just lay the brass and brads/pins out on a towel and let them dry. Mine were dry after about 12 hours.

If you want your cases to look like new without breaking the bank, give it a try. You can’t clean 1000 at a time like the $200.00 tumbling machines that are made for specifically for brass, but this is a much cheaper alternative and the results speak for themselves. — Gary Prisendorf, Sierra Bullets

EDITOR: Actually you can get a machine for a whole lot less than $200.00! See the next paragraph.

Lyman Cylone Rotary Tumbler with Factory Rebate
Sierra’s Technician got his rotary tumbler and brass media for $55.00. For about twice that you can get a much better, higher-capacity system from Lyman. The Lyman Cyclone Rotary Tumbler features a large, polymer drum that holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases. The kit includes media separation trays, plus five pounds of correct STAINLESS media. The Lyman Cyclone system costs $156.54 delivered from Amazon but this product qualifies for a $25 REBATE from Lyman. That puts your net cost at $131.54 for a complete Cyclone system. To be honest we think that’s money well spent, compared to the “El Cheapo” Harbor Freight unit. The Lyman will run six times as many .223 Rem cases, and get the job done faster. We suspect long-term durability will be better with the Lyman tumbler as well.

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 5 Comments »
September 17th, 2016

How It Works: Wet Tumbling Cartridge Brass with Stainless Media

Cleaning brass cartridge cases STM stainless pins media tumbling

On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.

CLICK HERE for Stainless Media Brass Cleaning System Review

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

stainless tumbling Media review video

stainless tumbling Media review video

You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 5 Comments »
December 24th, 2014

New Rotary Tumbler for Wet-Cleaning Cartridge Brass

More and more shooters are “wet-tumbling” their brass (in liquid) with reusable polishing media, rather than using dry media in a vibratory tumbler. The “wet-cleaning” method works best with a rotary tumbler fitted with a water-tight, horizontal drum to hold your brass, cleaning solution, and stainless, pin-type media. The rotary tumbler of choice has been the Thumler’s Tumbler Model B Heavy-Duty. That is a great, sturdy machine, but now you have a more affordable option.

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series wet liquid horizontal rotary tumbler

Frankford Arsenal has introduced a “Platinum Series” rotary tumbler designed to clean cartridge brass with liquid and stainless media.The watertight, polymer drum rides on four rollers which rotate the drum around its horizontal axis. Two filters are provided so you can quickly separate your brass and media. A built-in timer allows you to set tumbling sessions up to three hours. Frankford Arsenal says its new product will clean up to 1000 cases of .223 Rem brass. That’s impressive capacity.

The Frankford Arsenal rotary tumbler is sold by major retailers including Grafs.com and Cabelas. You’ll find the best prices online.

Amazon Deal
Update 12/28/2015: The Amazon special has expired. As with all sales, timing is everything. Check the link at right for current pricing. You can also check with other vendors such as Midsouth Shooters Supply.

How to Wet-Clean Your Brass in a Rotary Tumbler
On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours. CLICK HERE for Brass Cleaning System Review

YouTube Preview Image

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 7 Comments »
February 8th, 2013

Cleaning Brass with Stainless Tumbling Media

On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.

CLICK HERE for Stainless Media Brass Cleaning System Review

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

Lake City Brass STM Stainless Media

Lake City Brass STM Stainless Media

You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 4 Comments »
October 16th, 2012

Cleaning Cartridge Brass with Stainless Media — Practical Guide

This article originally appeared in Sinclair International’s Blog, The Reloading Press.
In the August 2012 Reloading Press, Bill Gravatt, President of Sinclair International, shared his experience using the Thumler’s Tumbler and stainless steel pin media to clean some .308 brass just before the National Matches. He discovered that combo is really great for cleaning brass.

This month, I want to share the results of a test I performed with stainless steel pin media, and give you some tips on how to best use this media to get cases as clean as you can. I’ve been using tumblers of some sort for more than 30 years. I got started with a sealed rotary tumber that my father and I made out of an old rock polisher we hooked up to a washing machine motor. While not as nice as a new Thumler’s Tumbler, the one-gallon capacity on that old tumbler means it’s still good for cleaning brass.

The Brass: Good, Bad and Downright Ugly
To really test the stainless steel media’s cleaning power, I mixed three kinds of pistol brass that offered different challenges. First was some very old Amron headstamped .357 Magnum brass. The late Ken Lomont of Lomont Precision Bullets gave me the Amron brass as partial payment back when I was still in high school and working for him. I’ve been shooting it for years, so it’s obviously very durable. But it’s also very hard to clean, which made it great for the test.

I threw in some once-fired nickel-plated .357 SIG brass from Federal that had a lot of soot inside. I wanted to see just how well the stainless steel media could handle really grimy jobs. Finally, I added in the worst brass — some very corroded 9mm range pick-up brass with spots of verdigris all over them and dirt down inside them. They were terrible, which made them perfect for the test.

Case Prep For Cleaning
Before I ran the cases through the tumbler, I knocked out all of the fired primers so that the stainless steel media would be able to get into the primer pockets and run through the flash holes. The media that we have at Sinclair is only .040″ in diameter, so it will easily go through the .080″ diameter flash hole on most domestic-produced brass, as well as the smaller .060″ flash holes found on some other cases. Once I knocked out the primers, I poured the brass and the media into the tumbler drum together.

Mixing The Solution
Then I mixed up the cleaning solution. I poured ¾ of a gallon of water into the unit, and then put in four tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing detergent. I also added one teaspoon of lemon juice to keep the brass from spotting when it dried.

With everything ready, I sealed up the drum and started the unit and let it run for three or four hours. When I opened the drum, I could tell the media had done a very good job of removing all of the crud from the brass. The water was black, as you would expect from all the carbon inside the cases. After pouring off the solution, I separated the brass from the stainless media and rinsed it off. It took three rinses in clear water to make sure the brass was free of all the carbon the media scrubbed off.

SS4Then I rinsed the media, too. Rinsing the media is important: if you don’t do it, the media will be dirty when you use it next time. The media is easier to rinse while it’s still damp, and it cleans easily with clear water. As you can see, the brass cleaned up very well and showed no evidence of water spotting because of the lemon juice. The range pick-up brass came out fully usable, showing no signs of corrosion. The nickel brass looked as if it were brand new and unfired. The Amron cases looked the best that I can ever remember seeing them. Some of them still had a light amount of carbon just behind the case mouth, but a quick twist with 0000 steel wool took care of this easily during inspection of these cases before loading. All of the primer pockets were clean and clear of carbon. Impressive!

SS6Based on what I have seen, I will definitely use stainless steel media a whole lot in the future, even though I will still keep some of the treated organic media around for when I want a very bright shine on the brass. Several of the other Sinclair International Reloading Techs plan on trying the stainless media as well, so they might come up with some other tips for you in the future.

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to call on any of us on the Sinclair Tech staff to assist you.

Bob Blaine, Sinclair International Tech
NRA Certified Reloading Instructor and RSO

TECH TIPS — Avoiding Problems with Stainless Media

Do Not Use Stainless Media Dry — I have had customers call and ask if stainless steel media can be used dry. The answer is that you will not like the results. Everything will go to the media, but it will still leave the brass dirty. If you use stainless steel media dry, you have to run it through a cleaning solution to clean the media. Then, it’s good to go again.

Do NOT Use Stainless Media in a Vibratory Tumbler — When using stainless media, you need a rotary-style, liquid-containing tumbler. You want to use stainless steel media ONLY in a rotary tumbler. Do not use stainless steel media in a vibratory type cleaner.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »