Case cleaning methods for reloading– GRIT 088

Things to keep in mind


  • Monitor cleaning operations and machines at all times
  • Inspect brass after cleaning
  • If wet cleaning perform a rinse in distilled water to prevent water spots
  • Use a media separator if using dry or metallic media.

Do Not

  • Use chemicals that contain ammonia
  • Heat brass above 300 degrees to dry it
    • Brass anneals around 450 degrees, keep temps below 300 just incase your thermostat is off and to provide a margin of safety.
  • Lube brass while cleaning for carbide dies
    • This can result in cases being very stuck in dies
  • Don’t be disappointed if you do not immediately get the desired results
    • It can take many attempts to determine the correct processes for your situation

Things you can do to improve your results

  • Deprime brass prior to cleaning
    • Recommend a dedicated decapping die
  • Sort brass by caliber and/or type
    • This is to avoid cases getting stuck together
  • Combine Vibratory and and sonic cleaning if you have access to machines for both.
    • Perform sonic cleaning first and vibratory last to produce the shiniest cases
  • Use a magnet to collect stainless steel pins if using a rotary tumbler
  • Use a car wax like “Meguiar’s M2” when using a vibratory tumbler
    • Reduces the amount of dust generated
    • Polishes brass nicely

Vibratory Tumbler
Media: Walnut hulls or corn cob
Time: 1-2 hours

  • Produces low shine polished Brass
  • Cheap
  • Reusable media (gradually degrades)


  • Does not clean primer pockets well
  • Slightly noisey
  • Dusty

Sonic Cleaner
Media: Water, Chemicals
Time: 30 minutes to one and a half hours.

  • Clean Primer pockets
  • Very quite


  • Wet brass has to be dried before use
  • Brass exhibits a film after cleaning
  • The women in your life may use it to clean jewelry when you’re not looking.

Rotary Tumbler
Media: Stainless steel pins, water, chemicals
Time: Varies, 2-8 hours

  • Very polished brass
  • Clean primer pockets
  • Reusable media


  • Wet brass has to be dried before use
  • Stainless steel pins have to be separated from brass
  • Very Noisy


Criminal Activity

Story: A Groesbeck Texas man was so high on marijuana that he thought he had been shot in the posterior when a dog had bitten him in the left side of his posterior.

Story: One man is dead while another has been arrested relating to a shooting at the Polo Club in Midland Texas.  The shooter was arrested after leaving the scene and returning.  Witnesses reported that the shooter and the deceased were arguing before the shooting.


Story: An Attorney, and I think it was Charles Cotton, once said to me that people don’t ask for an Attorney General’s opinion unless they are pretty certain they know how he will go with the opinion.  It would seem that piece of wisdom was not shared with the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority as they got an opinion that did not support the position they held.  As a result they have been told that they can not ban open carry on property they control.

Story: Once again folks are whining about the Texas voter ID law.  This article complains that the Texas Voter ID law allows people to vote using their license to carry but not a student ID.  But let’s consider that that the Texas DPS issues the CHL/LTC and the person who has it has had a background check by the FBI.  A student ID is often made to various standards and many college IDs are easily faked using a printer and laminating machine.

Story: This story has the headline “I’m A Black Female College Professor in Texas. Should I Get a Gun?”  The article itself mentions that there is a –GASP– Confederate war memorial in her city as well.  I would advise that she find an instructor and get training first, then decide if she wants to get a gun and a license to carry.


Story: A UT Austin Police officer was injured after his pistol discharged while it was reportedly holstered.  Modern firearms that are properly maintained and properly handled do not simply fire while holstered.  I suspect the officer was handling the weapon and had partially drawn it and caused it to discharge while seating it back in the holster.

Story: Car dealerships in Texas are, like many businesses, taking different positions on the carrying of arms.  Some are agreeing to allow only concealed carry, some don’t care if you carry, and others are prohibiting legal firearms on their property.  In the end each business must decided how much they trust the most law abiding group that the state of Texas keeps statistics for.