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  #1  
Old 10-24-2011, 12:41 PM
onevoodooz onevoodooz is offline
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Ultrasonic case cleaner




I've been getting together my reloading bench setup and now I am focused on a way to clean brass. From what I've been reading, the ultrasonic seems to be the way to go for cleaning the inside of the shells and inside the primer pockets. I'm starting with .45 and wanted to ask how many shells can I ultrasound at once. Most of the cleaners seem to be jewelry cleaners rebranded to use for brass seem to be really small. Anyone have experience with ultrasounds?
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2011, 12:47 PM
Bullitt2075 Bullitt2075 is offline
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Don't do it unless you like to do small batches. I have found that you can only do about 50 per run and you need to keep the brass from touching one another. If you are going to go wet method get the stainless tumbler kit:

http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.co...package-2.html
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2011, 03:16 PM
korny351 korny351 is offline
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If you're dead set on wet cleaning and absolutely must have immaculate primer pockets and case interiors, I'd suggest the stainless method mentioned. Don't really have any experience with either method but the stainless method seems to have much better reviews in the forums.

Personally, I'm happy with a nice polished exterior. Looks good and makes for smooth entry into the sizing die, no additional case lube required. Couple of hours in walnut media to clean, followed by an hour in corn cob treated with polish.

Spotless interiors and primer pockets are only for benchrest rifle and the terminally OCD.
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2011, 05:35 PM
bsmotril bsmotril is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onevoodooz View Post
I've been getting together my reloading bench setup and now I am focused on a way to clean brass. From what I've been reading, the ultrasonic seems to be the way to go for cleaning the inside of the shells and inside the primer pockets. I'm starting with .45 and wanted to ask how many shells can I ultrasound at once. Most of the cleaners seem to be jewelry cleaners rebranded to use for brass seem to be really small. Anyone have experience with ultrasounds?
I have one of the small Hornady ones, and it does work. But I don't use if in place of tumbling media, though you probably could. Using the Hornady solution, it will clean 30-40 45 ACP cases to like new including the primer pockets in 2 cycles. Many more than that and you don't get good results. Since I don't like to rezise dirty brass, I tumble first for about an hour, then resize/deprime, then they go into the ultrasound cleaner. They look like new when finished, including the primer pockets. If I were starting from scratch, I'd get the new bigger model with dual transducers which would be good for cleaning about 100 cases at a time. Another great use for it is cleaning guns and parts too.
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  #5  
Old 04-02-2012, 12:01 PM
onevoodooz onevoodooz is offline
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I just wanted to follow up on my original post. I am still kinda working out the best way to clean brass. My source is reclaimed American Eagle (federal brass) only because Winchester ammo is hard to find in NJ. I tumble first in RCBS walnut shells for like 2 hours and then 2 hours in corn cob 1420. No polishing compound added and Brass is nice and shiny and I'd say about 80% of the primer pockets are clean. It's not the same with the reclaimed Winchester brass, pretty much all of the primer pockets have some residue. Conversely, the inside of the American Eagle cases still have residue inside while the Winchester cases are much cleaner. As far as the Ultrasonic cleaning, I did seem some improvement in the primer pockets but I am still working out what to use for cleaning solution. Tide works pretty well, Pinesol notsomuch. Next thing I am gonna tried is CLR. It's a mile acid and may do better removing the carbon desposits. BTW, a toaster oven works great for drying the brass.
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2012, 02:03 PM
Neumann Neumann is offline
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An ultrasonic cleaner does a nice job removing carbon from the inside of cases, and stains from the outside, including the primer pockets. To work well, all the parts must be totally submerged and free of air pockets. For good penetration, you must decap prior to cleaning. My Hornady cleaner holds about a quart of liquid, and perhaps 200 .45 ACP cases in a batch. The cleaner contains citric acid, which removes stains from firing, but will darken the cases if left wet for more than a few hours. The cases come out clean, but not bright or polished. Drying the cases afterwards takes a long time. I put them in a mesh bag and hang them in front of a floor fan for a couple of hours.

If you use moderate to hot loads, there isn't that much carbon build up inside the cases. What remains after firing acts like a lubricant when seating bullets.

To make a long story short, I seldom use the ultrasonic bath. A vibrating bowl with corn cob and polish does the best job. Leaving the primers in keeps media from clogging the primer pockets, and the bright finish looks nice and makes resizing a breeze. My ultrasonic bath is mostly used to clean carburetors and small parts, for which it is non pariel.
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2012, 02:17 PM
JohnPublic JohnPublic is offline
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I just got into reloading over a year ago and was faced with a way to clean brass also. In my situation, I had limited space to work in as well as noise and work area cleanliness. Sooooo, I purchased the exact same model ultrasonic cleaner from Amazon that Hornady sells for $47.00 shipped. I can do 100rds of 9mm in about 15min's using Dawn dish soap & a 1/2 teaspoon of Lemeshine (sp).
I rinse shells in a strainer (stole from the kitchen) with hot water and let dry.
The brass comes out clean throughout. No, it doesn't look polished but is definitely clean. YMMV.
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  #8  
Old 04-02-2012, 02:24 PM
john16443 john16443 is offline
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I had a significant amount of Cabela's Club bucks available and bought the Hornady Magnum u-sonic cleaner for the price of a good quality media tumbler. This has a 3 liter capacity and 2 transducers. It also has a timer that you can set for at least 60 minutes and a good heater in it. This thing is the absolute bomb, things come out as clean as SS pins tumbling in a fraction of the time. As long as the cases are covered with the solution, you're good. The benefit of a longer running time (compared to 480 second cycles) makes this worth it.

Experimenting with cleaning solutions, I've found the Hornady cleaner with a dash of Lemishine works well, but water, a squirt of Dawn, and Lemishine for 30 minutes works just as well. Primer pockets are clean, and 95% of the insides are spotless as well. For the ultimate, I rinse & towel dry the outside, dump them in plain corn cob for an hour, and they're like brand new. So total time invested is 135 minutes tops for brass with that new appearance
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2012, 12:40 PM
dillehayd dillehayd is offline
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A little tip for drying: Search craigslist, etc. for a used welding rod oven. They typically have a temp controlled heater w/ a thermostat range from 150-300 deg F. You can put your cleaned and rinsed brass in for 30 mins or so at around 200 deg F and brass is dessicated pretty well. The ovens are designed to drive the moisture out of arc welding rods. I use one (I've got a "fancy" Omega temp controller wired into mine to more finely control the temp) and can dry 300 cases at a time on a cookie sheet.

When I'm cleaning brass, I can do 2 clean cycles in the small Hornady Ultrasonic, rinse and dry them, deprime, do 3 more clean cycles, rinse and dry...about 2 hours for 1k rounds.

I highly prefer this to the S.S. media tumbler which, IMMO, must result in brass being removed from the cases during tumbling due to the hardness of the S.S. pins. My brass doesn't look new, but it looks pretty darn good.
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