Using a reloading bench is one of the most affordable ways to procure ammunition because you are essentially recycling usable parts. One of the most important parts is the reloading brass. These casings are very durable, but they are prone to getting dirty and having debris lodged in them after firing. Cleaning the casing is the best way to ensure your reloading dies and gun last as long as possible. These three methods are the best for properly cleaning your brass.
Tumbling is the most common way of cleaning brass and tumblers excel at cleaning dozens or even hundreds of casings at a time. They work by tumbling the cases around in a media of your choosing. Most people use walnut hull because it does a great job of removing any carbon soot. Another popular choice is treated corn cob powder because it’s less aggressive and keeps the brass in pristine condition.
Aside from the initial purchase of a tumbler, this is an exceptionally affordable and quick way to clean reloading brass. Some people complain about the noise and dust from the carbon soot, but there’s no better way to clean many casings than with a tumbler.
While certainly slower by comparison to tumbling and other cleaning methods, hand cleaning is by far the most affordable method available to you. You are able to inspect the casing and ensure that every speck of soot and debris is dislodged from the brass. In many ways this gives you the cleanest casing at the expense of time. Most people get a steel wool brush and connect it to a drill so that they can remove the majority of debris before using a smaller brush by hand to remove finer particles.
This is the best method for people with few casings or those who don’t want to spend too much money on cleaning their brass.
This method is the most expensive of the three because of the chemical media, but you’ll find that it’s quite fast and effective. You just need to toss your casings in a mesh bag and then place the bag in a bucket of cleaning solution. Most solutions only require a few minutes to completely remove any soot and debris. Then you just have to remove the casings and allow them to dry. Aside from the cost, another disadvantage is that the casings often look dull. At the same time, this gives you incredibly clean brass that is perfect for reloading.
There are many ways to clean reloading brass and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Tumbling is by far the most popular, but many people also love chemical cleaning for its speed and hand cleaning for the precision.