Lyman Reloading Products UK
There is nothing more satisfying than turning fired, dirty brass back into shiny, gorgeous looking cases. There are several methods for cleaning your fired brass but none are more cost effective and efficient than tumbling.
What is tumbling?
Tumbling is a method of cleaning brass that involves some sort of rotary or vibrating machine (get the giggles out the way) , such as the Lyman classic tumbled pictured above. A cleaning media is inserted into the tumbler, this can be anything from walnut shells and corn cob to special plastics and stainless steel. The most common is walnut, however extremely good results can be achieved with stainless media and many people are switching over after realising the potential and results.
I personally find it’s best to decap, ream out your primer pockets and then do whatever sizing regime you normally follow, be that full length sizing, shoulder bumping or neck sizing. After you have done this, simply insert the dirty cases into the tumbler, ensuring it is filled with the media of your choice and switch the machine on. Different tumblers have different settings, some have a simple on-off switch whereas others have timers, be aware that depending on a number of factors this can sometimes be a noisy process, so ensure that your other half isn’t watching their favourite TV program in the next room whilst you are doing this!
Once your brass has been polished and cleaned it is well worth inspecting it to check for defects and problems with your brass. Some people like to clean their brass prior to sizing but I prefer to clean it afterwards to remove any lube and residues, then inspect. This also enables me to see if any of the stresses of sizing have caused any damage or defects to the brass. You are looking for things such as splits in the neck area, case head separation, ejector marks and loose primer pockets (although you will struggle to see that visually). Remember that you must carefully remove any excess media that is trapped in the brass, occasionally you do get bits that like to lodge themselves in the primer pocket area.
One important thing to remember and that is often overlooked by many is that the tumbling media will become very dirty over time. The dirt is laced with really nasty contaminants such as heavy metals and other residues from the ignition process of powders and primers, some brands and types are worse than others. Either way, remember to wash your hands after use and dispose of the media appropriately.
I personally use an ultrasonic cleaner but still find that a tumbler of high quality, especially those made by Lyman prove a much better shine. If shine and the “new” look is important to you then a tumbler should definitely be on your shopping list. My personal favourite is the Lyman Turbo 1200 Pro tumbler as is has a built in media sifter which saves a lot of mess and hassle, holds over 1KG of media and can do up to 350 cases depending on calibre, all of this for a great price – we keep these in stock as they are a popular item so visit our online shop or give us a call on 01944 738404.