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Washing Brass Instead of Tumbling

I attempted washing brass instead of tumbling it using a recipe I found on YouTube. It was a failed experiment, and I’ll be buying a tumbler now. What a mess…

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About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. Sean D Sorrentino

    Get the biggest vibratory tumbler you can get. I like the big Dillon tumbler. Because you have to do batch processing on case cleaning, getting the big one allows you to do fewer loads. More important even than the tumbler is the media separator. I know you’re looking at it thinking, “how could that be better?” It is. Get it. Even if you get another tumbler or build your own, get the Dillon media separator.

  2. I’ve used this method a few times and my brass has never looked that bad. It doesn’t necessarily look good but it is improved over the dirt you see on typical range brass. Not saying you did it incorrectly but it appears several factors, such as the dish soap used, can affect the result.

  3. Would it be possible to do a quick YouTube video on your reloading set up? I really enjoyed the podcast episode you guys did on reloading, but I think a visual component would help somebody like me who is kicking around the idea of getting into reloading. Do you have that set up on some sort of block or is it semi-permanently bolted to the work bench?

    • Hey Chris, that’s in the works. I’m out picking up some powder right now, and once I get things sorted out, I’ll do a video.

      Press is mounted to the bench, I raised it up so it will fit a coffee can under it for spent primers to fall into.

      • Ah ok, that’s what that is. I remember you mentioning the coffee can on the podcast and was having trouble visualizing it.

      • Yeah. I could have done a nicer job with it, but I threw it together with some scrap studs I had in the garage already. Seems to work OK, about 20% of the spent primers bounce out and hit the floor…

  4. I’ve always used the wet method & my brass looks new when it’s done. I use the double-barreled rock tumbler from Harbor Freight. Usually decap first to clean primer pockets. Fill each container about 75% with brass, add 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1-2 drops of dish soap. Usually let it run for about 4 hours or so, then air dry till I’m ready to use it. (I make sure brass isn’t covered with dirt & debris before wet tumbling.)

    • Yeah, I think if I had put it in a wet tumbler it would have come out better. The recipe I saw was supposed to negate the need for a tumbler, and that wasn’t the case unfortunately. I bought a vibratory tumbler.

    • (Oops: they’re obviously covered with water after the lemon juice & dish soap.)

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