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Thread: Talk to me about case cleaners.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Talking Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Specifically, the vibratory kind like the Lyman Turbos or similar.

    I don't need one for my rifle cases. I keep them pretty clean and taken care of. But, since I've now started reloading handgun ammo and especially semi-auto cases, I've noticed they get pretty dirty. I've gotten by ok, but they could use some cleaning.

    The REAL reason I've taken to looking at case cleaners is mostly because I've started loadin for the .45 ACP.

    Well, it seems folks at my gun club like to stand in one place and burn through a couple boxes of .45 ACP ammo and kindly leave the cases in a relative pile on the ground.

    Finding them a few days later or after a rain, they can sometimes be pretty dirty. But, when I can pick up 50-200 of them at a time...........why not?!?

    I also find a lot of .357 Mag cases.

    Anyway, I don't want shiny. I want clean. So that I can run them through my sizing dies. I won't do it until they are clean because all the dust and dirt and grime can ruin/scratch my dies.

    So, it will mostly be for handgun cases. Educate me on vibration case cleaners and the media used.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Zee; 03-08-2017 at 10:00 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    ANy of the Frankford Arsenal, RCBS, Hornady, Lyman will clean your cases. I just use Corn Cob media, get the treated stuff. Pecan polishes more bright, but CC cleans them pretty good. Get the bucket lit with media separator too and a bottle of rejuvenate to recharge your media when it gets funky.

    You can spend about as much on one as you want to.

    Here is a kit like I have comes with everything you will need to get going. In fact I have two other ones out in the garage I inherited from my late brother too. A Lyman and I fergit the other.

    Anyhow, get the kit with colander like separator, bucket, media, recharge liquid.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I've been using mine for over 15 years a Frankford Arsenal one. I think you want a clear lid to look inside and a solid one so the dust stays in.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Also, I always tumble before I deprime. I tried some afterwards and media gets stuck in the primer flash holes. Some folks use a universal de-priming die and then tumble.

    I tried a Hornady ultrasonic one some years ago, it sucked and the liquid cleaner was over 20 bucks a qt. Maybe they are better now. Some folks swear by them. Still it's WET and has to be dried before reloading. Personal choice.
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I have had a Lyman Turbo 1200 for several yrs, works good. I preferred walnut with rouge though. I don't use it much anymore as I recently got a Tumbler, also Lyman brand. I think using the tumbler in my garage contributed to elevated lead levels in my blood. I did it outside for a while but that's a pain. The tumble is more work but it cleans much better, inside and out and flash holes as well and the mess goes down the drain so to speak. Brighter shine too, not that it makes much difference.
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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I used corn cob. Not as dusty. You'll certainly want to use it in the garage as it's noisy. I used to use Frankford arsenal polish midway sold. And tumbke first, then prime.
    People who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

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    Senior Member BigDanS's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    They are pretty simple.

    I have an old Thumlers Tumbler vibrator cleaner, and it is like the Lyman's etc. Bigger capacity means you can load more shells, and I would go with a i0 lb or larger size. Most people use either corn cob media or crushed walnut shells ( lizard bedding for habitats works fine ) to clean their hulls. Some folks add brasso or an enhancing polisher to make them more shiny.



    The cleaning is easy, it is separating the cleaning media from the cases that is a pain. I have a cheapo separator from Smart Reloader that tumbles and drops out the media from the hulls and it is worth it to me.

    https://www.natchezss.com/smartreloa...separator.html

    Once you separate out the media you still have sort through them for the bad ones.

    The vibratory cleaner is basically made to shake the motor and with a lot of use it will eventually go bad. I like mine because of the heavy ball bearings in it. Rotary tumblers likely will have a longer life, but are more expensive.

    D
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    A few spins is all it takes to get the media out of the cleaned brass using them "Colanders" with a handle and bucket to catch it underneath.
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  9. #9

    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Lyman turbo, crushed walnut shell from the pet store, and some Nu Finish. Fresh media and my pistol cases are clean and ready to go in 10-15 minutes. If I feel lazy and let it go too long it takes over a half hour to get them clean. I tried corn cob, but it was getting stuck in the .357/.38 and 9mm cases. The corn cob would just wedge itself in the bottom of the case.

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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I use a Thumlers Tumbler, must be at least 45 years old, still going strong, I use corn cob and walnut, if i want them real shiny i tear a piece of Never Dull into small pieces and put in with the cases.

    JAY
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  11. #11
    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I got mine from Cabelas. Put in media, polishing liquid and dirty cases. Plug in, turn on. After a couple hours, sift the cases out, pour the media back in the tumbler, done.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.

  12. #12
    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I'm actually planning on building one. Had the motor for years, and it's WAY bigger than it needs to be. Had the idea forever, and actually two days ago was at bass pro scoping out the different models, aka stealing their ideas. Should be easy to do. I'm betting I can easily churn up a 5 gallon bucket of brass....
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I used to use a Hornady vibratory cleaner. Worked fine, but it started getting really hot when it was running and I didn't trust it. I gave it to a friend, making it clear why I was getting rid of it. It still worked, just got hot. He is still using it, but he runs an extension cord to it outside, just in case. If it catches on fire, it'll be out there by itself.

    I bought a Lyman Turbo 1200. It does not run as hot and holds more cases than the Hornady did. It also comes with a drain pan and a drain plug on the bottom of the cleaner. If I choose, I can put the pan under the plug, pull the plug while the cleaner is still running and most of the media will drain out, leaving mostly just the cases. This way I don't have to dig through the media trying to find all my brass. The other way to do it is remove the whole cleaner bowl and dump it into a strainer over a bucket, that will let the media drain through, but hold the brass. I have not used this method, usually using the drain plug option.

    I also use corn cob media. I found walnut to be too messy and dusty. I've heard tell of being able to get corn cob media from pet stores (pet bedding) or possibly Harbor Freight (blasting media). I have not tried that option, as I have had a large container of Lyman corn cob media for at least a few years and haven't needed any more lately. I've also heard of folks saying they have used rice as cleaning media. I also have not tried that.

    With corn cob media, it will stick in the flash holes inside the case. For this reason, I clean them before depriming the cases. If any media does stick in the flash hole, the depriming pin will push it out along with the primer. I've done this on thousands of rounds, rifle and handgun, and have never had a problem. If the primer pockets need cleaning, I just do it on my RCBS Case Prep Center before I prime them. A lot of the time, especially for auto rounds, I don't even bother cleaning the primer pockets.

    I've never used any of the liquid additives or reconditioners. Maybe one of these days I'll try them. But I get many thousands of rounds clean with one batch of corn cob, so I usually just dump it and replace it. I've reclaimed it by putting it in doubled up gallon ziplock bags, then wrapped up inside an old pillow case for makeshift, semi disposable shooting bags. Also, throw 2 or 3 used dryer sheets in the cleaner with the brass. They help keep dust and static electricity down. The cases come out less dusty and the media isn't quite as bad at sticking to everything that is statically charged from all the friction. Another use for an old pillow case. Rather than removing the brass and wiping them down, getting the dust off of them, put the brass in a pillow case right out of the tumbler. Hold the open end of the pillow case closed and shake the crap out of them for a few seconds. The dust will be wiped off and a lot of the media stuck in the flash holes will come loose and end up in the bottom of the pillow case.
    Last edited by Jay; 03-08-2017 at 11:28 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Fisheadgib's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I use a Thumlers Tumbler also and it's seen 30 years of heavy use without a problem. I use ground corncob media and in my experience, it cleans much faster than pecan shells but isn't as shiny. A good friend of mine has a big Dillon vibrating cleaner that can do huge batches of cases at a time. I also run mine on a timer when I'm not home so I don't have to listen to it.
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    Senior Member Varmintmist's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Mine is a Vibrashine. I remember I got it before internet before online from I think Sportsmans Guide in their early years or out of Shotgun News. It has to be 30 years old if it is a day.

    It is just like this one, except it has a lot of hard use http://classic.gunauction.com/search...temnum=9727890

    IMHO, walnut cleans crud better, and leaves dust. Corn cob polishes nicer but takes longer to clean. I am going to retire this one soon, probably a happy birthday to me present, and go with a ultrasonic something like this ... http://www.cabelas.com/product/Horna...cFng&gclsrc=ds

    to eliminate the need for depriming after cleaning.
    Last edited by Varmintmist; 03-09-2017 at 12:52 PM.
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I use a Lyman 1200, I use "Lizard Litter" from Pet Smart..it's fine ground walnut shells. I charge it with Nu-Finish car polish. Works better than the expensive stuff at the Sportsman's warehouse. I don't use corn cob media anymore. I use the "Used dryer sheets" trick too, removes all the dust, I tear/cut mine into 1" strips. Been doing it this way for quite a few years.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Much grats to all!

    I think ill jump on a Lyman Turbo as they are on sale from a midway.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member knitepoet's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    The old rule of thumb was corn cob was for polishing and the harder nut hulls were for cleaning.
    Pretty much all I use in corn cob, works fine except for the primer pockets.

    If'n I'm wanting to get them REALLY clean, I run them through my ultrasonic cleaner for 48 minutes. Gets ALL the crap off of them, but doesn't make them "pretty"
    So I dry them, then run them through the vibratory cleaner with corn cob and some of the Midway polish added.
    Then they come out clean & SHINY MUCH easier to find when a semi throws them
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    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    I've owned a Lyman, an RCBS, and a Dillon. They work equally well, but the Dillon seems quieter. Depending on where you set it up, this can be a major consideration.

    Corn cob media. Forget walnut.

    Flitz or Lyman liquid additive helps cut down on dust, but after a few cycles, your media will look gray and dirty. That's just the polishing agent soaking into your media, and after a few cycles you won't even need the liquid. Until you refresh your media, which will probably be a real long time. I went years shooting pdods and changed media only once.

    What you'll really appreciate, though, is a simple hand cranked media separator. Dillon sells those, too, pretty cheap and work great.

    Mike

    Oh....deprime after tumbling. It's easier to clean pockets as a separate op than to dig stuff out of the flash hole.
    Last edited by Linefinder; 03-09-2017 at 12:37 AM.
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    Senior Member knitepoet's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Linefinder View Post

    What you'll really appreciate, though, is a simple hand cranked media separator. Dillon sells those, too, pretty cheap and work great.

    Mike
    I went to wally-world and bought and el cheapo salad bowl/colander combo. I use it to separate mine. Works great and was well under $5.
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  21. #21
    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Quote Originally Posted by knitepoet View Post
    I went to wally-world and bought and el cheapo salad bowl/colander combo. I use it to separate mine. Works great and was well under $5.
    Hadn't thought of that.Great idea.

    Mike
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Don't want treated media or plain?

    One review mentioned mixing half treated and half plain.

    Another review me mentioned mixing half corncob and half walnut

    What seems the best/easiest/cleanest result?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

  23. #23
    Senior Member knitepoet's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Plain corncob and a bottle of this https://www.midwayusa.com/product/21...ss-case-polish
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheriff Jim Wilson on FB
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  24. #24
    Senior Member orchidman's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Quote Originally Posted by knitepoet View Post
    Same as what I use.............and it makes them smell nice.........
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....

  25. #25
    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Ok, so which one of these on sale!

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/15...mbler-110-volt

    or

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/28...mbler-110-volt

    Is the second one worth the extra $20 buck?

    And this media good!

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/11...pour-container
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

  26. #26
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    This is the one I have.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...o-flo-110-volt

    The top one you just linked to with the media sifting lid should work fine, I would think. It seems to have the same capacity as mine. Sifting the media out of the brass into a bucket should be fairly simple.

    As for media, I use the green Lyman media rather than the tan color stuff. It says it's for polishing after sonic cleaning, but it seems to clean my brass pretty good. And I have never put any additives in mine. For moderately dirty brass, 3-4 hours. For really grungy stuff, I'll sometimes turn it on in the morning and let it go all day. Might not take that long, but it comes out clean enough. Maybe the tan color stuff would clean quicker.

    ETA - I think unless you have thoughts of needing a tumbler with a small and large bowl, I wouldn't see the need for the Twin. Either the regular Pro 1200 or the one with Auto-flo.
    Last edited by Jay; 03-09-2017 at 01:32 AM.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Also, just to add my experience, I've also used the RCBS corn cob media and I didn't like it. It's finer than the Lyman, doesn't seem to clean as well and gets into the primer pockets more. With the Lyman stuff, usually one kernel of media will get stuck in the flash hole. With the RCBS, several pieces would get stuck. No big deal. They all came out when resizing. But it also didn't seem to clean as well. I think it does help with bottleneck cases, though. Easier to pour out of the cases. The Lyman stuff, I have to tap the cases on the edge of the tumbler upside down to make sure it all comes out. It'll sometimes "bridge" across the case mouth and not come out, until you remove the case from the tumbler. Then it dumps media all over your bench....

  28. #28
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    You may wanna solid lid one to keep down on dust as it tumbles.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  29. #29
    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Quote Originally Posted by knitepoet View Post
    This.

    Mike

    Edit...as to size of tumbler, smaller cleans faster, but bigger cleans more at one time. Kinda your call. In the quantities I shoot handgun, I'd go smaller, but as much hand gun as you shoot, you might want a bit bigger.

    Mike
    Last edited by Linefinder; 03-09-2017 at 01:55 AM.
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  30. #30
    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Talk to me about case cleaners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    You may wanna solid lid one to keep down on dust as it tumbles.
    Oh, yeah. That's a biggie.
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