Experimenting with LSD

“LSD” = Lemi-Shine and Detergent, a method of cleaning ammunition brass for reloading.

Heretofore, I’ve been using the dry “vibrate with crushed walnut shells” method to clean brass before reloading. That process basically scrapes off the burnt carbon and other residues from the outside of the brass. A quick rinse from the backyard hose flushes away any final dust and then the brass is air dried for a couple of hours. After that, it’s ready to reload.

The LSD treatment, on the other hand, pre-soaks the brass in hot water with Dove dishwashing detergent and a water treatment, Lemi-Shine, available at Walmart, Target, etc. The original recipe calls for a tablespoon of Dove, a teaspoon of Lemi-Shine, hot water and occasional agitations. After soaking overnight and getting a thorough rinse and agitation to remove most of the water, the above “dry” process then follows with the still damp brass.

But my brass had already been through the dry process months ago. So I decided to try the LSD treatment on my previously cleaned brass.

Would it really make a difference?

It sure does. I’ll even say the brass is spectacular!

It obviously has much less grime which, if nothing else, should make my reloading dies last much longer. But the extra dazzle of the shiney brass is, well, … Wow!

Some reloaders have gone all liquid with tumblers such as the Model B from Thumlers and use the LSD concoction exclusively. Some also add small stainless steel pins into the tumbling process, de-priming at the beginning so even the primer pockets come out clean.

Does the clean brass shoot any better than the vibrate-only brass? Probably not.

But after having some issues with dust in the reloading room causing equipment to stick – and suspecting there might be increased wear from the rock-hard walnut shell dust on the expensive reloading machine – I’ve been on a quest to remove as much dust as possible from the reloading process. The wet brass cleaning process, LSD or not, has been on my mind for some time.

And now, with only a small exposure to the wet process (with LSD but no tumbling) over the last couple of days, I’m giving serious consideration to switching.

Total cost to switch to the Thumlers unit with stainless steel media will run about $300 but be slightly offset by the sale of the used vibratory equipment and leftover walnut media that will no longer be required. Any saving in wear and tear on the reloading machine would, unfortunately, be difficult to calculate so I’ll not attempt a financial justification there. And we all know that reloading does not save money - we simply shoot more.

Financially, it’s hard to justify the extra expense.

And wet processing of brass takes more time and more involvement by the operator than dry processing not to mention the potential mess or the possibility of an errant stainless steel pin down the kitchen garbage disposer.

But the reloading room would be less dusty and, therefore, equipment would last longer and be more reliable. That is a big plus.

And the brass definitely looks great!

So, with these initial experiments suggesting that a change to the liquid process and the LSD liquid is going to be an improvement, it’s time to go shopping.

Addendum 08/21/2013: Ordered a Thumler’s Model B High Speed tumbler, 5 lbs of stainless steel media and an un-needed but “oh well” small container of Lemi-Shine. They’re back-ordered a couple of weeks but the results will be worth the wait.


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