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A Brief Guide to Restoring Metal Shell Casings

Polishing your metal shell casings is a great way to restore them, but where do you start? This brief guide to restoring metal shell casings will teach you how to get your metal casings polished and finished for use in a project or for display. Polishing your shell casings is a great way to repurpose them.

Deburr Your Shell Casings

Most shell casings won’t have many burrs, but it’s good to get into the habit of checking. Learn how to identify metal burs and remove them before you begin the polishing process.

Select a Tumbler

Purchase a rotary or vibratory tumbler to polish your brass shell casings. Rotary tumblers are generally less expensive, but they work more slowly and require more tumbling media. Vibratory tumblers are better but more expensive options. Vibratory tumblers can work in as few as two hours, and they require less tumbling media. Tumble your shell casings with the appropriate media until they come to a high shine.

Select Your Tumbling Media

Choosing the appropriate media can be challenging, but there are lots of great options for the job. Walnuts and corn cobs are great types of tumbling media that are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Steel pins can also be great tumbling media for use in a rotary tumbler. There are also many effective plastic options for tumbling media, but they’re less environmentally friendly. Choose the right media for the size of your casings and the tumbler you selected.

Tumble Like Casings Together

When you tumble your shell casings, be sure not to mix different sizes. Small casings can become lodged in larger casings, so it’s important to tumble like sizes together.

Purchase a Cleaning Solution

Purchasing a case cleaning solution specific to cleaning brass shell casings is one of the most important steps to restoring metal shell casings. The right cleaning solution will effectively remove dirt and residue and leave your brass with a glistening shine.

Rinse and Dry Your Casings

Now that you’ve tumbled and cleaned your casings, rinse and dry them. Be sure not to dispose of tumbling media or filings down the drain, as they can damage your pipes. Separate tumbling media and residue into a large container to sun-dry, and dispose of your residue properly.

Now that you’ve rinsed your casings, all that’s left to do is dry them. Be sure to dry them fully so that any remaining water doesn’t damage them or collect dust.

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Written by Logan Voss

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