Reloading liquids
Probably the most common liquids on the reloader’s bench are those appertaining to bore cleaning- there are plenty to choose from!

Liquids on the reloading bench

We reloaders use a lot of liquids on the bench, mostly for cleaning things.

First, there are liquids for cleaning rifle barrels. No, I am not going to tell you how to clean a barrel, but I would suggest that the first patch down the barrel should be dripping with either carburettor or throttle-body cleaner, which picks up all the loose combustion residue and allows the bore cleaner to do its job.

Reloading liquids
Acetone and common bathroom crème cleaner are both useful on the reloaders bench

For preserving the bore between shooting details, I use a 50/50 mixture of Hoppes No 9 and Penetrene. The Hoppes will pick up any residual copper and the Penetrene prevents rust — simple and effective. 

A huge number of bore cleaners are available. Do your research to find out what works and why. Develop a particular cleaning regime and stay with it. 

Commercially, there appears to be a drift to have separate cleaners for powder residue and copper in the bore.

Common bathroom crème cleanser is the best liquid that I know of to remove the black deposit on case mouths after firing, which is combustion residue and mainly hard.  A few drops on a paper towel, a couple of quick twists, and the necks are like new. Remove the excess in the tumbler/ vibratory cleaner. 

Adequate case lubrication is required before inserting a case into a sizing/de-capping die. While there is commercial lubrication available, alternatives include STP oil treatment, which appears to have the texture of glue but it works beautifully. 

Secondly, make your own from 10% Lanoline and 90% Isopropyl alcohol by volume. Mix in a spray container, shake well and spray on the cases — very effective and cheap. 

A small container of acetone is also useful on the bench. It will remove case lubrication and clean bore brushes if you use them. 

For those of you who use ultrasonic cleaners, there are options. 

Reloading liquids
Half a capful of polish will make your cartridges nice and shiny

In my opinion, the size of many ultrasonic cleaners is inappropriate for the average home reloader. I have used a jewellery cleaner for many years, which will take about 20 .270-sized, Winchester cases. 

Again, there are commercial liquids available but there is a much cheaper solution. I use a level teaspoon of citric acid plus a level teaspoon of cream of tartar plus an unscientific splash of household detergent in a one-litre container topped up with clean water. 

Dirty cases get two eight-minute cycles and come out sparkling clean. 

After two batches of cases, the liquid will be inky-black. Simply throw it out and replace it. 

I have cleaned cases this way for about 15 years. It’s cheap and remarkably effective.

While on cases, the following tip came from the internet: Add some lemon juice to your final rinse, it prevents water marks. It works!

I’m a keen advocate of clean, shiny brass for several reasons, mainly because I can see imperfections easily and it will not have any effect on reloading dies or my rifle’s chamber.

Add half a cap full of automotive polish to the final cleaning and polishing in the vibratory tumbler. 

I also keep a spray bottle of common household cleaner on the bench, which is handy to wipe the bench down to keep it clean and it will also work on slightly contaminated cartridge cases. 

There are other recipes available to clean cartridge cases using vinegar. They all appear to work and may be worth investigating.




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Ron James