Tumbler media

This is a discussion on Tumbler media within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have an old home-built one gallon rotary drum tumbler that I filled with walnut shell with red rouge for reloading brass. I have recently ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    Tumbler media

    I have an old home-built one gallon rotary drum tumbler that I filled with walnut shell with red rouge for reloading brass. I have recently aquirred two vibratory untis. The five gallon model will be used for de-burring machine work and cleanup/smoothing of corroded metals, using the usual abrasive impregnated plastic rods and triangles in water, leaving a matte finish. The smaller 1.5 gallon unit will be used for reloading brass as well as shining up bead-blasted aluminum and brass antique items. Walnut with rouge has served me well, but have read of others using rice for a no-dust finish, or just plain walnut shell reptile bedding without abrasives added. . What are your current favorites?
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    I use the pet store ground walnut bedding. It's fine enough that it doesn't clog the flash holes. I add a drop or two of liquid auto wax and haven't found the dust to be a real issue. It helps leave a "slick" finish on the cases. Used corncob for a while, but it did tend to clog the holes. Haven't used rice, so can't comment on that. I tumble my cases to "clean" them, a high-gloss shine is not my intention.
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    Member Array Backroad's Avatar
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    Used to use the corn cob stuff, then went to the walnut. Got the shells really sparkly, but it's really fine, sticks to everything, and kind of got all over the place. Overall, I don't favor it - will probably go back to corn cob when the walnut stuff needs to be changed out.

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    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    I use treated walnut shell as well, and it does indeed create a fair amount of dust which sticks to the cases. I wipe the cases off one by one, which gives me the opportunity to inspect each case before loading it. Since all cases should be inspected anyway, it doesn't really add any more time or effort to the process.

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    Array TX expat's Avatar
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    I buy this stuff:

    Econoline 526020G-40 Blast Media, 40 Lbs, Corn Cob, 14/20 Grit

    It works great and one order will last you a long, long time.
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  7. #6
    Ex Member Array HillbilliesRule's Avatar
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    I absolutely prefer corn cob media for cleaning reloading brass. It takes a bit longer than walnut but it produces quite a bit less dust and holds any polish compounds you may want to use better. I absolutely refuse to use rouge...big freakin' mess compared to the liquids offered by Frankford Arsenal and others.

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    I just switched over to stainless steel media and dish soap and water. Works great and cleans the insides perfect. Looks like jewelry when finished
    Stainless Steel Reloading Supplies | Tumblers, Separators, Media, Brass & More!
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    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    The SS media is interesting, but say it is not for vibratory tumblers. I have seen some crushed SS shot that looks interesting for de-scaling steel, but it would be hard on brass. I tried some gravel on cast aluminum yesterday, what a mess
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    Distinguished Member Array BlueNinjaGo's Avatar
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    I grabbed a bag of crushed walnut from the reptile section of a local pet supply store. I put in some "nu polish" and my brass has come out shiny as can be. Shinier than I've seen any factory ammo.

    I don't notice too much dust to be honest. I hit the inside of the cases with a shot of compressed air from a can (Doesn't take too much time or effort. I'm a bit OCD I guess.) but it's not really necessary. I put my unit outside on the porch due to noise, but my Hornady tumbler seems to seal shut pretty well. I separate cases from the media outside so there's no real mess.

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    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    I had to cross the county today and hit all 5 gun stores and two feed stores, no media of any kind was found. I guess I will see what i can find in the flatlands in a week or so.
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    Member Array Poseidon's Avatar
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    i found this reloading you tube channel and this guy is using stainless steel pins and it does the job very well. 7.62x39 Old Brass Revival - Salvaging & Restoring old brass cases for reloading ammo - YouTube the interesting part is from 1:40 to about 3:50.

  13. #12
    Member Array Rem700's Avatar
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    I have used ground corn cob and crushed walnut shell, I recently bought 2-40lb bags of ground walnut(reptile bedding) thru amazon for $38 shipped it was more then I needed but 80lbs for $38 I am a sucker for a deal. A used dryer sheet helps keep the dust down but does not eliminate it.

    I just checked out a fellow reloaders SS pin setup and the brass comes out great primer ppockets and all could just about pass as new. Nice setup but I would need to have laundry tub installed to make it reasonably easy set up. If your only cleaning brass once every 1-2 mths it might be ok without a dedicated tub but doing it weekly or bimonthly might be kinda messy.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    Stay away from any polish that has amonia in it as it will attack and weaken the brass.

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    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    I got two jugs of the red walnut in the next county today and may add some ceramic rods about the size of the steel pins. I'm going to try it on some bead blasted aluminum, and old brass hardware tomorow as a test.
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  16. #15
    Member Array DeltaFirearms's Avatar
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    I use 20/40 Grit walnut media from Grainger. Doesn't clog up the flash holes, and is pretty cheap at $1 per pound

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