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Thread: How long do you tumble cases for?

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    Member jrt34's Avatar
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    Default How long do you tumble cases for?

    I just got a tumbler for Christmas and I don't have a good feel for how long to run it. Are you guys tumbling for 20 minutes or 2 hours? The media I am using is Lyman Tufnut and the cases are 38 specials in varying degrees of dirtiness.

    Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas.

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    I tumble quite a few cases at one time, so I let them go at least over nite...usually a couple of days.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I dunno............they always seem pretty clean after a couple of hours, and by then I am usually tired of hearing that thing running out in the garage!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Not trying to give you a smart alec answer. But I tumble them untill they appear to be clean. Which depends on how dirty they were in the first place, how many are being tumbled at the same time, what type of tumbling media is being used, etc.
    But generally about 8-12 hours.
    Tennessee

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    Member rlcofmn's Avatar
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    I typically run them till i am ready to load and they are clean or More often i put them in and forget about it so they tumble for up to 24 hours sometimes. the only problem i have had is leaving cases in there after you turn it off because the media clumps up inside the cases and you have to clean every one out by hand.

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    It also depends on how old your media is, too. If I can't get moderately dirty cases clean in a couple of hours I refresh or replace the media.

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    Default Tumbling time

    How long I tumble cases depend on what I am going to use them for. If it just plinking off the back porch, they get tumbled long enough to get the lube off of them. If they are loads that some one else might see, then two or three hours. Not that I have not tumbled cases longer, I just found that they do not need that much time.

  8. #8

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    I haven't found any need to tumble brass that for more than three hours unless it was badly tarnished.

    I recently tried a suggestion from another forum to put a used clothes dryer softener strip ( like Bounce) in the tumbler with the brass and media, and it cuts down on dust and also seems to help keep the media in better shape.

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    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    I tumble quite a few cases at one time, so I let them go at least over nite...usually a couple of days.
    I usually just put them in over night out in the garage and when I go to work in the mornin' I turn it off. Usually, overnight does it.

    Get some good walnut shell media with pre-treated brass cleaner already in it.

    It will last you years and you won't have to add any other brass cleaner in it.
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    Not to hi-jack the thread. I buy 50lbs of crushed walnut shell at a time. I go to my local feed store (hay, straw etc...) here it runs $13.00 a bag, sure beats the local gun store that wants almost that much for 5 lbs.

    Gun Runner

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    I cannot tumble due to small house/not enough room. I use a 5-gallon bucket with boiling water and automatic dishwashing detergent. I rinse with white vinegar and boiling water. They come out bright and shiny.

    If I did have a tumbler, and did not know how long to let it run, I would allow it to go and keep checking on it every once in a while. Obviously it would take experience to know how long to let the cases go depending on dirtiness.
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    Default Tumbling / CLeaning Cases

    Clean your cases well before you tumble them or use an ultrasonic cleaner after you tumble them to get all the polishing compound, dirt, grit, primer residue etc. out before you load them.

    I've ran cases cleaned with a tumbler though my ultrasonic cleaner and have been amazed at all the residue left in the cases after tumbling. I just don't like to send all the crud down the bore esp. so on gas operated actions.

    In any event use a good quality clean media and polishing compond.

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    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    I cannot tumble due to small house/not enough room. I use a 5-gallon bucket with boiling water and automatic dishwashing detergent. I rinse with white vinegar and boiling water. They come out bright and shiny.

    If I did have a tumbler, and did not know how long to let it run, I would allow it to go and keep checking on it every once in a while. Obviously it would take experience to know how long to let the cases go depending on dirtiness.

    Nitro,

    You should look into investing in a thumbler tumber. It's smaller than your 5 gal. bucket and really, really quiet for a small house or apartment. Less mess too.

    If that is working for you...then good.

    Just a suggestion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    I cannot tumble due to small house/not enough room. I use a 5-gallon bucket with boiling water and automatic dishwashing detergent. I rinse with white vinegar and boiling water. They come out bright and shiny.

    If I did have a tumbler, and did not know how long to let it run, I would allow it to go and keep checking on it every once in a while. Obviously it would take experience to know how long to let the cases go depending on dirtiness.
    Speaking of which, I know a guy that just pokes a shell on every wire in his dishwasher and then runs it through a normal cycle. He's been doing it for decades and says the shells come out perfectly clean and ready for loading ...but if you want bright shiny 'show brass' instead of 'shooting brass', then he said to use a tumbler. Just an FYI...

    Brian

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Dishwasher eh?!! Well, given the reaction I got from the Wife when she busted me washing ATV parts in there (and they came out great!!) I don’t think I will be using that home appliance for anything other than its original intended purpose ever again…………

    The way I go about case cleaning is as follows: I toss all of my just fired brass into a vibro tumbler filled with walnut shell media and add a couple teaspoons of water and a couple of midway usa’s liquid case cleaning something or other and let them run for a few of hours to get all the nasty gunk off and clean them enough that de-priming and re-sizing is nice and easy. Then, once they are trimmed, de-primed, resized and de-burred I run them back thru the tumbler but this time I use ground corn cob media to polish and remove any re-sizing lube residue. They always come out looking super shiny! The only thing that tumblers wont really clean is the primer pockets. There just isn’t enough surface area there that is exposed to the media for the abrasive action to work. I have also had some cases that were loaded with black powder that sat around for a few weeks before I tossed them into the tumbler and they never did shine up very well and look new again. I think they kind of got stained…………permanently.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  16. #16

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    I use a mix of corn and walnut, add some car wax liquid (no ammonia) works great.
    Jim

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