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Thread: Tumbling media choices? "Forever" media

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    Default Tumbling media choices? "Forever" media

    My shooting buddy got tired of looking at my dirty brass, so is giving me a case tumbler for my birthday.

    What media is good for handgun ammunition? That is, what are the pros and cons of each.

    Also, I have heard of a "permanent" media (when it gets dirty, you wash it, strain and dry and continue on). I think it is made of some kind of ceramic, but know nothing about it. Anyone hear of this stuff?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Lost Sheep

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Never tried the “forever media”………….

    I use Walnut for the initial cleaning and follow up with corn cob for the polishing. I add some of that orange cleaner stuff from Midway USA each time.

    Works good.

    Have heard of guys using cat litter with good results, but never tried it either.
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    Go to one of the big pet store chain stores and buy a bag of ground walnut hulls. Works better than anything else I ever tried and a lot cheaper to boot.
    Tennessee

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    I use the crushed walnut shell I get at the local feed store(places that sell hay and feed etc...) Comes in a 50lb bag and runs me around $13.00 a bag. Beats gunstore and pet store prices.

    Gun Runner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Sheep View Post
    Also, I have heard of a "permanent" media (when it gets dirty, you wash it, strain and dry and continue on). I think it is made of some kind of ceramic, but know nothing about it. Anyone hear of this stuff?
    I've never tried the ceramic stuff, but I use a mix of walnut and corn cob. I think the walnut cleans the crud off the brass better than the corn cob, and the corn cob polishes better than the walnut. Polished brass looks great, but clean brass will ensure that you don't scratch the inside of your sizing dies, so for me clean is more important than polished.

    Another thing--I cut up a used dryer sheet and put it in with the media, and it absorbs a lot of the dust and dirt, really extending the life of the media.

    Mike

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    Default Ceramic

    Ceramic media is GREAT on larger caliber brass. .30 caliber and under it gets stuck in the case mouths. Don't ask how, it just does. I use it for BPCR and for handgun brass, and there is nothing like it. It does require a tumbler that can hold water.
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    I found the corn cob would pack into the primer pockets of small rifle brass. Switched back to walnut.

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    Default ceramic

    My father in law uses the ceramic type for his BPCR loads...he shoots A LOT (has won the nationals 2 or 3 times). He said it is the cat's meow.

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    Default Summary and Thanks

    I posted my question about brass cleaning media on three different forums and waited a while to see what answers I got, rather than engaging in a back-and-forth on each forum.

    Alaska Outdoors Forums > Alaska shooting forums > Alaska Handloading>Tumbling media choices? "Forever" media

    Accuratereloading.com > Reloading> Which Tumbling Media?

    RugerForum.com Forum Index -> Factory Ammunition and Reloading>Which media? Ceramic "forever" media?

    As a token of my appreciation, I have summarized the collected advice, experience and wisdom as best I could and present it back to the communities from which it came, fortified by the other forums' contributions.

    Thanks to all. I wish I could thank each of you, but there were so many.

    The ceramic media I mentioned is apparantly best used in a rotary-type tumbler and used wet.

    one poster said:

    The ceramic stuff is available from Cabela's; use it with the cleaning solution they offer. It is a wet process that requires a rotary tumbler. With straight-necked cases, it will be hard to improve on. You will want the larger media; the other is for bottle-necked cases.

    My brass cleaner is a vibratory one, so the ceramic stuff is not for me, yet.

    Along with the usual cleaning media (corn cob pieces and walnut shell pieces) there are any number of improvised media, among them, lizard litter or bedding (which is made of walnet shell, but predictably has no polishing/cleaning additives), kitty litter, fine sand (probably sandblasting media), rice and breakfast cereal (though I suspect that last item was made in jest).

    Of the two commonly used media (corn cob and walnut) apparantly some have cleaning or polishing additives. These additives may be replenished with specially made compounds or improvised compounds (Fitz brass cleaner/polish, NuFinish car polish, Turtle Wax Polish, Turtle Wax Polishing Compound, jeweler's rouge or apparantly any kind of polish that does not contain ammonia (which will chemically react with and weaken brass)) .

    Also mentioned was "Iosso Case Cleaner is a great liquid cleaner. Soak, rinse, clean." Apparantly you don't mix this with the tumbler media, but use it separately. But Iosso Q-Brite polish is added to corncob media. The poster of this advice finds it replenishes the "wax" in the Green Lyman Corncob media. But then he wipes them down and follows up with a tumble in Walnut.

    Some posters use dryer sheets to refresh their media, finding that the dryer sheet collects quite a bit of the dirt and dust that accumulates in the media. But also find the sheets accumulate "quite a bit of my high priced polishing/cleaning compound". That poster quit using dryer sheets with his treated media.

    As an aside, I know that some people find that a soft cloth with a little fabric softener (designed for use in a clothes washer) on it is an adequate substitute for dryer sheets for clothes in a dryer. I wonder if just a plain cloth (untreated or perhaps with a little fabric softener, mineral spirits or alcohol on it) would do as well in collecting dirt out of the media as a dryer sheet.

    Some people use one media or another exclusively. Some use walnut, followed by corncob (to get a shinier, smoother finish). Some use corncob first, then walnut. At least one mixes walnut and corncob. Some wash their brass in soap and water as well, but avoid detergents.

    Other non-media pieces of advice are:
    Walnut shells stick in the primer holes, so tumble before depriming
    Wanut shells stick in the primer holes and can break a depriming pin, so tumble after depriming.
    Corncob media will stick in the primer pockets.
    Do not try to clean too many cases at a time. Do not overfill the tumbler.
    Run the tumbler overnight.
    About two hours will do.

    I don't mind the contradictions. I know my mileage will vary.

    Anyhow, I have gained a year's worth of experience in a couple of weeks and haven't even cleaned one cartridge yet. Ain't the web wonderful? Thanks for sharing.

    Remember, believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Read, think, cross-check, then draw your own conclusions.

    Lost Sheep

  10. #10

    Default Tumbler

    I know they recommend the rotary tumbler for the ceramic media because it is water tight. However, I have been using by Dillon CV500 for years with ceramic media and it has worked great. It is water tight and I've had no problembs, and the cases come out very bright.
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

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    I use the dryer sheets to help cut down on static. I tear the sheet into strips 1" or so wide and use several strips.

    Thanks for the summary.

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    when using the walnut, can you use that over and over again? have to replace it with new walnut every time you tumble? thanks

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    This was an informative thread...it just might get me changing my stuff out more than a couple of times a year! Thanks to Lost Sheep and all who contributed.

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    Great summary--thanks!

    I've only changed out the media in my tumbler once, and that was before I started using old dryer sheet strips. Honestly, give it a try if you've never done so--it really helps keep the media clean.

    Mike

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    i use a squirt of "brasso" in the media which cleans even old fingerprints on the brass. some say too much can weaken brass, so use in moderation. this has worked for me for years w/o any trouble.

    it is important to check and clean those primer pockets after tumbling as they will hold media no matter what kind you use. this can damage your dies, or screw up your priming operation.

    happy trails.
    jh

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    Default +1 walnut

    I use walnut (tho I've apparently been paying too much buying the 'lyman brand walnut'). I will give the feedstore stuff a try.

    I do not tumble 2x. Lots of folks do, that's fine. I tumble once, then deprime and lube with oneshot, then prime. Some folks like to tumble again to get the lube off...

    Once in a great while there may be some media in a primer pocket, but not much.

    The grass outside my reloading room seemed to perk up when I threw last years batch of dirty walnut out, there may be just enough powder residue in there to act as a nitrogen fertilizer.

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    I have been using the ceramic media for the last 7 years with great results every time .
    I use two Thumler's Tumblers Model B , one for rifle brass and the other for revolver.
    There is many different types ,shapes and sizes of the ceramic media .
    I use mine from 45-120 straight wall brass through 9x18mm pistol brass .
    I used to use walnut media until a buddy turned me on to the ceramic , now I am hooked .

    RR
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    Default Use the media until it wears out.

    Quote Originally Posted by hre814 View Post
    when using the walnut, can you use that over and over again? have to replace it with new walnut every time you tumble? thanks
    The media, as long as it continues to perform can be used over and over. If the media (walnut, at least and probably corn cob as well) gets too dirty, it apparantly can be cleaned up by putting a dryer sheet in it which will pick up all dust and gunk in the dryer sheet's fibers. And I am guessing the ceramic media can be washed and strained, but could probably be cleaned by use of the dryer sheet trick, too.

    After the dryer sheet has collected all the stuff it can pick up (which includes the desirable additives than some of the commercial media has) any polishing compounds, cleaners, etc. must then be replenished. But don't add too much.

    (All the foregoing is what I learned from the three threads, so any experienced people can correct me. Please correct me if I am mistaken.)

    Lost Sheep

    Thanks again, everyone.

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