Tumbling/Media Question


December 14, 2004, 09:24 AM
What the hell am I doing wrong?

This is it, I'm using Lyman's Corncob media. Yesterday, I bought Graf brass polisher. In two instances last night, I tried tumbling around 500 rounds of 10MM brass. After tumbling for dang near 2.5 hours--nothing! :cuss:
Graf polisher promised to give a high shine. Actually, the brass looks dull. :banghead:
Now, I'm thinking, could it not be the Graf polisher that's the problem and maybe the Lyman's Corncob?

Guys help me with this one. All I want, is a simple effective/proven combination that's going to get me clean, brand new looking brass. I want brass so bright that I'm can use it as a mirror to shave.

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December 14, 2004, 10:10 AM
I'm not sure I can help, but i believe the Lyman Corncob media is already 'treated' with something. When I got my 1200 tumbler it came with a load of corncob as a 'starter' and it seemed to clean just fine all by itself. Possibly the mixture with "Graf" is causing your problem?? Just a SWAG. :)

Have a good one,

December 14, 2004, 10:36 AM
Is that too many cases for your tumbler?

I find that 2-3 hours cleans my cases, but doesn't really polish them shiny. Perhaps you just need to run the tumbler longer?

December 14, 2004, 12:47 PM
Brass doesn't need to be shiny for reloading. Just clean of powder residue. If you want shiny, you'll have to hand polish it.

December 14, 2004, 01:09 PM
Okay then, here's the next question:
What's the difference between the vast variety of media? Some people suggest corn cob, others suggest walnut,etc....

R.H. Lee
December 14, 2004, 01:11 PM
If memory serves me (and it may not) I used to use walnut shells and some red jeweler's rouge. Maybe there is better stuff nowadays.

Here's something using a 'vibratory' tumbler: http://www.grafs.com/grafProducts.cfm

Sam Adams
December 14, 2004, 02:39 PM
Walnut is generally used for cleaning, corncob for polishing. Some people use them plain, some put in additives. Some just use the walnut, since they are only interested in clean cases, not shiny ones.

Assuming that you are using carbide dies for depriming/sizing, you don't need lubricant. As such, you probably only need to clean the cases before using the die, and walnut will probably do. If you want shiny cases, every manufacturer out there sells some kind of brass polish - but many people think that these are nothing but a big money-making scheme. You could put liquid car wax in with your media, or even kerosene.

Search the forum for "walnut" and "corncob" and you'll get a bunch of very interesting threads. Look for posts by Paul Fitz Jones - he used to work for a big reloaders, and has had invaluable experience in treating cases. IIRC, he says to use paint thinner/mineral spirits with the walnut, then kerosene with corncob. The kerosene cleans case lube off and prevents the cases from oxidizing, while the corncob does the polishing.

December 14, 2004, 04:25 PM
Dang, thanks all. It's funny, you'll never know it all with reloading. All this time, I'm always used corncob to clean my brass.

December 14, 2004, 07:18 PM
Some folks mix corn cob & walnut together and claim it's the best of both worlds. Haven't tried it myself though.

December 14, 2004, 09:56 PM
It ain't a microwave, it takes time and that is a lot of big cases. I usually let mine run overnight.

December 14, 2004, 10:51 PM
As mentioned, the process takes time to yield a shine. You do NOT have to hand-polish to get that shine.

I buy 1/8"-grind corncob from a local feed store for $13.00 per FORTY pound sack. I add a shpritz of Turtle Wax "Scratch and Swirl Remover" or just plain Turtle Wax, [less than an ounce per load in my Midway tumbler] and my cases come out BRILLIANTLY shiny after a few hours. I also don't mind letting the machine run overnight with a big load or badly-tarnished brass.

Recently I was given a bunch of WW .30 Carbine brass which was completely dark brown, showing zero "brass" coloration at all, and an overnight session gave me an as-new appearance for every one of those several hundred cases.

One nice thing about using the automotive waxes for polishing is that the cases retain a bit of a wax film which prevents them from tarnishing even over months of storage before loading.

If you really want "shine", it will just take some time. Patience, pard......

December 15, 2004, 09:17 AM
BruceB, so what you're saying is, to give your brass a high shine, you use the corn cob with a mixture of Turtle Wax. But, to clean your brass, do you use Walnut grind? Or do you mix the walnut and corn cob together?

Black Snowman
December 15, 2004, 09:27 AM
I have a Lyman 2200 Auto-Flow tumbler. I usually leave my brass in somewhere between 8 and 30 hours if I want it truely shiney. I at least let it run overnight. If I'm in a hurry I'll use new treated walnut media and can get them "good enough" in as little as a half an hour.

I find corn cob, being light and softer, takes a minimum of 6 hours for me to get all the carbon off the outside of the case. If it's brand spanking new and clean it's a little quicker.


December 15, 2004, 10:20 AM
Bandit, good morning to you.

All I use is the 1/8" corncob and Turtle Wax, just as I described, no walnut at all.

I try to get the fired brass into the tumbler right after returning from shooting. Even brass fired in autoloading rifles and handguns, which seems to get a lot dirtier than cases fired in bolt actions or single-shots, cleans up very nicely indeed using this stuff. Getting the ground cob so cheaply means I throw the used cob out fairly frequently, not trying to "stretch" its life too much (and I AM a cheap SOB, believe me!) I do add a fresh bit of wax to each load, letting the machine run a few minutes to distribute the glops throughout the media before putting in the brass.

By cleaning the brass BEFORE resizing, I eliminate the chance of plugged flash-holes. Any bits of cob lodged in the flash-holes are positively removed by the decapping pin. I hand-wipe each loaded round as it's finished and ready for boxing. Midway's pump-bottle case lube is now my favored item for that purpose, and it wipes off rather easily.

Back in the Dark Ages when I first started using a vibratory case-cleaner, I ran a lot of cases with rouge-impregnated walnut-shell for a cleaning agent. It shined them up in fine fashion, but I also saw quite a bit of red coloration on the case-lube pad before the next loading. This of course meant that a certain amount of that somewhat-abrasive rouge was getting into the sizing dies, and I didn't care much for that idea.

Anyway, I find that once the cases are cleaned with the TWax and corncob, they seem to shine up quite quickly thereafter. Perhaps the wax film is more durable than I thought, and keeps the crud from getting as much of a "grip" on the brass???

It's important to note that the 1/8" grind is what we want...the 1/4" stuff is far too large and jams-up inside the cases.

December 15, 2004, 01:26 PM
Thanks everyone!
BruceB, I'm going to try your recommendation. Thanks again!

December 15, 2004, 02:24 PM
I second the wax plus bulk corncob route. It's what I do as well. except I use a different brand of wax, mainly because I already had it in the house and I knew it contained no ammonia.

I get similar results, clean in abotu 2.5-3 hours, reasonably shiny. Leave it in longer, better results.

December 15, 2004, 04:58 PM
interesting bit on the wax. still makes me a bit nervous though.

i use the cheapest corncob media i can find (usually gun show specials) and dillon's polishing compound. i go for clean though, not shiny. 2 hrs or so in the tumbler usually does the trick. i don't overload the tumbler with media or cases though. that seems to be key.

December 15, 2004, 07:31 PM
I am not a chemist, but the Dillon stuff looks and smells a lot like Turtle Wax to me.

December 15, 2004, 09:23 PM
could be. i've never used turtle wax, so i wouldn't know. but that would be pretty funny if it was.

December 16, 2004, 09:33 AM
Okay, last night I took half of the 10mm brass out of the tumbler and tumbled around 250 rounds. The media that was in my tumbler was Lyman's Corncob and plus, days ago I had 4 cap fulls of Graf. Let's see, it was right before King of the Hill came on, so I'm guestimating that it was around 11:00 P.M., this morning before coming to work (8:30 A.M.), I went to check on it. Good lord I almost went blind with the shine from the tumbler. That brass was so pretty. But the media was pitch black.

Obviously, I was not tumbling long enough and I had way to much brass (500 pieces) in the tumbler. The only problem now is, it took bout 9.5 hours to get it where I want it (well, at least when I looked at it). That's a lot of time and I have a lot of dirty brass. I'm probably going to buy another tumbler or get a huge tumbler that can handle 500 rounds at a time.

Thanks guys, I appreaciate everyone's feedback.

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