Frankford Arsenal tumbler and needed media


January 7, 2006, 02:22 AM
I just bought a package deal from Natchez (where I purchased my Winchester 231 powder and primers) that comes with the tumbler, rotary media separator, 3 gallon bucket (whoo hooo! :rolleyes: ), 8oz of brass polish and 3lbs of corn cob media.
From what I've read, my understanding is that walnut is generally used for cleaning and corn cob is used more for polishing.
I suspect my Lyman's #48 reloading manual will likely cover this, but since I'm now in the process of placing orders (while the "cat" is away, wink wink), I'd like to know if I will need walnut or other types of media or if corn cob would suffice for most jobs; these windows of guilt and nag free UPS arrivals don't come often.

I managed to scrounge up a few hundred .45acp cases I had around the house, most of which are plenty tarnished but otherwise in great shape. Also, I gladly accepted a non-reloading buddy's gift of a couple boxes (circa 1,000-2,000) of fairly dirty .45acp brass he was allowed to policed from a range he belongs to... but when I say "dirty", I mean it literally as they appear to have sat in mud for a while. The few I picked out to sample cleaned up nicely, but I wouldn't want to clean them individually like that unless I have to and don't know how wise it is to toss them in the tumbler as is. I suppose I can rinse them with the garden hose and let 'em dry out before using them.
Is there any condition brass must be in to qualify for use in a tumbler?

Thanks in advance!

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January 7, 2006, 04:16 AM
i tumble all my range brass and inspect once its clean. so you can throw whatever you want in there! i too use the frankford arsenal tumbler, and i use hornady case cleaner. a squirt goes a long way. i use walnut media only, and i've cleaned probably close to 7-8000 rounds with it and its going fine. i've probably used a third of my 8 oz bottle of cleaner to do this.

i've never used corn, but if you need media a lot of people buy it at the petstore. 1/4 inch walnut bedding or something like that. someone will be by with the specifics shortly im sure:)

45 brass lasts pretty much till you lose it if you load moderatly, and considering it goes for about 35 bucks a thousand you did pretty well getting 2k free!

January 7, 2006, 07:46 AM
Petstore walnut (lizzard litter) comes in 15lb bags for $20... thats MUCH better than the $15 for 3-5lbs for 'gun store' walunt. Look for walnut in the lizzard section of larger pet stores.

Ditto for corn cob. Pet Store corn cob is generally to large of a grain to use for empty cases (it WILL clog your primer hole, and it WILL clog your bottle neck cases). But for tumbling a loaded round to get the lube off its is A-OK. Look in the bird section for it. Again, its about $15 for 20lbs. Toss in your favorite polish and it will make your brass sparkle... if you are into that sort of thing.

January 7, 2006, 10:06 AM
The pet supply store....

See, that's precisely why I love posting questions here. That tip will most certainly save me money!

Thanks for the info and tip, you two!

January 7, 2006, 11:48 AM
Wash the mud off in your fancy new bucket. Hot water and dish soap, swirl with your hand, most of the mud will come off.

Tumble the cleaner into the media, pour in a couple caps full and run for 5-10 minutes. Make sure there are no clumps, pour in another couple caps full, run for 5-10 minutes. Add brass and tumble until clean.

I use the FA tumbler you have, keep the load down to 350-400 45's at the most and it will work better. If you overload it you will find it takes double or triple the time to get the brass clean.

I find corncob to work just fine for cleaning nasty cases, it just takes longer for really nasty cases than walnut with rouge added.

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