Tumbling Media you wont believe


January 2, 2008, 08:38 PM
So i went shooting on saturday. Previously i went about 3 weeks ago. On sunday i opened up my tumbler. Three weeks ago i dumped all the shells in my tumbler and ran it for about 4 hours. Well when i opened it up on sunday the shells were still dirty. I always use dryer sheets and pieces of papertowels to keep the media clean. However it was time to dump it. It was just too old and brownish. Well the gun shops were closed. then with the holidays i knew i was not going to be able to get any soon. Unless i go to the local pet store. So then my neighbor was with me and asking about the tumbler and media and asking all sorts of questions. Then we started thinking and talking about what to use. Any way about an hour later. We dumped the media. Then filled up with about 4 cups of just plain old rice. Then i added a good two cap fulls of nu finish then ran it for about 10 minutes. Then opened it up and and added a 1/4 cap of brasso. just a very small pinch.

Then we dumped in all the shells from 3 weeks ago. Then turned it on. It was a little louder at first but quieted up after about 1/2 hour. I then checked it 2 hours later and the shells looked all brand new. So i pulled all the shells and dumped in saturdays shells. Same thing after about 2 hours the shells looked all new.

Who what have figured. Just plain old rice. Just dont tell our wives as we each put in about 2 cups or more from our kitchens.

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January 2, 2008, 08:52 PM
A lot of reloader use rice in their tumbler. Like you they report it works very well. After I use up the media I already have I'm going to give rice a try. I'm sure it will work as well for me as you and the others have reported. (with a lot less mess too...)

January 2, 2008, 08:59 PM
No kidding go figure. when you think you just thought of something. I tell you what though it really works good. im just not too sure how long it would last. Like i said early as long as the wife doesnt find out. i think i will see how long it will last.

January 2, 2008, 09:45 PM
Its been a while since I bought rice at the store, but I am thinking that it is higher $/lb than the walnut shell I bought at the pet store. I could see using it in a pinch such as the example in the OP, but for day to day use I would think it better be a super media.

January 2, 2008, 11:07 PM
My tumbler stays in the garage. I'd try rice, but I'm afraid the mice would like it too well.

January 3, 2008, 12:48 PM
I've heard for 50 years never to use Brasso to clean cases or ammo because the ammonia content will make the brass brittle.

Can't say if that is true or not, because I've always been afraid to try Brasso in my tumbler, or on ammo! :what:


January 3, 2008, 01:02 PM
Brass or copper and ammonia don't get along well. Brasso certainly does have quite a bit of ammonia in it, judging by the smell.

Based on the MSDS for ammonia, I don't see anything good coming out of using ammonia-based products in a tumbler..


Extremely reactive or incompatible with acids. Highly reactive with oxidizing agents and reducing agents. Do not use copper, brass, bronze, or galvanized steel in contact with ammonia. Do not use brazed joints in ammonia service. Forms explosive compounds with many heavy metals such as mercury or silver. Reacts explosively with chlorine, hypochlorites (such as bleach or dry chlorinating chemicals) and other halogens (bromine, iodine, fluorine).


Highly corrosive in presence of copper and its alloys. Slightly corrosive to corrosive in presence of aluminum and zinc. Very slightly corrosive in presence of mild steel. Non- corrosive in presence of glass, or stainless steel (304 or 316).


Incompatible with halogens, aluminum, copper, brass and zinc. Incompatible with strong acids.

Corrosive to brass. Incompatible with copper alloys (stress cracking). Will corrode a wide variety of metals.

Vern Humphrey
January 3, 2008, 01:42 PM
When you use rice as a tumbling media, use minute rice -- it gets the job done much faster.:D

January 3, 2008, 06:00 PM
How long do you have to wash it before you cook it.:D

January 3, 2008, 06:11 PM
Does the rive disintegrate and get dusty llke media can and does.?

January 3, 2008, 08:20 PM
When you use rice as a tumbling media, use minute rice -- it gets the job done much faster.

Does the rive disintegrate and get dusty llke media can and does.?

So far its holding up

January 3, 2008, 10:04 PM
WOuld the rice have a chance of getting lodged in a small cal like 222 and 223

Winger Ed.
January 4, 2008, 12:20 AM
Yeah, it'll give you fits in the small bottleneck cases.

It was mentioned earlier around here about running the rice in a blender for a bit to chop it up. I did it, then sifted it the wife's flour sifter to get the dust out. I just finished a load of 7mm Rem.Mag. and they seem to be fine, no more clogging than corn cob media does- flash hole included.

The smallest bottleneck case I tumble is .243Win. I'll run a batch of it tomorrow and see how it works in the smaller neck.

Something I haven't heard of being used, and I'll try next is corn meal.
It ain't corn cob media, but it might work.


January 4, 2008, 05:02 PM
Has anyone ever tried plain ol sand...

January 4, 2008, 05:09 PM
Has anyone ever tried plain ol sand...

I'm pretty new to reloading, but I'd stay away from sand. I would think that the media should be hard enough to scrape off the residue and dirt, but not hard enough to scratch the brass. Sand would certainly scratch the brass.

January 4, 2008, 06:13 PM
Would sand pack so much that you wouldn't get much if any cleaning action? Seems to me that sand would leave enough residue to scratch your dies or your chamber depending on when in the reloading process you tumble and silica dust isn't very good for your lungs. Of course neither is mercury or lead dust from primers.

Vern Humphrey
January 4, 2008, 06:14 PM
Has anyone ever tried plain ol sand...
You could never guarentee that you got all the sand out, and you would wind up with sand in your dies -- and that would ruin them pretty quick.

January 4, 2008, 08:48 PM
Also, most sand comes from a place near salt water. Salt isn't a good thing when mixed with Brass unless you like green Brass!! LOL

January 4, 2008, 08:53 PM
Has anyone ever tried plain ol sand...

Sand is highly abrasive. I wouldn't use it. You'll have troubles getting it all out and, as Vern stated, will ruin your dies.

I've heard for 50 years never to use Brasso to clean cases or ammo because the ammonia content will make the brass brittle.

Rcmodel is right. Don't even use a tiny amount. It's not worth using it since there are far better products to use out there that's safe on brass.

January 4, 2008, 09:24 PM
It is abrasive i know that... I didnt know the effects it would leave with the dies and comming form near salt water never crossed my mind...

I can comment on brasso.. I attended Hargrave Military Academy for a period in the late 80s... Of course it was like real military in drees code and such and our brass had to be poished to a high shine.. After 4 or 5 times of polishing all the brass coating was gone and we were down to the interior (silver colred) metal...

January 4, 2008, 10:42 PM

I found myself in a similar situation. I never thought of rice, but I did think of milo. With a capful of Flitz it worked pretty well.

January 6, 2008, 12:14 AM
Rice works great. Add a few dryer sheets to it to eliminate the dust.

January 6, 2008, 02:12 AM
Rice works great. Add a few dryer sheets to it to eliminate the dust

Exactly what i did. It seems to have a lot less dust than regular corn cob media. Does not scratch the brass. Polishes very good and requires less time than Cob media. I like it. who would have figured. You pretty much just turn on the tumbler for about an hour to two hours depending on how dirty.. Then sift them out. they are good to go. Very clean. I actually havent had that big a problem with the rice getting stuck in the flas holes like regular media does. Out of maybe 50-100 30-30 rifle shells maybe 2 will have a little piece of rice that comes out easier than media. Media always seems to be the right size to get stuck.

January 6, 2008, 01:17 PM
I (and you can as well) conducted a test with media containing Brasso and not. Put some thin strips of brass in the tumbler and see how many bends it will take to brake afterwords. The results will suprise you.... don't use the stuff.

Get a polish made for brass, think dillon sells some.

For me, I use corn media from a pet store in the lizard section. A few hours in my rotary tumber is usually enough. I really don't care if it shines, just as long as it doesn't scratch my dies.

I don't put polish in my media for two reasons: first, I have to clean it off before I can work it, second, I have to clean it off before I can work it.

For my match brass, I just use Goo-Gone to clean the necks. They never see the tumbler... ever. Goes very quick and usually only the necks are dirty. Goo-Gone is petrolium based and cleans itself off via evaporation.

For perfectly shinny brass that sparkles, Fritz is the way to go. By hand just before you prime, charge and seat.

I've heard ultrasonics work very well, been eyeing one at harbor freight for $100... That may even clean the INSIDE of the cases too.

January 7, 2008, 05:38 AM
My experience with ultrasonics is that they work but drying the cases is a PITA and adds time and effort to the job.

Master Blaster
January 7, 2008, 08:31 AM
Folks there really are good reasons why reloaders with years of experience, as well as commercial reloaders use crushed corn cob and crushed walnut instead of rice or something else. Because after years of trial, and millions of rounds, corn and walnut work. I tried rice years ago, I found it was dusty, and after two or three loads of dirty brass, it was just rubbing the crud around rather than removing it.

Find a good supplier for walnut and corn cob and you will be happy.

W Turner
January 7, 2008, 05:00 PM
I have only used rice in my tumbler since starting a few years ago. I think I paid about $10 for 50lbs of rice at that time. WAY cheaper than cob or walnut. After about 2 hrs in the tumbler, my brass is clean and shiny.

Only consideration is weight. Rice is much heavier by volume than either cob or walnut shells. May reduce the # of brass pieces you can tumble at once. I have tumbled up to 250 .45 cases at one time with no ill effects.


January 7, 2008, 07:38 PM
Harbor Freight has a sale on ultrasonic cleaners right now. They also have a 15% off coupon.

41 Mag
January 8, 2008, 05:37 AM
Never used rice. Got tired of high priced media and looked elsewhere for a supply. Found that the local sand blasting supply had several grades of both crushed walnut and corn cob for less than $20-50#. Split between a couple of friends and you have a long lasting cheap supply. Trust me, a 50# bag of either will last you for years.

Flitz is the best additive that I have found. About two teaspoons in a new batch of media will last quite a while. Even without adding the Flitz, a 50-50 mix of cob abd walnut will clean cases to a decent sheen and in a short period of time.

January 8, 2008, 02:15 PM
Yeah, I use rice too. Its awesome. a 25# bag is only $9. I'm still on my first bag, 10,000 rnds later.

Ranger J
January 8, 2008, 03:50 PM
Dang! I got in on this thread too late. All the good jokes are used up already.:D


January 8, 2008, 07:56 PM
walnut and a dab of mineral spirits cleans anything up. Follow with corn cob and a dab of kerosene. Loads in sotrage for 2 years while I was in Germany were gleaming when i took them to the range. Walnut and corn cob can be purchased for next to nothing from a bulk abrasice dealer. Look in your phone book, purchase a 100lb bag, and you're set for a long, long time.

Sand would certainly scratch the brass.

Don't forget you are scratching when you polish, no matter what you do. It is just a matter of how big are the scratches and how they are orientated that matters. Sand would also be REALLY heavy and tough for your tumbler to move well.

January 8, 2008, 11:22 PM
Using any ammonia based products with brass that's going to be shot at high pressure near one's hands and/or face: EXTREMELY BAD IDEA.

Buying ground corn cob media or crushed walnut in bulk either at the local pet store or the local industrial supply out fit: EXTREMELY GOOD IDEA.

There's lotsa reasons the reloaders who've been doing it a while use the corn cob and walnut, usually with Flitz or Nu Finish car polish. I mix the corn cob and crushed walnut 50/50, works great for me and keeps the dust down a good while. One capful of Nu Finish each time brass is loaded up.



January 8, 2008, 11:32 PM
I ran out of corn cob and tried $ Store rice.

It worked ooh kay and produced a flat, dull, shine. :scrutiny:

I looked for walnut shell online and found some, but then remembered I read somewhere that Pet Stores sold walnut shell for bedding material.

I called the nearest Pet Store and sure enough they had 5 lb bags for $3. Went down and bought a couple of bags.

Re-ran my .45 LC cases and got that nice patent shine in a couple of hours. :D

January 10, 2008, 06:12 AM
be careful with the brasso, it will tear up brass a couple of firings down the road if you intend to use the brass a few times.

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