Non standard tumbling media?


September 25, 2003, 10:18 PM
I have used walnut and corn but .... any ideas regarding other media that would be cheaper and easy to obtain? I seem to remember reading some suggestions somewhere but danged if I can recall where.

I use the Midway polish additive and would imagine that could work with other things too .... but wonder what might be best.

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September 25, 2003, 10:32 PM
You can get ground corn cob in pet stores. Apparently, our favorite brass polishing media is also used as gerbil poop media.

The pet store stuff is a bit coarser grind (larger chunks) but it seems to work the same and it is a lot less expensive.

September 25, 2003, 10:45 PM
I know a lot of people that use bulk rice.

September 25, 2003, 11:15 PM
antsi ... aha .. now that strikes a chord ...... must look into that - could well have been in back of my mind.

Jeeper ... rice had occurred to me but had wondered re ''starch'' residue etc .... imagining it would break down rather fast.

September 26, 2003, 02:26 AM
One of my shooting buddies uses rice. No problems. Oh, make sure not to COOK the rice:p . Throw it out when it gets very dark.
I use the pet store corn cob. 25 pounds for $12. Works well.

September 26, 2003, 08:11 AM
oats work but it's pretty dusty ....

September 26, 2003, 11:42 AM
I keep giving out this tip, so I may as well be consistant: Check the Yeller Pages for "Abrasives". You can buy 50# bags of untreated ground corncob for $15 or so. That's about as cheap as it gets. Put in a little polish, and you're good-to-go. As soon as I run out of my Midway case polish, I'll change to car polish. That's even cheaper.

Just call me a pinch-penny....

September 26, 2003, 01:05 PM
Hey ''Pinch penny'' ...... from another ''Pinch penny'' ... thx buddy.:p :)

September 26, 2003, 11:32 PM
I used Oil Dry for years,I had a homemade tumbler at work,used their power oil dry and air for free.Took a long time to clean& dusty but free.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
September 27, 2003, 12:36 AM
As a commercial reloader experimenting with everything available I found that the right size of apricot pit hulls when available is the best, next the right size of walnut hulls and by the right size means that the more pieces there are in a pound the the more sharp edges there are to clean the brass.
Next is corn cobs with paint thinner or kerosene to take the bullet lube off and to make loaded ammo look like new.

I have thrown in paper punches and voting card chads, pieces of cloth and paper from my office shredder to see if anything happened. I decided that all but the hulls and cobs was a waste of time.


As the walnut hulls from a walnut hull processor that makes it for cleaning the rotors in jet engines to get the dead bird residue off is the best ever and will make your brass shine like a mirror without any additives in 24 hours when fresh and a little longer as it is used.

All your reloaders need to have the longest life is to have clean brass inserted into them and the right size of walnut will do the job. Agrishell Co of Los Angeles has it and it is size AD#3B I used to sell tons of it across the country and only have my personal liftime supply now.

If you have a leak proof tumbler barrel then you can tumble in hot water and tide soap. Now WHAT IS CHEAPER THAN THAT??

Paul Jones

September 29, 2003, 06:02 PM
My tumbler is water tight.... How will the tide do as far as polishing goes ?

Paul "Fitz" Jones
September 29, 2003, 11:56 PM
I am wondering about the posts on this topic as the brass discussed must be really dirty or the original appearance of the new brass is not shiny enough. The most important factor for a serious competitor is practice with consistent ammo and clean brass keeps the investment in tools from wearing. Now with my firing some new ammo then tumbling in my favorite media as mentioned for several hours will return it to its original appearance.

Now if the men posting are picking up range brass that has been on the ground for a year or more than that is another story then 24 to 48 hours should make it like new again.

I really do not understand fellows thinking that brass that looks like mirrors will shoot better?

For curiosity value I turned in some GI rifle and pistol brass to a commercial metals cleaning business with 8 foot diameter vibrators and ceramic shapes as the media and it was WOW and I sold it at gun shows for three times my normal price. It did not sell to old shooters but the newest ones just starting out.

I can see wanting ammo to be clean but mirror like no thanks for the millons of rounds I have loaded. If I showed up at my monthly police shooting pay qualification with mirror brass I would be laughed at..

All that is needed to protect your tool investment and weapons too is "Clean" brass and ammo.

I still have a batch of WW2 Steel cases in 45acp that I am still shooting occassionally to get a reaction at the local civilian range when I pick up my cases with a magnet on a car antenna. I have like new looking 45 brass as old as 1918.

Clean then spend yout time practicing for the most shooting improvement.

Paul Jones '
Moderator of this list

September 30, 2003, 09:50 PM

I am definately with you on this one. I have never really understood all the crazy experimenting here. I have used walnut or pecan for years and never even really tried anything else. My stuff shines and the idea of using a liquid to me is a litle nuts. THat is a lot of work. I probably shoot more than most and it seems like too much work. Maybe I just dont understand.

September 30, 2003, 10:41 PM
On another forum it was suggested that "KOOL-AID" would clean brass. So I tried it, it works. It seems that the citric acid is the cleaning agent. What I did was mix one packet of LEMON-LIME KOOL-AID with no sugar , in a liter of hot water and left some spotted range pickup 9mm in the mix for about two hours. They came out pretty clean. It takes a while to dry them and it is quicker if there is no primer in the case. I also tried a very black .30-30 case and left it over night, it came out a pinkish color which buffed off to shiny brass. Strange but it does work.

September 30, 2003, 10:46 PM
We've been using bulk rice for a long while now, with really good results. The brass comes out clean and shiny. There's no dust to contend with, and rice is pretty cheap.


Paul "Fitz" Jones
October 1, 2003, 01:31 AM
I have mentioned citric acid on another post on tumbling on this list. I used it on the really black cases that had laid on the shooting range next to the ocean. Until the supplier burnt down. One of my uncles a pharmacist invented Kool aid during WW2 and the family tested it and it was great while working on the family farm. He sold it to Kraft I believe for $2,500

I use lemon juice to clean brass parts on Star reloaders I am reconditioning and it works great overnight.

I did years of testing with various acids and anything I could find and the best items ever for me are apricot pit or walnut shell media and paint thinner and kerosene. Lemon juice from our tree as a last resort.

John Paul Jones
Reloading and bulletcasting Moderator

October 2, 2003, 07:17 PM

Can you give me contact info for Agrishell? I live in LA and would like to see if I can pick up some of that walnut locally. Thanks.

Jim Watson
October 2, 2003, 11:25 PM
I get my nut hull blasting medium for tumbling very cheap from a welding supply shop. I just clean, not polish brass with it.

October 3, 2003, 02:13 PM
Pet store crushed walnut "lizard litter"($10-12 for 25# sack). Use Turtle Wax liquid car polish to keep down the dust.

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