Tumbling cases???


August 21, 2010, 12:54 AM
I just got a Hornady tumbler and Frankford Arsenal corn cob media. I put 30 cases of 50 BMG in the tumbler and after three hours the cases look pretty clean and shiny but the necks still have a lot of crud on them. I let the tumber go for three hours straight with four teaspoons of brass polishing media.

Am I doing something wrong? Should i use walnut instead? Also during resizing holy cow, deprimes
just fine but during the portion of pulling the case out out of the die it is like a death sentence. Should I clean the inner portion of the neck to smoothen the extraction of the case after it has been deprimed? All inputs appreciated.

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August 21, 2010, 01:07 AM
on rifle brass if the neck did`nt seal & is fouled I steel wool the necks to make sure they come clean in the tumbler & also I brush the inside of the necks to save my expander & to prevent pullin out the shoulder .

When resizing a case there`s alot more happenin than just resizing & anything we can do to facilitate those steps can only help the outcome no matter the caliber !!!!!

August 21, 2010, 01:40 AM
Number 1 IMO you're using to much polishing compound and are you letting it dry
before starting to tumble the brass. I use Nu-Finsih auto polish and 1 teaspoon to start with is plenty.

As mentioned by GP100man use a cleaning brush and brush the inside of the neck, it will clean off the crud inside. Be sure to lube your cases before resizing.

August 21, 2010, 12:41 PM
Corn-cob media is for a finial high-gloss finish. It actually will do very little actual cleaning of burn marks on necks, etc.

Walnut is for cleaning crud off the cases.
Use it first, then use the corn-cob later if you want knock your eyes out shiny.


August 27, 2010, 10:46 PM
rcmodel and jcwit are giving good advice regarding media and polish...

i like the fine walnut media petco sells as lizard litter for about half of what lyman charges. the fine media doesn't stick in the primer pockets.

adding a used dryer fabric-softener towel while tumbling keeps the media clean longer.


stupidity is its own reward

August 27, 2010, 10:53 PM
I let my tumbler run overnight with corn cob media. The cases come out beautiful.

August 27, 2010, 10:58 PM
I use cabela's corn cob media and 3 hrs with 1 tsp. does my .223 just fine!! Any longer and sunglasses will be required! Good luck!

August 27, 2010, 11:10 PM
Walnut is more for cleaning, the corn cob is more for polishing. You will get better results with walnut and a little polish then if you want bling, use the cob.

August 27, 2010, 11:35 PM
I agree walnut for cleaning, corncob for polishing.

August 28, 2010, 01:42 AM
1) over cleaning seems to be very popular
2) if these were military cases, that could be bullet sealant and you will need to get some mineral spirits if you just can't stand the residue.
3) you may notice the same thing in the primer pocket

August 28, 2010, 02:16 AM
I use this for cleaning cases, I get 20lb. bags at PetSmart. I use it dry, right out of the bag. Gently abrasive, does well.


For polishing, I use 20/40 ground corncob from Grainger's. Put in the tumbler and turn on, drizzle in a teaspoon of so of NuFinish Car Polish while it's running and let it mix in real good.

Works for me.


August 28, 2010, 08:59 AM
What Rondog says. Another option as far as a vendor is DrillSpot. samebasic price price as Grainger and free shipping to your door. Google it and search for blasting media, I'm not sure but they may be part of Graingers, anyway you don't have to drive to get it.

August 28, 2010, 10:21 AM
The same crud shows up on my .223 cases from time to time (usually in lighter loads). I usually ignore it unless it looks like it'll gum up the die.

I don't think you ran the tumbler long enough--I only run for 3 hrs if my brass was really clean to begin with, or for pistol cases. I usually run it overnight in a 80% walnut, 20% corncob mix with a splash of mineral spirits.

September 18, 2010, 05:02 PM
WOW I just toss em in what ever is on sale a bit of brasso turn it on befor bedtime and like majic I gots me shinny new brass to size, deprime, clean the neck, clean the primer pocket, prime, trimm, measure, deburr, charge, seat, measure,crimp,measure, not in that order and in a split second we start all over, why are we doing this?
To spend time with my son doing what we love. (shootin stuff)

Hondo 60
September 18, 2010, 05:34 PM
jeeptim: Amen brother! (although I wouldn't use brasso)

My 45 colt brass is usually pretty bad when I come in from the range, much worse than my 38/357. Last evening I ran 150 pcs with new corn cob & some Cabela's polish. Let it run for 4 hrs. Now I gots me some nice shiny brass. Seriously, it's looks almost new. I noticed the inside gets much cleaner than my 38 spl/357mag cases.

And I got my corn cob from drill spot too. If they're not related to Graingers, at least that's where they get it from. The invoice said Grainger on it

September 18, 2010, 05:40 PM
Oh and I use 14/20 grit corn cob that I get from Graingers and Calaba's

September 18, 2010, 05:59 PM
Corncob will clean and polish. Walnut just cleans faster. Polish will speed things up with either media.

September 18, 2010, 07:51 PM
First, is the tumbler sized properly for a .50BMG?
Second, it the crud actually dirt or is it residue from the bullet sealant?
If sealant, you just need to wire brush with Hoppe's #9 or other crud cutter.
From what I can tell, most forum responders seem to live for pretty cases and spend an inordinate amount of time and money keeping their brass shiny.
I don't like walnut, because I made the mistake of not inspecting my cases prior to moving. I cleaned all my cases in walnut media in the big Dillon vibrator. Packed away the clean cases for the move.
When I finally got set up again, I discovered that many cases had walnut powder packed into them. I had to hand clean over 10k cases.
If you use walnut or other nut, you have to use towels or cloths to absorb the dust. Don't leave the machine running too long.
With corn, there is hardly any dust and you can leave things running for days.

September 18, 2010, 08:11 PM
most forum responders seem to live for pretty cases
Repeat after me noylj. Shiny is good. :D

With corn, there is hardly any dust and you can leave things running for days.

Yep, and I have before when I forgot about em out in the shed. :o

Polish helps with dust, as does a sprinkle of water if it gets dry. (Like in the shed in above 100 degree temps.) Too much polish can cause problems as well. If you overload the media it gets on and in the cases and tumbler insides.

September 19, 2010, 03:53 AM
3 hours isn't really long with cob & polish.

I like REALLY shiny brass. I give 'em a couple hours in the walnut litter first. Really gets through the tough stuff & keeps my cob polish clean MUCH longer.

Yeah... I'm borderline OCD about my brass...:(

Ky Larry
September 19, 2010, 06:52 PM
I've never reloaded BMG cases. When I reload .30-06 cases, I lube the inside of the case neck with a Qtip. Makes the enter and leave the die much easier.

A few hours of tumbling with walnut media and a spoon of Simonize white polishing compound gets my brass clean and shiny.

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