Your media to brass ratio when tumbling?


July 10, 2011, 08:29 AM
Hi guys,
I was wondering how much media you use relative to the amount of brass in vibrating tumblers? Do you put in a little media and then mostly brass so you when you look into the top, most all you see is brass, or the other extreme where you see pretty much only media and the necks or heads of cases popping out while its tumbling? I've been more towards the latter and was wondering if anyone has found the "golden" ration that makes it the cleanest the fastest.

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Peter M. Eick
July 10, 2011, 08:36 AM
I find that it cleans fastest if you have enough media so the brass does not "tink" against each other. Also it needs to move so adjust accordingly. I normally just run my tumbler a certain number of hours and call it good. I don't worry about the specifics too much. I find that after about 3 hours the brass is quite clean and shiny.

July 10, 2011, 08:41 AM
I like a more than ample amount. It's quieter over the hours of tumbling and I feel does a better job.

July 10, 2011, 10:49 AM
Based on my experience, "vibratory" tumblers work best (speed/clean/shine) when the media move freely/fast in the bowl. I don't use a specific "ratio" but go by how fast the media/cases are moving in the bowl.

I currently use Cabela's 400 tumbler made by Berry's and fill with enough media until it is 2 inches from the top of the bowl. For new media, I add 2 capfuls of NuFinish car polish and run the tumbler until there are no clumps visible (I stir the media with a stick to speed up the process - about 5 to 10 minutes). If the new media is dusty, I run the tumbler in the back yard without cover/polish to remove the dust. I find that running my media on the "dry" side works better and only add 1 more capful of polish once every 3-4 loads. Too much polish will clump the media and leave stains on the brass surface instead of polishing them.

Before adding cases to the bowl, I watch how fast the media moves in the bowl. I don't fill to bowl capacity (1000 9mm cases, 600 45ACP cases, 450 .223 cases etc.) and stop adding cases when the movement of media/cases slows down. Depending on the media used (walnut vs corn cob), around 600-800 9mm cases.

For mixed indoor range brass, it takes 20-30 minutes in treated walnut media to get the brass clean with a light shine (I only need clean brass to reload for me). Although tumbling in walnut media for 1 hour will produce shiny cases, if I want highly polished brass, I will tumble in treated corn cob media for 1 hour. For me, walnut does a better job of cleaning black fouling off cases and corn cob does a better job of polishing cases.

I tumble with cut up used dryer sheets in the media and it helps extend the life of media.

July 10, 2011, 10:59 AM
There's a ratio?
Seriously, I just pour it in and let it run for a few hours. If the cases are audibly rattling against each other, it's probably too much.

July 10, 2011, 11:38 AM
I have a RCBS tumbler. I buy my corn media in a 3# bag. I dump the whole bag in the tumbler. Fill it up the rest of the way with brass, right to the top. I check it at about 3 hours, if the brass isn't clean to my liking then I check it every hour after that.

July 10, 2011, 11:46 AM
There's no set ratio! Load it with however many cases you have, dump some media in it, start it up. The amount of brass regulates how much media to put in. Watch the cases rotate to the top, and listen for the noise to quiet down when the rotation reaches max. That's the right ratio for that particular load.

July 10, 2011, 01:33 PM
Never paid any attention, I fill the tumpler to within an 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the top and dump in what I guess is the appropriate number of cases and let'er rip. They've always came out shinney.

July 10, 2011, 02:22 PM
Here is visual ratio fill bowl of polisher up half way with brass. Then add media till about 7/8 full run tumber for a few min to let media settle then make sure the brass is covered to keep dust down. Just tear used dryer sheet into 4 strip. If it take more then 2 hours to polish brass with corn cob replace the media.

Arkansas Paul
July 10, 2011, 04:14 PM
I just use a little more than plenty. :)

July 10, 2011, 11:24 PM
My Cabellas tumbler says 1K 9mm. I fill the tumbler to about two inches from the top of the bowl. I find 500 runs best.
Like others have said: where the cases move/cycle the fastest. I do 3-4 hours with corncob. I've tried mixing in some walnut media with the corncob and didn't see a noticeable change.
If I do more than 500, I add a little more time to my lamp timer.

If it works, it's just right.

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