Drill Spot Media - Not Impressed So Far...


Foto Joe
July 19, 2011, 09:44 AM
A couple of months ago I orderered a 40lb bag of the 20/40 corn cob blasting media from Drill Spot. The price is great but I'm not so impressed with the performance.

Maybe I'm expecting too much or maybe you get what you pay for, or just maybe it's the loose nut at the handlebars that hasn't really figured out what he's doing in the first place.

With the expensive Lyman Turbo media I can run brass through the tumbler until the cows come home without changing the media. Eventually I'll get staining and I'll grudgingly dump it and start with fresh stuff. The Drill Spot 20/40 media seems to be only good for a couple 100 count batches and then it's time to replace it, either that or I'm going to cost myself more in electricity than I'm saving with the cheap media. So here's a couple of questions...

I'm wondering if the 14/20 media being more course would last longer or do a better job. It would more closely match the size of the Lyman media so I'm thinking of switching over to it on the next order. Media in the flash channel isn't an issue with me as I tumble with primers in and the de-prime punch will clear the flash channel. Those with experience in this size media, I would appreciate your comments.

Second, I've read in various posts about folks using some sort of liquid polish in their media. I'd like a couple of recommendations of the brand that some of you who use Drill Spot have used and like.

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July 19, 2011, 09:53 AM
I use bulk media from some eBay vendor or another. It, along with a cap of Nu Finish car polish, give me good results in about an hour or so of tumbling.

July 19, 2011, 09:53 AM
The drillspot media is just dry blasting media w/o any cleaner or polish. You'll need to add a brass polish; I like Berry's and Dillon's. I have really good results with that media.

A lot of people hear use Nufinish car polish. I've never tryed it.

July 19, 2011, 10:00 AM
I have used 12 (coarse) and 24 grit (fine) walnut media and found the smaller media does a better job of cleaning black fouling off cases faster (I guess more "scrubbing action" from smaller grains of walnut). The 24 grit walnut media better matches the brass tumbling media size I have been buying for years from gun stores. Ground walnut Lizzard litter from pet stores like Zilla (http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Blend-Lizard-Litter-10Lb/dp/B001OVGPGC) also work well.

I have happily used Dillon and MidwayUSA polish for years but now use NuFinish. Treating new walnut media with 2 capfuls of NuFinish really help with cleaning and polishing brass (I keep my media on the dry side and add 1 more capful every 3-4 batches). If you add too much polish, your media will just clump and leave stains on the brass surface instead of polishing.

I tumble pistol brass before I resize/deprime so no issues with media getting stuck in flash hole.

For mixed indoor range brass, 24 grit walnut media from Harbor Freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/25-lbs-fine-grade-walnut-shell-blast-media-92155.html) with NuFinish cleans and puts a light shine on brass in about 30 minutes. For brilliant shine, I tumble brass in corn cob media for 1 hour (for me, walnut cleans better and corn cob polishes better).

wild willy
July 19, 2011, 11:28 AM
I use the Drillspot 20/40 with Turtle Wax scratch and swirl remover works fine

July 19, 2011, 12:43 PM
Isn't that Zilla walnut sold in 10 and 25 quarts ? So what would that be in pounds , just a rough guess for the 10 & 25 quarts. Thanks.

July 19, 2011, 01:34 PM
FWIW I have the 14/20 media (I ordered it accidentally; everyone recommended the smaller stuff and I do have to poke media out of every 5th or so rifle flash hole with a toothpick; I tumble handgun brass with the old primers still in place) and I'm still using the original batch of media I started on a couple of months ago. I've tumbled probably 5000 cases and it's still not grungy looking. I ran the first few batches without any nu-finish but have been putting some in the past few. I can't really tell the difference.

I also run lyman turbo walnut and it seems to be a bit faster (I usually run each batch for at least a few hours) but the corncob works fine for me.

July 19, 2011, 02:11 PM
seems to be only good for a couple 100 count batches and then it's time to replace it

Are you saying it stops working or it just gets dirty looking? Ive noticed with all types of media I have used, the first few times are the best and then it still works.....just not as fast as new.

If its just dirty looking, throw some paper towel strips or used dryer sheets in to collect the powder dust.

Nu-Finish is what everyone reccomends. I've used others, they work too. And it seems after you do it once, they are more resistant to dirt and clean up easier.

July 19, 2011, 02:49 PM
"If you clean something, you have to get something else dirty".

July 19, 2011, 02:58 PM
Some tumblers are sensitive to the amount of brass and media they need. Mine likes 200-300 9mm. The amount of media you add makes a difference too. You need to find what yours likes. But do add the polish (NuFinish) to your initial load, 1 cap full is all I add. Add it slowly while your tumbler is running, no brass. It will need to run for a while to de-clump. Once cleared your ready to add brass. Don't for get to add drier sheets to your loads. I cut 2 up in approx 2" sq. These need to be added with every load. They collect the dirt, control static, and helps wipe the brass clean.

Foto Joe
July 19, 2011, 04:25 PM
Are you saying it stops working or it just gets dirty looking?

It looks the same, it just isn't getting the job done at all. We're talkin' 6 hours plus and the 45 Colt brass is still dull.

Now...I took off earlier today and went to CarQuest to find some NuFinish. I put two capfuls into my tumbler while it was running with the same 45 Colt brass still rolling around in there. I went slow and did get a few clumps but they worked themselves out in short order.

After about two hours we're getting the results which I was looking for. Did I mention this is Black Powder cartridge brass?? I soak my BP brass in a 2:1 water to white vinegar solution for about 15 minutes then let it dry over nite. I also do smokeless brass but usually not in the same batch unless it's 45 ACP with 45 Colt.

After I pull this batch I will dump the media and start fresh. I'll be tumbling 9mm & 38 Special tonite and after my 45 Colt brass dries I'll throw it in there with the 45 ACP in the morning.

I'm cheap as you might have guessed from the Drill Spot media. I usually run this stuff until I start getting stains on the brass (no NuFinish just media). I guess I'll have to start dumping the media once in a while but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts with the NuFinish in it.

Do you add more NuFinish each time or just the one or two capfuls and let 'er rip until it's time to dump it?

July 19, 2011, 04:32 PM
Most people say a capful or a half each time. I only put some in once in a while... I figure if I can still smell it it's still there. :)

July 19, 2011, 05:07 PM
I use drill spot media, ad some nu finish about every 2 or 3 times I run it. Some days I run 4-5,000 pieces of brass thru my tumbler and I'll put nu finish in it once. Also I'll ad a used dryer sheet every other time. Some guys say to cut it up into a billion pieces, but I just cut the dryer sheets in half. Seams to make my media last longer. Usually after a few months of heavy use I also scrub the bowl of the tumbler. I noticed it'll get black and I think it shortens media life. I dont know for sure, but if I run my finger on it and my finger is black

July 19, 2011, 08:40 PM
Nu-Finish seems to be the most popular but actually any liquid auto cleaner polish will work just fine. Using a polishing agent with the media is a case where ,less is more. A capful "read teaspoon" to start with is plenty then add another when the cleaning/polishing falls off. One of the benifits of using auto cleaner polish is it will protuct the brass from tarnishing after the fact.

Hope this helps!

July 19, 2011, 09:06 PM
I am using the Grainger stuff (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=137187&d=1298730171) right now, and I'll bet a cold drink it is the same thing.

I am using the last of my Midway polish, which changed recently, mixed with an old bottle of Nu-Finish. It works just fine. The new Midway polish is virtually identical to my old, at least 10 years, bottle of Nu-Finish.

July 19, 2011, 09:10 PM
I pre-wash my 9mm brass using a similar formula that you use.

I tumble about 500 pieces and use Nu-Finish and only 20/40 (Cabella tumbler says it carry 1K). After two to three hours the brass really shines. I believe due to the pre-washing, I get very little dust and crud in my media, so it lasts for several thousand cases at least.

I've tried mixing some walnut with the corncob, but didn't see any change. Again, I believe the pre-wash (liquid laundry soap & white vinegar & water-15/20 mins) keeps the media much cleaner and lets the corncob "polish" already cleaned inside and out brass.


July 19, 2011, 09:26 PM
I use 14/20 and I hardly ever change it. It does stick in the primer flash holes sometimes but is easy to pick out.

July 19, 2011, 09:52 PM
I'm still on my original bottle of Dillon polish, and a 25# box of walnut blasting media from Harbor Freight - I have no idea what size media it is, but it was $19.95 three years ago, and it's less than half gone. The bottle of Dillon polish is mostly gone. I've tumbled approximately 12K rounds in the Lyman Turbo 1200 tumbler.

One of the things I've done is:

3 capfuls of Dillon polish into new media, and then tumble for an hour or two - the media is just the right size for sticking in flash holes - but as stated, a toothpick gets it right out.

After separating, I reuse the same media over and over again, until it either takes 3 hrs. to tumble and polish to the same standard, or the media is so blackened from crud that it looks like mini lumps of coal. After that, it goes in the dumpster. If I had to guess, I'd say one load of media, is lasting me around 4-5 tumbling sessions. Good Luck!

July 19, 2011, 10:20 PM
>>I am using the Grainger stuff right now, and I'll bet a cold drink it is the same thing. <<

It is the same thing. When I ordered from Drillspot, the bag got shipped from the nearest Grangers.

Hondo 60
July 19, 2011, 11:59 PM
I have the 20/40 drillspot media.
It gets dirty, but if you add some polish every 3rd time or so it lasts a long time.

I like going to the range 2x a week or so, & usually run 4 or 5 boxes of ammo each time.
It's been about 3 months since I changed the media, but it needs to be changed the next time I go.

4 boxes x 2x a week x 3 months = about 4,800 cases that I've cleaned.

July 20, 2011, 01:20 AM
Remember the polish will dry out on the media, so once every few loads add a capful or so of mineral spirits. That's a solvent and it will "reactivate" the polish and help loosen the carbon and crud on the brass. Be sure to add the dryer sheets too and toss them after each load. They help remove loose dirt and crud and keep it out of the media.

evan price
July 20, 2011, 03:44 AM
I use Zilla walnut. I also use NuFinish and used dryer sheets.

I no longer use mineral spirits as of a couple years ago because the mineral spirits attacks the plastic bowl of the tumbler. I switched to "Paint Cleanup" which comes in a purple metal quart can at Lowes because it claims to not attack plastic parts. It is used for cleaning paintbrushes and spills. Smells like some sort of mineral spirits but it has not softened the plastic bowls like real mineral spirits did. The mineral spirits or whatever you use, is great for removing the carbon and powder residue from inside and outside the case.

I have my tumblers on a cheap Harbor Freight clock timer. They run for about 4-6 hours twice a day. I can change this depending on how dirty the brass is. I usually have it cycle once while I am at work and once while I am asleep, and change loads in between.

What comes out with the Zilla walnut, NuFinish, Paint cleanup, and dryer sheets is shiny brass that looks virtually unfired after an overnight tumble.

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