How to tell when tumbler media worn out


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ilmonster
November 6, 2011, 07:39 PM
Simple question, how does one know when the tumbler media is worn out for lack of a better phrase? I use Lyman Turbo Brass corn cob media (the green stuff). I reload handgun ammo only in a SDB press, and don't care if it's gleaming brass, just clean enough to reload properly. Thanks!

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ranger335v
November 6, 2011, 07:46 PM
"don't care if it's gleaming brass, just clean enough to reload properly. Thanks!"

When it quits cleaning cases enough to reload properly. And, considering that I reloaded for some 15 or more years before tumbers became available, I'm really not sure how clean that is.

RandyP
November 6, 2011, 07:58 PM
I use a mix of corn cob and walnut (lizard litter) - either is affordable enough for me to say "When in doubt? Throw it out."

I always use several cut up dryer sheets to collect the dust plus some liquid car polish every now and then. The same batch of media is still going stiong after many, many tumblings.

rcmodel
November 6, 2011, 08:01 PM
I replace when it stops cleaning in the normal 2 - 2 1/2 hour tumbling period set on my timer.

Like RandyP said, "When in doubt? Throw it out."

In the grand scheme of all things reloading:
Next to real case lube, it's the cheapest thing you have to buy when figured on a per round basis.

rc

Fishslayer
November 6, 2011, 08:12 PM
Throw in a couple teaspoons of Nu Finish.

If you don't need "gleaming" brass, go with lizard litter crusshed walnut. Works way faster & with some Nu Finish actually gets it pretty bright with a nice slick coating.

bds
November 6, 2011, 08:14 PM
I use walnut media and NuFinish for cleaning brass with a light polish. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes for indoor range brass (1 hour will apply more shine). 1 hour in corn cob and NuFinish will apply brilliant shine.

Crushed walnut is very hard and actually don't "wear out" but just get dirty. If walnut media don't clean/polish within 1 hour, I consider it dirty. I use cut up used drier sheets and it seems to extend the life of walnut media.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, I once washed dirty walnut media in a 5 gallon bucket with water and dish soap. Once the washed walnut media was dried in the sun, it was almost good as new.

I have around 50 lbs of walnut/corn cob media in the garage so I just toss them out in the trash now.

res45
November 6, 2011, 08:53 PM
I replace when it stops cleaning in the normal 2 - 2 1/2 hour tumbling period set on my timer.

Like RandyP said, "When in doubt? Throw it out."

In the grand scheme of all things reloading:
Next to real case lube, it's the cheapest thing you have to buy when figured on a per round basis.

rc


+1 that's about as simple as it gets,I use plain cob & NuFinish along with a couple strips of used dryer sheet to help keep the media cleaner a bit longer.

cfullgraf
November 6, 2011, 09:08 PM
I run cleaning media until I feel it is not cleaning very well any more. I do run two tumblers, one for fired brass and one for cleaning after lubricating and resizing.

I generally let the tumblers run overnight so my media probably cleans longer than others only because I let it run longer.

Media lasts me a long time. The last stuff I bought, lizard walnut litter, I bought only to try not because I needed it. Cannot remember the last time before that.

Deavis
November 7, 2011, 12:07 AM
Never. I eventually lose enough through attrition during separation that I top up eventually. Otherwise, keep using it.

jcwit
November 7, 2011, 12:53 AM
How would you loose that much thru attrition? I seriously doubt I loose a 1/4 teaspoon per tumbler.

john16443
November 7, 2011, 10:59 AM
With the bulk packaging available from HF and Drillspot, I change the 50/50 mix of walnut/corncob beginning of each month. I won't have to buy media for at least 5 years. I run two tumblers for 4 hours on timers with this mix regularly and toss in some Nufinish once in awhile.

Waywatcher
November 7, 2011, 12:43 PM
Never. I eventually lose enough through attrition during separation that I top up eventually. Otherwise, keep using it.

+1. That's exactly what I do.

Kingcreek
November 7, 2011, 12:58 PM
If you don't have the new media or don't want to replace it... few strips (3-4) of T-shirt rags approx 2"x10" wet with rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits will "freshen" old media if you put em in the polisher and run it for an hour. Old media is more fouled with polishing compound and grime than actually worn out.

jcwit
November 7, 2011, 01:05 PM
I've found case lube foules up the media pretty quickly.

cfullgraf
November 7, 2011, 01:59 PM
I've found case lube foules up the media pretty quickly.

Yes, that is the most likely reason i swap out the media.

ReloaderEd
November 7, 2011, 02:38 PM
Yes what did we do before tumblers? A buddy of mine had an alcohol solution he soaked brass in and oven dried. Worked pretty good, the brass came out clean with a frosty looking satin type finish, but it was functional.
I have burned out one tumbler so far and replaced the motor. I use wallnut shells crushed which works pretty good. As its used there is some dust associated with the used media. At that point it is well used and I replace it. I don't use polish just plain media which gives me fairly clean brass that "looks" nice. Be Safe
PS: I think I will try the rubbing alcohol trick sounds like a great idea!!

ranger335v
November 7, 2011, 06:19 PM
"Crushed walnut is very hard and actually don't "wear out" but just get dirty."

Media, nut or cob, really takes a very looong time to "wear out". What most people seem to be doing is adding too much polish far to often. That causes the media to become coated with a dry gray glaze that doesn't do much to cases but it does make the 'dust' that seems to frighten some people. Dryed polish can be 'reactivated' by adding a couple of ounces of mineral spirts/oderless paint thinner to soften the polish so the media can continue to do its job.

kelbro
November 7, 2011, 09:17 PM
I run a used dryer sheet or two through for an hour about every ten loads. I add a capful of mineral spirits and let it run for about ten minutes before each batch. 40 or 50 loads through this batch of walnut media and it cleans like new.

Hondo 60
November 7, 2011, 11:14 PM
Change the media when it just doesn't clean to your standards in the time you allot for it.

My rule is usually 4 hrs.
If it won't properly clean my brass after a 4 hr run, then it's time to dump it.
(it's usually about 2hrs when it's new)

jcwit
November 7, 2011, 11:38 PM
Right Hondo 60.

There is such a thing as being just too cheap.

evan price
November 8, 2011, 01:01 AM
I ran a load of walnut so long it turned round. Didn't clean anymore. Obviously, trash, and it took an entire summer of 24/7 tumbling.

I switched from mineral spirits to Kleen-Strip "Paint clean-up" which is according to the MSDS, Stoddard Solvent. Does not attack the plastic bowl, and leaves the brass squeaky clean. Dryer sheets do wonders for media longevity.

ilmonster
November 8, 2011, 09:33 AM
Thanks all for the responses. Looks like I'll hang on to what I have a little longer.

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