Pretty brass: fail


January 2, 2012, 12:14 AM
Hey all - I've had a sudden issue. I haven't used my tumbler for several months. I had put new media in it a while before, but not long enough before to warrant replacement. The last batch of brass was beautiful as usual. Then a few days ago I tumbled some rifle brass to remove Imperial Sizing Wax, then I put in a bunch of .45 brass. To my surprise, it just never got pretty - I put some brass polish in it, ran it a bunch, no different. More polish, more time, no different. Added a used dryer sheet, it got filthy, no different.

I guess it's clean enough - it's just ugly looking. It's not really reflective at all - just dull and matte-looking. Here's an example on the left with a regular pretty case on the right.

I know that as long as it's fairly clean it doesn't matter, but I do take pride in my reloads and am puzzled why all of a sudden they're coming out nasty. Perhaps the sizing wax has messed everything up? I could change media but I kinda hate to since it doesn't seem like it's been that long, but that will probably be my next course of action.

Any ideas?


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January 2, 2012, 12:21 AM
How long have you run them and with what media? I usually run my brass for several hours if I want it pretty. I'm using 50/50 Lyman "green" corncob and plain corncob. My brass comes out pretty dull if I only tumble for a little while.

January 2, 2012, 12:25 AM
What's the big deal with changing the media? If you're bent on hanging onto what's currently in the tumbler, dump it into a bucket and refill the tumbler with unused media, and try your cases again.

January 2, 2012, 12:34 AM
Looks to me like dry walnut media on the left, and corncob media w/polish added on the right. Walnut is abrasive and scrubs them clean, where corncob is softer and will polish better.

January 2, 2012, 12:35 AM
I like the dull look, it is more tactical looking and may just save your life in the jungle.

January 2, 2012, 12:50 AM
Yeah, I think I'll just dump and do again. It's walnut - it's always given me showroom-pretty brass. It's just really unusual for it to be giving me this instead. I'm just being cheap - I've got plenty of media. Tomorrow - new media, fresh tumble. I've probably tumbled this stuff 18 hours already, no change - time for new walnut :)

Thanks for all the replies.

January 2, 2012, 06:32 AM
I'm just being cheap - I've got plenty of media.

I've probably tumbled this stuff 18 hours already, no change

Which is cheaper? Electricity for 18 hours of tumbling (to no desirable effect) or some new tumbling media? :P

January 2, 2012, 06:35 AM
Have you added a little fresh polish lately? I've found that a capful of NuFinish each time really helps with the shine factor - or at least, a capful if it's been a while since I last tumbled anything.


January 2, 2012, 07:27 AM
Different brand of brass?

I use a capful of mineral spirits in each load. Cleans the brass, tumbler, and media pretty well. Also holds down the dust which is some nasty stuff.

January 2, 2012, 08:09 AM
Get yourself some paint thinner and mix a few tablespoons in with the walnut media before running the tumbler. If you put to much in you just have to wait for it to evaporate. Run the tumbler for 2 hours and I guarantee you will never use polish again.

January 2, 2012, 09:00 AM
With my brass I see the same thing as rondog stated. The walnut cleans aggressively and the corn cob will make it shine like a mirror but is not as fast. I now use the wet method with SS media and like it SO much better. Even dealing with the rinsing and drying I think it is faster as a whole. IMHO you were getting a good polish job with the old walnut before, probably due to the media getting the sharp edges worn off and thus polishing better. I use NU Finish polish and corn cob media to put a tarnish resistant coating on the brass after assembling the rounds now.

January 2, 2012, 11:29 AM
The mineral spirits/paint thinner trick works for me, and removes sizing lube much better/faster. Haven't changed media in years. Shines pretty good too, but all my brass is more "used" than your example. Just put in no more than a couple tablespoons, it will distribute itself while tumbling.

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