Wet tumbling on the cheap? Yes! It can be done!


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PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 11:38 AM
So I have been reading over and over about the Wet SS cleaning method. I always said I would never get involved because I hate the idea of decapping. Why get into another time consuming event when you can just dump your brass into a vibratory tumbler with corn cob, mineral spirits, nu-finish, and some dryer sheets for 4 hours and get amazing results. Well, I have been receiving brass from some of my customers who know I am into this hobby, and they have been giving me brass that has sat around for years, or was range pickups, etc. Basically, my tumbler could NOT get the cases to clean up the way I liked. I cannot load brass that is not almost new looking (just a pet peeve of mine), so I decided to dive into this side of brass prep.

The problem with me is I don't have the cash right now to go buy a Thumblers Tumbler, and building one like Bigdawgs is even more expensive. So, I was looking around at harbor freights website, and saw this (http://www.harborfreight.com/dual-drum-rotary-rock-tumbler-67632.html). It was on sale for 50 bucks, and I had a 20% off coupon so after tax I was out the door for 43 bucks. I figured screw it. They even have a smaller 1 drum model. I took it home and started looking it over. I took some normal brass that I knew was going to be put into the scrap bin, and used some water, dawn dish soap, and a 9mm case of LemiShine and let it rip for an hour. They came out almost new. These were dirty but nothing crazy, maybe normal dirtiness from once fired type brass before I dumped them in. Either way, they came out nice considering I did not even have any SS Media in there.

I called Pellets LLC Monday morning and ordered 5lbs of media (SCW-41 X .255). Then I went to HF and picked up another tumbler while it was still on sale. If you really didn't have the money, you could get 1lbs of SS Media online for maybe 15 shipped from somewhere, and then the single drum tumbler for 40 bucks at HF. I spent 86 on the two tumblers out the door from HF, and then 40 shipped from Pellets LLC for the 5lbs of media. Still cheaper than just the Thumblers tumbler. Grabbed a small digital scale and started decapping some brass that I want to get done. I figured if I put 3lbs in each drum, that's 1lbs media, 1lbs water, and 1lbs brass. These tumblers from what I understand are designed to hold 2lbs in each drum, then the drum itself weighs 1lb. They are for rock polishing and are literally left on for 10+ Days at a time to polish rocks. I am going to load these to 3lbs inside each so it will be a little over weight, but running only 2 to 4 hours at a time vs days I think it should be OK. Only time will tell. Weighing each out I came up with the following.

In each drum, I can fit this many cases. Each amount comes out to 1lb on my scale.

45ACP = 85
38 Special = 100 (95 Nickle)
357 Mag = 90 (85 Nickle)
40 S&W = 100
9mm = 120

So for me, running 4 drums I can easily handle my weekly shooting. I love the idea of being able to separate the brass into the different drums so that I can run 45's at the same time as 40's etc. Normally I would have to do separate loads in my Hornady M-2 or they would all be having sex with each other when I put them through the media separator later on.

Mandatory pics:

The tumbler.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7291.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7292.jpg

It is belt driven. They supply 6 extra belts. Some people have issues breaking belts, apparently they replace with vacuum cleaner

belts and dont have any more problems. I am waiting to see how mine hold up.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7294.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7295.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7296.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7297.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7298.jpg

The containers are made of a hard rubber, but you can still manipulate it with your hands.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7320.jpg

Here is a little scooper I made with a 9mm casing and some wire. I think I ripped this idea off of Dryflash3, but I may be mistaken. Either way, its a great cheap way to measure the LemiShine.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7317.jpg


Now here is the way I do this:

Put the 1lbs of media into the container.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7303.jpg

Then I put the 1lb of brass in. (This is about 1/2lb of brass. This disgusting brass is a test run)
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7312.jpg

Then I put in the water just to cover the brass. Then I add in a 1 second squirt of Dawn, and the 9mm case of LemiShine.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7313.jpg

Seal it up, then put on the lid and tighten it down. The first part of the lid is metal with a rubber covering, that creates the air tight seal inside.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7314.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7316.jpg

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PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 11:40 AM
Here they are setup minus one drum.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7321.jpg

And here is a video (Click the pic) of them running.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/th_DSCF7322.jpg (http://s990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/?action=view&current=DSCF7322.mp4)

So here we go with some brass pics. I am still in the process of doing lots of brass. Some was given to me that was in a bucket which had about 2" of water in the bottom of it, and he said it was in his basement for 15 years. Who knows how long these sat in the water. You can see how disgusting and green some of them are. I honestly from the get go figured they would be trash, so I don't care that they did not come out sparkling new.

Here are the before pics.

308
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7300.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7299.jpg

223
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7305.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7306.jpg

38 Special
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7310.jpg

45ACP
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7311.jpg

So now here is the after shot. These are dry, sat them in front of a little fan for about an hour. I also towel dryed them when they came out. I use the bowling ball cleaning method to towel dry them. The way I dump the setup is pretty simple. I have this (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/972948/frankford-arsenal-quick-n-ez-rotary-media-separator) and I fill the bucket to the top with water then submerge the blue strainer half way. Then I undo the lids on the drums, pour out as much **** water as possible without losing the pins and then refill and do that about three times. Then I dump the whole shebang into the media seperator. Close it up and spin, and all the SS pins fall to the bottom of the 3 gal bucket.

Here is how they came out after a 2 hour run. From top left, running in a counter clockwise circle. Good 308, Crap 308, Crap 223,

Good 223, Good 38 (There was only one lol), Crap 38, Good Nickle 45, Good 45, Crap 45.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7323.jpg

Some close ups. I know the pics suck but I will get more later.

223
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7325.jpg

308
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7328.jpg

38
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7329.jpg

45
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7327.jpg

So there is a HUGE improvement, and the clean ones feel so nice. They have no residue like how a dry tumbler leaves on them. So weird. Anyways, I am running the crap 45's again for 4 hours. I am also running some of my brass that I fired off this weekend. I am expecting that entire lot to come out like new. I figure running 4 hours should have everything come out amazing, minus the crap 45's. I really do not see how they could become better as they just seem totaled. Hell, at least they are clean scrap now!

PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 11:41 AM
Here are the 45's I am going to run again.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7330.jpg

And the 357's and 9mm's I am going to run.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7332.jpg

AND! Here we go. This is a 4 hour run time of the 357's, some 9mm, and some 45's. This is 3 drums total. I will get to the 4th drum in a few.

http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7333.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7334.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7336.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7337.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7343.jpg

So now the last drum. Like I had said, the first run I had done were 2 hour times and they did not remove all the corrosion. Well, I ran the "crap 45's" in a drum for 4 hours with this last batch. They went from...

This
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7330.jpg

To this. Seems the corrosion has turned into a very faint pink now. I think I am going to run these again for another 4 hours with my next batch to see if I can get them back to normal.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7338.jpg


So I will keep updating with this, but that is the basics of it. I am still in shock as to how well this system works.

Certaindeaf
March 29, 2012, 11:44 AM
Excellent. Perhaps one day..

jcwit
March 29, 2012, 12:03 PM
Thanks a bunch Papageno21, I've been waiting for someone to try this wit the Harbor Freight rotary tumblers.

Now for someone to list where one can get a pound or 2 of inexpensive pins.

Maj Dad
March 29, 2012, 12:03 PM
O.K., Geno, you tipped me over the edge - ordering the tumbler & media & headed off down a new rabbit hole. Tally-ho! :D

blarby
March 29, 2012, 12:13 PM
a $50 SS tumbler ?

I might be able to get behind that :)

I'm gonna need a new uni decap die.........

mbopp
March 29, 2012, 01:01 PM
I picked up some scrungy 45 brass at the range. To decap it before cleaning I used a 44Mag expander die with the decapping pin in it. The expander didn't touch the inside of the case and the ID of the die was big enough to clear it also.

blarby
March 29, 2012, 01:38 PM
Papa,

Do you think we can get you to section one of those .308's so we can get a look at the inside ?

PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 02:04 PM
Sure I can do that later when I get home from work. Those were only ran for two hours, but they looked nice inside from what I could see. The brass that has run for 4 hours is brand new condition. It's impressive to see it in real life!

1KPerDay
March 29, 2012, 02:31 PM
Impressive.

mikeadams
March 29, 2012, 02:45 PM
Too much lemishine can cause the brass to turn pink by leeching out the zinc. I have read that can weaken the brass, but I personally do not know. Wouldn't hurt to look closely at the the pink brass and make sure that's it actually crud that still needs to come off.

zxcvbob
March 29, 2012, 02:51 PM
Careful with that nasty .308 brass, even if you get it looking pretty. I've fired some corroded .30-06 ammo that didn't look as bad as that and had pinholes blow out at the corrosion -- hot gas and particles from the powder back in my face.

I have one of those HF rock tumblers that I use for making black gunpowder. It may have another use now.

Instead of buying SS pins, does anybody think it would work to buy a foot of #4 uninsulated copper cable and chop it into 3/4" pieces? The strands would come apart into little pins...

CMV
March 29, 2012, 03:21 PM
Looks great. The LemiShine amount seems pretty high for that much water. Try some newer production Speer 9mm brass if you have any. That's my litmus test for too much LemiShine in the US cleaner - it will pink before any other type I've cleaned so far.

PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 03:47 PM
I actually am not going to use the 308, it was given to me and I don't own anything chambered in it was just testing. I will still scrap it as that was way too corroded for me to trust.

I plan to back off the lemishine as one batch was a little bit too orangish. Gonna try half a 9mm with of it. I just love that it actually worked. Now just have to figure out the exact run times and lemishine amount to use.

waho
March 29, 2012, 07:24 PM
One 9mm case of Lemishine is supposed to be for one load in the Thumlers Tumbler which is close to a gal of water.

HJ857
March 29, 2012, 07:35 PM
I've been using the same HF dual drum for about seven years now. It breaks a drive belt every three to six months, but other than that it's been great. I have to try the pins, but so far just let the tumbling action of brass against brass along with a bit of dish soap and concentrated lemon juice. It's been working great but the pins certainly look to make a notable improvement in the primer pocket.

I would guess that fewer pins will do the trick just as well, and add more brass. You don't need a lot of water either since it's tumbling.

I suggest trying a 30 minute tumbling, then a rinse which will get rid of almost all the carbon residue, then a refill and second tumble. A 3 1/2 hour total tumble leaves brass almost painfully shiny.

GLOOB
March 29, 2012, 07:40 PM
Report back after you make your first 1000 pistol rounds, and tell us how you like having to neck lube your pistol cases!

NeuseRvrRat
March 29, 2012, 08:11 PM
Report back after you make your first 1000 pistol rounds, and tell us how you like having to neck lube your pistol cases!

i wet tumble in SS pins. haven't had to lube any pistol cases.

have you tried wet tumbling in SS pins? are your remarks based on actual experience?

jeeptim
March 29, 2012, 08:45 PM
Very well done report thanx.
And as i sit here two tumblers running I just don't think I can live any longer with dusty walnut shells and corn cob.

GLOOB
March 29, 2012, 08:51 PM
have you tried wet tumbling in SS pins? are your remarks based on actual experience?
No. Yes.
I purchased SS tumbled 9mm and 45ACP cases. I immediately noticed increased force needed to bring the ram back down after flaring these cases. Enough to be annoying. And after a short while, I had galling all over my expander ring making vertical scratches all around the inside of the case mouths. I sanded off the expander ring. Even after a good polishing, I found that a little bit of Lee lube on every fourth case made the process easier. Even if the galling didn't return, the little extra sticking on the downstroke slowed me down.

I don't inside neck lube my .223 cases, even. I imagine that might be problematic with SS tumbled brass.

dbarnhart
March 29, 2012, 09:06 PM
My 223 brass looks really nasty and it takes about 12 hours in the tumbler for it to come out nice and sparkly-shiny.

NeuseRvrRat
March 29, 2012, 09:20 PM
i have noticed no difference in lubing requirements between walnut/corn cob tumbling and wet tumbling in SS

PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 09:56 PM
I don't care about them being harder to go through the resizer, but I have not noticed a difference anyways.

Bling brass is worth it!

Going to section one of the 308's sometime soon.

NeuseRvrRat
March 29, 2012, 10:07 PM
http://benisawesome.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/they-will.gif

PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 10:27 PM
Can't please everyone!

But I sure as hell am happy!

I think the weirdest thing is when you handle the brass after it was tumbled and dried. It just has NOTHING on it. No film from Nu-Finish, no dust from walnut, not a thing. They are just slippery clean!

Also, I just found some 40 S&W so I deprimed it. I am going to run that tonight and see how short of a run time I can get away with using normal once fired brass. And also, I am going to cut back to half a case of 9mm. Most people use a 45ACP case full for a gallon of water, so I will use half the 9mm for the bottle of water worth of it.

GLOOB
March 29, 2012, 10:51 PM
I don't care about them being harder to go through the resizer,
Not resizer. Flaring die. Like I said, give it 1000 rds before you comment.

PapaGeno21
March 29, 2012, 11:10 PM
Ah. Well, I usually only load 2-400 a week so I am not worried about it.

JC98
March 29, 2012, 11:17 PM
Does anyone throw the SS cleaned brass in corn cob and Nu-Finish? I think the Nu-Finish keeps the cases shiny longer but it may just be me. I know it's an extra step but I gotta have brass that looks brand new!

oldandslow
March 29, 2012, 11:26 PM
PG, 3/30/12

Excellent write up with photos and text.

As to the the question about difficulty with case mouth flaring- I've reloaded about 80,000 rounds over the last six years, mostly pistol (.45, 44sp, 38sp, 9mm, 357mag) and switched over to the SS media cleaning method about six months ago. I have noticed no difficulty in reloading any of my pistol cartridges (about 5,000) with the SS media as the cleaning agent (presses- Dillon SDB and 650). Using the SS media does add a lot of time to the reloading effort however.

best wishes- oldandslow

jcwit
March 30, 2012, 12:54 AM
Does anyone throw the SS cleaned brass in corn cob and Nu-Finish? I think the Nu-Finish keeps the cases shiny longer but it may just be me. I know it's an extra step but I gotta have brass that looks brand new!

Of course, if you tumble your cases, even for a short time in media with Nu-Finish or any other cleaner auto polish such as Mothers or Meguiar's or others they apply a thin layer of polymer to the casr which will retard tarnish thereby keeping the brass shinney.

Simple really!

A-FIXER
March 30, 2012, 02:23 AM
PG,
I enjoyed the write up as well very well done, I may also give this a shot, thanks for the hardwork.
NE

parker51
March 30, 2012, 03:20 AM
One thing I've learned from someone posting here was to put the wet brass in one of those net style laundry bags and set them on the sweater rack in the dryer. It takes about 50 minutes on medium heat to dry a hundred or so .308 cases.

FROGO207
March 30, 2012, 06:18 AM
I found a used Thumlers for around $25 and got into it really cheap. I would never go back to just using a vibratory cleaner again.:scrutiny: I did however find a use for my old tumbler------info for GLOOB:cool:--- I use it to quickly apply some NU-Finish car polish with some corn cob before sizing to keep the process easier and corrosion at bay till I use the brass. Then I use it to polish the finished rounds also.:cool:

NeuseRvrRat
March 30, 2012, 11:05 AM
One thing I've learned from someone posting here was to put the wet brass in one of those net style laundry bags and set them on the sweater rack in the dryer. It takes about 50 minutes on medium heat to dry a hundred or so .308 cases.

and if you're like me and don't have one of the facy dryers with a sweater rack, you just sandwich the corner of the mesh bag in the dryer door

Marlin 45 carbine
March 30, 2012, 11:21 AM
thanks for the info and fotos. impressive cleaning.

PapaGeno21
March 30, 2012, 12:32 PM
I toss them in a towel and do the bowling ball cleaning method to dry the outsides, then I lay them down and have a fan blowing on them. Within an hour or two they are bone dry.

mdi
March 30, 2012, 04:22 PM
I had one of Harbor Freight's single drum tumblers for several years (I was on a very tight budget and I think I paid $29.00 for it way back when). The small unit worked quite well for me as I only would reload about 100 max at a time. My tumbler worked up until I "improved" it; I attempted to modify it to take a larger drum, didn't work out...

dwhite
March 30, 2012, 08:49 PM
This might be an interesting addition to the mix:

http://www.rainx.com/Products/Washes/Wash_Wax.aspx

I'm heading to Harbor freight ASAP to pick-up a tumbler to give this system a try.

All the Best,
D. White

PapaGeno21
March 31, 2012, 02:03 AM
So I have been playing around with tumbling times. These are after a 2 hour and 15 min run time. They are not "bad" but I would say 80% are perfect and 20% are not completely cleaned out in the primer pocket area. I am doing the wet SS method, so I am seeking perfection. I will just stick with 4 hour run times, which don't bother me anyways. It's not like this is the only brass I own and need it done in 20 mins. I also backed the LemiShine off to only 1/2 a 9mm casing, and they are coming out exactly how I want them.

So, here is how they came out just to show ya. You can see how they are not all spotless, that's the difference between the 2 and 4 hour run times. I will stick with 4 from now on. Seems to be the magic number.

Here is how the 40 S&W was. It is just your typical once fired brass.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7345.jpg

And here is how they came out.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7348.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7350.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7351.jpg

And some 45's that were previously dry tumbled but I ran them in here anyways to get them spotless.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7347.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7346.jpg

blarby
April 1, 2012, 05:53 AM
Papa : Some folks are using a much narrower pin type than you are using.

Its "pointy-ness" might help a lot with your primer cups. Those stubby pins can't really do much in a primer cup, unless the cup is cut perfectly flat and square....and so are the pins.

2Bad4u
April 1, 2012, 07:55 AM
To the OP - thanks for posting. I already have a 40 pound tumbler which can easily tumble over 2,000 cases of pistol brass. I just ordered one of these dual drum tumblers for those small batches which I occasionally would like to do.

Report back after you make your first 1000 pistol rounds, and tell us how you like having to neck lube your pistol cases!

I have not experienced any issues.

cfullgraf
April 1, 2012, 10:22 AM
Report back after you make your first 1000 pistol rounds, and tell us how you like having to neck lube your pistol cases!

He won't have any issues after 1000 or 100,000.

I have never lubricated handgun cases either directly or indirectly by using something like Nu-finish in my tumbler.

When I tumble handgun brass before reloading, I use only dry media. I polish after resizing and neck expanding.

But whatever floats your boat is the best method here.

thump_rrr
April 2, 2012, 12:40 AM
Just a little tip if your brass coms out looking orange.
Cover your brass with warm water and sprinkle a little bit of lemishine in the water.
Agitate for 30 seconds and voila the brass turns back to its normal color.

BunnMan
April 2, 2012, 01:17 AM
Thanks for the great lead and the outstanding write up! Just ordered the double from HF.

PapaGeno21
April 2, 2012, 04:51 PM
Apoligies for the pics being down. HERE (http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_42/367311_Wet_tumbling_on_the_cheap___Yes___It_can_be_done_.html&page=1) is where you can see them. Basically I cannot edit the first posts to change the image links, so yeah.

Basically done doing all the brass, just took a while to catch up. From now on what I am doing is putting all my wet SS tumbled stuff into a big ziplock bag, and going to continue loading the stuff I tumbled with the corn cob. This way after a while I will be only using brass that has been wet SS tumbled. That removed the process of depriming everything I own, which I don't feel like doing!

BLING BLING! 1/2 of a 9mm case of lemishine and 4 hours tumble time works best.

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/9346/dscf7347.jpg
http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/5221/dscf7354.jpg

Twmaster
April 3, 2012, 02:22 AM
Geno,

I do not recall seeing your pics without the SS pin media. How did that brass come out cleanliness wise?

Twmaster
April 3, 2012, 05:12 AM
Went to Harbor Freight this evening and bought the double can tumbler. Loaded one can with 22-250 cases that were reasonably clean. A shot of Joy dish soap was included.

Loaded the other container with 50 or so 45ACP cases that were not too nasty but were once fired and not cleaned.

Put 6 scoops of fine walnut shell and a squirt of Joy dish soap in the can.

Ran both for 2 hours. The 22-250 brass does not look any different other than wet.

The 45 brass was about 90% perfect looking. I've put the 45 brass back in to run for another 2 hours. I checked at hour three and it's looking even better. I poured out the VERY nasty water and refilled with water and a fresh squirt of soap.

I think I am going to be very pleased. I'll likely order the SS media once I get my next paycheck.

PapaGeno21
April 3, 2012, 11:26 AM
SS media is what makes this system work. Using just water, dawn, and lemi shine the 40S&W came out OK but nothing to write home about. When you use the SS pins though, its just amazing.

Here is a load of 223 and 308 I just took out and is drying.

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/298/dscf7355y.jpg

Samari Jack
April 4, 2012, 03:14 PM
So I have been reading over and over about the Wet SS cleaning method. I always said I would never get involved because I hate the idea of decapping. Why get into another time consuming event when you can just dump your brass into a vibratory tumbler with corn cob, mineral spirits, nu-finish, and some dryer sheets for 4 hours and get amazing results. Well, I have been receiving brass from some of my customers who know I am into this hobby, and they have been giving me brass that has sat around for years, or was range pickups, etc. Basically, my tumbler could NOT get the cases to clean up the way I liked. I cannot load brass that is not almost new looking (just a pet peeve of mine), so I decided to dive into this side of brass prep.

The problem with me is I don't have the cash right now to go buy a Thumblers Tumbler, and building one like Bigdawgs is even more expensive. So, I was looking around at harbor freights website, and saw this (http://www.harborfreight.com/dual-drum-rotary-rock-tumbler-67632.html). It was on sale for 50 bucks, and I had a 20% off coupon so after tax I was out the door for 43 bucks. I figured screw it. They even have a smaller 1 drum model. I took it home and started looking it over. I took some normal brass that I knew was going to be put into the scrap bin, and used some water, dawn dish soap, and a 9mm case of LemiShine and let it rip for an hour. They came out almost new. These were dirty but nothing crazy, maybe normal dirtiness from once fired type brass before I dumped them in. Either way, they came out nice considering I did not even have any SS Media in there.

I called Pellets LLC Monday morning and ordered 5lbs of media (SCW-41 X .255). Then I went to HF and picked up another tumbler while it was still on sale. If you really didn't have the money, you could get 1lbs of SS Media online for maybe 15 shipped from somewhere, and then the single drum tumbler for 40 bucks at HF. I spent 86 on the two tumblers out the door from HF, and then 40 shipped from Pellets LLC for the 5lbs of media. Still cheaper than just the Thumblers tumbler. Grabbed a small digital scale and started decapping some brass that I want to get done. I figured if I put 3lbs in each drum, that's 1lbs media, 1lbs water, and 1lbs brass. These tumblers from what I understand are designed to hold 2lbs in each drum, then the drum itself weighs 1lb. They are for rock polishing and are literally left on for 10+ Days at a time to polish rocks. I am going to load these to 3lbs inside each so it will be a little over weight, but running only 2 to 4 hours at a time vs days I think it should be OK. Only time will tell. Weighing each out I came up with the following.

In each drum, I can fit this many cases. Each amount comes out to 1lb on my scale.

45ACP = 85
38 Special = 100 (95 Nickle)
357 Mag = 90 (85 Nickle)
40 S&W = 100
9mm = 120

So for me, running 4 drums I can easily handle my weekly shooting. I love the idea of being able to separate the brass into the different drums so that I can run 45's at the same time as 40's etc. Normally I would have to do separate loads in my Hornady M-2 or they would all be having sex with each other when I put them through the media separator later on.

Mandatory pics:

The tumbler.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7291.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7292.jpg

It is belt driven. They supply 6 extra belts. Some people have issues breaking belts, apparently they replace with vacuum cleaner

belts and dont have any more problems. I am waiting to see how mine hold up.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7294.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7295.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7296.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7297.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7298.jpg

The containers are made of a hard rubber, but you can still manipulate it with your hands.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7320.jpg

Here is a little scooper I made with a 9mm casing and some wire. I think I ripped this idea off of Dryflash3, but I may be mistaken. Either way, its a great cheap way to measure the LemiShine.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7317.jpg


Now here is the way I do this:

Put the 1lbs of media into the container.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7303.jpg

Then I put the 1lb of brass in. (This is about 1/2lb of brass. This disgusting brass is a test run)
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7312.jpg

Then I put in the water just to cover the brass. Then I add in a 1 second squirt of Dawn, and the 9mm case of LemiShine.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7313.jpg

Seal it up, then put on the lid and tighten it down. The first part of the lid is metal with a rubber covering, that creates the air tight seal inside.
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7314.jpg
http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af24/PapaGeno21/Tumbling/DSCF7316.jpg
You have a good idea there. I noticed any purchases of these are now on back order. I'll have to start reading posts more often. Snooze and finish last.

zxcvbob
April 4, 2012, 04:42 PM
How much did the media cost direct from Pellets? They don't have a price list online. It seems to run about $10 per pound on eBay, plus shipping.

PapaGeno21
April 4, 2012, 05:19 PM
40 shipped for 5 lbs.

zxcvbob
April 19, 2012, 01:05 AM
I emailed Pellets over the weekend, and I got a reply back Monday that they do not sell less than 50# bags, but if I wanted to get together with some buddies and do a group buy they could do that -- otherwise contact one of their distributors. So I ordered 5 pounds from http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com (about $51 delivered) and it got here today. (boy, that was fast!) I've been playing with it this evening.

It's been raining this week. I went to the shooting range today and shot some .45 Colts and .223's, and picked up all the nasty muddy brass I could find. (my .45 Colts were pretty bad, even though they never hit the ground) I also picked up a bunch of Wolf and Tula steel .223 cases, some of them pretty rusted.

I started with the .45 Colt brass. I decapped it (25 pieces) and put it in the HF tumbler and filled it about half full of water. I added a shotglass full of the SS media and a splash of an acid dairy equipment rinse. It has phosphoric acid and nonsudsing surfactants. I started it up and let it run for an hour and then checked on it.

The outside of the brass looked good. The insides were just starting to get clean, and the primer pockets still looked untouched. I thought maybe I didn't have enough media so I added another shotglass full.

An hour later I checked it and the belt was broken :( I took the brass out and wiped it off with a towel. The outsides looked new but not polished. The insides were almost clean, and the primer pockets still had black stains -- but they were tumbled for less than 2 hours.

I put them in the vibratory tumbler, along with some nickel .45 ACP that I picked up (decapped and rinsed) Next I was going to run a bunch of mixed 9mm and .380 brass with a little .38 Special mixed in, but that will have to wait until I get a new belt.

The one thing that concerns me is the SS media look long enough to get caught inside a .223 case -- and .223 is the main thing I bought the stuff (then .30-06, and lastly pistol brass)

Somewhere around here I have an ancient Lortone model 45C rock tumbler. It might need a new motor, but those don't cost all that much. It has a significantly larger drum than the HF tumbler (it's a 2-drum knockoff of a Lortone 33B)

blarby
April 19, 2012, 05:25 AM
An hour later I checked it and the belt was broken I took the brass out and wiped it off with a towel. The outsides looked new but not polished. The insides were almost clean, and the primer pockets still had black stains -- but they were tumbled for less than 2 hours.

Vacuum cleaner belt.

zxcvbob
April 19, 2012, 09:52 AM
Vacuum cleaner belt.

Will that work? (I thought a vacuum cleaner/sewing machine belt would be too big)

I can stop by the HF store and see if they have any belts in stock. And also check Ace Hardware and Grainger to see if they have an O-ring the right size. I do have a VC belt...

PapaGeno21
April 19, 2012, 11:28 AM
That is weird. My tumblers each came with 6 spare belts. I have yet to break one though and they have been running way overloaded compared to what you ran for at least 100 hours now.

However your mixing solution is not what I am using so I cant tell you if its going to work or not.

As I stated in my first post, I am using:

1lbs SS Pins
1 Lbs Brass
Water filled 1 1/2" from the top
1 Second squird of Dawn dish soap
1/2 a 9mm casing of LemiShine

Run for 4 hours and enjoy your brand new brass.

zxcvbob
April 19, 2012, 11:44 AM
This tumbler is about 5 or 6 years old. I took the belt off and it was petrified. I've run much heavier loads in it before. Maybe I need to get a Lortone belt. BTW, a vacuum cleaner belt won't fit (too bad) it's the same length but way too fat, and all the length is taken up just going around the driveshaft pulley.

I'm using the phosphoric-based cleaner because I have it already. It seems to work, and it should work good on steel too when I get that far (but so should citric acid) An hour and a half tumbled in this solution cleaned the brass better than overnight in corncob media, it just wasn't finished yet.

zxcvbob
April 20, 2012, 12:42 AM
I cleaned a big handful of 9mm and .380 brass, with a few .38 Specials mixed in. After 1 hour, the 9mm and .380 was done (including the primer pockets) but the longer Specials were not. I took everything out after 2 hours and it all sparkled, even the .38 Special primer pockets. Then I put them in a towel to dry without rinsing them and they spotted :o they're in the vibra-tumbler right now.

The last batch I'm doing tonight is steel .223 cases. I put about 40 in the drum, and I handpicked my worst ones. I peeked after one hour and they looked shockingly good. The really badly rusted ones weren't quite done yet but close -- they were clean but still a little rough where the rust was (I may throw away 2 or 3 awful ones even if they look usable)

ETA: after 2 hours all the steel .223's look good. I'm not sure I can tell the rusty ones from the good ones. (the rust wasn't very deep, there was just a lot of it, gritty and it was deep enough it wouldn't wipe off) Oddly enough, they are all darker gray than they started, and that's not just because they are wet. Might be a phosphate thing. I rinsed them and they are on a warm hotplate now drying. I'll process the rest, a larger batch, tomorrow.

fguffey
April 20, 2012, 01:10 PM
zxcvbob, cleaning and volume, I have 4 tumblers, it is doubtful I will have more than one running at any one time, a friend has 1,000s of cases to clean, no matter what I have he has twice that many, or more, he needed to improve the design of the mouse trap, we he started on a 25 gal stainless, chair drive, variable speed wet tumbler, it worked great, complete with handles and wheels.

Then, suddenly and without warning he orders the sonic/ss pins/additive system, no reason for me to ask why, my first question was how many cases will it hold, and he did not know, anyhow, first he has 1,000+ 50 BMG cases to clean, next he has 1,000s of 308 W cases to clean, his sonic cleaner has not been taken out of the boxes.

I have no interest in acquiring more cases, back in the big inning I would acquire cases that no one wanted to clean because of oxidation, as you know I used vinegar for a maximum of 15 minutes for the worst of them and then finish with tumbling, the caution was about the acid effect on the zinc, and NOW!? It is lime shine and acid of different origins, time flies, and to think before the Internet in the early 50s reloading manuals gave formulas for cleaning cases and cleaning barrels. The formula for cleaning cases used H2SO3, for a maximum of ‘less than’ three minutes' followed by cleaning in boiling water and rinsing.

F. Guffey

Twmaster
May 19, 2012, 05:24 AM
Just wanted to follow up. I got a 2 pound order of stainless pins from STM. (His shipping was rocket fast)

Split the pins up and put about 50 rifle cases in each tub, added a squirt of Joy and a dash of Lemishine. Ran for 4 hours. I'm impressed. While some of the primer pockets were not sparkly they did get mostly clean. Many were spotless!

One 270 WIN case I picked up at the range was tarnished badly (not white like the zinc was coming out) It looks like new.

I've rinsed them and they are drying on the counter top.

Very pleased.

J.R.W.
May 19, 2012, 03:20 PM
The problem with getting started using this method is you will be forever seeking that last bag or bin of dirty brass to make clean. Emptying out the tumbler is like panning for gold every time.

BunnMan
July 26, 2012, 04:19 AM
Just did my first few run throughs with this set up tonight and am really impressed. My 2 lbs. Of stainless arrived yesterday from STM. I ran 100 .40's in each drum with 4.5mm (half a 9mm...lol) of lemi shine and a short squirt of generic dish soap. I wont post pics because they'll only look like the other pics of perfectly clean brass. When I got in from the range I tumbled dry then resized and deprimed then wet tumbled after that. Only oddity is one drum of cases came out kinda orange. I think I may have had a longer squirt of generic dish soap in that one. Tumbled again with lemi shine and no soap and they look much better. I'm sold!!!

-BunnMan

fguffey
July 26, 2012, 01:59 PM
“Only oddity is one drum of cases came out kinda orange”

Lime shine and nothing but water and cases, vinegar with nothing but cases soaking in a container, back to the orange ‘kinda’ the kinda orange comes from acid acting on the zinc, I use a time factor, I clean the worst of cases in vinegar for a maximum of 15 minutes, that 15 minutes is for the life of the case meaning I do not use vinegar to clean cases over and over and over, the purpose of the vinegar cleaning to to reduce tumbling by 3 days+.

Again, I have purchased 1,400 30/06 once fired surplus cases for .01 cent each, 15 minutes in vinegar, washing, drying and washing again then tumble for 1 hour +, back to orange, if I left the cases in the vinegar for 20 minutes + the cases turned orange, add stainless pins, while tumbling the pins hammer and chip away, while hammering and chipping the ‘kinda orange’ is chipped away also.

I mention this because in the old days using anything that turned a case orange was considered a Voo Doo practice.

Then there was a time when published instructions suggested/recommended H2S03 reduced to 2 1/2%, time factor, maximum 3 minutes, then rinse in boiling water twice with a time factor, then the warning/caution, cases cleaned by this technique turned the cases black, and the claim, after the case turns black they are pickled, pickled for storage if storage is desired.

F. Guffey

Jaxondog
July 26, 2012, 04:07 PM
I think you have done good enough on the wet stuff cause look at the guy's on here that have said they were either going to get one or start it with the one they have. I'm headed to get me a wet tumbler now. Thank's for the editorial. Nice job.

3006mv
July 28, 2012, 01:06 AM
been using this method and same HF tumbler for over a year, have yet to break a belt, just lube every other use <followed the instructions; lube where the rollers spin>, i live in southern ca and have access to lemons (own tree, almost year round, different varieties) so use that instead of lemishine, anything to save a bit of money. just air dry outside in the heat using aluminum pans in the sun.

on a side note, was thinking of cutting some slots on the side to let more air flow around the motor but so far so good have not had any issues. this is the way to go for me as I do not do enough volume ( i still only use 3 single stage presses, but load for both rifle and pistol) so no need for a Thumler tumbler.

BunnMan
July 29, 2012, 05:51 PM
Fguffey,

If I interpret your post correctly you are saying that my darker batch of cases was due to a heavier dose of lemi-shine? They are still noticeably darker than the other batches I've done but I don't think its dangerous. Maybe I should drop back to 4.0mm of lemi-shine, lol.

popper
July 30, 2012, 12:46 PM
US and lemishine works fine for me. 4 min, rinse and dry in the sun and I've DONE 200 40SW. Clean enough to load and shoot. Shiny is for jewelry.

BunnMan
July 31, 2012, 02:35 PM
Learned another lesson last night. Ran a batch of 50 cases that i fired through a work up over the weekend. These started as Federal 180gr FMJ then were fired, dry tumbled, decapped and resized, wet tumbled, reloaded in five steps for the work up, fired, dry tumbled, decapped amd resized, wet tumbled last night. This batch came out with an odd marbly black color everywhere the resizing die had touched. They looked fine at the head and rim, very defined line around the case where the black stopped. I picked one up and noticed the black was sticky and smudgy, i could rub it off with my finger if I pressed REAL hard. I figured maybe i didnt use enough dish soap...I had only been using a modest few drops since the orange cases. I retumbled using about 4mm (a little less than hakf a 9mm case) of LS and about one second of gemeric dish soap...came out like jewelry inside and out :)

I knkw they don't HAVE to be this clean to reload but damn they look sharp! And I swear they shot cleaner in my pistol. Though that may be the same perception that tells me my truck is faster after I change the oil and wax it, lol.

-BunnMan

Twmaster
August 5, 2012, 06:32 PM
I'm pretty pleased with this method. Here is a typical sample from a huge pile of brass I got this week:

http://www.twmaster.com/stuff/shoot/dirtybrass.jpg

Here is an after shot:

http://www.twmaster.com/stuff/shoot/cleanbrass.jpg

That's after 4 hours in the tumbler. 1 pound of SS media in each drum along with a 1 sec squirt of dish soap and a pinch of Lemishine.

I'm very pleased.

Twmaster
August 6, 2012, 09:55 PM
After some testing I'm finding 2 hours to be as effective as 4 hours in the tumbler.

zedsdead
October 21, 2012, 03:18 PM
The harbor freight tumblers are back on sale, $44 each. I just picked one up, I'll post some before and after pics. I don't have the SS tumbling pins yet, but I can't wait to try it out.

T Bran
October 21, 2012, 05:43 PM
Just out of curiosity has any one tried using some plain old steel BB's in place of the SS pins.

I realise they wont get the corners of the primer pockets but should hit everything else.

Just a thought.

345 DeSoto
October 21, 2012, 10:19 PM
GLOOB - I believe tumbling in stainless steel pins work hardens the brass, causing your problem with more force needed...

silicosys4
October 22, 2012, 02:07 PM
When I was getting into reloading I did the math,

Thumlers tumber - $160
Lifetime supply of Media - $80

Roughly $250 took care of me for life. I figured I'd spend more on corncob and walnut media throughout the next five years or so.

500 pistol cases takes roughly 10 minutes total to process. I don't mind air drying cases on my benchtop.

lil dragon
October 25, 2012, 09:01 PM
I'm so cheap that I took a couple pounds of 1/16" 316L TIG wire and cut them down to roughly 3/16" for my media. I also bought a HF single rock tumbler and use the Dawn/Lemi-Shine combo to tumble my brass. 30-45 minutes and they are near perfect. I attribute my short tumble times to the sharp ends of the "pins" I cut. Works for me.

rondog
February 27, 2013, 09:07 PM
OK, I'm going big here. I just bought one of these today at Harbor Freight, on sale for $139.99 + a 20% off coupon, knocked the price down to $117.59. Item #91907. http://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-4-quarter-cubic-ft-compact-cement-mixer-91907.html

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/tools/mixer.jpg

It's a 1.25 cu. ft. mixer, supposedly will handle mixing 80 lb. bags of Quikrete easily according to the comments, so I'm thinking 25/30 lbs. brass and 25/30 lbs. media should be dandy. Cute little thing, it's only about waist-high and about 63 lbs. I figure I'll have to modify the mixing paddles or make some different ones to agitate the brass and media correctly. We'll see.

If this works well, I'm thinking about offering a brass cleaning/polishing service locally (shipping the stuff would just be too cost-prohibitive) here in Denver. Not planning to get rich, but if I could make enough to pay for the mixer and media I'd be happy.

I figure that several calibers could be done at the same time, just as long as none of them will fit into each other (nesting), it should work fine. Like .45acp/.45 Colt/.44 Mag/.44 Special/.41 Mag/.44-40/.45-70etc. should all get along well.

Same with most all rifle calibers in the 6mm-8mm range and all .30 calibers. Should be able to do from .30 carbine to .300 Win Mags all together. .223/5.56 would have to be segregated or done with similar sizes. As long as the necks of one size won't fit into the necks of any others, should be OK.

.38 Special/.357 Mag/9mm Luger/9mm Makarov/.380acp, those should all work together. And so on.....

Now, does anyone have any good sources for about 25-30 lbs. of SS media for a civilized price? Or any specific suggestions about the media?

Thanks!!!

mookiie
March 12, 2013, 07:42 PM
Ok so I tried this method yesterday. One thing I noticed is my brass seems to be coming out dull.


After reading through again I believe I am using to much Lemishine. Can anyone using this system let me know how much Lemishine you find to be effective?

TexasShooter59
March 12, 2013, 08:30 PM
Ok so I tried this method yesterday. One thing I noticed is my brass seems to be coming out dull.


After reading through again I believe I am using to much Lemishine. Can anyone using this system let me know how much Lemishine you find to be effective?
Post the dimensions of your container, please.

mookiie
March 12, 2013, 09:16 PM
I was using a full 9mm case.

jjjitters
March 12, 2013, 09:31 PM
I put pins in my Lyman Twin vibratory, work good. The lemonshine I use just a dash and rinse very very thorough to stop any tarnishing.

rondog
March 12, 2013, 09:42 PM
I bought 25# of SS pins from Pellets LLC, so now I can use that mixer up above in post #76 when warm weather comes. I'll be sure to post my results.

robbieg19
March 12, 2013, 10:45 PM
Ok so I tried this method yesterday. One thing I noticed is my brass seems to be coming out dull.


After reading through again I believe I am using to much Lemishine. Can anyone using this system let me know how much Lemishine you find to be effective?


1/4 teaspoon Lemi Shine, 2 tablespoons Dawn per gallon of water.

Too little Lemi shine won't get as much shine, too much and brass comes out shiny but darker colored.

fields
March 12, 2013, 11:57 PM
rondog keep us posted on how it works, and any modifications you make.

mookiie
March 13, 2013, 12:54 PM
Thanks robbieg19!

By the way great thread PapGeno21!

How does everyone go about drying the shells, just lay them out on a towel or?

Twmaster
March 13, 2013, 09:10 PM
That's what I do. Lay them out to dry on a towel.

NeuseRvrRat
March 13, 2013, 09:16 PM
How does everyone go about drying the shells, just lay them out on a towel or?

i've tried all sorts of ways. the quickest way i've found is to pour them on a towel and roll them around, then put the brass in a mesh lingerie bag and close one end of the bag in the clothes dryer door (throw that towel in the dryer while you're at it). run it on delicate (lower temps) for 20 minutes or so. quicker than the oven, sun, or any other method i've found. takes very minimal effort.

jmorris
March 13, 2013, 09:33 PM
The Sun in TX does a fine job but when it's cold and wet a blower with a heating element works.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/SST/7.jpg

mookiie
April 14, 2013, 02:27 AM
Hey, those shells I mentioned earlier that I used to much Lemi-shin and turned dull. They are still safe to fire correct?

Nappers
April 14, 2013, 04:20 AM
I hate all of you! :D

Now I have to get a tumbler and SS media!

Great write up!

When I washed my brass after tumbling, I would bounce them in terry cloth and I use wood loading trays. I used plywood, drilled out with an 1/8" hole in the bottom for air and place the shells in upside down. The wood and the slight air draft would dry them pretty quick. I put them outside in the sun on the porch rails. The self made one is about 2' long and about 8" wide or bigger. Fits about 250 .45 shells or that many '06 or .270.

codedragon
April 20, 2013, 10:40 PM
Just started reloading recently. I decided to purchase a 3lb Harbor Freight tumbler. Tried walnut media but just did not work well in the tumbler. Bought some SS pins and the results are awesome.

All told I have less than $50 in the setup including the SS pins.

mookiie
October 27, 2013, 10:23 PM
I ran some brass through and it came out very dingy, what is the best way to shine it up again? My plan is to tumble with some Flitz in media.

rondog
October 28, 2013, 12:43 AM
I've found that if I don't dry them off right away with absorbent cotton bath towels, the cases will spot and tarnish very quickly. I just dumped them on a nylon blanket in the sun once and they looked terrible. They need to have the water blotted off first.

TexasShooter59
October 29, 2013, 12:19 AM
Ditto rondog's statement. I found out the hard way they need to be blotted. I have a dedicated hand towel to do it, then they lay on a small section of window screen material in the sun or wind so that air can circulate around and in the cases.

mookiie
October 29, 2013, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the input guys!

I made some improvements to my drums that others maybe interested in. I cut 4 " diameter PVC pipe to 9 and 1/2" than I used pipe cement and a knot out plug to cap one end. I then got a 4" adjustable plug for one end. Now I can process almost twice the amount of brass that would fit into the standard rubber drums. I will post some pictures after I get home tonight to give you a better idea of what I did.

Stangs55
February 27, 2014, 12:40 AM
Thanks for the input guys!

I made some improvements to my drums that others maybe interested in. I cut 4 " diameter PVC pipe to 9 and 1/2" than I used pipe cement and a knot out plug to cap one end. I then got a 4" adjustable plug for one end. Now I can process almost twice the amount of brass that would fit into the standard rubber drums. I will post some pictures after I get home tonight to give you a better idea of what I did.

How did this turn out? Pics?

Arizona_Mike
February 27, 2014, 04:16 PM
My late wife used to use the same tumbler for rock polishing. Only problem is that the drive belts has a short life and were hard to find replacement.

Mike

rondog
February 27, 2014, 05:35 PM
Did I ever post a report about my mixer mentioned above? I can't remember.....

Anyway, it works great! No modifications, assembled it per instructions. I can run approx. 20-25 lbs. of brass, with 25 lbs. of SS pins. I have to put a piece of plastic (large trash bag, folded flat) over the mouth and tie it on to contain the splashing. The motor can overheat and pop the breaker, but a fan on the motor stops that. Same recipe of water, Dawn and Lemishine crystals.

I run it about 1-2 hours, that's all it needs. I use a plastic "mortar mixing tub" from Home Depot, put that on a 4-wheeled flat dolly, roll that under the mixer, and dump the whole load into it.

Those little pins will bounce and scatter, so I do this on my large concrete patio. I dump the mixer slowly to get the water out first, then dump the brass & pins into the tub. Wash out the mixer into the tub to get all the pins and brass out. From there I run a coffee can full of material through my Frankford Arsenal media seperator, full to the top with water.

Works great, but you need a large flat conctrete surface to catch the pins that get loose. A couple of plastic folding tables come in real handy too for working on. Gotta blot the water off the brass immediately after rinsing, then spread them out on a large COTTON towel or movers blanket in the sun.

Cotton is important, because it will absorb the water. Synthetic fabrics won't, and the brass will be laying in water. This will give you spotting and tarnish.

Oh, get a magnet on a stick from Harbor Freight, or make one. That's invaluable for picking up the stray pins off the concrete! Even though they're "stainless", they're not pure and are slightly attracted to magnets, enough that you can pick 'em up.

heycods
February 27, 2014, 05:49 PM
The lemishine in the LSD formula makes the pink color, its chemical reaction to the lemishine to the brass. run longer the pinker they will be. In the end they will look like copper instead of brass. It dosent hurt them they load fine. I am on my 4th loading of some copper colored 9mms

BrianC636
February 27, 2014, 06:02 PM
Go to lowes and get a magnetic broom. It'll make picking up those pins a snap!

RussellC
February 28, 2014, 04:09 PM
Looking at the reviews on Harbor freight site, it seems the drive belts are the weak link, and unfortunately, the replacements are said to be junk and only last a day or 2.

Others have suggested hair rubber bands, the kind with cloth covering the rubber part. Some mention a belt made by Lortone.

What are people doing here? I suppose we should find some alternative.
I just downloaded a 20% coupon and an headed to HF after work.

Russellc

freepunk
February 28, 2014, 04:57 PM
Earlier in the thread someone mentioned using a vacuum belt as a replacement.

Just picked one up last night. The screw was loose on the pulley but after that it seemed to work well. Only had 1lb of pins so put half a pound in each bin, 1/2lb of distilled water, 1/2 lb .223 brass and one 9mm shell filled with Hornandy One Shot. 3.5 hours and they came out great!

WSM MAGNUM
February 28, 2014, 05:00 PM
The real tricks in this wet tumbling are having the drums with agitators in them. There many ways and ideas to make these. You will cut down on the tumbling time if you do this. Depending on how clean you want the primer pockets, it could only take as little as 1 hour.

Another trick is to use HOT, HOT water. And rinse well after tumbling.

Also by using .047x.255 SS pins, two pins will not get stuck in the primer pockets. It could happen using smaller pins, but this may not be a big deal to some of you.

Another source to buy SS pins is from Bullseye Reloading http://www.bullseye-reloading.com/

freepunk
February 28, 2014, 05:01 PM
Reading around I found that people are having success using O-rings. Size 342 70 durometer nitrile. $.26 each/ $5 minimum order oringwarehouse.com

bob4
March 1, 2014, 02:01 AM
I've been using one of these tumblers( single drum) for a while now. Other than the small capacity I love this thing. Got mine off Craigs list for 20 bucks new in the box too!:)

fallout mike
March 1, 2014, 09:47 AM
Nice review. I bought one a month ago but haven't used it yet. Looking forward to trying it out.

bluetopper
March 1, 2014, 01:16 PM
I wonder how using BB's as a media would work?

WSM MAGNUM
March 1, 2014, 01:21 PM
I made mine from Biggdawg`s design. The only difference between mine and biggdawg`s is, I went with 1-1/2" square framing and 3/4" SS 303 TGP shafts. The only thing I have left to do is finish making the 8" drum and buy the SS pellets.
Over on the AR15.com site where biggdawg is, you will find all kinds of ideas to build your own. They have made some ranging from dirt cheap to expensive.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_42/344986_How_i_built_my_own_rotary_tumbler.html&page=1

Steve2md
March 1, 2014, 01:28 PM
I wonder how using BB's as a media would work?
The bbs will stick in small primer pockets and will rust relatively fast.

RussellC
March 5, 2014, 02:52 PM
This guy is onto something here! a rewired clothes dryer rigged to hold a plastic 5 gallon bucket/container.


http://columbiamo.craigslist.org/spo/4359290107.html

Russellc

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