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Never Going Back To Dry Media!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Cosmoline, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I've finally gotten around to getting my new reloading bench set up this winter, and I've started going through about 1,000 dirty brass I've been stowing away. I had switched to a thumbler tumbler a few years ago but now I'm really starting to appreciate how awesome it is. For example last night I filled it nearly to the top with about 300 .38 Special and 150 .308 brass and put in a few ounces of cleaner along with enough warm water to cover the brass. I was doubtful it would get cleaned since there was almost no room for anything to move. But I set it rolling for about four hours, and at the end the stuff came out cleaned and shiny inside and out. Even the primer pockets are pretty clean.

    I was remembering just how long that much brass would have taken me to sort out and clean from the dry media vibratory tumbler, and how messy it would have been. With all that crud stuck in primer pockets and inside cases. And the dust! Now the brass is clean to the touch and even free from lube.

    The only drawback is drying, and I've minimized that by moving it from the sink after rinsing to an old colander, then to a stack of dry shop rags, waiting overnight then removing the rags so the brass is resting on plastic kitchen drawer liner with ridges. On this stuff, spread out, it will be dry by tonight with nothing more than the usual air heating for the room.

    The tumbler was one of the best investments I've ever made.
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Now you can sell that old brass for a million dollars.
  3. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    LOL No I'm going to lay on it in a huge pile like Smaug.
  4. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Try drying it with your old vibratory tumbler with clean corn cob and the top off. It'll dry your brass in 30-40 minutes, bone dry and streak-free, and you can also add a little wax or polish while you're at it. This will help for expanding/flaring of your super clean brass.

    Actually, it'll do a heck of a job cleaning, too. In about the time it takes to dry, it would have also cleaned your brass.

    I'll never go back to dry media again, either. Damp corncob for me. :) Specifically, I rinse the brass in water, shake out, then put it in the tumbler. It only takes a minute for the wet, clumpy media to start tumbling, normally, and I have no problems with expanded corncob getting impacted in cases this way. Done this way, my brass is clean, dry, near dust-free, 4 times as fast (about 45 min), and the media stays clean through 10 times as many loads as before.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    That made me smile. A lot. :D
  6. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Well-Known Member

    I've got a 40 gallon tumbler for high volume applications. :neener:

    As far as drying goes ... after you take the brass out from the media separator ...

    Put the wet brass in a cheap plastic collander.

    Use a blow dryer on high heat to dry the brass. Use your hands to periodically scoop up and turn over the brass as you heat it with the blow dryer.

    The brass isn't that wet if you've decapped cartridges prior to tumbling - the water comes out of the flash hole.

    Takes me 5 minutes to dry a batch of pistol and rifle brass this way.
  7. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I always decap and resize prior to cleaning. It's the one messy step, but saves me having to clean out hundreds of primer pockets after the fact. Plus the liquid media eliminates the resizing lube nicely.
  8. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Well-Known Member

    Tried wet tumbling. Huge mistake, after I tumbled I investigated and there were small pores in the brass on the inside (the fire from primer ignited powder) and it made small pores in the brass. Once the water got in the pores it weakened the brass. Long ago I took pics of cut cartridges that both had pores, and both were shot same fireings, same powder, same grain, same bullet, same bullet grain same caseing manufacture. Dried the wet one in the oven for about an hour (this is when I wet tumbled everything) pulled it out and I could run a pencil through the side of the case.

    The water and solution weaker the case that much. After that i had a few head case seperations, and a lot of brass that was culled.

    What does brass do when wet? Corrodes and weakens. I threw everything away, and went back to dry tumbling, which is far easier, I don't know what you were use sing that gave you dust, I used crshd walnut and no dust at all.

    Tumble with primer in and you won't have an issue with media in flash hole. Then get your pocket primer cleaner out and clean. All that takes less time then waiting for the brass to dry.
  9. oldpapps

    oldpapps Well-Known Member


    Your example is rather unnerving. What was in the water, other than brass?

    My method is to rattle tub clean my brass, size and deprime and wet tumble in steel pins, a daub of Dawn and water. Brass cleaned of everything including lubrication. After fully rinsing all soap/detergent and nasties with clean water, I put the brass on a towel on an old cookie sheet. Pre heat the oven to 200/250 degrees, stick the brass in and turn off the heat. When the oven has cooled, the brass is dry. Temps never get close to a dangerous temp for the brass and normally takes a little over an hours. Pull all the brass off with the towel.

    I have never had any brass degradation when wet, being cleaned or not.
  10. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    If I was younger I probably go to the SS pin and wet cleaning method, but at 69 years I'm not about to spend the cash for another way to clean cases. I'll just stic to the corn cob method.

    Now for those younger than me, Go For It.
  11. trixter

    trixter Well-Known Member

    I was told to go with a vibratory tumbler and walnut media, I have been using 'Lizard Litter' from the local pet store, a capful of 'Nu_Finish' about every third batch, and strips of used dryer sheets. Run it at least over-night and next morning really shiny brass. I like really shiny brass even if it doesn't need to be that shiny to reload well, but that is just me. I personally have trouble associating water with reloading, but again that is just me.

    So gentleman, if you are enjoying it, then do it.
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I've never seen any sign of pores in the brass, or weakening due to the water. In fact the stuff is far shinier and cleaner than it EVER was with dry media. Which means I can see any defects much more clearly. Obviously if you just leave wet brass around it's going to get green. And of course cleaning resizing, reloading and shooting again weakens all brass cases a little bit each time. They get longer and slightly thinner until they need to be trimmed, then eventually discarded.

    What really impresses me is how much more clean the brass is. When I used dry media there would invariably be a bit of dusty darkness on my fingers when I handled the brass for final powder and seating stages. Now there's no residue at all. And I was never comfortable with the amount of dust in the air after dry media tumbles. On sunny days you could really see it hanging in the air, and smell it. Now it's all down the drain.
  13. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    I tumble huge batches of brass... wet tumbling won't work for me. Like I can put 2000 or more 9mm cases in my Lyman turbo pro at a time. I wager I've done 2500 at once effectively.
  14. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Well-Known Member

    Hell, laugh if you like.
    I take my clean brass, and throw it in the dryer with a small armful of dry greasy rags from the kitchen.
    It dries them, polishes them, and puts a thin lubrication on the cases which of course works for resizing.

    Protip: Do this when the wife isn't home. :D

    ps It's noisy as all get out, but it works.
  15. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

  16. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    And contaminates the dryer for the whole family with lead residue. Hope you haven't any kids.

    Not really a wise thing to do.
  17. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Well-Known Member

    Um...BBQJOE specifically stated that he's doing this with CLEAN brass. Are you saying that lead residue is coming from the rags?
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Sorry, missed that part, but why worry about the wife being home or not, life is so much better not aggravating her. So I wouldn't do it anyway.
  19. AR-15Nutt

    AR-15Nutt Well-Known Member

    i am 75 and use SS pins, what does age have to do with it ??
  20. rdhood

    rdhood Well-Known Member

    I still don't get this "cleaning media out of primer pocket" thing. I use a standard, cheap vibratory tumbler, and never end up with media-stuffed primer pockets. I don't even have a media separator and it takes me (at most) 10 minutes to separate 400 cases from media.

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