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Used tumbler for the first time, what a pain!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by vito, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. vito

    vito Well-Known Member

    Just getting set up to actually start reloading and put my dirty brass into my new tumbler. I ran it for about an hour and a half and it did get the brass clean and shiny (I added a small amount of Nu-Finish car polish to the media). When all was done I had to pick up and shake out each case to get the media out, taking forever to get this task done. Did I use the wrong media (corn cob) or miss a key step? I had poured the entire contents of the tumbler into the sifter over a bucket but the more I shook the sifter the more the cases settled bottom down and full of the media. Now on to actually reloading.
  2. sniper5

    sniper5 Well-Known Member

    Well, they make a media separator that tumbles and agitates the casings to get the media out.

    When I reload mine I just set the sifter on the bucket on my left side and grab a casing, tap it against the side of the sifter and put it in the shell holder and go to it. Then when I've finished with the casings I just take the bucket and dump it back into the tumbler for another load.

    If your media is sticky and clumpy, you might want to back off on the liquid polish, about a capful is all you need.

    I'm using walnut media now, but I used to use corncob and there wasn't any difference in getting it out of the casings.
  3. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    and if you wet tumbled them, you'd still be waiting for them to dry..
  4. Domino300

    Domino300 Well-Known Member

    I just blow it out quickly w/ an air compressor.
  5. rdhood

    rdhood Well-Known Member

    I don't have a media sifter

    I dump the contents of the tumbler into a big colander, and sift off into a bowl. Yeah, the cases do get full of walnut lizard media, but when shaking in the colander, they all line up with mouths to the top. I can grab 5 or 8 at a time and dump them out. I find I can dump out a load of 400 cases in about 5 minutes. It's no big deal.
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Well I use a metal colander/sifter I got at Wally World.

    Sounds like you used media to large or to much Nu-Finish. You only need a teaspoon of Nu-Finish for maybe 5 to 10 tumblings.

    One more time.

    DrillSpot corn cob 20/40 grit, shipped to your door for free. Approx 90 cents a lb, and like feathers you get a lot in a pound.


    Also, using this size grit, no media caught inside cases, no media stuffed into primer pockets, and it flows right thru flash holes.

    Whats there not to like?

    No air compresser needed, but I have one tho.
  7. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    wet brass in a mesh lingerie bag. sandwich one end of bag in dryer door. 15 mins on delicate and they're dry.

    haters gonna hate
  8. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    I must be doing something wrong here. I don't have any of the problems noted above with my very fine corncob media and Nu-Finish in my Lyman Turbo 1200 tumbler (26 years old).
  9. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Bushmaster, its obvious you and I have no idea what we're doing. As they say ignorance is bliss.
  10. higgite

    higgite Well-Known Member

    And easy to come by. I've collected a ton of it over the years. And dispensed more than my fair share. ;)

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, for separating media from brass, I use one of these. 20 turns in one direction, 20 turns in the other direction, less than a minute, done.

    PCCUSNRET Well-Known Member

    I use one of the Dillon media separators. It takes about 20 seconds to separate corn from brass. Make sure you run your tumbler several minutes with just the corn and Nufinish prior to adding the brass.
  12. Huskerguy

    Huskerguy Well-Known Member

    I had a piece of metal with small holes cut the size of a three gallon plastic bucket about half way from top to bottom. I had three arms welded so it hangs on the side of the bucket.

    I dump my tumbler media and brass into the bucket through the expanded metal with holes. I shake the brass around and the media falls through and the brass empties. Cheap and only takes a few seconds to do.

    My friend has a Franklin separator that works very well too.
  13. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    This sounds like a guy who took back a chainsaw to a dealer and said "it takes me twice as long to saw a log than with a hand saw"

    The dealer says "there must be something wrong with it, here let me start it up"

    After it starts up the customer says "what's that loud noise?"

    To the OP, get a media sifter.
  14. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    Since you did not specify, I will ask:

    Are you having trouble with bottle-neck rifle cases or straight-walled handgun cartridges?

    Rifle cases can trap media more easily, but enough rattling around will free the media, unless you used too much Nu-Finish...in which case you may have dried mortar inside the cases...

    Handgun cases? No problem (unless you have the afore-mentioned mortar issue).

    I dump the whole mess from the tumbler into a shallow box (the top of a paper-ream-box works great). Using a flat-bottom kitty-litter scoop, pick up a scoop full, shake it gently to let media sift back into the box, and dump cases into another container. When done, dump the media back into the tumbler...ready for next time.

    Takes maybe two minutes.
  15. 9w1911

    9w1911 Well-Known Member

    couple of 2x4s and some small chicken wire = sifter
  16. RandyP

    RandyP Well-Known Member

    I buy my nitrile gloves by the box at Harbor Freight - with gloved hand I stir the cases in the blue plastic media sifter I picked up from Midway USA along with my tumbler. It fits perfectly over a 5 gal plastic bucket.

    A few shakes and a couple stirs and the cases are free of media. Easy-peasey.
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Buy or make a media seperator.

    1/4" hail scree over wood frame. Just give it a few spins and the media is gone..


    1/4" hail screen soldered to the botton of a coffee can with a handle on it.


  18. mdi

    mdi Well-Known Member

    My Lyman works great too, but bits of media stuck in cases is just part of tumbling. If you don't want to inspect each case, don't tumble with anything smaller than the case mouth.

    Coffee can w/plastic lid; use an empty .38 Special case to punch a bunch of holes in the lid. Put brass and media in coffee can, up-end and shake...
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  19. Flatbush Harry

    Flatbush Harry Well-Known Member

    I use two tumblers. If brass is dirty (typically range brass I pick up from the "rich" buyers of new factory ammo and my brass fired from semi-autos), I'll tumble it before sizing and recapping and again, after resizing and decapping to get the lube off. If it's brass from my bolt actions or revolvers, I resize and decap and tumble to remove lube or simply polish brass that's gone through a carbide sizer.

    I use straight corncob (either Lyman, RCBS or whatever corncob is cheapest), add renewer occasionally, and change when the media starts to get really dark in color.

    After a couple of hours, I empty the tumblers into a Franklin Arsenal grate sphere and spin for a few minutes...it gets rid of all the media not in the cases and most of the media that fills the bottleneck cases right into a bucket for re-use.. No problems so far. I find the second tumble is a lot quicker way to get the lube off than a wipe of each case.

    Next I measure a few cases to see if it's trim time...if so, I'll set up my RCBS trimmer (with a three-way cutter if available) and run each case for uniformity to the recommended trim-to length and finish prep with the multi-station case prep center. If I have any media stick in the flash holes, a poke with a small Allen wrench takes care of that.

    This sounds complicated but it's not...and the tumbling is the no-brainer easy part.

  20. Otto

    Otto Well-Known Member

    This separator was constructed for around 3 bucks. The blue bucket has a snap-on lid which contains most of the dust. Works with stainless media as well.


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