alternative tumbler media

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Apr 9, 2005
Western NY
anybody have any idea for tumbler media other than walnut or corn cob? i've been to every pet store and farm supply store around here, and i hate mail ordering stuff. i've thought about whole or crushed corn kernels (the feed type that are dryed and pretty hard.) a little help?
You might try an abrasives/sandblasting supply.

Corn cob in 14/20 or walnut in 20/40 is pretty common for them.

Locally, a 50 lb bag of corn cob goes for about $20 bucks, walnut slightly more.

Otherwise you could always use ceramic from Sagebrush, if your tumbler can handle wet tumbling. One 8lb bucket costs $48 (3mm spherical) and $65 (angular cut) and comes with cleaning solution - enough to make about 10 gallons. Cabela's has it cheaper than direct from Sagebrush.

The ceramic media will outlast you.


There's always Iosso, it's a liquid case cleaner. Throw your cases in the bag, dip them in and in less then 1 minute they're done. Rinse them off and let them dry out and your ready to reload.

You can put your oven on low and toss them in on a tray, should be dry in a couple of minutes.
thanks for the ideas. i think i'll stay away from the ceramic, as i'm a cheap ass. but i think i'll have to give rice a try.

it's a homemade vibratory tumbler if that makes a diffrence
I am presently using white rice and wild rice mixed about 4 to 1. The reason for the wild rice is it is supposed to be a little oily. One of our club members swears by it and says he doesn't even use case lub in non-carbide dies for pistol ammo. I wouldn't recommend not using case lub but it does clean the cases quite well. Just buy the rice in the bulk foods section at the super mart. I'm using it to see if it is less dusty than walnut or corn cob media. So far seems less dusty. Any pictures of your home made vibratory cleaner. One of our members fastened a can to a record player turntable then just tilted the whole turntable about 10 to 15 degrees, it worked but took a while.
I use rice myself I do get some dust but very little. its cheap and more availible. casings come out nice and shiny but I do have problems with pieces of rice getting caught in primer pocket.
I forgot to ad that whatever media you use you can throw in a few dryer sheets and the dust will be greatly reduced. It basically eliminates it in rice.
I was up at my dealers place the other day picking up a handgun I'd ordered, and he showed me his rock tumbler with ceramic media in water. It really cleans cases. I was told it won't work in my tumbler (Dillon), that it would burn the motor up.
I usually pick up a big bag of walnet media at the local gun show for $4.
I had a friend give me a grocery sack of used Leather work gloves, tried it for different things - one of which was cut up in small squares used for tumbling my brass - nice part was the dirtier it go the better it worked the squares went from soft flexiable to hard rolled cylinders but worked even better the only bad part was sometimes one would get stuck inside a pistol case. But forceps removed it quickly - If you want more action in primer pockets and stuff cut a few into skinny strips that will reach inside cases and primer pockets. Nice part was when it got too dirty I just put some dishwasher detergent and water into the tumbler and let it clean it self - air dried and was back in business.
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