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Sand as media

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Whacked, Nov 4, 2011.

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  1. Whacked

    Whacked Member

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    I have access to bedding sand (used in construction around pipes in trenches).

    Would that be acceptable media for a tumbler?
    I can sieve out the larger pieces and the fines to bring it closer to normal tumbler media size.
    After I run my tests in the lab, the excess material is tossed. seems like a waste to me. If I can "recycle" the material, all the better
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No it would not be acceptable.

    Fine silica dust will eat up your reloading dies, firearms barrels, and your lungs.

    Go by a bag of Zilla brand lizard litter (ground walnut shell) at the pet shop.

    Give the sand to a kid with a sandbox.

    rc
     
  3. Whacked

    Whacked Member

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    OK, thanks for the heads up :)
     
  4. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    As said above.
    You can get a 40# bag of 20/40 corn cob for about $26, delivered. That fills two 5 gallon buckets, with a couple of viberator bowls left over. Several years supply
     
  5. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    I have used sand to salvage hard to find brass that was tarnished/water stained to the point corncob or walnut couldn't help. The brass came out looking as if it were sandblasted. I followed with a through rinsing and tumbling in corncob with a polishing agent. Looked like new brass.
     
  6. rondog

    rondog Member

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    No, using sand for tumbling brass is never a good idea.
     
  7. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I've never tried it, but in extreme cases I can see a use for it.

    If I was going to use sand I would use a plastic bottle with the sand and cases inside and sealed and place that in the tumbler. Much the same way as embedding MDS on/in bullets.

    But as I've said, I haven't tried it.
     
  8. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    again - no - it's not a good idea!
     
  9. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Get some IOSSO case cleaner. This will take the most stubborn tarnish off quickly. If the brass looks reddish after polishing it has the zinc leached out and should be crushed and recycled. That would not be safe to use as if it does not look like it is made of brass after polishing it now is not really made of brass anymore. Sand has too many bad points and is not healthy to use. Being cheap is good but doing something that is unhealthy or destructive to the tools makes no sense either.
     
  10. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Have either of you tried it as I outlined in post #7? If so what were your results?

    Lets keep an open mind, it just may be the nuts in certain circumstances.
     
  11. Whacked

    Whacked Member

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    well, in the lab I wash out the fines smaller than .075 mm. actually I can take a sample and wash out the fines using a larger sieve, I'll need to pick one from the stack. maybe the .15 or .3mm sieve.

    I may just do the wash anyways, and use the sand for some rest bags.

    I hate dust lol
     
  12. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    Actually, I don't know.
    I have polished many different metals and the methods required a "consistent" grit that wouldn't overcut (remove too much or scratch too deeply) the metal.

    Even with DIY sifting, I suspect varying hardness/grit/size pieces of silica and whatever else is mixed in could give uneven or maybe damaging results.

    You could run a test sample and let us know the results. The problem as I see it, is your next batch may perform differently.

    As I said, I really don't know; but the cost of refined cleaning/polishing materials is low.

    I do know you don't want it in your press and dies, so be careful to clean your test sample 'thoroughly'...
     
  13. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I'll pick up and use brass that most folks wouldn't touch, but if I felt it needed to be tumbled in sand to get it clean enough, even I wouldn't use it. Brass is valuable to me, but it's not THAT valuable!

    Iosso is good stuff, but expensive. You can make your own with 95% water, 4% phosphoric acid, and 1% dish soap. Eats the crud off in a hurry.
     
  14. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    All depends what caliber, ever try to find something like 401 Winchester Self Loading cases? Of course if we're talking about 9mm, then thats a different story.
     
  15. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Don't think I'd want to run sand through any of my tumblers.
    Sure it would probably clean cases with no damage if watched and they could be cleaned of the sand particles, I guess with some care.
    But, I wouldn't want those particles of grit to find places in the drums or hoppers to embed themselves.
    Then work free at unknown points in time to find their way into dies or into a bore.
    Think I'll stick to more conventional media.
     
  16. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Thats why I suggested putting the cases and sand inside a sealed container inside the tumbler. NOT putting the sand in the tumbler itself.
     
  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Yes sand will work, in a real tumbler (rotary), but may be too heavy - dense for a wobbler. As EddieNFL mentioned, it will not give a shiny finish, but look more like sand blasted. And there are much better choices. The important thing is to get all of the sand off the brass before any further processing is done. Sand can really screw up a sizing die (even carbide) and if it got as far as the chamber of your gun, I'm sure the chamber walls would be ruined...
     
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Please explain how sand can "screw" up a carbide die. Sand is much softer than carbide.
     
  19. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Yep, according to lee the only thing that will harm their carbide rings are diamonds and i would think diamond contaminated cases would be rare indeed... on the other hand if someone is getting diamond dust on their range pick ups i would love to know where you shoot! any way i got hold of some very filthy range brass and my brother suggested to me that i use sand for the initial cleaning also, but i declined in fear of a granule or two finding it's way into my chamber or bore.
     
  20. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Well, sure. But what's the chances of finding a bunch of odd brass like that that's so dirty you need to use sand to tumble it with? I'd still use chemical dips first, or even an ultrasonic cleaner, then regular media before I'd use sand. And from what I've read, the stainless steel pin media in a Thumler's drum with water, dish soap and a little Lemishine will shine up any of the nastiest stuff you can find.
     
  21. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    I did this 12 - 15 years ago. Finally replaced that tumbler a couple of years ago (it was more than 20 when it died). And I still have and use the same (steel) dies...no scratches.

    Well, pretty good, in my case.
     
  22. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Well yes, maybe, but not everyone has an UltraSonic Cleaner, or the SS Pin set up let alone the $250 smacks to get the set-up. Maybe they didn't think of a chemical cleaner or want to run to town for the chemicals. And most have plastic bottles and sand available already.

    But we all should just clean cases up however we wish, short of using ammonia or strong acids.
     
  23. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    Everyone seems to think "carbide" is indestructible,. not true.
    I use a lot of carbide tipped tools in woodworking. Carbide's 'biggest' benefit is it's ability to withstand heat. I sharpen my carbide router bits with simple sandpaper. It sharpens relatively easily. There are a number of "grades" of carbide that can affect it's durability and hardness, but ALL can be sharpened with simple fine "sand"paper of all types available. The finer carborundum papers are used for the final edge.

    It can be scratched/chipped, and it's way brittle.
     
  24. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Carbide cutting tips have a softer temper so that they can be easily resharpened. Sand will of course cause erosion on darn near anything over time, but i would be concerned more with my firearms rather than the die. If it were left on the outside of the case you would know it when you withdrew a scratched up case from the die. Then there is the possibility that it could get on the ram of the press etc.
     
  25. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Then tell me you perpose to sharpen a carbide tool bit made for cutting steel with sandpaper? Never worked in a Tool & Die shop have you.

    OK I will admit that sand can abrade carbide, but not enough to damage your dies in your lifetime.

    Heck, air can abrade solid materials. So don't use compressed air to clean out your dies.
     
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