Tumbler Media Alternatives?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by SwampWolf, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Be it crushed corn cobs or crushed walnut shells, the prices in my lgs range from $17.00 to $20.00 per container for tumbler media. Anybody have any suggestions or ideas for a simple, cheaper "homemade" alternative? Thanks.
     
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  2. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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    I haven't needed any myself in a long
    time, so I can't expand on current pricing.
    I do see where all these folks buy the
    lizard litter ( untreated walnut I assume?)
    and use that and add their choice of
    polishes. ( i do that myself)
     
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  3. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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  4. Goofball84

    Goofball84 Member

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    Depending on how much you reload... that $20 container may last you a year or two. I have 70/30 walnut/corn currently for my dirty brass and it has about 10,000 cases through it so far. Then I have 70/30 corn/walnut for final polish with the same. I still have 1/2 of each container that is still in the bag un-used. It lasts a long time.
     
  5. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    As Rule3 said.

    I prefer the 20-40 grit since it will flow through most all primer holes. Buying blast media is the best. 40# bags will last you a life time. I normally split it up with others needing it. Pet media may be cheaper but it's scrap that is left over after all the good is removed.
     
  6. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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    Not wanting a debate

    Greasy oily case lubes ruin conventional
    vibratory case media really fast
     
  7. Goofball84

    Goofball84 Member

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    I can't comment on oily case lubes. I can see how it would load up the media after awhile.

    I run dirty brass through the walnut media to get the mud and grit off the cases. Then oneshot lube for deprime and resize. Then wet tumble for full cleaning. The after drying, I run through corncob with nufinish for polish and protecting from tarnish (also acts like lube reducing friction when run through progressive press for loading.)
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Wet tumble, no pins, clean in 30min, dry in 30 more.
     
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  9. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    Wet tumble too much hassle for me. And I don't have the time.

    Dry tumble:

    Come home from range and dump brass in Thumler's UV-10 tumbler with Lizard Litter and bottle cap full of Nu Finish.

    Turn it on for 24 hours.

    Sift and reload.

    Plug and play cleaning for me.
     
  10. mdi

    mdi Member

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    As noted by Rule 3,corn cob blast media is probably the best buy for tumbling media. Also the best dry media I've found after a few years of experimenting. Corn cob blast media, 14-20 is all I have used for probably 30 years...
     
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  11. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    The eco-friendly paper-based cat litter works pretty good for cleaning and isn’t too dusty. The Febreeze scent is kinda nice :D
     
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  12. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    I use the same, works great.
     
  13. snowman357

    snowman357 Member

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    agra grit sold at homedepot and tractor supply, 25 pound walnut shells cheap.
     
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  14. Jonny2guns

    Jonny2guns Member

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    I've had bad allergic reaction to the walnut and corn cob media. I used to use rice for the media, run with a little brasso brass polish first. Don't put much polish in or it gumms up.
     
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  15. JDeere

    JDeere Member

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    Amazon, Tractor Supply or Home Depot is your friend for media. I have been using using corn cob or walnut in a vibratory tumbler for decades and have never had an issue. I don't have time to mess with pins,water and the like. More time at the range using the media method. I very seldom change out my media so it last a long time. Add a little polish when I want shiny but usually do not worry about it. Pretty does not make for accuracy. I tumble my brass before I size and de-prime so no worries about media in the flash holes. As I mentioned I like to shoot and don't worry about pretty brass so if it don't hit the ground it does not need cleaning...YMMV....
     
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  16. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Thanks everyone for the helpful suggestions. Using kitty litter or its "equivalent", does it make much difference if you're using a tumbler or a vibrator (in terms of speed, degree of "polish" or both)?
     
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  17. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I use a Frankford vibrating tumbler and it works about as fast as corn cob but it soaks up grease and muck better. In my experience it’s the cheapest stuff that works best.
     
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  18. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I can speak to cost. I bought a 40# box walnut and one of corn cob in 1982-3 (there abouts)

    I am still using it. I mix walnut and cobb about 50/50. Don't measure precisely, just dump a cup in. Add a squirt of Nu-Finish.

    When I come in from range, universal deprimer and throw it in the Frankfort vibratory bowl. Leave it from 3-24 hours.
     
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  19. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Anybody ever try using sand?
     
  20. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    In spite of my best efforts some Lizard Litter gets into the loading plate on my Dillon 550C and gums up the works. Lizard Litter is somewhat harmless but sand isn't.
     
  21. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    If you use sand you will end up with fine silica dust and that is a nono to breath in. About as bad as asbestos for your lungs. That would be the last thing I tried, seriously!
     
  22. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Definitely not. I don’t use clay litter either. The really cheap paper pellets work pretty good. My FIL turned me onto that cheat.
     
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