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Tumbling media options? Or ideas?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jeeptim, Mar 31, 2019.

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  1. jeeptim

    jeeptim Member

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    Rooting around my local internet and came across resin and ceramic media. Anybody have an idea if it would work well in our tumblers?
    Maybe a mixture?
    Also what else have you tried or considered?
    I saw ceramic triangles no idea what it may do?
    Also thinking aluminum metal shavings scrap from a machine shop? You know shine by a million scratches.
    Yeah got to much time on my hands?
     
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have always used a 50/50 mix of corn cob and crushed walnut shells media. It works well for me so I see no reason to change. Synthetic media does sound I interesting.
     
  3. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    I would think that ceramic media and the shavings much scratch a little too much. Never heard of resin.
     
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  4. solman

    solman Member

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    Why not corn cob or walnut media? I've used this for decades and it works well.
     
  5. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    I am sure the poster knows that walnut and corn cob work great. I think he was looking more towards wet tumbling as alternatives to stainless steel pins? If not I am sure he will clarify. I have used and keep both corn and walnut on hand even though I use mostly water and pins. Sometimes when i want some extra shine I use dry media in my tumbler.
     
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  6. Englishmn
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    Englishmn Member

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    I have used pyramid resin to clean rusty bolts.
    I think it would be too big and aggressive for brass.
    Mostly use wet stainless pins now but keep corn cob around still.
     
  7. jeeptim

    jeeptim Member

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    Yep been using walnut and corn cob for years and years.
    Other then sonic and S/S pins wondering if others have tried anything else.
     
  8. 1976B.L.Johns.

    1976B.L.Johns. Member

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    Pretty much what I do.
     
  9. WelshShooter

    WelshShooter Member

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    Ceramic triangles are a bit too big to fit inside cases and are typically used on parts with no internal holes or at least large diameter holes.
     
  10. lightman

    lightman Member

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    In addition to corncob, walnut and stainless media, I've used play ground sand, rice and rice hulls. I used the sand to remove the sealer from some pulled military bullets and to clean up some badly tarnished cases that really should have been thrown away. Soaking those pulled bullets in some solvent probably would have worked better.

    Corncob, walnut or stainless will do everything a reloader needs. Shop for Corncob or Walnut media at places that sell blast media. A 40 or 50# sack will really get the price per pound down a lot.
     
  11. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    holl likes this.
  12. ulflyer

    ulflyer Member

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    Anyone tried lightweight kitty litter? Might be too harsh tho..........

    Is there a way to clean walnut, other than putting small pieces of paper towel in while its running?
     
  13. jaysouth

    jaysouth Member

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    Use a dryer sheet for each batch. I clean my brass with citric acid before it gets tumbled. It has been years since I changed the walnut hulls and breath easier. If you tumble dirty picked up brass, there is a cloud of toxic elements around you tumbler.
     
  14. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Tumbling is an accepted manufacturing method to achieve many objectives, from removing casting flash and machining burrs to simply achieving a shot-peened appearance. As such there are hundreds to tumbling medias available in all different sizes for a wide range of materials.

    While experimentation can be good, using a media intended for hardened steel gears on brass might be a great way to ruin hundreds of expensive pistol cartridge cases. Proceed with caution.
     
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  15. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    You also do not want to use any media that leaves a residue hard enough to damage your dies. Ceramic is hard enough to scratch carbide and is used to sharpen knifes. So unless your going to wash brass afterwards I would avoid it.
     
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  16. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have tried all sorts of stuff over the years. 0000 steel wool, corncob, walnut, stainless steel pins and just a cleaning soultion and brass are the only ones that I still use.

    All are satisfactory, just depends on what you want out if it and how much time & money you want to spend.
     
  17. salpal48

    salpal48 Member

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    I have used Ceramic Triangles and beads. I have this Because I tumble Rocks as well. The Ceramics are just like Blast media. from Very soft to very abrasive. . I would not use them If your not familiar with the difference. Some of the Green Triangles as so abrasive will Cut or Groove brass . making them Junk. This stuff is designed for Rock.polishing
    I have used Plastic Beads ; VG for wet Polishing but will not clean Pockets and Get stuck in cases nice and tight. I have Polished loaded ammo with jacketed bullets and they do polish them well.
    you can use many item to polish but not for unloaded brass. Sawdust in different Grade Grit # is excellent for Loaded ammo. nice and soft and a good brightness.Another Good Item is soft leather strips. not Vinyl.
     
  18. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    I have used corncob for years. Never saw the need for anything else. Gets it clean enough to find any problems with the brass. What else do ya need?
     
  19. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    They use glass beads to blast & clean auto parts that have to retain machined surfaces after blasting undamaged......always wondered about that stuff.
     
  20. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I tried some kind of kitty litter that was crushed walnut and it was horrible. Dusted up like you wouldn't believe. I gave it away to someone with a cat.
     
  21. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Just like cob and walnut blast media, ceramic, resin, glass beads, etc., are made in several different sizes (pet litters are ??? quality controlled). Ceramic tiles (any size from 1/4" up) are very aggressive and will clean quite well, but leave a matte finish on cases. Hard resin is also very aggressive, but not as much as ceramic tiles, cleans well and also leaves a semi-dull finish. I have some HF hard resin media that I use for rusty tools and case tumbling, but for my reloading brass, I mix the resin media with corn cob blast media, about 25% resin to 75% cob. I get a bit faster cleaning and a decent finish on my brass. I experimented quite a bit and used my machine shop experience to come to my preferred media; corn cob blast media with some hard resin (1/4" pyramids).

    There are many different vendors for blast/tumbling media, but I just showed HF;

    https://www.harborfreight.com/520-lbs-rust-cutting-resin-abrasive-tumbler-media-63672.html
    https://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/index/?dir=asc&order=EAScore,f,EAFeatured+Weight,f,Sale+Rank,f&q=tumbling+media
     
  22. salpal48

    salpal48 Member

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    Brass is a Very soft metal. I know people experiment. Pins and Chip can cause more damage then what its worth. . i found just a Good quality Walnut or corn cob is all you need . with no additive. . . if you prefer washing with Pins. thats ok . But be careful not to get aggressive
    .
     
  23. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    I use whatever my buddy is going to throw away once he feels it is 'worn out', usually corn cob or walnut.

    I first deprime the cases with a Lee handloader decapping set and add a strip of used dryer sheet and a couple of drops of automotive liquid cleaner / wax to each batch. I have a $50 (on sale) double-drum Harbor Freight rock tumbler and either run it 4-6 hours through the day or overnight. The brass cases do not sparkle brightly, but after blowing them off with compressed air in a plastic ice cream container they are clean enough for me and my reloading dies. Don't think I ever purchased media myself. When it is time to give up on mine, my shooting buddy has dropped off another batch of 'used'.

    My method takes more time (especially manually decapping each case) but I sure get a real good look at all the brass. It works for me. :)
     
  24. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    A big +1.

    If anything hard is left on the brass surface and gets trapped between brass and die, it will either scratch/gall the brass or brass and die.

    I would avoid any media meant to deburr metal.

    As already posted, many of us experimented with what works and what doesn't. If it works, believe me, the vendors and gun stores will carry it. If it doesn't work, due to damage/liability issues, vendors/gun stores will quickly not carry it.

    So let's see what media vendors and gun stores carry: corn cob, walnut and stainless steel pins.

    I haven't seen any vendor or gun store offer ceramic, sand or rice as tumbling media. There must be a reason. ;)


    UPDATE: I see that MidwayUSA carries ceramic media but it's for coating bullets with Moly - https://www.midwayusa.com/product/5...ic-media-for-moly-bullet-finishing-kit-175-lb
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  25. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    Speaking of not leaving residue, if you use a dryer sheet to catch dust, make sure you use a used dryer sheet! A new one will leave fabric softener on your nice clean brass.
     
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