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Used tumbler for the first time, what a pain!

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

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  1. vito

    vito Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    Northern Illinois
    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 Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    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 Member

    Mar 15, 2012
    Comstock, MI
    and if you wet tumbled them, you'd still be waiting for them to dry..
  4. Domino300

    Domino300 Member

    Aug 2, 2009
    NC Ohio
    I just blow it out quickly w/ an air compressor.
  5. rdhood

    rdhood Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    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 Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Great state of Indiana
    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 Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Wilmington, NC
    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 Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    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 Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Great state of Indiana
    Bushmaster, its obvious you and I have no idea what we're doing. As they say ignorance is bliss.
  10. higgite

    higgite Member

    Dec 17, 2009
    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 Member

    May 4, 2009
    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 Member

    Jun 9, 2012
    Central Kansas
    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 Member

    May 20, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    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 Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    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 Member

    May 31, 2011
    couple of 2x4s and some small chicken wire = sifter
  16. RandyP

    RandyP Member

    Jan 28, 2009
    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

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    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 Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    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 Member

    Mar 31, 2008
    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 Member

    May 14, 2007
    Lone Star State
    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.

  21. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

    Sep 16, 2007
    That's always going to happen. Take a second container. Pour the brass back and forth between the sifter and this other container several times, over the bucket. As the brass tumbles from one container to the other, the media ultimately ends up egressing through the sifter. No need to shake or stir anything nor to handle individual cases.
  22. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

    Jun 30, 2011
    If tumbling brass is a pain......reloading is not for you so just quit now :)

    Brought to you by TapaTalk
  23. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Sep 10, 2008
    SW Arizona
    I dump mine into the media sifter and then I use a plastic slotted spoon, like the ones my wife uses to cook with, in fact exactly like the one she is missing? I just scoop and flop them around in the media sifter until all the media is out of them. It's much faster than having to tap the media out of each individual piece of brass, only takes about 3 or 4 minutes to do.

    Unfortunately, bottle neck brass isn't as easy but I still use the slotted spoon method which gets most of the media out of them. But it still requires hands on to make sure they are all empty. No big deal, it's all part of reloading.

  24. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Lyman Turbo Media Sifter

    I dump mine into a Lyman Turbo Media Sifter. This item can be found at www.MidwayUSA.com right now, the price on this item is $9.99 and is currently available.

    I have reloaded over 30 years.
    The 'trick' is to not only shake the cases/media but to have a large-enough sifter so you can kind of shake in such a way so as to shake in a vertical-rolling type fashion which lets the media and cases kind of roll over themselves, over and over. I shake over a sheetrock pail which is large enough to not spill any media anywhere but into the pail.

    I find the movement is kind of a circular motion to and from my person, shaking sufficiently to the point of almost overflowing over the edge of the sifter tray. As you progress and drop the majority of media into the pail below, you should now see the cases turning themselves over and over. As you get to the bottom (majority of media now sifted out of the sifter), you can then be more aggressive in your 'tossing' the cases and whatever media is still visible in the sifter.

    When the shaking is done properly, it only takes a few minutes. The shaking needs to be done in such a way so as to not overflow media over the top of the sifting tray.

    I suppose I could mount that tray onto the vibrating tumbler center spindle shaft so the tumbler actually does the final shaking to remove media from the cases, automatically-dumping the media into the tumbler's bucket.
    I have never tried that but just thought of it while typing this.

    I'm sure, with the majority of media in the tumbler's bucket (media needs to be in a vibratory tumbler in order for the thing to have enough weight to properly vibrate), the final vibration-method would work well at shaking the media from the cases. I don't have any cases to tumble right now that need tumbling and sifting so I shall remember this the next time I tumble.

    When done properly, the only media I deal with after tumbling is an occasional tiny piece being lodged in the cases' flash hole. Those need a sharp pick to pop out of the primer pocket. Since I quickly rub the media dust from the cases with a small rag and am typically ready to clean the primer pockets, this is the stage at which I pick any pieces from the flash holes.

    Here is the Lyman Turbo Media Sifter:
    878190.jpg for just $9.99 and still available.
    Here is MidwayUSA's URL to that picture:
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  25. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    Look at the Dillon media separator, quick and easy. It's the best method I've found in 45 years of reloading.
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