Walnut Media change frequency?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by HankC, Apr 29, 2016.

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  1. HankC

    HankC Member

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    Going to order some walnut media for my tumbler, not sure how long the media would last and how much I need. In general, how many times a batch of walnut media would last in brass tumbling? If I run my Frankford Quick-N-EZ tumbler (600 9mmcapacity) once a month how long 10 Quarts media would last? I don't want to order too much than I need!
     
  2. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I change mine when it stops cleaning. It depends on how much shooting I do.

    I run two tumblers and change the media about once a year or so. I shoot 4000-5000 rounds per year, most years.

    (I have the timer on the tumblers to shut off after 6 hours. I usually let them run over night.)
     
  3. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I have wet tumbled for a couple of years and would never go back but... when I did use walnut, I changed it quite often. I bought a 20 pound bag for a few bucks and, even changing it every half dozen loads or so, I only used about half of the bag after 4 years.

    I have never understood pinching pennies to save on lead filled and dusty polishing media.
     
  4. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    i change mine about twice a year. I shoot 10-12k rounds a year.
     
  5. wbstx11

    wbstx11 Member

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    I use a mix of corn cob and walnut, and since I started using the dryer sheets, I have not changed it out a single time (about 3 years). I probably clean 2,000 to 3,000 cases (rifle & pistol) per year. I don't pick up range brass, and only clean for about 1 hour which is plenty good. I find that the dryer sheets pick up all the crud and if you keep them changed out when they get a medium gray color, everything is fine.
     
  6. 16in50calNavalRifle

    16in50calNavalRifle Member

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    Don't know if it's different, or less effective, than the walnut media you'd order from a reloading or mechanical supply source, but I just use the walnut "lizard litter" bedding material available at pet stores.


    Can't imagine that ordering it would be cheaper - but again not sure "it" is the same thing.


    But lizard litter, some mineral spirits and Nuwax, some cut-up used drier sheets - clean beautiful brass with even a hint of wax that makes further processing smoother.


    I toss the "dirty" media when it gets TOO dirty (dryer sheets do absorb a lot of the residue and dust, and extend the life) - not very often. I have a "clean" batch of litter I use to de-lube cases after resizing (9mm, 30 carbine, 30-06). When the dirty batch is tossed, the clean batch takes its place, and fresh media become the new clean batch.
     
  7. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    Twice a year which is about 10k-12k cases. I run the tumbler 4 hours per session and usually tumble 200 45acp cases each session.
     
  8. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I use fine grit (24 grit) walnut media from Harbor Freight with NuFinish and used dryer sheet strips.

    I tend to run my media on the dry side and add 1 capful every 3-4 batches of brass (around 800 9mm cases for Berry's/Cabela's tumbler with capacity of 1000). When I was using FA tumbler, I would tumble 300-400 cases as adding 500+ slowed down the tumbling action and time it took to clean/polish brass.

    It usually takes 20-30 minutes for brass to be clean enough to reload and 1+ hour to get very shiny. I change media when it takes longer than 2 hours to clean and polish brass.

    Adding used dryer sheet strips really does extend the life of media and some reloaders use mineral spirits to extend the life even more.

    Depending on how much I shoot, I have changed media as often as every 3-4 months and as long as every 6 months.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016
  9. SARuger

    SARuger Member

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    I'm still on my original bag of media that came with my Frankford tumbler. 5 months and probably 3,000 rounds through it. Some of that was nasty stuff off the ground that people give me or I find and its still coming out shiny new.
     
  10. ADKWOODSMAN

    ADKWOODSMAN Member

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    Same as cfullgraf above in#2. I run my tumbler about 14 hours.
     
  11. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I can see running the tumbler for a few hours or forgetting to turn off the tumbler but 14 hours? If it takes that long to clean/polish brass, I would think the media is needing to be changed or the tumbler motor is worn.

    I usually load up around 800 9mm cases in my Berry's/Cabelas tumbler (80% capacity) and tumbling action remains fast enough to clean brass in 20-30 minutes and mirror shiny polish in about an hour.

    14 hours ... wow.

    How much time are other members spending to clean/polish brass?
     
  12. AZAndy

    AZAndy Member

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    I use half-and-half walnut and corncob, dryer sheet, and Nu Finish in a vibrating tumbler for two hours. That running time was arrived at through experimentation-- started out with four hours and gradually went shorter and shorter. Two gets everything sparkly.
     
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I used to turn the tumbler on when I left the reloading room for the night and come back in the AM to deal with it, or at least, dump the tumbler to separate the media from the cases.

    More recently, I got a timer to shut it down after a time, i have it set for 6 hours. A little less electricity and wear and tear on the tumblers.

    With fresh or rejuvenated media, cleaning does not take that long but I have found that I get spots on the cases if it sits in an idle tumbler for too long. So, I run the tumbler longer to keep the cases agitating.

    Also, I resize and prep cases shortly after shooting so tumbling batches are small, generally, 100-200 cases, sometimes even less. I've found they do not get cleaned/polished as quickly as larger batches. There must be some case to case cleaning interaction.

    Resizing and case prep is not a favorite reloading task so I rather do it in frequent, small doses instead of amassing fired cases for a marathon resizing session. I can zip through resizing and prepping cases from an afternoon's handgun shooting in 10-15 minutes or so. Rifle cases take a bit more time.

    The cost of tumbling media is quite low. So, it's hardly worth spending much time trying to extend it's life. Run it till it dies then change it. I change it about once a year and I can't remember how frequently I buy media.

    This suits my way of life but is by no means the only way to run a tumbling operation.
     
  14. SARuger

    SARuger Member

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    I use a Christmas tree light timer i picked up at Big Lots for $10. I let my tumbler run from 2-4 hours and the brass always comes out like new inside and out.
     
  15. mdemetz

    mdemetz Member

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    I use one of those outdoor light timers. Has ON/OFF for manual control. Dusk/Dawn for starting when lights out and ending whenever you come back in the room and turn the lights on. Timed(1,2,4,6....hour) to turn on and run a certain time after lights out. Inside you can trip it by shadowing the sensor.
     
  16. SARuger

    SARuger Member

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    Thats the same one I have. My reloading room is also a gun vault so its dark in there when I leave, thats when the noisy thing does what it does, when I'm not there to hear it :)

    It will come on at the same time every day if I don't shut the timer off. Kind of a pain but it works for cheap
     
  17. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    The media, through an abrasive action removes the crud buildup from the brass. How long media continues to remove crud is a function of how much crud it removes. The simple short answer is when it stops working its useful life is over. Really depends on how much brass is run through it each batch and how dirty the brass was.

    Ron
     
  18. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    I generally use 50/50 of corn cob and walnut, along with a dash of NuFinish every third or fourth batch (or when I think of it) and used drier sheets.

    Last time through I would put a grease pencil mark on the tumbler lid. When it hit 12 marks, I'd change the media.

    Not sure all that record-keeping was necessary. In the future, I'll change it when it becomes less effective.
     
  19. Overkill870

    Overkill870 Member

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    I use lizard little and just change it when it gets really dusty. I let it go a long time, thousands of rounds. I periodically add berry's brass polish to it.

    I use one of these timers. It's perfect, if the brass is really dirty I set it to 6 hours. If the brass is not bad I set it to 3 hours. If I'm just removing case lube I set it to 30 min.

    http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Conserve-Socket-Energy-Saving-F7C009/dp/B003P2UMS0
     
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