Cleaning Media

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    Devereaux
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    Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:38 pm

    OK. Corn kind of doesn't count, as he uses the steel ball bearings and water method of cleaning cases. I might have too if I had started later than I did. But I started reloading in 92. So I have the old system, and don't see investing money for the newer at my age.

    So way back when on the old forum I recollect Jim Fleming putting up some post about how much media you should put into your vibratory cleaner, and how much brass. But I don't remember the numbers.

    I have the smaller Dillon case cleaner and media separator. Way back when it was mostly a question of space. Now I am putting in about 1-3/4# of media and the same for brass. I have a small kitchen scale and a plastic canister that holds that much brass easily (need several scoops for the media).

    I also use corn media. I know about walnut, but have never used it. Always seems to be harsher, but what do I know. I bought a big bag of corn media a LONG time ago from Dillon, and I still haven't used it up. BUT I noted that I changed the media what seems not so long ago, and lately it seems that it takes 12-16 hours to clean a batch of brass. Shouldn't be that long. And the media was starting to have a kind of green look rather than the usual light tan. So I just put new in.

    ?But what are the (objective) criteria for loading AND replacing media. ?Is there somewhere to get it relatively cheaply. ?Is one form a LOT better than another - I seem to recollect walnut was cheaper but harsher, but I could very well be wrong.

    Opinions. Corn, you may actually have regular media experiencec before you went steel.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:33 pm

    For me, I use crushed walnut. I buy it at WalMart or pet stores, it's the crushed walnut that people put in the bottom of bird cages. I don't remember the price, but I compared it once to crushed walnut from gun places and the difference in price was ridiculous.

    I use a standard old Lyman vibrating tumbler. I just fill it up the tumbler with the media, and I'll put in whatever cases I fired that day. Usually 100-150 at a time. I let it run 12 hours just because I'm a cretin and I like nice shiny cases. When I'm done with a round of cases, I leave the same media in the tumbler and use it again on the next round.

    I probably tumble around 100 - 200 cases per week, and I'll change the media when it goes from that nice brown color to a dingy gray.

    As you can see, I'm nowhere near precise with any of this. However, my cases look goooooood.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:47 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:For me, I use crushed walnut.  I buy it at WalMart or pet stores, it's the crushed walnut that people put in the bottom of bird cages.  I don't remember the price, but I compared it once to crushed walnut from gun places and the difference in price was ridiculous.

    I use a standard old Lyman vibrating tumbler.  I just fill it up the tumbler with the media, and I'll put in whatever cases I fired that day.  Usually 100-150 at a time.  I let it run 12 hours just because I'm a cretin and I like nice shiny cases.  When I'm done with a round of cases, I leave the same media in the tumbler and use it again on the next round.  

    I probably tumble around 100 - 200 cases per week, and I'll change the media when it goes from that nice brown color to a dingy gray.

    As you can see, I'm nowhere near precise with any of this.  However, my cases look goooooood.

    ?Do you use any polish or just let the tumbler do it's thing. ?Have you tried corn media.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:30 pm

    I don't use any polish. Haven't tried corn media yet. I probably should try both, but have been so pleased with the WalMart crushed walnuts, I haven't seen any need to branch out.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:02 pm

    Well, your Wal-Mart appears to be a better quality than mine. I searched high and low for walnut and found - none. There was kitty litter galore. But no crushed walnuts. One of the kitty litter packages even said 100% corn fibre. But it didn't look like corn media.

    So I guess I go searching the pet stores.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:39 pm

    Dang, that's too bad. For what it's worth, our local PetsMarts carry it. You're looking at BIG bags, like 25 pounds. Which last me for quite a while.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:57 pm

    Guess that's the next place to try. We have a couple pet chains here (?like 2) so one should have it.

    I don't clean very often, but when I do, it's usually a marathon, cleaning batch after batch. I kind of like to clean all the dirty cases in a calibre so I can reload when I'm ready. So perhaps I will be wearing out media more quickly than I did. Plus I seem to have a lot more brass vs nickle than I once did. I load nickle in .45 Colt, .38 Super, .40 S&W. My .38 Spl is a mixed bag, while the 9 and .45 ACP is pretty much brass, as is the .357 Sig, the 5.56 & .300 BLK, and .380 ACP. Don't have enough yet for .30-06 & .308, both of which I would like to load more of; the former for the Garand, and the latter for a competition M14. And one of these days I will have to drag my FAL out to the range. And load for the .375 H&H.

    So much to do, so little time.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:08 pm

    Devereaux wrote:

    So much to do, so little time.

    Boy, do I know that feeling. Seems like every few months I run into a big supply of range brass, and I'm cleaning 1,000 really dirty cases that I got for really cheap.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:09 pm

    I used a little of both, but found that I really disliked how the corncob media/dust would stick to everything. My wife hated it when I tumbled brass in the garage--there were always little pieces of media everywhere. I think you can throw in a used dryer sheet to minimize "static cling" though. The walnut seemed like it didn't cling as much. I found that the pet shops or online pet supply stores were the cheapest place to get the walnut media for me. I used vibratory tumbling for several thousands of rounds before I switched to the stainless option. I know that the stainless tumbling option isn't for everyone, but it does have a few good benefits if you can get over the initial cost. Things to consider about a wet stainless tumbling process:

    Pros:
    1. Brass gets cleaner than the other options and comes out looking brand new
    2. Deprime before tumbling and you don't have to clean primer pockets (if you even worry about primer pockets being clean)
    3. Clean brass means no more cleaning gunked-up dies
    4. Buy once cry once (the tumbling media lasts forever, you only have to add a little dish soap and lemishine)
    5. No more static charged spilled media that sticks to everything and is a pain to clean up. If you spill the stainless media, you just use a magnet to pick it up.
    6. Very large batches--I can tumble large amounts of brass at a time. Usually you can buy or build custom sized tumbler containers.
    7. Media separation seems easier when you are using water.

    Cons:
    1. Prep time (takes a bit longer to deprime before tumbling--not totally necessary, but cleans out the primer pockets and helps the brass dry faster
    2. Drying time (with a wet tumble, you have to wait for the brass to dry--in Utah, I can set it out in the sun and it dries VERY fast, but for more humid places, I don't know how long it would take)
    3. Initial cost is significant
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:28 pm

    If I was young and starting out (like 20+ years ago) I would seriously consider your steel method. The drying is a bit of a pain, but I rarely actually use brass as soon as I clean it. Indeed, as this session has shown, I have gone through POUNDS of .45 brass, and then some 9mm (although I haven't really put a serious dent in the pile I have, done all the .357 Sig (?mebbe 1k, mebbe some less), just finishd all the 300 BLK (probably <500). Next I have a pile of .38 Spl, then .40, then work in some .380, and then get back to the 9mm. It will take a while.
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:40 am

    Man, Corn, Midway is selling a Thumbler tumbler for $180. I am sorely tempted, as the old vibrator method is seriously driving me nuts. I seem to have SO MUCH brass to clean. I have been cleaning brass about daily, 4-6 hours a pop. FINALLY got all the smaller stuff cleaned, but I still have a fair amount of 9mm to do, and all the .40's & .38's. And then there's the .45 Colt. Not to mention the 5.56

    Midway is also selling stainless steel pins as media. ?Is that the best stuff, or is there better, and where do you get it. ?How much brass can you put into a cannister at a time. There's GOT to be a better way to clean brass. Just glad I don't have a Class III - I would probably be spending my whole life cleaning brass.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Cornmastah on Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:39 pm

    The stainless pins are what I use, and I really like them. You can get them from various online places. They last forever. You can pick up fallen pieces with a magnet. Lots of good reasons to wet tumble with stainless media, but there are some downsides too. Drying time and drying may be a downside, especially if you live in a humid place. Here in Utah, stuff dries out super fast. The Thumbler seems ok, but I don't know what the capacity is of that think. I use a high capacity tumbler where I can tumble LOTS at a time, but it takes more time rinsing. Depriming before tumbling helps speed up the cleaning and drying process, and really cleans out the primer pockets well--but is an additional step. It also keeps your reloading dies cleaner.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:43 pm

    ?So what brand tumbler do you use. ?How much brass can you put in at one time. ?How much media do you use.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Cleaning Media

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:03 am

    I bought one from this guy a while back, not sure if he still makes them or not:

    http://www.biggdawgtumblers.net/tumbler-info.html

    I have different sized drums, I usually tumble around 10 lbs of brass with about 12-13 lbs of media, or 5 lbs of brass with about 7-8 lbs of media.

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