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Old 08-19-2012, 09:27 AM
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Default How Often Do You Change Tumbler Media?

Another thread asks where the cheapest media can be found. Didn't want to hijack so I ask - why so much media? The quantities being tossed around, 25 pound boxes, 40 pound containers, "so much I had to break it down into 5 gallon buckets" are puzzling to me.
Maybe I don't load enough ammunition or don't change out my media often enough but I'm still on my first 12 pound box of Tufnut ($20), have tumbled in the vicinity of 10,000 cases and still have half a box left.

So I would guess 10,000 cases tumbled/6 pounds used
or ~ 1600 cases per pound.

It's 2x the price of lizard litter but it lasts so long that the "cost per unit tumbled" comparison becomes the relevant number.

How often do you folks change out your media? Can you guesstimate on cases per pound tumbled?

Thanks,
Alan
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:35 AM
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I change it about as often as you. I put used dryer sheets in to help take out the nasty and make it last a little longer.
Some people like to get cases looking brand new, and use a lot of polish, which makes the media gum up quicker.
I basically clean with walnut, then load on the Dillon, skipping the final polish with corn.
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:42 AM
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I use dryer sheets and a little Brasso. When the cleaning takes more than 24 hours, I change the media.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Broad Arrow View Post
I use dryer sheets and a little Brasso. When the cleaning takes more than 24 hours, I change the media.
Brasso contains ammonia and should not be used for brass cartridge cases because the ammonia attacks the brass and weakens it. I do not have first hand experience with Brasso, but that is what I've read down thru the years, and I've never had anyone refute that it's bad for brass.
Perhaps others will weigh in on this. Stay safe!
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:11 AM
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I change my corn cob media when cases start coming out with black smudges or flecks on them that I attribute to boolit lube and/or powder fouling. Lately the life of my media seems to have been extended by the addition of 2 or 3, 2" or so square pieces of used dryer sheets and adding a couplea capfuls of car polish every 3rd or 4th tumbling session. The dryer sheets seem to suck up the crud that gets interspersed with the media.
The dryer sheets get tossed after each tumbling session.
When I do change out the media, I also clean out the bowl with hot water and soap. This removes the debris that clings to the sides of the bowl.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
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When I do change out the media, I also clean out the bowl with hot water and soap. This removes the debris that clings to the sides of the bowl.
Thank you for that tip.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:24 PM
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Used dryer sheets or paper towels cut into strips will remove a lot of the free residue from tumbling and extend the life.

One thing that can greatly impact the life of your media is how dirty your brass is when you start, what additives you incorporate, and the level of shine you seek.

I normally use fine (20/40 sieve size) walnut hull media with a cap of OMS (odorless mineral spirits) for basic cleaning of brass after firing. I use the same for removing case lube after sizing bottleneck cartridges. This will clean very effectively but not put a super shine on the brass.

If I want bright shiny brass, I use fine corn cob and either add some NuFinish or Frankford Arsenal Brass Polish. Either will shine the brass like chrome.

Your estimate of 1600 rounds per pound is lower than my normal experience. But it seems to me if the media is will used it actually cleans faster than new media. But it depends a lot how much "filth" you want to deal with.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:30 AM
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I'm the one who started the other thread on where to get the cheapest media. I asked because I have been cleaning all of the brass I have on hand for the past couple of weeks and I have gone thru about 12 pounds of it.

I do like a bright shiny brass so I also use Frankfort Arsenal Brass Polish as an additive along with dryer sheets. I've found that I can clean about 5000 .45acp brass before the media has gummed up and become smooth.

I do not use corncob media because the walnut does a great job with the polish added.

I'm using about 3 pounds of media in the tumbler and run it for 5 hours. This gets the brass looking as good as new. Doing this just breaks down the media faster than running it for a couple of hours. I have also been running the tumbler 24 hours a day for the past week.

Right now I'm using a Lyman Pro1200, but what I really want is the big Dillon tumbler and their separator. I'm thinking about getting those for myself this Christmas.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:33 AM
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I purchase the large bag of ground corn cobs and the slightly smaller one of ground walnut shells from the pet supply store. I discard the media when it starts to turn grey in order to minimize lead exposure.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:40 AM
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I empty my media after about 2 full loads. Which is about 800-1000 rounds of handgun brass. The dryer sheets due help, but found the media starts to take a lot longer in my tumbler to get brass clean after a couple batches. It is cheap enough for corn cob media, and I don't shoot a huge volume so an 8lb bag at Wally World for $3.52 will last me quite awhile--approximately 8,000 handgun cases.

Last edited by novalty; 08-21-2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:51 AM
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When I empty my tumbler into the separator I spray the bowl with glass cleaner and wipe with a paper towel, then let dry before putting the media back in. Gets rid of LOTS of gunk.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuz View Post
.
When I do change out the media, I also clean out the bowl with hot water and soap. This removes the debris that clings to the sides of the bowl.
I wipe my tumbler bowl after each use with a damp paper towel. It does extend the life of the media and only takes a few minutes.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:26 AM
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I just mainly use a Thumbler's Tumbler and Stainless Steel Pin Media,
one reason is to help stay away from Lead and other residues inside and
around the vibratory cleaning methods.
(Rotary Wet Tumbling with Dawn Dish Soap and Lemi-Shine rinse agent.)
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:35 PM
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The large sizes of media are because they are for industrial use (the corn cob media I buy is originally made for "blasting", ie like sand blasting but with corn cob media). Usually these industrial sizes will last a home user/reloader quite a while (I bought my last 40 lb bag about 3 years ago and I still have a bunch left). A lot of the reloaders I know are thrifty so instead of paying $10 for 7 lbs of "reloaders brass cleaning media", they will buy 40 lbs. of industrial blasting media for $27.00. Same with crushed walnut shells; mostly used for industrial parts cleaning, polishing and it's more thrifty (aka; cheap) to buy industrial sizes...
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:41 PM
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I use a 50/50 mix of corn cob and walnut media. I also use dryer sheets all the time and i have the same media in my tumbler I put there a year ago.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:48 AM
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Yeah it sounds as if I don't load enough! This box of Tufnut doesn't take up a whole lot of space and looks to last me another year. And it has the polish already added but when I get "big time" I see a few ideas I'd like to try.

Thanks for the tips, folks. Best Forum on the Web!
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:21 AM
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I bought my Dillon SD set up about 30+ years ago and got a box of walnut media and a Dillon vibratory tumbler as well. Initially I used about half of the box to fill the tumbler and used it for over 27 years - still worked fine. About 3 or 4 years ago I stumbled across the other half of the walnut media still in the original box and decided to change it just for the hell of it. I'll probably use that for another 27 years and I do reload quite a bit! Quite honestly, had I not had the extra media the original stuff would probably still be there. Bottom line here is that media lasts a long time!

Chief38
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:59 AM
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I have a very deeply ingrained bent toward making things last, which of course manifested itself in using the same media again and again when I started reloading. Then I began to notice that after several tumbling sessions, my brass came out of the separator with a film of dust on it. I decided to change my ways a bit and change the media more often. I've done the dryer sheet trick, but for me it only seems to yield one or at most two additional cleanings.

I haven't figured out the number of cases per pound I typically clean. I would guess 600 or so, but that might be very inaccurate also.

Andy
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:20 AM
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I change it when it gets dirty enough.
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