1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Tumbling brass

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by capvan, Dec 29, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. capvan

    capvan Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,032
    Is it possible to over-clean brass prior to reloading? I find I need to put the brass in the vibrator over night to get it clean. Sometimes I forget and it's in there a long time. Any harm?

    I KNOW someone on here will have an answer to this.

    Bruce
     
  2. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,417
    No problem. HMB
     
  3. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    5,475
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    I've left brass in my vibratory tumbler for days already and no harm resulted. The media is a LOT softer than brass and I would think it would reduce itself to powder before removing any amount of metal from the cases.

    Ed
     
  4. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,398
    Just don't do it with ceramic media.
     
  5. duckeye

    duckeye TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    96
    -When using ceramic media is it always necessary to use the tumbler and water and soap or can you use the vibrater and some ceramic media. I have no experience with ceramic media although I have some on hand Looking for some answers

    Duckeye
     
  6. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    7,538
    Location:
    Oxford MA
    I always run my tumbler on a timer then I don't have to worry about those type of questions. I set a limit on time not over 24 hours and I am good to go.

    Bob Lawless
     
  7. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,398
    You don't have to use soap when using ceramic, but you must use water. I have been using ceramic in a vibrator cleaner for several years, but I don't use the ceramic on bottleneck cases, only straight wall ones. The reason is, the ceramic cylindrical pellets tend to jamb up in any case that is not straight. I have a 2nd. vibrator I use with corn cob media for the other cases.
     
  8. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    913
    Location:
    Ojai CA
    This is something I do know something about I actually own 3 vibratory tumblers used in my machine shop. I have a Thumblers 1 gallon, a Thumblers 3-5 gallon and a 1hp, 3 foot dia machine which holds 100lbs of Ceramic media.

    With corn cobs and rifle or pistol brass you can run the machine for many days before you will see any degradation of the case mouth. The case mouth is the only place the material is thin enough and exposed to the media, and more properly the other brass cases, to do any harm to the cases.

    There will be more damage done to the cases by running into each other than the media will do. However the number of cases you try to tumble at any given time with respect to the machines volumn is the major factor. IE if you have 50 cases in a normal sized small tumbler, you could probably run it for a week and not see any damage. On the other hand if you put 500 cases in there the tumbling media effectively becomes the brass and not the cobbs.

    With Ceramic media there are several variables. You can go dry but eventually the media will get "loaded" and this works well when you are trying to achieve a highly polished finish, like on Stainless Steel parts. When you add water the effect is to constantly cleanse the media and keep the pores from loading, this is done when you need agressive material removal. Soap(Dawn is the best) is added to reduce the amount of cut you are getting, or to slow down the metal removal or to soften the impact of the parts against each other.

    I just got through running some stainless parts I made for the Navy in dry ceramic triangles for 4 days strait in my 1 hp 3foot dia tumbler, and they looked magnificent! It took another day to clean the media with a soap and water flush, to get the media usuable again. Brass would have been reduced to dust and washed away with the flushin this much time.

    I would never consider running brass cases in ceramic media. If you ran it dry and the media was clean it could burn the cases to the ground in 2-3 hours. It is just too agressive. There is just no need for ceramic media with cartridge brass.

    Corn Cobbs or walnut shells with some jewelers rouge will clean even the filthiest cases in 24 hours. I personally have been using Iosso case cleaner to remove the majority of scuz from cases, then resize them, and then tumble in clean cobbs to polish, it also removes the sizing lube nicely. You can do the whole cycle in about 6-8 hours, that's 1 hour of clean and dry, and 5+ hours in the machine to polish. You really don't have to stand there and watch the tumbler run, but it helps to watch for a little while so you can pick up on anything that is wrong with the process, before you kill something.-

    I recommend buying media at places that sell tumbling and blast media instead of from "outfitters" like Midway or Cabelas. You can get a 50lb bag of walnut shell material for $10 and that will last along time. Lots of times you can find it at pet stores too. It's not that I don't like the outfitters it is just they are only selling small quantities and thus the price is much higher.

    Hope this helps. I learned this from trial and error over 25 years of machine shop ownership, and I've made plety of mistakes, just not lately.

    Randy
     
  9. WesleyB

    WesleyB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,471
    I have been reading the above post... Viberator or Tumbler.. what is the best to use.. If I may ask this question on this man's thread.

    WesleyB
     
  10. capvan

    capvan Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,032
    Randy...thank you so much for your information. I'll be looking in the pet stores!

    And thanks to everyone else for your responses....

    Bruce
     
  11. Dave P

    Dave P TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,512
    Location:
    Canton, Il.
    I do not reload rifle or handgun ammo but have the following question. Do you deprime cases before tumbling and what effect does or what do you have to look for on the inside of the cases after tumbling?
     
  12. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    7,538
    Location:
    Oxford MA
    Dave P I deprime my cases before tumbling Yes. I won't load a case unless it looks like clean shiny brass inside and out.

    Just the way I was taught to do it. In the last ten years I don't load anything but .45 ACP And when I load them I load a run of 5000 at a time.

    Bob Lawless
     
  13. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    913
    Location:
    Ojai CA
    Rotary tumblers work well, I had Thumblers one once but sold it in a fit of stupidity. Wish I had it back. Both styles work well, but the vibrating ones just don't take as long to process a batch. It should be noted that there are good tumblers and there is cheesy stuff. A good tumbler is designed to tumble rocks, and is designed to run for weeks at a time, the cheesy ones won't as they are just not built that well. All of the Thumblers products will last for along time. Both of my smaller units are Thumblers Tumblers and have ran literally for years, and still function perfectly.

    I usually deprime first, then use the Iosso cleaner. It will disolve soot inside the case but usually you have to agitate it. I have done .40S&W cases that I used a q-tip to swab the inside of the case and the primer pocket, but this is going overboard, and it takes way too long. I just clean and tumble now and leave the primer pockets and the soot inside alone. I have several buddies who are high end bench rest shooters and they do less. So it only really affects the way your loads look in the end. I've never seen any documented performance differences between cleaned and uncleaned cases. It makes me feel better to do it so I do. I also like to try to do good looking work in anything I do. Just Me :)

    On cases like .45ACP you can get away with ceramic media that is small enough to go inside, and it will clean the insides too. But with Bottle Neck cases if the ceramic media is small enough to go inside it WILL pack the case, period. Cobbs and walnut shells can't get wedged and just pour out, or you can blow them out with an air hose. If you deprime first it is easier to blow cases out, for obvious reasons. The wedging problem is more about vibratory machines than rotary types, as the vibratory machines,,,,vibrate, the rotary ones don't, so they don't jam pieces in holes nearly as much a the other machines do.

    Tumbling is the best example of random averages that there is. If the ceramic media is small enough to go into a hole it will. If there is any combination of pieces that will bridge a gap, they will, and not only that they will do it to every piece you have in the machine. I've sat at the vise with a screw driver and a punch knocking media from many a part.

    I once tumbled a batch of pins I had made that a 10-32 tapped hole in one end. I used ceramic shot, Guess how many of the 10-32 holes were filled after 1 hour in the machine? Answer: All 1,000 of them, and I got to make the parts all over again, cuz the holes were blind holes, and there was no way to extract the shot.

    I began my earlier reply with the part about 25 years of doing this. Believe me it is strictly trial and error. I would suggest that you try a few cases first before you commit to any given process. That way if it doesn't work out you have only lost a few cases, and not a whole batch.

    Once again hope this helps.

    Randy
     
  14. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,746
    Location:
    Terre Haute Indiana
    Vibratory tumbler with ground corn cob media and a tablespoon of Barasso. Run for 60 minutes. Then run in dry corn cob media for 60 minutes. This will clean all but the really stained brass. I used to clean range pick-up brass this way when I lived in Fargo. Probably processed several hundred pounds of range pick-up brass just before deer season. 90% of the hunters just left the brass.

    Jim Skeel
     
  15. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,352
    Location:
    Nashville Tn
    Dear Randy

    What kind of tumbler do you have that is 3 feet across? My big Dillon is not so big when trying to get 10K rounds processed, tumbled, and loaded a week. I use it with a timer, and a smaller Lyman for my personal ammo (when I have time to shoot). Just got through with a batch of brass, so am up with the night owls.

    Harbor Freight has 12 grit walnut hulls that do well on brass quickly with tumbling polish. Maizorb has good corn cob media in 50 lb bags. Grainger's has walnut hulls as well.

    Being able to tumble 10K rounds of brass at one time sounds like a good thing.
     
  16. TinMan88

    TinMan88 TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    979
    I used to run my tumbler for 6-8 hr. for a batch. Now I vibrate for an hour then wash in a bucket of solution. The best part of washing is ALL rouge, dirt and abrasive grit is kept out of the chamber. When you handle them post washing, your fingertips don't turn black. I wonder how much ceramic abrasive remains imbedded in the surface after tumbling?

    Solution: 1 TBS. citric acid dissolved in 1 GAL. water. 1 TSP. mild detergent. woolite, lemon dish detergent. etc. (not simple green, purple power 409)

    Deprime first. Soak & agitate in a bucket for about an hr. Remove cases and save solution for reuse. (wifes collander works well for this). Rinse thoroughly in hot water shaking water out of bottleneck cases to remove any chance of residue. I use 2 similar buckets and toss back and forth. Dry overnight in warm (150) oven. Sparkly clean! Regards, The TinMan
     
  17. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    913
    Location:
    Ojai CA
    shooting coach:

    It is an "ALMCO" brand, but suffice to say it is a heavy duty industrial machine. It has a 1 HP motor (which I replaced about a year ago). I bought it used many years ago for $500, and it has paid for itself many times.

    I haven't done any cartridge brass in this machine but I bet it would hold 10-15,000 pistol cases easy. It holds 100 lbs of ceramic triangles and I have it permanently mounted to a roll around stand so it can be pushed into a corner when not in use.

    I also have 2 Thumblers Vibratory Tumblers, a larger one which is about 18" in Dia, and the smaller one which is 12" in dia.

    As far as tumbling large quantities like 10,000, as long as your process is proven, then I say go for it.

    Randy
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Smithy47

    Smithy47 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    Central Missouri
    Skeeljc, a word of caution about using Brasso on rifle/pistol brass. You can get cracked brass as it contains ammonia. Heat + Pressure + Ammonia = Stress Corrosian Cracking.
    I was told long ago to not use anything that contains ammonia for cleaning brass.
    Bob
     
  19. ricks1

    ricks1 TS Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,545
    Black beauty that the sand blast guys use is better than [and cheaper] deprime first and simple green works very good
    large batches get a $199 concrete mixer at HF or home depot
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Search tags for this page

brass tumbling bags

,

tumbling brass