Rotary tumbler question

Lonewolf74

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May 12, 2016
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Ok I did some searching on tumblers and it seems the rotary tumbler and stainless media is the way to go. I have an ultrasonic now and it does ok but i dont like my process which is decap and clean, rinse let dry then size and brass prep then put in the ultrasonic again to clean the sizing lube and anything else off then have to let dry again to actually reload.

What I was thinking about is getting a vibratory tumbler and use the ultrasonic for the first clean then tumbler for my second clean to keep the brass dry and protect from tarnishing.

Now I'm thinking I could do both with a rotary tumbler. First a wet clean with the stainless media then a second dry clean with corn cob or nut media.

So my question is can you use the rotary tumbler dry with corn cob or nut media?
 

Dosh

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74, that's a lot of work removing all the tiny pins and drying the inside of the wet tumbler. How about decap/size, trim, debur and to the SS wet afterward. If you want super bright polish, use the vibratory also. Most common complaint on SS pin tumbling is handling the pins which a few strong magnets easily help overcome. Good luck
 

Kmccord

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That is a lot of work to clean brass, what works for me, is resize/decap add to a vibrating Tumbler for about 1-2hrs, depending on how dirty, with Walnut media. They come out shiny and clean, but not down to brand new brass clean. What I use to do with my .45-120 black powder cartridge was soak in 1% white vinegar solution for about 30 minutes then dry. After drying, put in tumbler for 1hr, they came out as if they were new. Seem like you could get same results using the Sonic cleaner and tumble for hour or so. As for the rotary tumbler, I had heard those with SS media are nice, but never used one, not sure how tiny the steel pins are, but I couldn't imagine it would be hard to separate, no different than cob or walnut media would be.
 

Lonewolf74

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I like idea of cleaning before I size to make sure I don't get grit or dirt on/in any of my dies or reloading tools. Then I clean again after sizing and prep to get the sizing lube off and any brass shavings or crap left in the case out. I would just like to be able to do the second cleaning in dry media to make sure the cases are dry and any debre inside the case can fall out with the media.

What I had in mind with the rotary tumbler is to tumble cases, separate media and rinse everything let it all dry out including the drum overnight. Then whenever I get a bunch resized and preped I can run them through the tumbler with dry media. The tumbler would be kept clean and dry unless I just wet tumbled with it.

If I can't do the dry tumble with the rotary tumbler then I will just get a vibratory tumbler instead.
 

bigedp51

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I always preferred bolt actions and revolvers until my sons wanted dad to get modern and buy semi-autos. And when you have firearms that throws perfectly good brass away and makes you go look for it you can have some problems.

When you have semi-autos and your brass hits the ground you will have dirt and grit embedded in your brass. This dirt and grit ends up embedded in your dies and you start scratching the brass.

Bottom line, wet tumbling with stainless steel media will scrub your brass free of any embedded dirt and grit "before" sizing with semi-autos. And if you are not picking your brass off the ground dry vibratory tumbling or hand washing the brass will work fine.

NOTE, wet tumbling can peen the case mouth and I trim and debur after wet tumbling with SS media.

Below on the left a case wet tumbled too long that had been trimmed and deburred. The case on the right is brand new and never fired as it came out of the bag from the factory. I prefer wet tumbling but just remember to not tumble too long or else you will be trimming and deburring the cases after each wet tumbling.


Before tumbling with stainless steel media I used the highlighted method below with good results. It didn't have the bling of wet tumbling with SS media but the brass was clean.

Homemade Firearm Cleaners & Lubricants
Homemade Firearm Related Products


Chemical Case Cleaning Solutions
While tumbling cases in an abrasive media provides the best finish, extremely dirty cases can be decapped first (using a non-sizing die) and then washed in one of the following solutions. The final rinse in soapy water helps prevent tarnishing. All of these methods were approved by Frankford Arsenal and will not weaken your brass.

  • A 5 percent solution of citric acid (available from your drugstore) and warm water for about 10 minutes. If your water is very hard increase the amount of citric acid. You can add some Dawn™ or Cascade™ dishwasher liquid soap (which does not contain ammonia--be careful some do), 409, or Awsome to the solution for extra grease cutting ability. Follow with a rinse in hot soapy water (Ivory™ works well) and allow to dry. Don't overuse the citric acid or the brass may discolor.
  • A solution of 1 quart of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt. Soak with some agitation for 15 to 20 minutes and follow with a rinse of soapy hot water and allow to dry.
  • A solution of 1 quart of water, 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup laundry or dishwashing detergent, 1/8 cup salt. Soak with some agitation for 15 to 20 minutes and follow with a rinse of soapy hot water and allow to dry. This may leave brass with a slight pinkish cast which will disappear with a short tumble in media.
  • Military arsenals use a heated 4 percent sulfuric acid dip with a little potassium dichromate added. The solution is heated until bubbles rise slowly without it boiling and the cases are dipped into it for 4 -5 minutes using a basket of copper screening or plastic. A final rinse using plain hot water is followed by hot water with Ivory™ soap in it and the cases are left to drain and dry. Because of the use of heated sulfuric acid this method is probably impractical for home use but is given here to show what can be safely used.
Cases which have been fired several times and which show signs of carbon build up internally can be rinsed in straight paint & varnish makers (P&VM) naphtha available at any paint store. Decap, soak for 5 - 10 minutes, drain, allow to air dry and then tumble as usual. Cases will be sparkling clean inside and out but not any shinier.
 

Citius7

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Mar 9, 2017
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I've been down the exact same road your venturing on. My ultrasonic collects dust now. Stainless is so good at cleaning. Anything else would be uncivilized (grey poupon?!). Stainless in my rebel 17 and tumbling the pins out with a cage takes about 2 minutes. My pins do get stuck in 6.5mm cartridges. So that takes a bit of time. It's ur call how anal u wanna be with cleaning. But the best is ur stainless tumbling. It's what you'll end up using all the time. Don't even go for the dry media you'll be disappointed
 

Lonewolf74

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May 12, 2016
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I do believe the stainless tumbling is superior to the other methods but I want to be able to dry tumble on the second cleaning so I don't have to wait for the case's to dry or worry about them tarnishing or having water stains or any of that.

The second cleaning doesn't so much need to clean just get the sizing lube off and any debris out of the case. And ensure the cases are dry I know the cob media would readily absorb moisture and the media residue helps protect the cases from tarnishing/oxidizing.

So the rotary tumbler is the way I wanna go, but can I dry tumble with it too?
 

Liberator

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I'd try it, I'll bet it would work. I just use my ol ladys blow dryer. It don't take long to get them dry. After using my SS pins and dawn, I won't go back to a vibratory tumbler. Just my 2 cents. Chuck
 

ncwg2boatguy

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Sep 10, 2013
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Virginia
Majority of the SS media rotary tumblers are lined with rubber. Im thinking the dry cob and walnut will degrade it quick. Load up the rotary tumbler and add 2 drops of **** dishwashing liguid and 2 pinches of Lemshine. Your brass will be prestine in 30 minutes inside and out, de-prime first and the primer pockets will be spotless. I let them air dry.
 

Lonewolf74

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May 12, 2016
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Thanks for the responses guy's!
I'm pretty sure I'm just gonna go ahead with the rotary tumbler and stainless and I'll probably give dry tumbling with it a shot worse case scenario it doesn't work...I really can't see it hurting anything
 

Lonewolf74

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May 12, 2016
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Just for anyone who is interested in doing something similar I contacted STM and they told me it would be fine to use the rotary tumbler with dry media and dry tumble.
 
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