I tried Rice , grits, corn meal, and silica sand, never tried sawdust but it would be a pain to get out of Bottleneck cases. So, I went back to Corn cob and Ground walnut shells as they work the best....
I took the advice of guys on here and bought some 14/20 corn cob blasting media. I put Turtle Wax compounding polish in the mix. Works great and does not get stuck in bottle neck cases. 40 pounds of the stuff cost me 30 bucks shipped. Still got a bunch left even after dividing with my friends.
"As senior rooster ’round here, it’s my duty, and my pleasure, to instruct junior roosters in the ancient art of roostery” Foghorn Leghorn
Saw dust may or may not work. My biggest concern would be any nautural or man made chemicals in the wood that may negatively interact with the brass. Least case, it makes it look not so good. Worst case, something chemically ruins the structural integrity of the brass. Also, wood is pretty much hygroscopic sucking up moisture like a sponge. As a plus, there are good recommendations above for alternatives.
My money says no, sawdust won't work worth diddly. Too fine, too soft, not abrasive enough. Might work for polishing brass that's already cleaned, but not for cleaning and polishing dirty brass.
Try it, then come and announce your results! Bring photos.
well i tried it in the sawdust because that was all i had on hand.well it came out allot shinier than when it went in.i used some surplus 8mm mouser and 7.62x39 i had lieing around just to see if would work before useing the brass im going to reload.i took some pics but dont know if they show the difference or not.pic on the left is after the tumbling and the right is before.
As a wood man for over 35 yrs. I would think a DRY hard wood shavings/dust would be fine. DO NOT use a soft wood like pine/ soft maple etc. They contain to much tar/pitch/sap. I may try some oak/ash/walnut just to try. Besides, I have more than I can eat
Best media I have found is treated Lyman. 15$ jug has lasted several years of tumbling several thousand rounds per year. Infact last year I know I ran and hence tumbled above 15,000 .45 cases alone which isnt counting several other calibers of pistol and rifle.