Tumbling media?

Discussion in 'General Reloading' started by GlockMeister, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Hey guys, I was just curious to know if anyone has ever used ceramic media in their tumbler for tumbling and cleaning their brass?

    Here's a couple pictures of the results, inside and out from using ceramic media.

    I'm curious to know because I like clean and shiny brass. And if it indeed works that good and lasts longer then walnut or corn cob media, to me, it's worth it. The price is where I hesitate. But again, if it lasts that much longer and cleans as good as it did on this guys brass, well, I might just try it. But I'd like to know if any of you guys here have tried/used it or know someone that has and what you thought/think?


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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  2. toolman

    toolman Resident Sasquatch Forum Contributor

    The only ceramic media I've seen used is the short ,angle-cut "tube" stuff and it cleaned great, but left more of a matte finish. I've wondered about trying ceramic bead-blasting compound, but have never tried it.

  3. Hey toolman, how ya' been?

    Yea, I've done a little research and googling since I posted this.

    It seems if you want it real clean and real shiny, not that it has to be either, as just clean works), but, it seems stainless steel media is the way to go?

    Here's a linj to people using this/this method and especially check out the guys set-up about 2/3rds the way down. And the other pictures of brass speak for themselves.

    Stainless Steel Media Testimonials - Sniper's Hide Forums

    As to the ceramic, I don't think I'm going to try it. One reason, if a piece happens to get stuck in the flashhole and you don't see it, it can and will break your decapping pin.

    It also seems, from what I've read sine posting is that depending on the shapes, and what cases you're cleaning, they can get stuck inside the brass and can be a real pain to get out.

    And then also, I've heard some people say that they tried it and it really didn't get it any cleaner then corn cob or walnut bedia with a little polish added.

    I just cleaned some .45acp with corn cob media. I rolled the brass on a cloth with some Brasso on it to help clean it. this stuff was range brass that had powder and other residue on it and aging for some time. lol

    I tumbled it for 2 hours. The outside is fine. More of a shiny matte finish I'd have to say. But the inside it filthy still.

    I don't know if it's necessary, remember, new to reloading, but, personally, I'd like the inside somewhat clean if at all possible.

    And if they need to be cleaned a little bit on the inside, I'd rather find a mechanical way of doing it then have to do it by hand. lol
  4. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Evangelist

    if those pellets were about 1/4 of that size, i'd be all over it.
  5. DaTeacha

    DaTeacha Things are not what they seem. Forum Contributor

    If you don't like the matte finish, stick with the round particles. The matte is from tiny little scratches on the surface of the brass. Check it with a magnifier and you'll see what I mean.

    You could also try rock tumbling grit or body shop polishing grit in a water bath. If your tumbler will handle wet material, you might be amazed what you can do in a short time with just dish soap and water. My rock tumbler is designed for use wet, but the vibrators might foam up and make a mess. Try dishwasher soap, which doesn't make much suds. The drawback is that you'll need to run it a couple of times to get all the soap rinsed out and then wait for it to dry. The results are pretty good, however.
  6. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist

    Hmmm, isn't the problem with steel is you almost have to buy a rotary tumbler to use it?

    P.S. Brasso has ammonia in it that weakens brass, don't use it on cases!
  7. Para Cassatt

    Para Cassatt G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The only ceramic media I've used is some very old crushed brickbat looking stuff at the shop. It is good on old brown tarnished stuff for a first cleaning but leaves it very dull. I would like to see how some newer stuff would do.
  8. hey_poolboy

    hey_poolboy G&G Addict

    I'm almost finished building my own tumbler to use with the SS media. Hopefully be able to post some pics and a "testimonial" in a few weeks.
  9. I found a site that sells them in like 2 or 3 mm lefty.

    Kramer Industries: Precision Ceramic Balls

    If you try it, please, let me know what you think...

  10. Could be why the guy selling it at/on gunbroker says to use it with a liquid soap like Tide?
  11. On a side note, I went to a shop near me and picked up both walnut and corn cob media as well as some Dillon polish (ammonia free). And mixed the corn cob and walnut 50/50 and added the polish per the instructions (3 or 4 cap fulls-I went with 4 cap fulls). Then, let the tumbler run for 2 hours and they came out great. Shiny enough for me for now anyhow. I mean, I'm only going to shoot them and get them dirty again. lol

    Would still like to try the ceramic media though.

    And though I'm sure most if not all of you know, walnut is a more aggressive cleaner and corn cob polishes better. Until yesterday, this I did not know. lol
  12. rondog

    rondog G&G Evangelist

    FWIW - I bought a kit with the 2mm or 3mm spheres (balls) and some cleaning solution, and a used Thumler's rock tumbler. Biggest pain in the *** I've ever dealt with. The solution gets just filthy nasty dirty, and you have to change it out and clean the ceramic spheres every load. HUGE pain in the butt, messy, sloppy, and time-consuming. And you'll need a big bowl and a colander to clean them up with. Not to mention those little spheres bounce and roll everywhere like tiny ping-pong balls.

    And after all the expense and grief, the results were very disappointing. Perhaps the cylindrical media would work better, but forget that for rifle cases. That stuff will clog up in bottleneck rifle cases like crazy. And the spheres jam up in the primer pockets really bad too.

    I have MUCH better luck running my cases in dry walnut bird litter first, then running them in very fine corncob with a little Nufinish car polish in it. Forget the ceramic stuff, IMO. The best results I've ever had are with Kaytee Walnut Bird Litter from PetSmart, 20/40 corncob blast media from Grainger's, NuFinish Car Polish, and a Lyman Turbo Pro 1200 tumbler. Clean them first in the walnut (dry), then polish in the corncob w/NuFinish.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  13. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Evangelist

    thanks for that info rondog. ill just stick with my current 2 tumblers, 1 walnut, 1 corncob.
  14. For now I too will continue to use a 50/50 mix of walnut and corn cob media with the 3 or 4 cap fulls of Dillon's ammonia free polish.

    It really did do a decent enough of a job. On the outside anyhow. The inside did get cleaner. Not that it needs to be super clean in or out.