Tumbling media corn cob kitty litter NEVER AGAIN!

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In my quest to save money by reloading, I have tried a few alternatives to real brass cleaning media sold at gun stores, and online. I have been using Lizard Litter in place of standard walnut media with great results, however it doesn't seem to last as long as some of the brass specific medias. That's OK though, because I can get a 10lb bag of it for $3. I have added some aluminum oxide blasting media to "renew" my walnut media. That seems to work OK, but it is VERY heavy, and too much of it will just sit on the bottom of the tumbler bowl. I have even tried some other materials in my tumbler that I don't even care to admit to having tried as they were utter failures.

My most recent cost saving trial involved in using corn cob kitty litter. I have heard on a couple of threads of folks using it, so I figured I would give it a shot... First of all, this stuff has a MUCH smaller grain size than corn cob tumbling media, and I noticed a bunch of VERY small sized particles as well. I figured it can't be too bad, it will just go through the flash hole, and not get stuck. BOY was I WRONG! The stuff packed itself together, inside the cases, and inside the primer pocket. And it packed in there tight! I was lucky that I had only done 200 cases as a test, because I had to use a wood screw to dig the material out of the primer pocket, and the inside of the case, before I was even able to poke the screw through the flash hole. I wasted over 45 minutes getting these cases to the point that they could be then wiped off with a rag, so that the fine particle dust that covered and stuck to the cases as well as the inside of my tumbler, and the tumbler lid could be cleaned off. Then, on top of that there is now a strange pink hue that was left on the cases.

Not sure if I did something wrong, or if I got the wrong stuff, but it was the only corn cob kitty litter that Petco had on their shelves. I may check to see about the bird bedding that is made out of corn cob, but I will tear the bag open in the store before I spend the money. If it doesn't look exactly like the corn cob tumbling media, I'll walk away!

Sometimes suitable substitutes can be found, sometimes NOTHING beats a product that is specifically designed to serve a purpose!
 
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I buy my crushed walnut at the local Wal-Mart. Works great.

+1. I can't see the cost of this to justify considering anything else. Once I tried using Corn Cob but the pieces were too big (opposite of your situation).

Lizard litter seems to last a LONG time for me. If you do add any polishing compound to the media I find you have to add VERY little and make sure to tubmle for a while (at leasts an hour) before adding brass... othewise you get balls of the crap in the tumbler and it leaves a dull coating on your brass.
 
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I buy corn cob bedding from a feed store and it looks exactly like what is sold as polishing media, works great.

The worst was when I first started reloading and read about corn-something media. I'm not very agricultural and ended up buying cracked corn not knowing the difference. That was a mess. My brass ended up packed with corn meal.
 

Patriot

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I bought a couple of bags of the corn cob litter at Wally World and other than
it seems to take a long time to get them clean and shiny, it works OK. I think
that I like the more aggressive media though. I have cleaned lots of brass with
this stuff and I haven't had much of a problem with media sticking in the
brass. Possibly because I am using the fabulous (soon to be patented [smile]) TBP
brass/media separator and it works great.

http://northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=203950&postcount=20

TBP
 
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The same thing happened to me the 1st time I used corn cob litter.

The problem wasn't so bad with straight walled pistol cases, but when I tumbled
necked rifle cases every single piece of brass got plugged up pretty good.

Since then, I've always used the the crushed walnut shells found in pet supply stores.

It's been awhile since I've cleaned-up some heavily tarnished brass. The times I have, I added a few tablespoons of Dillion Rapid Polish...

http://dillonprecision.com/template/p.cfm?maj=17&min=0&dyn=1&
 

EddieCoyle

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Why walnut instead of corn cob?

Walnut is a bit more agressive and cleans faster than corn cob media.

Some people prefer walnut because of the grain size, but I've seen both walnut and corn cob in small and large grain varieties - it all depends on its intended use.

I've stopped using all walnut because I find it to be too agressive. I use a mix of about 75% corn cob to 25% walnut with a squirt of NuFinish car polish.

I load all straight-wall cases, I tumble before I resize, and I have a good media separator so I don't have a problem with anything clogging up.
 
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I actually use both. I use walnut to do a first aggressive cleaning for real dirty cases, then I tumble in corn cob with some NuFinish added in to give them a nice shine. I know it's not necessary, but I do prefer to have nice clean cases to run through my press, and guns.

I have never tried adding the polish to walnut, and I like the idea of the mix. Maybe I'll have to give that a try.
 
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It's been awhile since I've cleaned-up some heavily tarnished brass. The times I have, I added a few tablespoons of Dillion Rapid Polish...

I had a bottle of the Dillon polish. I used it, and it worked well. Then I read about using the NuFinish. It works every bit as good as the Dillon, and you can pick it up at K-mart, for $4 for a bottle twice the size of the Dillon.
 
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I don't find walnut to agressive at all in my experience. Not sure why but I think I'm using the same stuff from Walmart. I've actually left a batch of brass in the tumbler overnight with no problems. Most of the time I run a batch for 2-3 hours too. It get the cases nice and shiny too!
 
J

Jose

I don't find walnut to agressive at all in my experience. Not sure why but I think I'm using the same stuff from Walmart. I've actually left a batch of brass in the tumbler overnight with no problems. Most of the time I run a batch for 2-3 hours too. It get the cases nice and shiny too!

+1

I keep adding a bit of liquid polish to keep the dust down.
 

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I don't find walnut to agressive at all in my experience. Not sure why but I think I'm using the same stuff from Walmart. I've actually left a batch of brass in the tumbler overnight with no problems. Most of the time I run a batch for 2-3 hours too. It get the cases nice and shiny too!


I'll show you some of mine with rounded case mouths and unreadable headstamps.
 
J

Jose

I'll show you some of mine with rounded case mouths and unreadable headstamps.

We must be using different walnut shells. I have left batches of 223 Remington and 38 Special brass in a tumbler full of crushed walnut shells for over four hours and have not seen a single evidence of metal removal.
 
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Jose said:
We must be using different walnut shells. I have left batches of 223 Remington and 38 Special brass in a tumbler full of crushed walnut shells for over four hours and have not seen a single evidence of metal removal.

Same here. Typically leave my brass in the tumbler overnight, using WalMart walnut & NuFinish. I have also tossed in a tblspn of red rouge. Overall, the WalMart walnut media isn't all that agressive; and does only a moderately acceptable job of cleaning the cases.

Beginning to think if I really want to clean the cases inside & out, I need to use the chemical bath. Then I can always follow that with a short trip to the tumbler for a final polish.
 
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I have tried a lot of different polishing media and settled on corn cob grit. The stuff works great when new and can be "rejuvenated" with a little brass polish after a couple of runs. Its greatest asset is that it is cheap. I dump the stuff before it has gone ten runs in the tumbler to avoid a lead build up. Andersen's Grit O'Cobb 1014 is available for about $22 for 50 lbs and brass polish can be had for less than $10 per quart. This inexpensive combo has done all my brass polishing for years.
 

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I have a Dillon 500 vibrating tumbler. It says on the lid and in the instructions not to add liquid. I have been reading that people add a squirt of car polish to the media. Does this qualify as a liquid and should I not do that with this tumbler?
 

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I have been adding polishing compound specifically for vibrating tumblers for years and it's never hurt my Lyman.

I use corn cob or walnut shells. Note that the latter can be bought as lizard litter from PetSmart for $11/10 qts (20 #) or $ 22 for 25 qts (50 #).
 
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For those interested in corn cob grit, it is available from Beede in Lowell (978-452-8906) for $22 per 50 lb bag.
 
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I wouldn't worry about putting the polish into your tumbler. You are basically filling your tumbler up to the normal level of media, then (what I do) start dumping the polish so it comes out in a thin line, and go around the tumbler in a circle 2 times. That's all you need, and it comes out to just about a cap full. The media will stick to it right away, and clump up, you can either let your tumbler run about 10 minutes or so to get the polish on all the media, or I do the impatient thing, and with the tumbler running, I stir it with a screw driver.

I think the no liquid warning on your tumbler has more to do with not using liquid media in the tumbler.
 
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Go easy with the polish. I added a bit too much to the Lizard Litter and it clumped up and gummed up the works. I now just let the tumbler run about six hours controled by a light timer.
 

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I do as Adam does; drizzling a line around the media as it's cycling and letting it work through the rest. I won't use the media until the polish is well-mixed and dry.
 

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I use NuFinish car polish (I add a a capful about every third time I use the tumbler). It seems to help with corn cob media, but I didn't notice much of a difference with walnut.
 
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I use NuFinish car polish (I add a a capful about every third time I use the tumbler). It seems to help with corn cob media, but I didn't notice much of a difference with walnut.

I use it with both. I've found that with the walnut media, it more than anything cuts the amount of dust to about zero.
 
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