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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to cleaning and polishing my own cases. I'm interested to know the best way to clean my brass.

Should I clean with Walnut first, then polish with the corn?

Should I put an additive with the Walnut before cleaning? I know there are polishing additives to add to the corn media, but wondered about what I could add to the Walnut media.

I've read that some of you use car polish added to the corn media as an economical substitute. What is meant by that? What brand polish are we talking about?

Thanks!
 

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Well, I've been doing this for about a month so let me give you the benefit of my experience. :p

I use walnut only, and it can be bought at PetSmart cheaper than gun stores. I've been running the tumbler 2 hours minimum and the brass looks shiny and new.

The polish alot of guys use in Nu-Finish car polish. I'll try this when my Dillons polish runs out.

Tearing up dryer sheets that my wife used and putting them in the tumbler seems to soak up alot of the dust.

I found out I could get over 500 .38 Spl cases in the CV-500 if I ran it a little bit and then added the rest. :D
 

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---35 minutes in walnut media (cheap at Petco stores in the reptile section...).
---35 minutes in a 50-50 combo of 1/8" corncob media mixed with VERY fine grit (almost like coarse-ground wholewheat flour) corncob media.
---NO polishing goo or additives.
---Result: VERY clean 'n shiny 'n way smooth to the touch.

Works for ME.
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
great advice. I have a very inexpensive source for the media too- a local feed store in town.

I'lll try w/ and without the car polish. Got lots of brass to experiment with :)
 

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1. Stay away from that rouge-impregnated walnut crap. That stuff gets very messy very quick. Stick with good ol' corncob.

2. Ground corncob from the pet store tends to be too coarse. It doesn't polish very well and it gets stuck in the larger rifle cases. YMMV.

3. Polish helps some but isn't strictly necessary. I have a bottle of Midway's polish I bought 5 years ago, and still have 1/4" of it left.

4. The rotary sifter crosses the line from convenience to necessity when you begin tumbling rifle cases.

5. As others have said, I like to dampen a shop paper towel with a few drops of water, tear it into strips, and put it in the tumbler. It collects the dust and grit, and you throw it away after tumbling. Not strictly necessary but a good idea anyway.
 

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I clean first with walnut. Currently, I'm using the same type of walnut used for "sand blasting". It appears to be the same mesh size as the walnut available from Midway.

I polish with corncob from Midway. I tried the large mesh size from pet stores but didn't like it as much as the finer grind material. I use a polish from Midway, and it does a good job. Lately, I've experimented with Nu-Finish car polish with the corncob, and it, too, does a good job.

My experience is that the walnut will clean and impart some shine. For a mirror finish, go with the corncob and a polish.

Since I am, to quote a friend, an inveterate brass scrounge, I get some cases with sand, mud, grass, pine straw, bug bodies etc. attached. I slosh them around in a bucket of hot soapy water, rinse and dry before I throw them into the walnut.
 

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Lizards 'n Rabbits use it...

The walnut media for lizards is really clean to begin with and contains no additives or polishing rouge, I'm sure. (Would a lizard wish to polish its little claws as it scruffs around in its "desert mix" media...? Prob'ly not. :D )

I only recently discovered the joys of the very-fine-grain corncob (gun show vendor), and it's really nice... even on my range-scrounged-and-elsewhere-found rasty bits of brass. Some of the older, beat-up brass now looks as good as the newer brass.

The heavier-grit corncob can be had at farm or feed stores, and is sometimes called "rabbit bedding" or "small animal bedding." It's marvelously cheap, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I just bought 25 pounds of walnut from the pet store for about 15.00 and some change. I'm running my brass through it now. I noticed their corn media and thought it was too course as many have pointed out.

I have about 5 pounds of the corn media from Midway and will likely try it out later after running the brass through the walnut.

I suirted a bit of Midway polish in with the the Walnut. Hope that doesn't mess anythig up. I checked the casings a few minutes ago and didn't notice any residue at all. Some have mentioned red powder, but I see nothing.

My friend blends the walnut and corn media together and says he gets real good results. Anyone else do this?

Thanks for the pointers! I appreciate the help.
 

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I'm relatively new to the reloading business, but have reloaded about 20,000 rounds in the last few years. I use the walnut media from Midway and it works really good. It cleans real nice. I haven,t used the corn cob yet, but I hear it polishes rather than cleans.
I usually tumble about 200 45 cases at a time in a Midway tumbler for about 3 to 4 hours and they look real good. From what I read above that is probably way to long.
 

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Not to waste energy or time...

Opinions vary on the TIME you spend tumbling, but I say, why waste time and electricity if you don't have to...? I found that 30 minutes isn't quite enough, but that the polishing really kicks in at 35 minutes with no real improvement at 40-45 minutes, particularly. So, for MY purposes (and with the media I'm using)(in the smaller Lyman tumbler that holds about 220 rds), the 35-minute timing seems to be the magic moment.

Good idea to dump the walnut media and refresh it when it begins to get kinda dark in color. It's just too dirty to do the job after that... you're just recycling dirt. The media is cheap; just refresh it and enjoy shiny casings. I find that the corncob media doesn't get as dirty as fast as the walnut because it's the second stage in cleaning and the heavy soil is already obviously gone by the time it all goes to the corncob... so the corncob media tends to last longer, cleanliness-wise.

I, too, have heard of mixing the two media, but I'm not too comfortable with that. Not sure what kind of a final finish you'd end up with. Would the walnut's coarseness defeat the smooth polish the fine-grain corncob puts on the brass...? I dunno. There's some experimenting and logic to be worked out there. For sure your corncob element would soil up faster.
 

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I use the walnut media form several sources but I kave found that a little wax such as Turtle Wax will let the brass go thru the press much smoother. I tumble all my new 38 super brass before loading. What this does is give the brass a fine coat of wax and prevents the brass from gauling on the expanding die in the 1050 and makes the expander/beller on the 550/650 run smoother. If you are loading very full loads as in major super you will find that the upstroke on the press is much smoother and less likely to spill powder.
Ed Henry
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So if I use a good polishing additive, should I even bother with case lube before reloading?? I just checked the brass again after about 2 hours or so of tumbling in the walnut media, and it's already shiny and feels very slick. I added a bit of polish with the walnut media.

I noticed too- that after about 45 minutes or so, the brass looked really clean with just the Walnut and didn't change much at all after an hour and a half. I'll probably run it through the corn media just to see if that makes a difference.

Thanks!
 

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ONE OR TWO (MILLION)

Recommend: corn media (not cat litter), Dillon Rapid Polish, timer on cleaner.
 

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I use walnut shells from Midway. Switched from Midway brass polish to Nu-Finish car polish a few months ago when I got tired of watching the Midway polish dry up in the bottle. Several on this forum recommended the car polish. Nu-Finish works great, cost less, and doesn't petrify in the bottle. Can't tell the difference in results between car polish and the "brass" polish. Usually let the tumbler go for about 2 hours with brass, maybe less with nickel. Brass thus cleaned is plenty shiny. Might touch it up with a second tumble in corn cob if I was trying to sell it commercially and wanted it to look like jewelry, but I don't so I don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
For handgun brass:
After tumbling and polishing till it's bright and shiny, do you still use cast lube??
 

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I use wax but case lube in very very small quanitities is a good idea. Although carbide dies do not require case lube they run smoother and of the expander dies that I have seen none are carbide. If you reload only fired brass there is a coat of graphite on the inside of the case mouth until you tumble them well. If you are loading very close to the top of the brass it really pays.
To answer the question no you do not have to lube cases with carbide pistol dies BUT it does work better.
Ed Henry
 

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I'm a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. principle. For many years, all I've ever used is the Lyman treated corncob media. One tumbler bowlful seems to last and last and last. Even though it darkens from powder and primer residue after a while, it keeps on cleaning. That's what I use and see no reason to change. ;)
 

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I like:
Dillon's smaller tumbler.

Dillon or RCBS Corn media.

Dillon polish. 3 caps on the first load, fraction of a cap from there to where the media is just too grungy to look at.

Timer on a power strip for the tumbler. 2 hours on, 10 off, just in case I forget, two cycles hurts nothing.

Dillon's hamster cage sifter and tub. Dust mask while sifting.

Hornady one-shot on the brass before loading. (a little goes a long way).


I know some old-timers don't like "excessively shiny" brass but this makes the brass clean, smooth to run through the press, and when shot with the correct loads, shiny enough to easily find to start the whole process over again.
 

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I mix 75% corn cob with 25% walnut and add nu-finish car polish. Works just fine. The walnut seems to do the heavy cleaning while the corn cob polishes the brass up. I buy the corn cob at local feed store. The 1/8 grind is almost as finely ground as what Dillon sells and seems to work the same. I get the walnut at a pet store and the stuff for lizards is finely ground and contains no additives. I don't have any problems with walnut dust by mixing the two and using the car polish.
 

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I like walnut best. I usually treat it with Lyman activator or Flitz additive. Either way I can get a near mirror finish, and have yet to see corn cob do better. Perhaps I see what I want to see.

I really have nothing against corn cob, as I'm currently using some fine ground CC from Georgia Arms with Flitz additive with decent results. A trip to the pet store for more walnut is needed.

There's probably little point to using any additive. Once the dirt/dust is gone, the cases are ready. Only those of us who like really shiny cases should bother with it.
 
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