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Old February 22, 2011, 10:25 PM   #1
Shane Tuttle
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So, What's the Big Deal With Stainless Media?

As the title states, what's the big deal with stainless media? I know it seems to clean better. But I have reservations...

1. What's the cost in using it compared to walnut and corn?
2. Is the extra weight an issue when tumbling?
3. Using a harder metal to "clean/polish" a softer metal really strikes me as odd and unsafe. Doesn't it wear on the brass?
4. Do you use polish agent with it just as you would with walnut/corn?
5. How long does it last?
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Old February 22, 2011, 10:30 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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My understanding of the drawbacks is that you have to use liquid cleaner and you have to use a rotary tumbler but....


I guess it pretty much lasts forever and makes your brass perfectly clean inside and out, even primer pockets.
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Old February 22, 2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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What peetza said. You also have to develop your own routine to get all of the pins out of the brass. I use a half-submerged Frankford media separator and reverse directions a few times. Then shake the water out of the separator before dumping the wet brass on an old towel. I haven't had any pins remaining in any of my cleaned brass yet, but I keep a magnet handy. I prime, lube and load them after they're dry. A vibe containing walnut & mineral spirits gets the lube off the loaded rounds.
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Old February 23, 2011, 08:19 AM   #4
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I have my new rotary tumbler on the way as we speak... also the stainless media...

Media is 65bucks for 10 pounds(which is twice what you need for the 15lb tumbler) and it will last forever...till you lose them(if they stick in the primer pocket or you lose them while draining the liquid off.

They make a solution that you can buy or I know that people do use just hot water and dish soap too.

They are also sending me a sample of a powder that they are coming out with...that will clean brass, to spotless, in one hour(try that with your cob or nut)

It takes less time(on the average) than with a vibratory and cob or nut media...

and the results are by far superior.

With stainless you can resize your brass first...then polish...the stainless pellets will clean out your primer pockets and flash holes like no other media can.

I do NOT have stainless yet... But I WILL have it by the end of this week..

I have NOT used it myself yet...But I HAVE seen the results first hand.

Xfire68 (Jon) has a rotary and stainless.... He has sold me over 7,000 rds of once fired brass.... It is so clean that you cannot tell it from new..Primer pockets, flash holes,,,all spotless.

I CANT WAIT TO HAVE MY RIFLE BRASS BE THIS CLEAN.
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Old February 23, 2011, 08:33 AM   #5
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Also Shane...

the deal with the pins in the brass is this...

the stainless media is .041 diameter when new +-.001...which would mean it could be only .040..

I, myself, cut 7 pieces of various calibers of my brass,,,and measured the flash holes themselves to be between .077 and .078.

.. If you have the media for a long time it will wear down in diameter...the pins that I measured(that were stuck in the flash holes of the brass I had gotten from Xfire68)(which was only four out of 7,000) were .039 in diameter. There were two stainless pins stuck beside each other in the flash holes.

When the media is only .039 diameter two will fit side by side in the flash hole and may become stuck there slightly.(since at that diameter two will fit in the .078 flash hole).

The company that Jon got his media from is researching this as we speak...to figure out how they had gotten the smaller diameter pellets...

The rep there (Kevin) said something about they had to run wire pellets for the military or something. And the specs were different than commercial. He has also elightened me to the fact that the wire they cut for pellets now is in fact .041 +- .001 which would make is no less than .040. At that diameter it would take years of use to reduce itself(by wear) to .039 to stick inside of flash holes side by side.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:13 AM   #6
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SST Media

Cons:

Have to use rotary tumbler ($180 for 15lb. Thumblers) and liquid solution.
PITA to get this liquid, brass, and media seperated after tumbling.
SS media is a little pricey on front end ($25 for 5 lbs)

Pros:

Your brass will never be cleaner, including inside case and primer pockets.
Media lasts forever.
No dust.
Less wear on dies because cases cleaner on inside.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
My understanding of the drawbacks is that you have to use liquid cleaner and you have to use a rotary tumbler but....


I guess it pretty much lasts forever and makes your brass perfectly clean inside and out, even primer pockets.
I'm not a real high volume reloader...... but my corncob media has lasted nearly 10 years, I've never used any additives..... it gets dirty and I throw in a couple of used dryer sheets, which attacts all the crud. The media still does the job...... a couple of hours and brass is shiny clean.

The only drawback is that it does get stuck in flash holes.... but aparently, this happens to the steel stuff too, after awhile.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:34 AM   #8
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I really didn't think I needed it until I got into reloading for auto-loaders that chucked my brass in the mud.

Coming-up with a simple and certain way of keeping grit out of my guns and dies drove me to using a universal decapper and wet tumbling with stainless.

Now that I have the set-up, I tend to use it for almost everything.

But, another con is that if you do a lot of load development where you want to track INDIVIDUAL pieces of brass through multiple reloadings, the SS media takes-off just about any marking that you can think of. My only solution to that is to actually stamp numbers on the case heads in the remaining open space left by the manufacturer's headstamps. (Which also can create other issues.)

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Old February 23, 2011, 11:18 AM   #9
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" So, What's the Big Deal With Stainless Media? "

Well, you've had some good info. About all that may be added is:

1. It satisfies those who obscess with getting case interiours as pretty as the exteriors. I know of no evidence saying that makes any difference so it's purely a personal taste and willingness to put up with the mess and time.

2. It's just short cut bits of wire. There's no magic in stainless except the lack of rust when used in a liquid bath, it could also be brass wire. It's done wet because the liquid softens the carbon so the hard wire can scrub the black surfaces better. The reason wire works is because it is slightly heavier and harder than cob or nut kernals used dry so it can better rub off the wet carbon. If a handfull of the wire was just tossed into a dry media tumbler it would take MUCH longer to do the same job than wet.

3. There is so little force in the media/case contact it has little if any effect at all on the metal of either. Meaning it won't wear out in this lifetime.
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Old February 23, 2011, 11:44 AM   #10
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Now for the what if: What if some of that SS media were to find it's way inside a case that was then fired through a rifle?

Unless a person were checking each & every case (time consuming) there is a possibility that this will happen. I just wonder if it will scratch the bore on it's way out the tube.

Plus if you have to use it wet, that adds extra time waiting for the cases to dry.
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Old February 23, 2011, 04:16 PM   #11
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What's the link to the guy selling the SS media?

Steve
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Old February 23, 2011, 04:28 PM   #12
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This must the next must have thing in reloading. There for awhile it was ultrasonic cleaners. My vibrating tumbler does the job for me. If it isn't broke...why fix it??
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Old February 23, 2011, 04:44 PM   #13
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Stainless media

http://www.pelletsllc.com/AboutPellets/Contact
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Old February 24, 2011, 06:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
They are also sending me a sample of a powder that they are coming out with...that will clean brass, to spotless, in one hour(try that with your cob or nut)
I use Corn Cob, an additive, and dryer sheets (new ones - people that use old dryer sheets got on the wrong bus).

My brass never takes more than an hour to come out looking brand new. I have no dust (refer to the new dryer sheets comment). And, it smells like "Spring Meadows", "Fresh Linen", or whatever the dryer sheet scent of the month happens to be.


Quote:
But, another con is that if you do a lot of load development where you want to track INDIVIDUAL pieces of brass through multiple reloadings, the SS media takes-off just about any marking that you can think of. My only solution to that is to actually stamp numbers on the case heads in the remaining open space left by the manufacturer's headstamps. (Which also can create other issues.)
My corn cob method removes all markings from cases, as well. To solve the issue, I only throw brass in the tumbler in combinations that I can track.
For example, I might need to track 5 lots of 4 pieces of brass for .270 Winchester. Since all of my ammo is tracked, at a minimum, in 'box'-sized lots, I can throw a whole box of various other brass in. I'll throw one lot of the .270 stuff in with a box of .32 S&W Long, and box of 9mm, a box of .30-06, and a couple untracked boxes of .45 Auto (I don't own a .45, and the shooters I tumble for don't care about mixing lots).

This means you have to run 5 loads through the tumbler, but it's not an issue for me. I usually have a backlog of to-be-cleaned brass stacked up by the tumbler. (Partly to help with the available selection for by-lot tracking through the tumbler.)

It would definitely be a more complicated process for tracking individual pieces of brass, though.
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Old February 24, 2011, 02:28 PM   #15
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Ran 500+ rds of .38spcl thru my new tumbler/stainless media this morn...

... I am very very happy with how clean they are compared to how they used to look from the vibratory w/cob media.

For those who are holding out....

... I got my tumbler( as most would agree) to clean my brass. A vibratory with cob/nut media will NOT clean your brass as good as a rotary with stainless....END OF STORY.

For those who wanna hold out... stick with the old... yeah go ahead and do that... its worked for years... for me.... Im happy I made the switch.
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Old February 24, 2011, 02:39 PM   #16
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I saw someone mention keeping a magnet handy in case of pins inside the case. I thought stainless was not attracted by a magnet. Am I missing something here? Just interested. Thanks.
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Old February 24, 2011, 02:46 PM   #17
DiscoRacing
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Dont know about all stainless... but this will stick to a magnet... tried it already.
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Old February 24, 2011, 02:50 PM   #18
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Learn something every day. That is good to know. Thanks.
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Old February 24, 2011, 06:47 PM   #19
DiscoRacing
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got some pics... 1 hour 15 min run time...

.. notice the last with the primer pockets and inside brass...

... you tell me that your vibratory does that with cob/nut... and I will probably call you a liar







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Old February 24, 2011, 07:18 PM   #20
Brian Pfleuger
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Disco,

Can you get a good picture inside the rifle brass?


Flitz polish with walnut media makes my brass look that good on the outside. Doesn't do squat for the primer pockets or inside of rifle cases. Helps the inside of handgun cases a bit, nothing remotely like that though.
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Old February 24, 2011, 07:21 PM   #21
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I can try for ya Peet... not sure I will have much luck on that one... since its -06 brass is pretty long... will try tho.

... Ill tell ya what tho... this stuff is the bomb for cleanin...lovin it.
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Old February 24, 2011, 07:38 PM   #22
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didnt work very well.. but... the inside is as clean as the pistol brass



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Old February 24, 2011, 08:18 PM   #23
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I wish I'd known about this before I bought my tumbler. Seems like "good enough" is truly good enough when the price of upgrade is $200+
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Old February 24, 2011, 08:39 PM   #24
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I hear ya there... was $180.00 for the tumbler model B(which most use I guess) and $65.00 for 10 lbs of stainless media(which is twice what you use for a batch)... but I really like how clean the brass is that I was getting from Xfire68..and wanted my rifle brass to be that clean.

... I dont mind spending a little extra to make it easier for my brass to perform to their utmost abilities to impress me
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:00 PM   #25
Shane Tuttle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Civil War Life
I saw someone mention keeping a magnet handy in case of pins inside the case. I thought stainless was not attracted by a magnet. Am I missing something here? Just interested. Thanks.
It depends on the grade/type of stainless...I think. We have a couple of metallurgists on board here. They might chime in to clarify.
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