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Old May 7, 2011, 09:46 AM   #1
WookieRookie
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3lb Rock Tumber for cleaning brass

Does anyone have any experience using a small rotary rock tumbler for cleaning brass? Found a good deal on a 3lb rotary rock tumbler. I am not needing to clean tons of brass at one time. Thanks for any advice!
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Old May 7, 2011, 11:15 AM   #2
GP100man
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Tumbler

If ya got it cheap & it`ll do the job I say GOOD FOR YOU !!!

I started out with 1 but found it a bit slow but given enuff time will do the job just fine !

If it`s water tite ya can really clean inside & out !!!
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Old May 7, 2011, 11:30 AM   #3
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I use a Lortone 33b dual 3lb barrel tumbler all the time.
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Old May 7, 2011, 11:51 AM   #4
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Yes, it'll work. I used a small (don't know size, but it held 80 - 100 .44 Magnun cases + media). I used lizzard litter, crushed walnut shells, and got clean, shiny brass cheaper and quieter than if I used a "wobbler"...
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Old May 7, 2011, 12:02 PM   #5
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Could it be used with steel media?
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Old May 7, 2011, 02:33 PM   #6
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the cheapest way to clean brass is to buy a $1 lingerie bag from a dollar store, fill the bag with brass, put about 6" hot water in the tub/sink and apply dawn dish soap heavily. 5-10 mins of swishing around, rinse well with hot hot water and let dry.
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Old May 7, 2011, 02:43 PM   #7
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http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/
They use a 15lb tumbler, so I don't know why you couldn't use a smaller tumbler with less media.
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Old May 7, 2011, 03:11 PM   #8
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I currently use the dawn soap method, but am not completely happy with the results. Still a bit grimy.
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Old April 21, 2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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Cleaning brass using lingerie bag is very cool idea. Very cheap and effective

Last edited by DarinBennett; April 21, 2013 at 11:51 PM.
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Old April 21, 2013, 08:40 AM   #10
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I bought the dual drum rock tumbler from Harbor freight.Using ss pins.Works outstanding for cheap (about $40).
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Old April 21, 2013, 09:11 AM   #11
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My first tumbler was a paint can with lid, suspended on plastic dresser wheels, mounted to a piece of lywood and rotated by the motor taken off our gas grill. And the Mrs. didn't even mind....
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Old April 21, 2013, 09:51 AM   #12
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That is exactly what I use, a small rotary rock polisher that my daughter used to use and it works great. For newer once fired brass I just throw it in with Lyman nut media for about 4 hrs. and it comes out like new. For older dull and tarnished brass I fill a 2 qt. pot with water and bring to a boil and add 1 tsp. of citric acid and take it off the heat. I then dump in the brass and stir a little and let it sit for about 10 minutes. You can see it start to shine up almost instantly. Rinse with hot tap water, spread it out and let it dry. Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I'll spread it on a cookie sheet and stick it in the oven at 200 degrees for a bit to dry it out good. Once it's dry it only takes about 6 hrs. in the tumbler and it comes out looking like new. Any longer in the citric acid bath and it starts getting that pink color. It will also turn pink if you use too much citric acid. Works for me, and I like my brass nice and shiny.
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Old April 21, 2013, 01:07 PM   #13
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"a "wobbler"... "
mikld

Love it. I call it 'rattle tub'.

To the OP.
Yes and very well. Use what ever you like, 'rattle tub' media or soap and water or steel pins w/water or water mix. Some what smaller batches. A lot quieter.

I actually start with a 'rattle tub' and after sizing/de-priming, use a mix of dawn in water with steel pins for most of my rifle brass. Clean inside and out (some rifle powders will deposit a shell of carbon inside the brass - sizing cracks this so the steel pins can get it out. I have a problem with the thought of crusts of carbon being forces down my barrels).

Enjoy,

OSOK
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:24 AM   #14
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See post #79 in this thread:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...52#post5499852

A small tumbler with steel media works just fine, but won't handle many cass.

...bug
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Old April 22, 2013, 05:45 AM   #15
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Shooters have been using rock tumblers to clean brass for many decades. Before vibratory "tumblers" arrived on the scene the Thumler's Tumblers Model B (15-lb capacity) was the standard for reloaders, but it really never was intended for cleaning brass. Like all the other Thumler's products it's really a rock polisher. The comparatively recent interest (among reloaders - the rock polishers always did it) in wet tumbling, and particularly using stainless steel pins, has revived the use of old-fashioned tumblers instead of vibratory brass cleaners, but they work just fine with dry media as well.
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Old April 22, 2013, 07:05 AM   #16
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Harbor freight

If you want to tumble using a 3lb drum you might as well order from harbor freight and get the dual 3lb tumbler for a few more dollars. It's way cheaper than other sources and has decent reviews and tips in the comments. The tumbler has been reported to be wet tumble friendly/leak proof.

The down side is you'll still end up paying tgrough the teeth for stainless pins if you want to wet tumble, otherwise walnut or corncob media with some brass safe polish works great and there isnt the dust cloud you get from vibrating so it's more indoor friendly.

GL

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Old April 22, 2013, 07:58 AM   #17
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If it's a 3 lb tumbler, (I've seen the Harbor Freight model) just how much brass can you clean at once? When you consider the weight of SS media,(1 lb)brass and enough water to do the job...figuring water at about 7-8 lbs per gal. Just looks to me like it would be very small batches.

Last edited by Swampman1; April 22, 2013 at 08:04 AM.
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Old April 22, 2013, 08:22 AM   #18
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I have been using a Loretone rock tumbler to clean brass that is 50 years old. Those who have been reloading for many years will remember rock tumblers were all there was in the 70s and before.
Vibratory types did not become main stream untill the 80s.
With walnut media, the rock tumbler would take longer to clean brass than the vibratory type, but they were much quieter.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
If it's a 3 lb tumbler, (I've seen the Harbor Freight model) just how much brass can you clean at once? When you consider the weight of SS media,(1 lb)brass and enough water to do the job...figuring water at about 7-8 lbs per gal. Just looks to me like it would be very small batches.
Yes, if you use the same ratio of water/pins/brass as what STM recommends for their 15-pound tumbler, you'll only end up cleaning 6-7 ounces of brass per batch in a 3-pound tumbler. You might be able to adjust that a little bit and still get good results, but I think a full pound of brass per batch might be a little too much.
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Old April 22, 2013, 02:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRiqui
...You might be able to adjust that a little bit and still get good results, but I think a full pound of brass per batch might be a little too much.
I found that if I filled the little 3lb tumbler with the recommended ratios of media, water & brass it would not even turn!

Using 1-lb of SS media, 1 box (50) .45 ACP & water to a little over half full, I had great results in 4hrs! I had fun & experienced SS media first hand. Now I'm hunting garage sales for a bigger tumbler! LOL

...bug
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Old April 22, 2013, 04:26 PM   #21
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lingerie bag

Lingerie Bags, I use them with my sonic cleaner. wonderful helper.

Lemmon from Rural South Carolina
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Old April 22, 2013, 04:27 PM   #22
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Harbor freight used to sell a dry media vibratory tumbler as well...that looked like the Lyman model .../ and most any of the models work pretty well. Most of the vibratory tumblers are about 6 quart bowls...and they'll clean about 300 pieces of .357 mag brass...at one time...

If you use the rock polishers....it'll just take longer .....and more batches...

I wouldn't clean any cases with water / wet media .....its a mess to clean them up ...the dry media operations are way better in my view.
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