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Old December 22, 2009, 08:23 AM   #1
spacecoast
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Walnut media lifespan question

How long does crushed walnut tumbler media normally last, and how do I tell when it needs to be replaced? Is there any way to extend its lifespan, or any additives that will enhance its effect?
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Old December 22, 2009, 08:29 AM   #2
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as far as I can tell..it starts to look dull or a silverish kinda' black.
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:04 AM   #3
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Whether corncob or walnut, once it is taking about twice as long to clean the brass, I pitch it. Lots of folks do it once a year, but how often really depends on how many cases you clean in a season, of course, and how thoroughly you clean them? Also, if you live in an area where a lot of sandy grit gets on your cases, you will likely change it more often, or at least skim the top media off and pitch the bottom half inch where the grit tends to settle. That's to keep it from getting into cases and scratching up your dies.
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:10 AM   #4
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a BIG bag of crushed walnut litter (lizard litter) from the pet store is CHEAP...why worry about it.
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Old December 22, 2009, 12:59 PM   #5
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a BIG bag of crushed walnut litter (lizard litter) from the pet store is CHEAP...why worry about it.
You're right - I guess I should change it every 50 rounds or so
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Old December 22, 2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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media

i use A lot of corn cob media and also make my own shot so i have a screen i put shot on to wash and dry . i use about 5 gal. of media at a time so when it gets bad i just put it on screen, wash and let sun dry. just like new. just a thought for you. cjs
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Old December 22, 2009, 04:30 PM   #7
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Enhancing media

Spacecoast--You asked
Quote:
Is there any way to extend its lifespan, or any additives that will enhance its effect?
Extend lifespan: Use one cut-up used clothes dryer anti-static sheet with each load of cases you tumble. The dryer sheet pieces will turn amazingly dirty--that's crud from the cases, which ISN'T contaminating yr medium! Enhance effect:Use a small amount of Nu-Finish Car Polish with a load of medium--put in a capful of Nu-Finish, run the tumbler for 10 min. or so, put in the cases. The cases come out really shiny. BTW, I don't think you can do both of the above at once--the dryer sheets would just catch and hold onto the polish, it would seem.
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Old December 22, 2009, 04:37 PM   #8
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Smokey Joe -

Great tips, thank you. I'll use the dryer sheet trick and make the pieces big enough to get caught in my screening device so I can discard them if necessary after a cycle.
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Old December 22, 2009, 05:47 PM   #9
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How long? Real long

I have a large tumbler that will hold 1,000 .30-06 brass at a time. I have used the same walnut for more than 35,000 rounds and it still works fine. I put a couple of capfuls of mineral spirits in the media once in a while (every 5 loads or so) and cut up two used dryer sheets into quarters every load. The mineral spitirs help remove the crud, and the dryer sheets pull the crud and dirt out after each load.

I am working with nearly a 5 gallon bucket of media every load to give you an idea of the size I'm talking about. I guess I will be able to run this media another 30,000 rounds or so before I will even think about changing it.

This is to clean the cases. If I want to polish, I use corncob and add Nu Finish polish.
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Old December 22, 2009, 09:20 PM   #10
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walnut media life

I have thought on several occasions my media was finished, but it keeps cleaning so I keep running brass through it.

Bottom line, keep pushing until it stops cleaning
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Old December 22, 2009, 09:44 PM   #11
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"..I'll use the dryer sheet trick "

All the dryer sheet sections do is trap loose bits of media and dry polish dust in its loose, open weave so we can toss it out.

Media lasts a LOT longer than many run it. IF you use a polish additive as most do you can sorta reactivate it by adding an ounce or so of mineral spirts/oderless paint thinner before doing a large batch. It will soften the driied suface cake on the media kernels enough to let the polish continue to work for a long time.

Most folks add too much polish, far too often and that just clogs the media up faster than it need be. And a high polish on cases is pure trivia anyway.
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:27 PM   #12
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My media has 12,000 + rounds and still works and cleans fine. Added some brass polish from Midway (without the ammonia)
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Old December 23, 2009, 05:40 PM   #13
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heres what i do, 2 capfuls of nu-finish diluted with a healthy "splash" of mineral spirits. i pour this in the bottom of the empty tumbler and turn it on. once the nu-finish is thinned out i dump in the media and let it go till there are no more clumps. i then grab a wad of free dryer lint and toss it in. then i add my brass.

ive been tumbling tons and tons of really dirty range brass for a buddy. after 8-12hrs its bright shiny like new.

the dryer lint absorbs just enough mineral spirits to keep the media "moist", which i think helps the cleaning. it also absorbs far more dirt than the dryer sheets, and theres an endless supply.

ive had the same media for about 35k rounds, mostly ultra dirty pistol brass.
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Old December 23, 2009, 08:41 PM   #14
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Gotta disagree here...

Wncchester--you said
Quote:
All the dryer sheet sections do is trap loose bits of media and dry polish dust in its loose, open weave so we can toss it out.
I don't think so. The walnut tumbling medium is BROWN. Dust it gives off is BROWN. The polish is more or less colorless in its dry form. But the dryer sheets--at least mine--turn BLACK, the color of the powder residue inside the cases. Also, the medium looks a little cleaner when I'm finished with a load of cases than it used to before starting to use the dryer sheets.

Therefore I am forced to the conclusion that the dryer sheets are usefully removing combustion residue which comes out of the cases being tumbled, or out of their primer pockets.

Anyhow, since I get the dryer sheets for free, by scavenging the trash cans at coin laundries, I'll continue to use 'em.
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Old December 25, 2009, 01:22 PM   #15
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"The walnut tumbling medium is BROWN. Dust it gives off is BROWN. The polish is more or less colorless in its dry form. But the dryer sheets--at least mine--turn BLACK, the color of the powder residue inside the cases."

All true Smokey. But, put a dab of your polish, what ever, on a cloth and shine a case by hand. The polish WILL turn black and that, dried, is what your dryer sheet sections are picking up.
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Old December 25, 2009, 01:39 PM   #16
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You're supposed to change it?
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Old December 25, 2009, 07:44 PM   #17
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Case cleaning media lifespan?

I change my media once a year.
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Old December 25, 2009, 08:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeSpectre
a BIG bag of crushed walnut litter (lizard litter) from the pet store is CHEAP...why worry about it.
Because the lizard litter I bought from PetSmart was a dusty mess. It isn't worth my extra time dealing with it. If one is concerned about cost, I definitely agree with this route otherwise.
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Old December 25, 2009, 09:05 PM   #19
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Because the lizard litter I bought from PetSmart was a dusty mess.
Not if you use the dryer sheet trick as mentioned above.
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Old December 25, 2009, 10:55 PM   #20
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they sell 2 different sizes, fine and coarse. the fine is lizard bedding, and the coarse is often used for birds.

the coarse is the size sold by retailers as tumbler media.
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Old December 25, 2009, 11:41 PM   #21
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I know a guy that cleaned his by running it thru a coffee maker and filtered it.

He said it worked good, but the beating from his wife was'nt worth it. Now he just gets new media.
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Old December 26, 2009, 08:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Not if you use the dryer sheet trick as mentioned above.
Even by doing this I still get more dust than I care to deal. I even use 1/8 cup of mineral spirits to try to keep it down. Using the same process with better quality walnut media makes life for me much easier.
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