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Old October 8, 2009, 11:07 AM   #1
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Alternative tumbler media: What grit/mesh?

This has probably been asked & answered before but I didn't have much luck using the search function. I know many here use less expensive industrial supply stores or pet store brand media in their tumbler. I currently use the walnut shell lizard litter from Pets Mart. I would like to pick up some corn cob media as well but I know that the size of the media is important so that it doesn't clog flash holes, case mouths, etc.

I also have a friend who is interesting in getting a tumbler and was looking at buying either walnut or corn cob media from Harbor Freight. But I don't know what grit/mesh size to recommend.

Here is one place that has been recommend to get corn cob media:

What is the recommended grit for corn cob media. 14/20? 20/40? Will either work or is one preferred over the other?

What about walnut media? I haven't priced these guys yet but they have a page showing the different grades:

Would I be wanting fine mesh (20/40) or medium mesh (12/20) or something else?

Thanks for any feedback...
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Old October 8, 2009, 11:13 AM   #2
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At least 20/40, even finer is good.

Fine works as well as bigger but the bigger chunks clog flash holes and can be more difficult to empty from rifle cases.

Cob and walnut are so close in effect it really makes no difference. I have to chuckle at those who mix it just to be sure they get it right!
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Old October 8, 2009, 11:30 AM   #3
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Really? I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that walnut did a better job at cleaning and corn cob did a better job at polishing. Is this not so?
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Old October 8, 2009, 11:32 AM   #4
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I bought the 20/40, my initial impression was that it was pretty fine
but it works great and definitely doesn't get stuck in the flash holes.
I might try the 12/40 next time but 40 pounds will last quite a while.
I'm guessing that the 12/40 is similar to size that the mailorder places
sell but can't say for sure. I did try the bedding litter from Walmart
and did not like that. It got stuck in everything. I think either size from
Grainger is okay and the price is great.

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Old October 8, 2009, 04:16 PM   #5
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I think it's a personal choice. I use 14/20 and it works fine. Some of it does get stuck in the flash hole but a fast push with a paper clip clears anything out very easily. I have also tried the smaller media but my objection to that is that it seems to have more dust which I don't like.

As far as cob vs walnut, I do think the harder walnut or pecan shells clean carbon and gunk off better, and cob does seem to polish better, especially with a little Nu Finish polish added. Again probably personal choice. I too get a chuckle out of those who mix the media. Why??
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Old October 8, 2009, 04:36 PM   #6
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The corncob is more absorbent and will clean lubes off faster and will polish faster and will hold a larger quantity of polish. Walnut has some of the nut shell oil in it so it won't absorb as well, and polish seems to stick only to its surface, but it does seem to scrape better and dull more slowly. I never tried a mix, but I think the logic would be to let the corncob pick up the dirt particles scraped loose by the walnut shell particles. I've seen walnut sold with small sharpened sticks in it before, supposedly for better primer pocket cleaning, and I even tried some once years ago, but I found the sticks just packed into cases. Short pieces of stainless wire is another mixer. NECO even has a sharp plastic media available now. If I had a half dozen identical tumblers, I'd do some side-by-sides, but I find I just put a tumbler on a timer these days and let it run during the night, so I don't really care how long it takes.
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Old October 10, 2009, 09:35 AM   #7
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Case Cleaning Media?

lizard litter from Pets Mart
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Old October 12, 2009, 10:17 AM   #8
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Okay, thanks guys. If I do end up ordering from an industrial supply I think I'll grab 20/40 grit.

I appreciate it!
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