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Old September 30, 2011, 03:54 PM   #1
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BBs as tumbling media?

Hey all,

So I'm starting to get antsy wanting to try something new. I had read somewhere that some people use Stainless steel pellets as brass tumbling media. I was interested in that but the prices I've found have been a scooch high for my liking, especially when I'm doing this on a whim and don't actually NEED to do this.

So my questions is this, could one use the steel BBs that are used for BB guns as tumbling media? I haven't tried it because I'd rather not risk destroying my brass.

Any one tried this? Thoughts?

Also, the box of the ones I have say they are zinc plated. There are also copper plated ones but I figures that wouldn't be the best idea...

Thanks in advance!
kealil is offline  
Old September 30, 2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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The stainless media you get from is rod shaped and does have two ends that are squared off, so it gets into the corners and the primer pockets. I don't think the spherical shape of bb's will do the same.
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Old September 30, 2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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A few thoughts:

BBs are almost exactly the same dimensions (.171-.173") as small pistol/rifle primers (.175"). I could see one getting wedged into a dirty or slightly crimped pocket, depending on pocket depth.

Tumbling with .17 Remington would probably get at least one wedged in the neck. That might become the cheapest .17 Rem neck expander ever used.

They likely wouldn't pour very well out of a .223 or the like, but I suppose someone has to try it.

As with the steel media, it might work harden brass to some degree. That's a question for those with more metallurgy experience than myself. I'm just guessing on that one.

That said, try it out and report back to everyone!!
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Old September 30, 2011, 10:54 PM   #4
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I've used BBs. Not bad for straight walled cases but they pack up in bottle neck cases. I've only used the copper plated ones and had no problems but the copper washes off after several uses and they will rust if not kept dry.
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Old October 1, 2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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I use BBs to moly coat bullets.

The nice thing is the magnetic separation.
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Old October 2, 2011, 12:16 AM   #6
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I would imagine that standard BBs in a tumbler would be hella loud.
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:33 AM   #7
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No the noise is not that bad, if you wet tumble the water muffles them
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