Let's talk about case tumbling... how do you do it?

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
One thing I will warn about is that if you wet tumble with any method you really need to decap before you tumble or right after you tumble, do not let the cases sit with primers in them after you wet tumble, no matter how good you think your drying method is like case dryer or bright hot sun or towel etc is. The water will get into the primer pocket and cause the primer to almost weld itself to the case and start corroding, and later on you will go to decap that brass, and then you will punch the bottom out of the primer and leave the stuck welded sidewalls of the primer cup still in the case, which can be very hard to spot, then you are trying to jam another primer into the case and now its stuck in the shell holder and you know the rest is just time consuming and a PITA.
I’ve never wet tumbled without de-priming first, so never encountered this issue. That’s a good piece of intel right there! Thanks, @deadhorse !
 

Veryolddog

Hand Press
I’ve never wet tumbled without de-priming first, so never encountered this issue. That’s a good piece of intel right there! Thanks, @deadhorse !
HOWEVER, ....... I have used a sonic cleaner to clean my dirty brass before I resize and deprime after the cases are dry. Then, I wet tumble to do a very thorough cleaning. I do not want to get all of the crud collected on the fired brass to screw up my dies. I have not had the problem described.
 
So the first thing that I do is deprime all of my cases whether that be pistol or rifle. Once I have a large enough batch I use my commercial grade Sonic cleaner with a 9 mm case full of lemi shine and a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap with a water temperature of 212 + degrees I run the batch in my Sonic cleaner for about a half an hour to 45 minutes this cleans the inside and outside of the case and the primer pockets with no carbon or gunpowder residue left in the case or primer pockets. Rinse thoroughly and then dry. Then I resize all my cases. If I'm doing a batch of pistol cases once I'm done resizing I then stick them in my Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler without stainless steel media. I add another 9 mm case full of lemi shine a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap and I add three green Scotch-Brite pads to the case tumbler. Run that for about 30 minutes and the cases come out of the tumbler shiny and as good as new if not better. I do a very similar process with my rifle cases I do not use stainless steel media. A 9 mm case full of lemi shine a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap three large green Scotch-Brite pads and my cases are brilliantly bright and beautiful.
Cool! This is the first time I've heard about using Scotch Brite pads. Great idea!

How many uses do you get out of the Scotch Brite pads? I'm wondering if I could use the ones from the kitchen after my wife is done with them.
 
I use the following process for my 223 and 300 BO brass, everything gets de-primed with Mighty Armory universal decapper. It goes into a bucket until I have enough to continue the process, if it’s 1st time once fired brass to me, it gets crimp removal and primer pocket uni-forming then into the bucket. Once I have enough for a load, it goes into the FART with SS chips, Maguire’s and Lemishine for 1 ½ to 2 hours. After washing I place it into an old repurposed Dehydrator for 1-2 hours. I load on my Dillon, however I don’t want to run lubed cases through it so I lube and re-size on my RCBS single stage. After resizing, cases go into dry tumbler with walnut media and a capful of Nufinish for 1-2 hours to remove the lube. Cases are than trimmed to length, chamfered and deburred and then into a bucket until I’m ready to load. One thing I do to eliminate the risk of walnut media in the flash hole is run a Lee universal de-cap die in station 1 of my Dillon 650. I can do this since I do all my re-sizing on my single stage. This will knock out any media in the flash hole.

Pistol brass gets de-primed and then into the FART to wet tumble. It’s dried in the dehydrator and into a bucket until I’m ready to load. Everything is completed from sizing to crimping on the Dillon for my pistol brass.
 

Reb Tyree

Load Data Elibible CZ75B SA
So the first thing that I do is deprime all of my cases whether that be pistol or rifle. Once I have a large enough batch I use my commercial grade Sonic cleaner with a 9 mm case full of lemi shine and a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap with a water temperature of 212 + degrees I run the batch in my Sonic cleaner for about a half an hour to 45 minutes this cleans the inside and outside of the case and the primer pockets with no carbon or gunpowder residue left in the case or primer pockets. Rinse thoroughly and then dry. Then I resize all my cases. If I'm doing a batch of pistol cases once I'm done resizing I then stick them in my Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler without stainless steel media. I add another 9 mm case full of lemi shine a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap and I add three green Scotch-Brite pads to the case tumbler. Run that for about 30 minutes and the cases come out of the tumbler shiny and as good as new if not better. I do a very similar process with my rifle cases I do not use stainless steel media. A 9 mm case full of lemi shine a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap three large green Scotch-Brite pads and my cases are brilliantly bright and beautiful.
Hi Jerr Bear, do you use the whole Scotch Brite pad or is trimmed into smaller pads?

I wet tumble my brass afterr depriming using my Rcbs Universal Decapping Die prior to wet tumbling my brass in my "FART Lite." l run all my brass in batches. 300 45 acp cases or 500 9 mm cases, 300 223/5.56 cases, etc..So the smaller unit works just fine for me so far. I add some of the Mcguires Carwash and Wax, ( Highboy's method) and add 1/2 of a 9 mm case of Lemi Shine and tumble for 1 1/2 hrs, changeout the water and Tumble again for an hour and they come out clean and shiny. I rinse them and place the cases in my Lyman case dryer for a couple of hours.

I also take the the case strainer with my SS media pins spread out and sit the strainer on top of the case dryer over the case dryer vents to dry my SS media pins. So far my method works.

Reb
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
I just received one of these case dryers from Midway. I had been looking for a used food dehydrater, but had no luck. New ones run about the same price point as this one. Some have temp control, but no timer, this one has a timer but no temp control. I liked the square shape of this unit as well. Anyway, Midway got it to me for $50 with “birthday pricing”, so I grabbed it.

Here in Coastal Cali, summer means foggy mornings and my preferred outdoor case drying after wet tumbling isn’t always a viable option. I want to figure a way to put my s/s media in this thing also.

I’ll give a report after I have the opportunity to try it out.

3175
 

Reb Tyree

Load Data Elibible CZ75B SA
I just received one of these case dryers from Midway. I had been looking for a used food dehydrater, but had no luck. New ones run about the same price point as this one. Some have temp control, but no timer, this one has a timer but no temp control. I liked the square shape of this unit as well. Anyway, Midway got it to me for $50 with “birthday pricing”, so I grabbed it.

Here in Coastal Cali, summer means foggy mornings and my preferred outdoor case drying after wet tumbling isn’t always a viable option. I want to figure a way to put my s/s media in this thing also.

I’ll give a report after I have the opportunity to try it out.

View attachment 3175
Walter, got mine on sale at midsouth for xmas for $29.95, with discounts!! Best money I spent for equipment so far! I really like mine!

Reb
 
For those of you who might be a beginner, note what @BigErn says here about dry tumbling BEFORE depriming. That is an important point. Dry tumble media tends to get caught in primer pockets and flash holes, This can cause problems later in the reloading cycle so we leave the spent primers in place for this step. Good post, BigEm!
See, I learned something useful the first day! Thanks for the PRO-TIP.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
A case tumbling day for me today. From my last few range visits, I’ve collected several thou 9mm, and 500 each of 45, 38, 380 and 40. I can do the 380 and 38 in the same batch. Gotta love free brass.

The Lyman Cyclone dryer I mentioned above has been earning its keep. I’ve used it several times and so far am happy to report that I feel it money well spent. It dries a full load in about 1.5 hours so it keeps in sync with the F.A.R.T tumbler when I have multiple loads like today.
 
Sorry, I just don't understand the thought of leaving the spent primer in the case for dry tumbling. Don't you still have media come in contact in that area and not get cleaned out until after you punch out the primer. I inspect my cases a lot during the reloading process and have never had an issue with media in the flash hole. If I did find a stuck piece I would just give it a little blow and then I would have a little cleaner primer pocket.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
Sorry, I just don't understand the thought of leaving the spent primer in the case for dry tumbling. Don't you still have media come in contact in that area and not get cleaned out until after you punch out the primer.
Rarely in the flash hole (which could happen even with primer in place, but not likely), but I used to get lots of chunks of corn cob media stuck in the primer pocket. If there is media, whether walnut shell or corn cob, INSIDE the case with a corner stuck in the flash hole, then the de-capping pin is just going to ram it in farther if it wasn’t noticed. That doesn’t happen very often if one takes the time to visually inspect each case before decapping.

I inspect my cases a lot during the reloading process and have never had an issue with media in the flash hole. If I did find a stuck piece I would just give it a little blow and then I would have a little cleaner primer pocket.
Of course walnut media is much finer, and far less likely to hang up in a primer pocket, but corn cob is still widely used.
A big down side to leaving primers in place for tumbling is that the primer pockets don’t get as clean, but proponents of that practice say that doesn’t matter. Me..I like my pockets clean, too. It’s all part of the several reasons I went to wet tumbling. I haven’t used my vibratory tumbler in several years, and am not likely to again.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
A case tumbling day for me today. From my last few range visits, I’ve collected several thou 9mm, and 500 each of 45, 38, 380 and 40. I can do the 380 and 38 in the same batch. Gotta love free brass.

The Lyman Cyclone dryer I mentioned above has been earning its keep. I’ve used it several times and so far am happy to report that I feel it money well spent. It dries a full load in about 1.5 hours so it keeps in sync with the F.A.R.T tumbler when I have multiple loads like today.
Whew. 4 loads through the “system” of the Lee APP press, Franklin tumbler and Lyman dryer. Probably about 3500 cases decapped, cleaned, dried, boxed up and shelved until needed. Somewhere in between I also managed to wash the Tundra, give one of the potties a heart transplant, clean 3 firearms and get the grocery shopping done. Good kinda “guy” day 😎
 
Top Bottom