Lots of people reload their own ammunition. This is an activity that saves money, generates
satisfaction and allows you to customize the ammunition that you will use. Clean shell casings
will also allow your firearm to operate smoothly.
Part of the reloading process involves cleaning your brass casings. This step improves the reliability
of your ammunition and gives it an appearance that you will be proud of. A tumbler is a small machine
that can do this job for you, cleaning hundreds of casings in just a few hours - with very little work from you.
How Does It Work?
Cleaning your brass with a tumbler is very easy. You simply place a cleaning media such as crushed walnut
shells or crushed corn cob into the barrel, mix in a little polishing powder, add your brass casings, close
the lid, turn it on and come back in a few hours to inspect your clean brass.
Your selection of media is determined by the brass that you will be cleaning. If the brass just needs a light
buffing then crushed corn cob will work great. If the brass is especially dirty then the crushed walnut
shells is what you should use. The crushed walnut shells are a lot harder and will scrub away the more stubborn dirt and tarnish.
Some reloaders use stainless steel pins for stubborn tarnish and dirt.
A rotary tumbler has a barrel that you load and place on the machine. The machine turns the barrel and the casings
tumble inside with the cleaning media. Corn cob and walnut shell media work great in a rotary tumbler. And, because
the barrel is water-tight it can be used with stainless steel pins and water.
A photo of a rotary tumbler is in the right column. These have been in
common use for cleaning brass for at least fifty years.
A vibratory tumbler has a large bowl to hold the media and casings. The machine vibrates very rapidly and those
vibrations cause friction between the media and the casings and that fruction buffs the casings clean. A photo
of a vibratory tumbler is in the right column.
Vibratory tumblers are a more recent invention and they are becoming increasingly popular. Thousand of reloaders have
been using them for at least two decades. Vibratory cleaners just as well as a rotary tumbler and many people who have
used both now prefer the vibratory machines.
We highly recommend:
Modern Rock Tumbling by Steve Hart.
Learning is the fastest way to improve the quality of
rocks that you tumble. In this book you will learn from an expert with extensive
experience. You will increase your abilities, learn to save time, money and have a great reference book
that you will use again and again.
Gemstones of the World
We highly recommend:
Gemstones of the World (fifth edition) by Walter Schumann.
One of the most popular gemstone books ever written, with over one million copies sold. It has about 100 pages of basic gemstone information and about 200 pages dedicated to photos and descriptions of over 100 gems and gem materials.