What is the black stuff and how do I get it out?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by new308handloader, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Hey all,

    All my reloading equipment is here and I am preparing my 1st batch of brass. I got a Lyman Turbo 600 tumbler and ran the brass in it about 3 hours (is that long enough?).....when done there is some black stuff on the inside of the tumbler that is stuck to the sides and it is pretty hard to get out. I washed what I could but there is alot left and I am now letting it soak...I'm assuming this is powder residue? Any hints on an easy way to clean it up?

    Also as an FYI.....I got most of my stuff from Midway and it showed up in 2 days (very happy with that)......but I ordered my bullets (Hornady .308, 168gr. A-MAX) from T&T Reloading Inc and I have to say I have had a terrible time with them. I ordered two weeks ago on-line, but when ordering it never said if the items were in stock or backordered. I have sent them 4 e-mails and left 3 voice mail messages (they don't pick up the phone) and I have not had a response yet. Beware....I will not be using them again.
  2. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

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    Are you using an additive? I have never had that problem. I use coarse corn cob with an additive for about 45 min. then I use fine corn cob untreated. No problems.

    As far as the order goes, I have read that many suppliers are not answering the phone because of the backlog of orders. That is why I went to Cabelas for my last order. I know someone will always pick up the phone. As I said in a post about primers I spent more than I should have but I went with someone that I trust will deliver.
  3. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    I'm not using an additive.....I bought some corn cob with additive already in it but did not use it yet.....this 1st batch was with the stuff that came with it....also corn cob. I did place my order with Cabela's this morning for 500 of the A-MAX and it was in stock. Please check the other post I just made and see if you can help......this is aggravating.....may have some hardly used equipment for sale in the near future! :)
  4. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

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    What about using solvent? If it's powder residue it should take it right out. Be careful not to melt your plastic. I would only try it quickly like. I saw your other post and have nothing to say because I don't have any experience with a neck die. Almost sounds to me like you got a f'uped die. But someone else will have to chime in with experience.
  5. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

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    No No No. You hang in there. You will get it. We are right behind you.;)
  6. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Thanks Cyclone.......I am going to hang in there, just disappointed this happened the 1st time.....but on the bright side, I have 58 cases I can continue to prep and I still have a seater die! I'll get a new die on the way but I don't want to do the same thing to this one.
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    that black stuff you referr to is foreign contaminants (finger prints, trace amounts of gun oil, powder residue, wax from lead bullets) It forms on the sides of my tumbler every time i tumble dirty brass. it comes off easily with hot water and a scotch brite pad with dishsoap on it. just take the bowl off your tumbler.

    On the subject of tumbler run time, i have left mine going for days at a time before, its not necessary with new media, but as your media wears you will have to run it longer to obtain satifactory results. I also use a case polishing additive (flitz is a good one)...
  8. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Thanks JLA.....I'll try that!
    How many time do you re-use your media or how many hours of use before it must be changed?
    On the additive....the stuff I have says it is treated but it didn't come out looking like it was polished....it was very clean, just not super bright. Will adding the flitz make id come out polished?
  9. jdon72

    jdon72 New Member

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    I have a lyman tumbler and it says in the directions that most of the black stuff will stay on there permanently. I use treated corn cob media. Use the media until it takes consider time longer to clean the brass. Also, use many casings instead of a few. Cabelas rocks and every so often they give $20 coupons to offset shipping. Look at Wideners reloading. Good prices on bullets...I am still waiting from T and T as well....I put in an order the same time as wideners and I just received my order this week....it took about 3-3 1/2 weeks all together
  10. flannelman

    flannelman New Member

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    This may be a stupid question.....but..... do you always need to run your brass through a tumbler before you reload? I just ordered a bunch of reloading equipment but I didn't order a tumbler. Do I need to go ahead and put out some more cash?
  11. armabill

    armabill Member

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    Vote against it.
  12. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    You don't have to tumble every time, though it seems that most do, but some never do.(Poll, anyone?) I think bright, clean brass shows up really well on the ground at the range, and it's easier (IMHO) to spot 'problems' with clean brass during the inspection process. But you DO NOT have to have a tumbler to do the reloading thing.

    When the media stops being 'effective' it's time to change it out. As someone mentioned, the older it gets, the longer it takes to produce a particular level of shine. As the media 'wears', I add a polishing additive. When I change out the tumbling medium, I clean the drum with warm water and let it dry before reassembling. Truly, it seems everyone has their own tumbler techniques!
  13. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    I use a Lymann viberator and since the first load been BlACK I don't even worry about it, seems like the longer I use my corn cob media the better the results up to a point, so what I'm saying is the media works best after several uses then it goes bad then you add the flitz. I run mine 24 hrs most all the time, seems to be best for me.
    Tim
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  14. flannelman

    flannelman New Member

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    So there is no functional problems if you don't tumble then? I just don't want to do anyting that will cause problems or won't be safe. I never have reloaded before so that is why I am asking. So I could pick up a tumbler later and be ok then?
  15. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

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    The easiest way I found to clean brass in a vibratory tumbler is to add some polish. This is how I do it.
    1: Add 1/2 cap full of Nu Finish car polish and let it run for a couple of minutes to get rid of the clumps.
    2: add a used dryer sheet or paper towel cut into around ten pieces.
    3: add the brass.
    4: run for two hours.
    5: run through the media separator.
    The polish will help clean faster and make the brass shiny. The paper towel will help keep the media clean. After two hours the brass comes out looking like new. I am using crushed walnut from the pet store, corn cob will take longer. Hope this helps.
    Rusty
  16. thomas44

    thomas44 New Member

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    I use the used, cut up dryer sheets as well, plus I occasionally throw in a capful of mineral spirits. The first time after adding that I let it run several hours to get it good and well-distributed. That seems to rejuvinate my media. I've been buying "lizard litter" in 25 # bags from pet supply stores for media, but it's just crushed walnut shells sold cheaper than tumbling media. There's something abouit the mineral spirits that really helps cut through the resizing lube and other crud that gets built up in there.
  17. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    The purpose of the dryer sheet?........to absorb the "black stuff" and dust?
  18. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    I have a Lyman tumbler, I have been using the same 5 pounds of media for a few years. I usually tumble each load for about 24 hours. If the media gets where it takes longer to get the brass clean, then I pour in some of the media rejuvinator, tumble it a while and go again.

    A friend gave me a two "bottles" of that green media a couple of months ago, one of these days I am going to start using that.
  19. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    flannelman, tumbling polishes and cleans. You can clean without polishing. I reloaded for several years without a tumbler: no problems encountered.
  20. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    I reloaded from 1948 until about 1995 without a tumbler. :p

    The idea is to get the brass CLEAN. That can be done with a rag, brush and some of that elbow stuff.

    Polished brass helps in the inspection step. Tiny blemeshes and hairfine cracks show up on cleaned and polished brass.

    The stuff on the inside of the bowl won't bother the operation and efficiency of the tumbler. If it bothers you, clean it out. I clean mine about as often as I clean the toilet bowl in the back bathroom

    I use walnut media. I'm not a stickler for polished brass, so I don't use any additive. Others do and it does not hurt the brass, so long as you don't use a cleaner with amonia in it.

    Pops
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