When it comes to dry media you essentially have two options; corn cob and walnut. Corn cob is best for brass that is less tarnished and does not need too much polishing, whereas walnut is best for your dirtier, more tarnished brass.
Nevertheless, how do I choose a tumbling media?
Consider the Following Factors When Selecting Tumbling Media
Large Tumbling Media will give a rapid cut, but a coarser surface and more rounding of edges. Use large Tumbling Media for rapid burr removal if finish is not important.
Small Tumbling Media provide a slower cut, a smaller edge break and a finer surface.
Over and above that, which is better corn cob or walnut media? the walnuts shells are much more aggressive but the corn cob gives a much better shine. So if all you are looking for is clean brass --walnuts.
Along with that, do you have to clean brass before reloading?
You don't need to but, cleaning brass is one way to help make your dies last longer. You don't need to but, cleaning brass is one way to help make your dies last longer. ^^^Exactly, the rounds will function fine and won't damage your weapon in any way.
Is a case tumbler necessary?
Tumblers are not necessary; I reloaded without one for a while. However when you shoot outside and pickup brass that's been laying in the gravel- a tumbler is very necessary to get the grit off and not get it in your dies. My brass works much easier when it's clean.
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2021
Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ 110V Vibratory Case Tumbler for Cleaning and Polishing for Reloading
RELIABLE: Unique bowl design to increase brass agitation for fast, aggressive cleaning that reduces wear on reloading dies and extends brass life
EASE OF USE: Clean lid for monitoring tumbling action with cord-mount ON/OFF switch for saftey and convenience
CONVENIENT: Removes fouling, lube and oxidation quickly and conveniently; Use in conjunction with Frankford Arsenal Walnut or Corn Cob Medias
RELIABLE: Tumbler holds up to 600 9mm or 350 .223 cases
SPECS: 110 Volts with 13.25 Liter Drum/Bowl Capacity
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2021
Lyman Medium Corncob Plus (4.5 Pounds)
Made from natural processed corncob
Corncob media is tough enough to clean brass that has minor tarnishing yet soft enough to not damage the casing
Media is reusable for multiple tumbling cycles
Proper brass cleaning extends the life of cases and reloading dies
Packaging may differ based on weight ordered.
Best choice for cleaning dirty and tarnished cases
Polishes within a couple hours
6 pound container
Clear plastic jug with pour handle
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2021
1/4 Inch Green Pyramid (Approx 320 grit) Tumbling/Vibratory Media 12 oz/340 g | Includes a (Clean, Dry and Store) Bag
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2021
1/4 inch Green Plastic Resin Pyramid (Approx 320 grit) Tumbling Or Vibratory Media 4.7 lbs/2.1 kg | Includes a (Clean, Dry and Store) Bag | for use in Vibrating Tumbler Or Rotating Tumbler
Shape: pyramid, 1/4" x 1/4” x 1/4” , Density: 60 lbs. per cu. ft.
Approximately 320 grit, 3:1 Ratio of Media to Material
Use liquid compounds or water in tumbling and vibrating machines.
Clean, Dry and Store in the included Mesh Bag
18 lb Vibe Tumbler uses 7-8lbs of media, 5 lb Vibe Tumbler uses 1.5-2.5 lbs of media.
sand would probably shorten the useful case life, gouge the cases and wear out the bowl of the tumbler. If your brass is really badly tarnished, 45 minutes in sand will clean most of the crud off. As stated above you need to wash the sand off or re-tumble in walnut, corn cob. I do not recommend it for everyday use.
A common deburring machine used for mass-finishing parts is a vibratory deburring machine, or vibratory tumbler, which utilizes abrasive tumbling media to deburr, clean, or polish unfinished or dirty parts or objects. ... Some common types of tumbling media are abrasive steel, ceramic, organic materials, and plastic.
I would not put any of the dirty media in a panty hose and run it through the laundry though. Put it in anything that will hold it in place and wash in a bucket and then rinse and spread to dry. You will get more use out of it.
While the cases move, they rub against the media, each other, and the sides of the bowl, becoming clean in the process. The tumbler is filled to about 2/3 capacity with dry media, filled the rest of the way with unsized dirty cases sorted by caliber, and then run for several hours to clean the cases.
It's around $40 for a 5 pound bag for starters. As long as it's the right size, it really isn't going to matter what kind you get. The other thing to keep in mind is, unlike corn or walnut, you're not going to have to replace the steel after a few polishes. The stainless stuff will last almost forever.
They all worked well in 3 different 308s. I did the same using Hornady virgin brass in 223. Nosler advertises that their premium brass is fully prepped chamfered and ready to load right out of the box.