I got into reloading for cost savings, but I stay involved to ensure that I can still shoot in ammo shortages – it’s not necessarily enjoyable to me as a hobby, so I try to keep my reloading as cheap and efficient as I can.
Cleaning an polishing brass is one area that takes a large amount of time, yet lends itself to experimentation.
I find that I can get walnut media in bulk, cheaply at harbor freight – it is used in abrasive blasters. I cleans really good, even if it does not polish as well as corncob media.
I have several small vibratory cleaners, and they work well, but when I am cleaning range brass, or 5 gallon buckets of once fired brass from classes – I spend way too much time sorting media from brass and loading and unloading the machine.
I recently bought an inexpensive harbor freight mixer for some cement projects and while doing internet research stumbled on the idea of using a cement mixer as a tumbler…
After thinking about it, I realized that it was a great idea.
Some forums like arfcom have full threads about this, and after lurking on several I find that many recommend installing the mixer without the internal paddles, and that many spray the inside of the barrel with a rubber coating to decrease the sound.
Many also fit a lid made out of plywood or even a pizza pan so that they reduce lead dust.
I am going to leave mine in the original configuration, because I will use it as a cement mixer more often that I will as a tumbler.
I do find it does a good job, and since I can do a bucket at a time, it saves a lot of work.
The only thing I recommend is to sort brass before you tumble, as 9mm can get stuck in 40 cases and that is big pita…