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Which Media Should I Use?

Corn cob, walnut shell and stainless steel pins are the three basic kinds of media used for cleaning and polishing brass cartridges for reloading.. Each of these have their advantages and disadvantages. Two important things to consider when choosing a media are; the kind of tumbler are you using and how dirty the brass is.

When to Use Corn Cob Media:

If you have once-fired brass or brass that is not heavily tarnished then corn cob media will work to get your brass clean. Corn cob media can be used in both vibratory and rotary tumblers with good success. If you want the brass to come out with a nice bright polish, rather than just clean, you will want to get treated corncob media or add your own polishing compound to untreated corncob media.

When to Use Walnut Shell Media:

If you have brass that has not been cleaned after many reloads or you have some range pickings that are severely tarnished from sitting on the ground for a long period of time we suggest using crushed walnut shell media. Walnut shell media is a more aggressive media than corncob and for that reason it is best used on heavily tarnished brass casings.

If your are going for a bright polish on your brass it is necessary to get either treated walnut media or add your own polish to untreated walnut shell media. Walnut shell media will work in both rotary and vibratory tumblers. However, we get our best results from walnut media using a Thumler's UV-10 vibratory tumbler.

When to Use Stainless Steel Pins:

Stainless steel pin media can only be used in a rotary tumbler. This is one of the most effective medias to use for polishing brass in a rotary tumbler. Stainless steel pin media also does a much better job at cleaning the inside of the casing and primer pockets. Using a polish is not required when using stainless steel brass cleaning media as you will be adding a dish detergent or cleaning product.
  Crushe walnut shell media
This is a picture of Thumler's red rouge-treated walnut shell media for brass cartridge cleaning.

Crushe corn cob media
This is a picture of Thumler's treated corn cob media for brass cartridge cleaning.

Brass and walnut media in a rotary tumbler
In this image you can see the results of polishing brass in a rotary tumbler with Thumler's walnut shell media.
 Brass Tumblers
Vibratory brass tumbler
Vibratory Brass Tumbler
Rotary brass tumblers
Rotary Brass Tumblers

 Brass Reloading Media
Corn cob media
Corn Cob Media
Walnut shell media
Walnut Shell Media

 Brass Polish
Brass polish
Brass Polish

  Case Cleaning Information
  Which Media Should I Use?
  What is Corn Cob Media?
  What is Walnut Media?
  How Long Will Media Last?