Tumble Brass like a Pro: Perfect Time for Corn Cob

Tumbling brass in corn cob takes around 3-4 hours for it to become clean and shiny. Tumbling brass in corn cob is a necessary process for producing clean, shiny brass that’s free of grit and residue.

It’s a process that requires patience, attention to detail, and a good quality tumbler filled with corn cob media. Essentially, the process involves placing dirty brass into a tumbler filled with corn cob, adding a small amount of brass polish to help loosen any remaining grit and grime, and then letting the tumbler do the hard work for several hours.

The length of time needed to tumble the brass can vary depending on the amount of brass you have, the level of dirt and residue on the brass, and the quality of your tumbler. Overall, if you want clean, shiny brass that’s ready to be reloaded, tumbling in corn cob is an essential step.

Tumble Brass like a Pro: Perfect Time for Corn Cob

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Brass Preparation

Why Brass Preparation Is Important

Before tumbling the brass in corn cob media, it’s crucial to prepare the brass properly. Here are the reasons why brass preparation is significant:

  • To remove dirt, grime, and any debris from the brass.
  • To ensure that the brass tumbles and polishes evenly.
  • To protect the brass from getting scratched or damaged during the tumbling process.

Cleaning The Brass: Brass Cleaning Options Available

There are different ways of cleaning brass before tumbling, including:

  • Ultrasonic cleaning: Uses ultrasound waves and a cleaning solution to remove dirt and grime from the brass.
  • Vibratory cleaning: Uses vibration and a cleaning solution to clean the brass.
  • Tumble cleaning: Uses a tumbler and a cleaning solution to clean the brass.
  • Hand cleaning: Involves manually cleaning the brass using a cleaning solution and scrubber.

Overview Of Brass Polishing: Surface Preparation, Tools, And Equipment

After cleaning and drying the brass, it’s time to polish it. Here is an overview of brass polishing:

  • Surface preparation: Involves removing any blemishes from the brass, such as scratches and dents.
  • Tools and equipment: Includes a tumbler, corn cob media, polishing compound, and dryer sheet
  • Polishing process: Involves adding corn cob media and a polishing compound to the tumbler, putting the brass in, and running the tumbler for a specified period.
  • Drying: Involves removing the brass from the tumbler and using a dryer sheet to remove any remaining dust and corn cob media.

Corn Cob Media As An Ideal Brass Tumbling Solution Compared To Other Tumbling Media

Corn cob media is a well-known tumbling solution for brass. Here are some reasons why it’s an ideal option compared to other tumbling media:

  • It’s gentle on the brass, which reduces the risk of damage or deformation.
  • It’s biodegradable and therefore environmentally friendly.
  • It doesn’t leave any residue on the brass.
  • It’s reasonably priced and readily available.

Preparing the brass before tumbling is essential to achieve successful results. Cleaning the brass and polishing it with corn cob media can give the brass a shiny and polished look. Always try to ensure that brass tumbling is done right, and corn cob media is the best choice among some other options.

Understanding Brass Tumbling

Brass tumbling is the process of cleaning and polishing brass casings using a tumbler and media, it is an essential process in reloading ammunition. Corn cob media is the most popular media type for brass tumbling, because it is readily available and offers great results.

Here’s everything you need to know about brass tumbling with corn cob media.

Types Of Tumblers: Rotary, Vibratory/Oscillating Tumblers, And Their Differences

There are primarily two types of tumblers used for brass tumbling: rotary and vibratory tumblers. Here are the key differences between the two:

  • Rotary tumblers: These tumblers use a barrel to rotate the brass and media. They are suitable for larger brass cartridges and can be used with both wet or dry media.
  • Vibratory/oscillating tumblers: These tumblers use a vibrating motion to clean and polish brass. They are suited for cleaning smaller brass casings and can only be used with dry media.

Choosing The Right Vibratory Tumbler

Choosing the right vibratory tumbler is crucial for good brass cleaning results. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Tumbler capacity: Choose a tumbler that can handle the number of brass casings you plan to clean at one time.
  • Frequency and size of use: If you plan to tumble brass frequently, invest in a more robust and durable tumbler.
  • Noise and vibration: Some tumblers can be very noisy and vibrate strongly. Choose a tumbler that suits your workspace and lifestyle.
  • Budget: Vibratory tumblers come in different sizes and prices. Choose one that meets your budget and needs.

Loading Your Tumbler With Corn Cob Media And Brass

Loading the tumbler with media and brass is an essential step in brass tumbling. To avoid overloading the tumbler, follow these steps:

  • Fill the tumbler with corn cob media up to one-third of its capacity.
  • Add brass casings up to a certain level, usually no more than half of the total capacity, to allow space for the tumbling action to occur.
  • Add a small amount of polish or cleaning solution to the media to enhance the cleaning action.
  • Run the tumbler for several hours to achieve the desired results.

Tumbling Duration: How Long To Tumble Brass Using Corn Cob Media

The duration of tumbling brass depends on various factors, such as the cleaning solution, type of brass, and the desired results. However, the basic rule of thumb is to tumble the brass casings for a minimum of two hours, and a maximum of six hours.

After this duration, most brass casings would have been cleaned and polished to a great extent.

How Often To Change Tumbler Media

It is important to change the tumbler media regularly for optimal results. Here are some general guidelines:

  • After every five uses, clean the media by running it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove dirt and debris.
  • Depending on the water hardness or the nature of the brass requiring cleaning, change the media after every five to ten runs.
  • Examine the media to see if it has lost its abrasive properties, indicating that it’s time for a replacement.

Corn Cob As Tumble Media

Benefits Of Using Corn Cob As Tumble Media

Corn cob is one of the most popular and commonly used media for tumbling brass. It has various benefits that make it an excellent choice for the process.

  • Corn cob is biodegradable and environmentally friendly
  • It is a low-cost alternative to other types of media
  • Corn cob is highly absorbent and can absorb up to 5 times its weight in water and cleaning solution, making it highly effective at removing residue and dirt from brass
  • It leaves brass looking shiny and polished
  • Corn cobs are available in a wide range of grit sizes so you can choose the right one to suit your needs

Physical Characteristics Of Corn Cob Media

Corn cob tumble media is made from grinding the woody ring around the corn cob to a specific size and shape. There are several physical characteristics to consider before choosing corn cob:

  • The size of the media: The smaller the size, the more likely it is to get stuck in small crevices
  • The shape of the media: Angular shapes might scratch the brass while rounded or irregular shaped media can get into all the tight spaces
  • The quality of the media: The more times the media has been recycled, the smaller in size it will be.

Why Using Corn Cob Media Is Safe Compared To Other Tumble Media

Safety should be the top priority when choosing tumble media. Corn cob is a safer option compared to other media, such as walnut shells and glass beads due to the following reasons:

  • Chemical-free: Corn cob is a natural and organic material and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that can pose a safety risk.
  • Non-abrasive: Corn cob is a soft material and won’t damage brass like harder and more abrasive media.
  • Non-toxic: Corn cob doesn’t release any toxic substances when subjected to heat, making it safe for use in any environment.
  • Dust-free: Compared to other media types, corn cob is less likely to create dust which can be harmful to breathe in.

How To Choose The Right Corn Cob Media For Tumbling Brass

Choosing the right corn cob media for tumbling brass is crucial to achieving optimal results. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Size of brass pieces: Smaller brass pieces require smaller sized corn cob media while larger brass pieces require larger sized corn cob media
  • Level of cleanliness: If the brass needs a thorough cleaning, go for a coarser grit size corn cob while a finer grit size corn cob is ideal for a final polish.
  • Recyclability: Check the number of times the media has been recycled. Choosing a media that has been recycled numerous times will lead to smaller sizes that get trapped inside the brass resulting in the jamming of the brass pieces together.

Finishing And Inspecting Your Tumbled Brass

Tumbling brass in corn cob results in a shiny and clean finish, perfect for reloading ammunition. Once the tumbling process is complete, you need to finish and inspect your tumbled brass before storing and maintaining it for future use. In this section, we will discuss various techniques for drying, inspecting, storing, and maintaining your tumbled brass.

Brass Drying Techniques

After tumbling, brass needs to be dried to avoid any corrosion or rusting. Here are some of the commonly used drying methods:

  • Air drying: Spread the brass out on a towel or a drying rack for natural drying. It may take up to 24 hours to dry, depending on the humidity and temperature of your working area.
  • Oven drying: Place the brass in the oven at 200-250°f for 10-15 minutes, but be careful not to exceed the maximum recommended temperature for your brass. Also, keep an eye on your brass, as it may heat up quickly and cause damage.
  • Dehydrator drying: Using a dehydrator can be a more efficient method of drying your brass. Set the temperature at 150-200°f, and the brass will usually dry within an hour.

Brass Inspection: How To Check The Quality Of Tumbled Brass

It’s essential to inspect your tumbled brass for any issues that may affect its performance. Here are some crucial aspects to check:

  • Cleanliness: Check that the brass is free from any dirt or debris and has a clean finish.
  • Damages: Look for any dents, dings, or cracks that could impact the structural integrity of the case.
  • Primer pockets: Make sure that the primer pockets are clean and uniform in depth.
  • Flash holes: Confirm that the flash holes are free from debris and centered.

Storing And Maintenance Of Tumbled Brass

Storing and maintaining your tumbled brass properly will help preserve its quality and ensure it lasts for years. Follow these tips:

  • Keep your tumbled brass in airtight containers or bags to prevent moisture and dust from getting in.
  • Store the brass in a cool and dry place to maintain its corrosion resistance.
  • Label your brass by caliber, date, and the number of times it’s been fired to keep track of your inventory.
  • Inspect and clean your brass regularly to prevent dirt and debris build-up and ensure that it’s fit for future use.

By following these techniques and tips, you can produce shiny and clean brass effectively and ensure its longevity. Remember to inspect and maintain your tumbled brass to prevent any functional issues when reloading ammunition.

Frequently Asked Questions For How Long To Tumble Brass In Corn Cob

How Long Should I Tumble Brass In Corn Cob Media?

The recommended time for tumbling brass in corn cob media is usually 4-6 hours. However, this can vary depending on the degree of dirtiness of the brass and the desired level of shine.

How Often Should I Replace My Corn Cob Media?

It is recommended to replace corn cob media after every 4-5 uses or when it starts to break down. Using old or dirty media can hinder the effectiveness of your brass cleaning process.

Can I Reuse Corn Cob Media?

Yes, corn cob media can be reused multiple times, but it is important to inspect the media before use. If the media is dirty or broken down, it may not be effective in cleaning your brass.

Can I Mix Different Types Of Media In My Tumbler?

It is not recommended to mix different types of media in your tumbler. Each type of media has different abrasion levels and mixing them can damage your brass or affect the consistency of the cleaning process.

What Size Of Corn Cob Media Should I Use?

The ideal size of corn cob media for your brass tumbling process ranges from 1/4″ to 3/8″. This size is effective in cleaning the brass without damaging the cases.


Tumbling brass in corn cob can be a quick and effective way to clean and polish your brass. The length of time required for tumbling will depend on several factors, including the type of brass and the desired level of shine.

It is important to start with clean brass and to use a high-quality tumbling media to ensure the best results. Additionally, it is essential to follow safety guidelines when using the tumbler and media. While there are other methods of brass cleaning and polishing available, tumbling in corn cob is a preferred choice for many gun enthusiasts and reloaders.

By following the guidelines and tips provided in this article, you can be confident in the quality and appearance of your brass after tumbling.

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