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View Full Version : How do you decide it's time to dump your walnut?


five.five-six
01-07-2017, 11:09 AM
I'm a cheep bastard, I hate throwing anything away. How do you decide when your media is all done?

ElDub1950
01-07-2017, 11:16 AM
Seems there are 2 issues.

1. dirt and lube - could wash in hot soapy water, rinse a few times then spread it out to dry.

2. eventually all the sharp edges of the particles are worn down smooth and you're tumbling with little wooded balls. It takes much longer to clean the brass

so, wash or tumble longer, or don't be so cheap :)

five.five-six
01-07-2017, 12:34 PM
I think being cheep goes hand in hand with reloading.... Washing my walnut or tossing my walnut...

Divernhunter
01-07-2017, 12:45 PM
Just use dryer sheets and it will last longer.

To be honest I used walnut for many years. Then for some reason I tried treated corn cob media. I will not go back to walnut. The corn cob works so well on all brass. This includes dirty range pick ups as well as what I shoot and never hits the ground. I bought a large box of it thinking it would not last long and I am still on the jug I got to test it. I also process more brass than 90% of the people on here each year. Dryer sheets(usually used) and on rare occasions a squirt if Midway additive does the trick. I still have the bottle of additive I bought in the 1990's. So it does not take much often and for the penny pinchers it is very cost effective. I would say better than the people who use car polish and such every or almost every batch.

Yes I always try to save money especially on a small disability retirement pension. But you can be penny wise and dollar foolish sometimes. I have been reloading since the early 1960's and have learned a few things over the years as well as made a few(?) mistakes in my choices---in reloading and wives:)

five.five-six
01-07-2017, 8:54 PM
I have corncob and I use it to polish. It doesn't seem to clean brass very quickly in my experience.

pacrat
01-07-2017, 9:09 PM
IMO, treated walnut cleans more aggressively than treated cob, but not as shiny. It is the broken down particles of walnut or cob that slow the process. A simple kitchen flour sifter, removes these.

I never use my polishers media to remove lube. That is counterproductive IMO. Lubricated polishing media defeats the purpose. Hot water/dish soap is the cure for lube removal.

Lube is for lubing. Polishing is for polishing.

kcstott
01-08-2017, 3:37 AM
I think being cheep goes hand in hand with reloading.... Washing my walnut or tossing my walnut...

Cheep has never gone hand in hand with reloading.. Cheep ammo is an illusion.

so you buy 500 bullets, then you reuse or buy once fired brass, then primers and powder, spread the cost out over different orders you don't see all the money leave your wallet at once. God forbid you load something that requires a special press and custom dies, bullets that a $3 each and cases that cost $2.50 each...

Everyone look at the cost of components when they reload no one looks at overhead. bench, Dies, press, Scale, powder measure, tooling for press, I bet if I added up everything I have in the garage just reloading tools wise.. it would be in the area of $10K accumulated over 30 years. then add up components, brass, powder, bullets, primers...

It's all an illusion

As to when to dump your media. easy when it takes twice as long to do the same job as new. I don't tumble for hours on end, two hours max per batch per media type and I use walnut and corncob, with a little dillon case polish. works like a champ and I don't have to dry my brass from wet tumbling stainless.

Divernhunter
01-08-2017, 10:52 AM
kcstott--- You are right. I tell people you will never save money reloading. You will shoot more. Also if you add up all you spend at the end of the year it will be as much or more than if you just bought ammo. Why? If you buy ammo you go and spend X number of dollars and go shoot say 50 rounds. If you reload you buy some bullets(probably as much as you would spend on ammo) then maybe another time powder(again as much as an outing of factory ammo) and on and on. Or you make a big order to "stock up".
Then when you go shooting you shoot 150 rounds instead of 50 if you bought factory ammo.
I have always been able to buy factory hunting ammo cheaper than what it costs me to make my own. However the bullets I use at one time were not put into factory ammo. Now they are and I still load since I tailor the load to my rifle. Plus I like the idea I got my animal with a cartridge I put together. Try finding 264win mag ammo with Swift A-Frame bullets and that is another reason. Heck just try to find new brass. It is not always out there to buy and usually is not cheap. You take the cost of powder/primer/bullet and new brass which I always use in my hunting loads(a personal thing) and my ammo is more costly than factory. Then add the cost of equipment and labor.

To me it is another hobby and it allows me to shoot more and shoot MY LOADS. So do I save money----heck no! Do I enjoy it and all the shooting it allows me to do---heck yes.

Bottom line----do not get into reloading to save money. You never will. But you will shoot more and especially shoot more of the expensive to buy/hard to find cartridges.

ElDub1950
01-08-2017, 11:28 AM
.......
Bottom line----do not get into reloading to save money. You never will. But you will shoot more and especially shoot more of the expensive to buy/hard to find cartridges.

This statement comes up every time reloading cost is questioned and yes, it can be true for uncommon rnds, precision rnds, high caliber rnds, hard to find rnds, etc.

But for the majority of us, 3 things make the statement not true:

1. reloading common plinking rnds - most handgun calibers, 223, etc - we're saving about half over retail prices.

2. most people shooting those same calibers really are not limiting our shooting by the cost of ammo. The retail price of those doesn't break the bank and it's just the cost of entertainment.

3. most of us don't invest $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 in reloading equipment. We've invested a few hundred $$ at most and spend a few hours a month enjoying that part of the hobby. The savings is a nice side benefit.

So, we don't shoot more, or less, but save a little on what we do shoot, and enjoy the reloading part of the hobby.

I'll agree that getting into reloading strictly to save some money often doesn't work because then you've made it a chore and a lot of work for little payback.

Divernhunter
01-08-2017, 1:04 PM
^^^ Sorry but I will disagree with you. Every single person I know and/or have helped get into reloading has shot more.

Some do not invest much into the equipment/supplies BUT most tend to do so over time. It becomes a hobby in itself.

Also I have heard many times "I started reloading to shoot more. Now I think I shoot more so I can reload."

All of this may not apply to you---personally--- but it really does for most people.
Plus many people start shooting cartridges they would not shoot if they did not reload.
From many years of loading and teaching reloading to others I stand by my statement. Remember for every rule/statement there is a exception. You may be one of those.

No harm ---No foul---Have a good day and try to stay dry--It is raining hard here

PatC415
01-08-2017, 1:22 PM
Raining here too. Great day to reload.

I have 2 tumblers and use the dirtiest one for first tumble, cleaner one for after sizing and trimming.
When the walnuts worn out & it takes a lot longer to clean the brass in the first tumbler, I rotate out the media. Second batch becomes the first, new media in the second, etc.
This method has worked for me well, and the results on the finished brass is pretty good. Also use the cut up dryer sheets too!

Reloading to save money? LOL. We all know, the more you reload, the more you shoot!
It's quality control for me. Reliable,accurate, match grade ammo you can't get in a box at the store.:D

randomBytes
01-08-2017, 1:33 PM
Bottom line----do not get into reloading to save money. You never will. But you will shoot more and especially shoot more of the expensive to buy/hard to find cartridges.

While the above may be correct - as far as my wife is concerned the reloading press etc. pays for itself ;-)

M1NM
01-08-2017, 2:10 PM
A couple years ago I bought a 50lb bag of walnut media for $20. There are a lot of walnut processing places along the 5 in central valley.

tonyjr
01-08-2017, 2:51 PM
Divernhunter
I agree with you , reloading does not save me money . 8 people
[ relatives and not at same time ] reload here . Just feeding them
- costs for sodas and food .
At 15 calibers and being retired - I still run out of time - but when
friends ask me to take them to jail to visit - I / my wife are happy
to cook for them [ they have a hobby that keeps them out of jail ]
The only part of the new AW law i liked was " if you have a marijuna
card You can't buy ammo . Like someone will check .
California has helped a lot - everyone is afraid reloading stuff will be
hard to find - so they all are buying when they see .
I do save on reloading the 50 AE and probably the 44 . But things /
Calibers like the 9 mm and 45 ACP are sometimes cheap . The 380's
and 357's used to be cheap , but now I think I can reload cheaper .
I did not start reloading to save money , just cartridges that were
better .

Divernhunter
01-08-2017, 3:18 PM
PatC515 & tonyjr as well as other. I agree with you. I just tell people who think they are saving money that they are just kidding/fooling or lying to themselves that they are saving money.
I know quite a few people who use to shoot a few boxes a year and after reloading shoot 1000+ a year. Yea they saved money :) :)

Also agree by loading I can make cartridges suited for what I want. Like very light loads for new people, hot/accurate loads using the bullets I select for hunting or just mild loads for fun and to be easy on the firearm. Really useful when just 100yard plinking with old mil surplus(or not) firearms. Why load an old cherry trapdoor hot for 100 yard targets. I loaded some so slow one could run to the target before the bullet got their. But they were fun to shoot.

Fastest way to cause a new shooter to give it up is when they buy a light rifle in even a 30-06 or worse a mag cartridge and 1st shots are full power loads---especially with heavier bullets. I will help them load up some light bullet mild powder charge to get them use to shooting and to avoid things like flinching.
My daughter started shooting her 257R at about 6 years old. She would go thru about 100-200 rounds each trip to the range. If they were factory level cartridges she would not have wanted to shoot much. I loaded a super light load with little 60gr bullets and no recoil. As she got bigger I would work her up in load power until she could take everything here and in Africa with one shot that she has hunted. She shot that rifle so much that she wore out the barrel. I put a Douglas Premium SS barrel on it before we went to Africa. It is a tack driver and she outshoots most people with it and using max loads with high dollar Swift or Barnes hunting bullets. I really saved money reloading for her-----Yea Right. :) Plus she would not have been able to shoot it as young as she did or as much.

There are many reasons to reload but saving money is NOT one of them.

foxtrotuniformlima
01-08-2017, 3:24 PM
I'm a cheep bastard, I hate throwing anything away. How do you decide when your media is all done?

When it takes too long to get it clean.


Normally, with new media I run it about 4 hours.

When I see that 4 hours won't do it I run it another 2 and usually everything is fine.

When 8 hours won't get it to the shine I am looking for, toss it.

JMP
01-08-2017, 5:36 PM
I like to use media that is light in color. Then, when it turns dark, it is apparent that it's probably toxic enough to make me want to dispose of it.

five.five-six
01-08-2017, 11:12 PM
I never said that reloading saved money, but you have to be frugal about it or it gets really expensive. You by a new $100 trimmer and it adds 10 cents a round to the next thousand rounds you make.

ExtremeX
01-08-2017, 11:29 PM
I like to use media that is light in color. Then, when it turns dark, it is apparent that it's probably toxic enough to make me want to dispose of it.

That sounds about right for me too...

It starts to get pretty dang dusty as it gets darker too.

Whiterabbit
01-08-2017, 11:38 PM
dust and performance.

kcstott
01-09-2017, 5:26 PM
This statement comes up every time reloading cost is questioned and yes, it can be true for uncommon rnds, precision rnds, high caliber rnds, hard to find rnds, etc.

But for the majority of us, 3 things make the statement not true:

1. reloading common plinking rnds - most handgun calibers, 223, etc - we're saving about half over retail prices.

2. most people shooting those same calibers really are not limiting our shooting by the cost of ammo. The retail price of those doesn't break the bank and it's just the cost of entertainment.

3. most of us don't invest $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 in reloading equipment. We've invested a few hundred $$ at most and spend a few hours a month enjoying that part of the hobby. The savings is a nice side benefit.

So, we don't shoot more, or less, but save a little on what we do shoot, and enjoy the reloading part of the hobby.

I'll agree that getting into reloading strictly to save some money often doesn't work because then you've made it a chore and a lot of work for little payback.


1. I don't plink and .223 was one one of the first rounds i reloaded for now it one of the least. I reload about 1000 rounds of .223 a year. I reload 200 rounds of .308 a month.

2. what are you 25 or so

3. I don't even want to know what i've dumped into reloading over the last 25+ years.. But $15K sounds like it might come up short. I'm set up to reload over 24 different calibers, from .22 hornet to .408 Cheytac including every popular pistol cartridge too. 9mm, 38/357/ 40/10mm 44 mag and 45 acp.

I've even made my own sizing dies for round they don't make anymore, and turned my own bullets from solid brass.

You all that are in this just to go "plinking" are killing me, you can plink with brown bear. you reload for precision.. but that another thread.

:43::43:

kcstott
01-09-2017, 5:27 PM
I like to use media that is light in color. Then, when it turns dark, it is apparent that it's probably toxic enough to make me want to dispose of it.

thats racist :43:

rsrocket1
01-10-2017, 8:56 AM
At $17 for a 50# bag of crushed walnut, it's not worthwhile to clean it. If you use a couple of cut up used dryer sheets and no other additives, there will be no reason for the soot and primer dust to stick to the walnut and it stays nicely tan for a very long time. Most of the soot and toxic stuff is trapped in the sheets which is thrown away. My walnut lasts for over a year of 200-400 cases per week of tumbling and I still have a large portion of my 50# bag that I bought many years ago.

My shooting went up exponentially when I started reloading. It went from once every other month shooting about 50 rounds to twice a week shooting about 200 per session. At first, I wanted to improve my terrible handgun accuracy but at $10-$20/box of 50 bullets, it wasn't going to happen. Now that I cast and reload, it's $3-$4 for 50 bullets and a lot more practice so the actual cost per session stayed the same, but the frequency of the trips went up by a factor of 10-16 so I'm spending more, but I'm happier too.

Scottie15
01-10-2017, 2:26 PM
Plus many people start shooting cartridges they would not shoot if they did not reload.

Good rainy day thread here... Totally agree on this Divernhunter!

The 6.5 mm rabbit hole got deeper for me after I had a big selection of bullets after chasing loads in my 6.5 creedmoor. Ended up with a 6.5x284 most recently...

bsumoba
01-10-2017, 2:52 PM
wet tumble first for about an hour, dry in a cheap toaster oven set at 190 degrees. dries quickly. that not only gets your brass clean enough to reload, but it saves your dies from getting all dirty because dry tumbling takes a long time to get brass clean, especially around the shoulder/neck junction. then, dry tumble to get the lube off. I probably dump my dry media once every 6-9 months because all the media is simply removing the lube from the sizing process.

jimmykan
01-10-2017, 3:49 PM
I have a story to tell, about my venture into reloading:

It all started when my old boss sold me his used Dillon 550, and I started reloading for 223 and 308.
https://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/RL_550_cat_shot_b.jpg

I wanted to save money by using range brass, so I bought a Dillon 650 with Rapid Trim accessories, so I could size/trim in one step from a case feeder.
https://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/XL_650_bp_shot_b.jpghttps://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/RT1500.jpg

Then all the damn brass I picked up had crimped primers, so I bought a Dillon 1050, just to de-crimp the military 5.56 and 7.62 brass.

I almost bought a second 1050 so I wouldn't have to change setups between large and small primer pockets.
https://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/dillon_reloading_machines/1050_b.jpg

Now I've got to load like 100,000 rounds to justify the cost of all this equipment. So I guess I will just have to do that. :innocent:

jimmykan
01-10-2017, 3:54 PM
So about tumbling media:

I throw it away when it looks darker than the dirty brass I'm trying to clean.

I also bought the big Dillon tumbler and big Dillon media separator.

Half of the media still ends up on the garage floor. :o

at_liberty
01-13-2017, 4:52 AM
wet tumble first for about an hour, dry in a cheap toaster oven set at 190 degrees. dries quickly. that not only gets your brass clean enough to reload, but it saves your dies from getting all dirty because dry tumbling takes a long time to get brass clean, especially around the shoulder/neck junction. then, dry tumble to get the lube off. I probably dump my dry media once every 6-9 months because all the media is simply removing the lube from the sizing process.

Why not a little warmer (212), so moisture will vaporize, especially in primer pockets?

bsumoba
01-13-2017, 5:35 AM
Why not a little warmer (212), so moisture will vaporize, especially in primer pockets?

I've done 220 degrees so it's just above boiling for water. usually takes 45-60 min

xrMike
01-15-2017, 10:02 PM
I like to use media that is light in color. Then, when it turns dark, it is apparent that it's probably toxic enough to make me want to dispose of it.

Yeah, that's what I go by also.

donnrcp
01-17-2017, 11:58 AM
I have a story to tell, about my venture into reloading:

It all started when my old boss sold me his used Dillon 550, and I started reloading for 223 and 308.
https://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/RL_550_cat_shot_b.jpg

I wanted to save money by using range brass, so I bought a Dillon 650 with Rapid Trim accessories, so I could size/trim in one step from a case feeder.
https://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/XL_650_bp_shot_b.jpghttps://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/RT1500.jpg

Then all the damn brass I picked up had crimped primers, so I bought a Dillon 1050, just to de-crimp the military 5.56 and 7.62 brass.

I almost bought a second 1050 so I wouldn't have to change setups between large and small primer pockets.
https://www.dillonprecision.com/uimages/dillon_reloading_machines/1050_b.jpg

Now I've got to load like 100,000 rounds to justify the cost of all this equipment. So I guess I will just have to do that. :innocent:

I love a happy ending!

I picked up a hundred or more 5.56/ .223 yesterday went I went out shooting. It had rained recently and some of the brass had dried mud on them. Some soap, water and agitation in a 1 gallon container followed by rinse till clear, shaking out the water, now in the toaster oven before tumbling. Enjoy the ride of reloading, I'm going out to shoot and perhaps find more brass.