how long to tumble brass

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After a cartridge is used, there is one reusable element and that is the brass round case. Many people rely on retailers for extra ammunition, some choose to create the cartridge by themselves. In this article, we will tell you how long to tumble brass and a couple of methods.

What is tumbling brass?

In comparison, ammunition loaded by factory hand-loaded cartridges enables shooters to modify the muzzle’s velocity and muzzle in the way they like. However, this isn’t like you can refill the pistol brass case in a flash; you must first process it correctly.

One of the jobs is to tumble or clean brass to get rid of the residue of powder, grease, dirt, and more. To a person who handles the hand-loader the knowledge of how long to tumble brass or clean brass is useful from time to time.

How long will it take?

How long do you tumble is dependent upon personal preferences, the tools available, and the characteristics of the case. Some people say it takes two hours to clean dirty brass but others think that a day is going to be enough.

We’ll look at the features of two popular methods of tumbling as well as their process to give you an accurate estimate of time for each. Based on the information provided below it is possible to estimate the duration of your tumbling process.

Include your personal needs and preferences while reading this post, and hopefully, you’ll come to a logical conclusion.

The First Method: Dry Tumbling

Because of the reasonable purchase price and easy process, dry tumbling is an extremely very popular method to cleanse used nasty brass cases. It’s a good option when you’re shopping on an extremely tight budget.

Remember, it is recommended to choose a suitable tumbler. Smaller cases in a large tumbler may not provide the desired cleanse.

Equipment and Operation Principle

Dry tumbling requires a tumbler, an assortment of paper, a separator, and a few additives. The materials must be simple to acquire.

Mode of operation

The tumbler is an elongated bowl with a vibration made up of a bowl the hopper at the top as well as an electrical motor on the bottom.

Because of the offset weight mounted in the motor’s shaft, the hopper will be able to vibrate in a circular manner when the drum motor is turned on.

The bowl and motor are both secured to a sturdy base through a series of springs. This means that the unit will remain in the place you have it, instead of wandering around the location.


In the case of a dry tumble, there are two main kinds of media. Dry tumbling typically uses corn cob media and crushed walnut shells. They are available for purchase at about 50 cents per pound, however, they can differ.

A glossy finish is a typical outcome when using corn cob media, however, it will take longer to finish the cases for rifles compared to the crushed walnut media. We are usually able to get 15 to 20 runs with crushed walnut media before it needs recharging with polish.

The strength of a crushed walnut shell allows an intense cleaning. Hence it can significantly reduce the time of the process of cleaning brass.

Dry tumbler media can last between 10 and 20 times, based on the condition and quantity of cases. The color of the old media is black or brown indicates that you need to purchase new media. With the tumbler and the media, you can begin the process before you even start but it’s recommended to buy the separator and other media additives before starting.

Using separator

Without the separator, you have to pick out the cases from the media manually which is a very laborious task. Additives such as Flitz Polish can be used to keep dust out while polishing the surface of the cases.

Add a small number of ingredients into the hopper, and allow the tool to run for about 10 minutes before you put it in the cases.

Time Requirements

The cases need to be cleaned after 4 to 6 hours using the dry tumbler, however, it may take longer than that time to achieve a shiny brass finish. Some users let the tumbler run all night long or even all day in some cases.

The Second Method: Wet Tumbling

If you have the cash to spare and wish to complete the tumbling process in a hurry, you should think about opting for the wet method.

The price for the wet tumbler as well as its media is much more costly than the dry tumbling equipment. However, wet tumblers are actually an economical option over the long term.

Operating and Equipment Principle

The wet tumbling equipment is somewhat similar to the dry-tumbling ones but there are some distinctions in the midst.

Mode of operation

Wet tumblers are airtight drums fitted with a motor that can turn them. All are put on a solid frame.

It is important to pay particular focus on the rate of the motor. If it’s too fast the tumbling will practically have zero effect as the case and the tumbler’s material will be stuck to the drum’s sides.

However, an engine that is not running at a high speed can make the entire process time-consuming and inefficient.


The media in a wet tumble is the stainless steel pins. Stainless steel pins are extremely durable and can be used for a lengthy period. The cost of stainless steel pin media is quite a lot, however, approximately 8 dollars per pound, could differ.

You should apply approximately 1.2 pounds of stainless-steel media per pound of case. Some users are useless, such as 1-1.1 pounds of stainless-steel media. However, the tumbler manual might have the recommended ratio already.

Of course, it is important to be aware of the quantity of water you use and drum capacity too. For additives, a couple of tablespoons of dishwashing soap are usually enough.

Another important thing to do is to remove all cases. The wet media can become stuck in the flash hole. This is why you should remove the primes that have been used up before you start.

Using separator

In the absence of the primer, the medium will have a simple time cleaning the primer pocket as well as the hole in the case. By the way, don’t forget to check if your primer pockets are crimped.

The only thing to do is load the tumbler up with cases additions, all the media, and additives, and then let it sit for some time.

After a few hours, take everything out and utilize the separator to gather the polished cases.

Time Requirement

Wet tumble is difficult to prepare and perform however the result is definitely worth the effort. The time required to prepare the cases is quite short, roughly 2 to 4 hours.


That’s the majority of the information you need to be aware of about the tumbling of cases. It’s not too difficult to grasp, is it?

The time it will take to clean brass isn’t necessarily the same for all as you must consider your needs and requirements.

With the help of the information provided above, you’ll be in a position to make an estimate for yourself.


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Author - Hans Wimberly
Hans-Wimberly - the owner of Gearsadviser
When I`m not spending time with my beautiful wife and great 3 children, you will find me reloading ammo!
Doing sport shooting, or talking with my friends about (oh, yeah!) guns.

Read more about me here.

At Gearsadviser, I`m committed to ensuring that you have the best possible reloading experience. I conduct thorough research, testing, and evaluation of reloading gear, offering impartial and informative reviews to assist you in making informed purchasing decisions. My reviews are based on hands-on testing, research, and analysis of customer feedback. I regularly update my reviews to reflect changes in product availability and new information, so you can be confident that you're receiving the most current recommendations.

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