Using a Vibratory Tumbler to Restore Spent Ammunition Shells

Using a vibratory tumbler to reuse ammunition shells is a common practice among reloaders. The process helps clean and polish the spent brass casings, preparing them for reloading. Here's a general guideline on how to use a vibratory tumbler for this purpose:

  1. Gather your materials: You'll need a vibratory tumbler, media (such as crushed walnut shells or corn cob media), and your spent brass casings.
  2. Inspect the brass: Before tumbling, examine each casing to ensure there are no obstructions, damaged or cracked casings, or live primers. Remove any debris or foreign objects from the casings.
  3. Add the media: Open the tumbler and pour the desired amount of media into the bowl. The media acts as an abrasive to clean and polish the brass. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended media amount.
  4. Add the casings: Place the brass casings into the tumbler bowl with the media. Avoid overloading the tumbler, as it may affect the cleaning efficiency.
  5. Seal the tumbler: Close and secure the lid of the tumbler to prevent any spills during operation. Make sure it's tightly sealed.
  6. Run the tumbler: Plug in the tumbler and turn it on. The vibrations will cause the media to move around, cleaning and polishing the brass. The recommended tumbling time can vary, but a common duration is around 2 to 4 hours.
  7. Check the progress: After the recommended tumbling time has elapsed, stop the tumbler and open the lid to inspect the brass casings. They should appear clean and polished. If you're satisfied with the results, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, you can continue tumbling for additional time.
  8. Remove the casings: Carefully remove the casings from the tumbler bowl, ensuring you separate them from the media. It's normal for some media to remain inside the casings' primer pockets or case mouths.
  9. Clean the casings: After tumbling, you may want to further clean the casings to remove any residual media or dirt. You can use a case cleaner solution or a dedicated case cleaning brush to accomplish this.
  10. Dry the casings: Allow the cleaned casings to air dry thoroughly before proceeding with the reloading process. You can also use a towel or a specialized brass drying machine to expedite the drying.

Remember to follow all safety guidelines and consult reliable reloading manuals for specific instructions on reloading ammunition.