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Thread: Media Separators

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Media Separators

    What do you guys that wet tumble use to separate your media from your brass? Is there much difference between the separators offered by Berrys, Frankfort Arsenal, Lyman or RCBS? I'm thinking that I want an all plastic one since its going to get wet.

    I've been sorting, sizing and tumbling pistol brass for several days and I have several weeks more to do. I've been dumping it out in the sink, in a tub, and separating it by hand. I need to go to something faster! Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    MUSTANG's Avatar
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    I wet Tumble in a Harbor Freight Drum Tumbler. I dump the brass, water, and pins into a Gold Pan, pour off the water (most of it), then take a large magnet and use it to pick up the pins and release them back into the Drum. I shake the water and any remaining pins into the Gold Pan from the brass cases, then place the brass into another holder.
    Mustang

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    I use the Large Dillon one myself (if I am wet tumbling I fill the tub with water to rinse when collecting pins) but I built one for a business that rolls it down a lane of cement mixer tumblers.

    This is it before I made the bottom shelf for the tub.


  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master






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    large and small dillon
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    At 3:40 thereabouts in this video, you can see a 'Frankfort Arsenal Media Separator' and how it fits onto a 5 gallon bucket...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM7K7hSpxac
    What you don't see is him separating SS Pins...just walnut and corn cob. I have the same unit and those snap-on ears for the bucket, they keep most of the pins falling into the bucket as you slowly spin the separator.
    I dump most all of the dirty water before dumping the contents into the separator, fill the bucket with fresh water to within 1 inch of the brim and slowly turn the separator, this will wash all the pins in the brass out into the bucket. Can't get around having some of the pins wash out onto the concrete so a magnet close by will pick up those slippery lil buggers for you.

    This is the best way I've found so far to try to hang onto those expensive pins.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use a separator from STM, basically the same as that one but with its own built-in bucket. Works great for me. But if you just need something to get buy with until you find something better, try a cheap colander from Wally World or the dollar store. Fill your tub with water then agitate the cases with your hand until the pins fall through into the tub. And do get a magnet to help clean up, (if you don't have one already) no matter which way you go for a separator.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun2kute View Post
    I use a separator from STM, basically the same as that one but with its own built-in bucket. Works great for me. But if you just need something to get buy with until you find something better, try a cheap colander from Wally World or the dollar store. Fill your tub with water then agitate the cases with your hand until the pins fall through into the tub. And do get a magnet to help clean up, (if you don't have one already) no matter which way you go for a separator.
    I have a colander that is plastic with 1/4" holes in it and has a sturdy handle (I think it is for straining spaghetti, not sure?) Anyway...I pour the contents of the vibrator into it as it is sitting in a larger tub...then, using a flip action (sorta like flipping pancakes, only more gently) I flip those cases and all the corn cob or walnut comes out into the tub. The cases bang around in the colander so much that I hardly ever see any primer pockets or flash holes plugged.
    This pancake tossing method doesn't work with the wet pins, that's why I went to the water filled bucket but your way is another one of those tips I read here in forum that makes me . . . 'Slap my forehead as I say...Duuuh, why didn't I think of that!'
    a m e r i c a n p r a v d a

    Be a Patriot . . . expose their lies!

    In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. G. Orwell

    2018 is going to be a 'Jaw-Dropping Year' . . . 'The Year', the World was born to live . . .
    just, "watch your 6" .

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks for the replys everyone. I have the larger Dillon model but I was concerned with how the metal parts would hold up being wet. Its also large enough that its awkward to move around.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    I have an RCBS plastic media separator http://rcbs.com/Products/Case-Prepar...Separator.aspx that I was given

    I pour the contents of he wet tumbler into a kitchen strainer and the pins* and cases stay in while the dirty water goes out

    put the pins/cases in the RCBS, fill will water and crank about 10-15 times. Brass is in the basket, pins at the bottom

    pour the water and pins back through the strainer and then pins go back into the tumbler drum.

    *my pins are actually SS chips I get from https://www.facebook.com/southernshinetumblers/ they cut the wet tumbling time in half
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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Laich View Post
    I have an RCBS plastic media separator http://rcbs.com/Products/Case-Prepar...Separator.aspx that I was given

    I pour the contents of he wet tumbler into a kitchen strainer and the pins* and cases stay in while the dirty water goes out

    put the pins/cases in the RCBS, fill will water and crank about 10-15 times. Brass is in the basket, pins at the bottom

    pour the water and pins back through the strainer and then pins go back into the tumbler drum.

    *my pins are actually SS chips I get from https://www.facebook.com/southernshinetumblers/ they cut the wet tumbling time in half
    I use a very similar one branded by Cabelas and made by Berry's, only it doubles as a case sorter as the grates of the basket are adjustable to allow cases to fall thru. https://www.berrysmfg.com/item/rotary-brass-sorter. Works very well to remove the pins from the cases.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    I use the Cabela's version of the separator that Walter Laich uses. It does a fine job.
    Chuck

  12. #12
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    I use the Berry's pan sifter, Cabela's has one too. https://www.berrysmfg.com/item/pan-sifter I just dump everything in and shake, then turn cases upside down and tap on the pan to clear them, give them a look over and toss them into a container. Seldom have clogged primer holes with ground walnut media, corncob will more often have a piece stuck in the primer hole. I clear those with wire bent so it has a loop handle.

    I have been looking into a strainer to put on 5 gallon bucket that I can pour the water into and catch the small stainless steel pins and brass. Sort of follow the same work flow of dump from polisher into strainer then go through brass in strainer and drop into bucket of final rinse water. I understand that swishing brass in water seems to work best for getting pins out of cases without them going all over.

    Anyone use anything like this plastic 650 micron bucket strainer?
    https://www.amazon.com/Gallon-Strain...003EDZOTM?th=1

    Or a honey bucket strainer?
    https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Bee...ZG1TPS3NS1NXER

    I don't have sink or running water where my tumbler is and much loved wife is not a big fan of me using the bathtub for brass washing. I would live in fear that the drain clogs and there be any stainless steel pins involved. So in summer I can go outside and use buckets and hose, in winter I'm in basement with buckets of hauled water. I am not doing a whole lot of wet polishing in the winter.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I have a sink in the garage but right now with the unusually cold temps I have been using the kitchen sink. I just ordered the RCBS separator and I'm anxious to get to use it. It looks like it will sit in the sink, making it easier to drain. I choose the RCBS unit mostly because of its size/shape and the warranty that RCBS is famous for. Hoping it arrives tomorrow.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    I have a sink in the garage but right now with the unusually cold temps I have been using the kitchen sink. I just ordered the RCBS separator and I'm anxious to get to use it. It looks like it will sit in the sink, making it easier to drain. I choose the RCBS unit mostly because of its size/shape and the warranty that RCBS is famous for. Hoping it arrives tomorrow.
    Your in Arizona right? So exactly what do you mean by "unusually cold temps" ? Last week I defrosted a chest freezer, just stuck the stuff in the garage since it was colder there than in the freezer. I saw a husky froze to a fire hydrant with one leg up in the air and Mich. wasn't even as cold as some of the northern middle US.

    In Minn. I think they would have to thaw out to tell if they spilled hot lead on themselves.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    No, I''m in Arkansas. Its unusual for the temps to be in the teens for a week. Our winters are pretty mild compared to the Northern States but thats pretty tough for around here. My "P" trap is frozen on my garage sink.
    Last edited by lightman; 01-06-2018 at 11:09 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    I have some gold classifying sifters that work perfect for getting the pins separated. 1/4" holes in the top classifier and a really fine mesh on the bottom. They stack nicely so you can get pretty aggressive with the shaking without having to worry about pins shooting everywhere.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    I never considered that some folks can't go outside to do the separation outside due to weather or domestic circumstance. Other than my time in the forces I only lived in an apartment for 1 year, never again!

    When I got into SS cleaning I just bought the kit from STM which included the FA separator. I use this under running water outside and it has done 1000's of cases over the years. Yes, I have lost some pins but I did not sweat those losses as a little less pins don't hurt the cleaning.

    About 5 years ago I added a second Thumlers tumbler and went with the standard speed motor as I noticed that the high speed unit dinged the case mouths of larger rifle cases more than I liked and a small brass slurry would be in the bottom of the separator. The standard speed cleans just fine in 2 hours with much less wear on the brass.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    Home depot and Lowes both sell a fine mesh bag that's meant to be used in a 5 gallon bucket to strain paint. 2 pack for I believe $5 if I remember right. Drawstring top to hold it on to the bucket. Pretty durable as well. Makes for separating water from pins and brass, then can be loaded into your separator of choice.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    My RCBS media separator arrived the other day. Its all plastic and will sit down in my sink. I can't crank the crank while its in the sink but I didn't expect to. The unit seems to do a good job separating the steel pins from the cases. I'm thinking that this is going to speed up my tumbling process and greatly reduce the mess from spilled water. I plan to be gentle with it, just hope the plastic holds up.

    I have the larger Dillon separator and it works fine for dry media. It no doubt would work fine for wet media but it has several metal parts and I did not want to get them wet and cause rust.

    Thanks for all of the replys!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I use a small Dillon. I looked at the larger one but didn't like the size or the storage requirements. The small one was $50 shipped. That was a year or two ago. Price may have went up some, though. Mine is almost always used with water, no ill effects.

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