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Thread: Polishing media for brass tumbling...

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Bulltipper's Avatar
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    Polishing media for brass tumbling...

    Has anyone tried using dried and cut Scouring Rush (Horsetail or Snakegrass) as a polishing media? These plants have silica in their stalks and have been used for polishing reeds for woodwind instruments and other cleaning needs.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Wouldn't even know where to get it or even what it is.

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    Boolit Master
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    I have not even considered it, but if I did, I would be sure to do some sort of a "rinse" like citic acid/dish soap/water, or something simliar afterwards. I would think that silica, which is , to me, a basic part of sand, would be quite abrasive & I would not want any of the remnants/dust to make it anywhere near my dies or even the insides of my firearms.


    I will say that I have used that sort of plant for cleaning pans like it's nickname before though. It does work, and it is almost as good as sand, or better even than just plain water & a rag.


    I will be interested to see if anyone has ever used any of that stuff for cleaning brass.
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    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I wouldn't know what that is even if i saw it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Common Horsetail/Snakegrass (Equisetum):
    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equisetum

    ContinentalsUS/Alaska/Canada range:
    Source: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=EQAR (< has larger map where you can see more detailed regions.)

    {Looks like almost all over in certain areas, but for Louisiana & Florida. Use the link to get more details for your own area. }

    More info from USDA: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pl..._arvense.shtml
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    ~~ WWG1WGA ~~

    Restore the Republic!!!

    For the Fudds > "Those who appease a tiger, do so in the hope that the tiger will eat them last." -Winston Churchill.

    President Reagan tells it like it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6MwPgPK7WQ

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Seven counties in Arkansas, out of 75. Have never seen it.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulltipper View Post
    Has anyone tried using dried and cut Scouring Rush (Horsetail or Snakegrass) as a polishing media? These plants have silica in their stalks and have been used for polishing reeds for woodwind instruments and other cleaning needs.
    Never heard of it but it sounds like fine grit organic sandpaper. ??

    Personal opinion; reloaders benefit from clean cases but we really don't need sandpapered (or glittery polished) cases.

    I've been doing this reloading thing a very long time now. I've used different case cleaning systems - wet, dry, shake, roll, ultrasonic - and various media. I always go back to my original vib. tumblers with standard 20-40 grit cob or fine walnut because I find no meaningful difference between them and my cases come out immediately ready to use.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



    Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
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    Thanks, but I will stick w/ little steel thingamajigs.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master redhawk0's Avatar
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    Give it a try...wash the cases good afterwards and report back. Never heard of it myself...but I'd try it if I could find it.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
    Thanks, but I will stick w/ little steel thingamajigs.
    Those little steel thingamajigs work great, outside and inside the cases, and some people do like them, good if you don't mind the downsides. I'd not try to change anyone's mind but I'm lazy; I find wet tumbling to be far too costly for what it does, it's messy, time consuming in the set up, operation and rinsing, then there's the put away and wipe down conclusion. And all that's before the required drying time before the cases can be safely used.

    I tried the steel pins and ultrasonics but wet case cleaning is not for me. My dry tumbling works good, it's fast, inexpensive and with minimum fuss.

    Mox nix, at the end of the day all cleaning methods get us to the same goal; different folks, different strokes ....

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I think that just about anything would work in a pinch, shredded oak leaves, crushed acorn caps, dried seeds, wood shavings, shredded newspaper. I generally feel that the effort required to use such “free” alternatives probably exceeds the cost of the media that are commonly used.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    ... I generally feel that the effort required to use such “free” alternatives probably exceeds the cost of the media that are commonly used.
    My thoughts also.

    Certainly there's a lot to be said for "free", but if you have to find it, harvest it, dry it and then chop it up before you have a usable product, that totally discounts your time and effort.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    With SS pin tumbling, the media is a one-time cost, since it never wears out.
    The only consumable per cleaning cycle is water, a cap full of soap (e.g. amour-all wash+wax), and an 1/4 teaspoon citric acid/lemi-shine,
    which amounts to pennies.

    Sparkly clean, looks-brighter-than-new brass results

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy jeepvet's Avatar
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    I use Lizard Litter from the pet store. It is fine ground Walnut hulls. Small enough that it does not stick in the flash hole. I add 1/2 cap full of Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish and 1/2 cap full of paint thinner to the media and let run for about 20 minutes then add the brass. I can usually run 4 - 5 batches of brass before I need to add more polish. Gets dirty brass clean and shiny on the outside in about 2 hours run time. Does not clean inside. I don't know how long a bag of Lizard Litter will last because I have been using out of my bag for about 3 years and still have more than 1/2 a bag left.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check