The results using stainless steel media always impressed me; however, being accustom to the large batches my big Dillon tumbler can turn out the idea of only being able to 2 lbs of brass (only 230 rounds of 9mm) at a time just wouldn’t be worth it.
The Thumler’s tumbler despite costing almost $200 is only good for 15 lbs . Once you add 8 lbs (a gallon) of water and 5 lbs of SS media that only leaves 2 lbs of brass. You can also get a 40 lb tumbler as well but at almost $700...well if I wanted to burn money I would just buy new brass.
I started out ebaying parts, a 1/3hp 40 rpm gear motor ran $30, 1” pillow block bearings (1500lb load rating) for $8 and a Lovejoy coupling for another $10. I then made a frame out of ¾” to mount the motor and bearing box. Cut a disk out of 3/8” steel and mounted a 100 lb (12.2 gallon) bucket used to hold chlorine onto the disk using 10-32 bolts. I slid another bucket into the first one and cut slots into the outer bucket so the inner bucket would inner lock with it. I then cut 4 ribs 1 5/8” tall out of ½” thick plastic and bolted them in to the inner bucket, using 10-32 counter sink bolts, every 90 degrees to agitate the brass and media.
The media is pretty expensive at $25 for five pounds so I only bought 10 pounds for initial testing, so if it didn’t work I wouldn’t be out of too much money. So I started out with only a gallon Ziploc bag of .223 and a few hand full’s of 458socom for the trial run.
The mix was 2 gallons of water, 2 table spoons of Dawn dish washing soap, ½ teaspoon of Lemishine detergent. Even at over twice the capacity of the Thumler’s B model there is still a lot of room for more.
I ran the mix for 1 hour and separated the media/brass using my Dillon separator, rinsed the brass with clean water and dumped it onto a screen I built for drying dip lubed bullets. It was kind of cool today so I set a heated fan up to help dry them out. In about 15 min they were all dry.
It’s not much to look at but once I get a few more bags of media I figure it will tumble around 4500-5000 9mm cases at a time and I will have under $180 invested including the 20 lbs of media.