August 31, 2018: Hornady M-1 Case Tumbler

The last piece of reloading equipment added is the case tumbler to make the cases cleaner to show that I have some pride in my craftsmanship.  The second hundred rounds I reloaded were not cleaned.  Reading opinions of more experienced reloaders lead me to the conclusion that it is not necessary, but desirable.  I considered the wet versus dry methods and went with the dry media for my low volume needs.

When I ordered the tumbler I also got a 4.75 pound jug of Corn Cob Media.  After reading the directions I loaded up 100 once fired .38 Special cases and around 300 9mm cases that were donated by a co-worker.  I poured in enough media to cover the cases.

2.5 hours later I was amazed at the results.  The media now looked like cat liter (gray).  I poured the cases out into the sifter provided with the tumbler and shook them around.  There still seemed to be a lot of media left in the cases as I pulled them out to sort. 

There is a fine film of black sooty material left on the cases.  The first batch I wiped individually as I inspected and sorted. 

The second batch was about 4.4 pounds of various 9mm cases that was some where between 400 to 500  cases.  These also included several hundred that were donated by the same co-worker. The others I had in a jar awaiting transport to my brother.  Sorry Bro, you won’t be seeing any cases from me for a while. 

I used the same time period for the tumble but was a little more vigorous with the dump into the sifter.  I also used a cheap painting chip brush to push the cases around and upend them to get more of the media out.  This worked much better.  To clean most of the soot off, I dumped the cases onto an old towel and rolled them around.  The towel also washed out nicely so it will be reused. At my age I’ve accumulated enough old towels to throw them away if I was worried about any contamination. 

I left the primers in while the cases were tumbled.  I didn’t see the need to take the time to run the dirty cases through a decapper to get the primers out and then have to make sure the primer pockets didn’t have any media left in them during the loading process.

Two runs is not an exhaustive review but the initial impression of this tumbler and the corn cob media is very satisfactory.  I didn’t find an actual MSRP for it but the prices ranged from $42 to $60.  I managed to get one on the low end because of a sale price.


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