I’ve always been a cheap arse bastard. Years ago I started making my own black powder because buying it was just to expensive. This required a little bit of investment but I more than broke even.

One of the tools I purchased was a ball mill. It is a small table top mill, about 3 liters in size. It is hex shaped so it moves the media better than a round mill and it has a 1/8in replaceable rubber liner.

I’ve used it to mill all sorts of things. When I got into reloading I just used it with water and a little dish soap to clean my brass. The brass came out looking pretty good.

Later I purchased stainless steel pin media specifically designed for cleaning things like cases. Switching to Dawn dish detergent along with a Lemi Shine as a final rinse gave me wonderful results. Brass looked as good as new.

The problem is that it is messy. It takes multiple water changes and rinses to get all of the soapy water out. You have to be careful not to let the media wash away.

Since I was interested in powder coating bullets I finally picked up a vibrating tumbler. But I never used it to clean cases. I still tumble cleaned and then put the cases in the food dehydrator to dry them.

Recently I switched to using that vibrating tumbler to clean cases. It does an ok job but not new brass clean. The images I shared the other day of the .38 special with the bottom of the primer broken out was run through the tumbler for an hour. It is clean but not great.

So I struck a deal with a friend to send him some primers loaded into .45ACP cases. I’ve a few hundred .45ACP cases that are ready for reloading. Except they are straight from the range and are not clean enough to reload. So I decided to tumble clean them before I primed them and sent them off.

I got everything ready… Put the tumbler in its base and powered it up. It started doing its magic.

About 5 minutes into the first 30 minute run it stops. I hear a whine but no tumbling action.

The twenty plus year old power belt had snapped.

So I’m stuck until the belt material gets here. I pride myself on being prepared. I didn’t have a spare belt. I didn’t have the material to make a proper belt. On Monday I could likely get some big rubber bands from the PO to use for a bit. But I don’t have it here and now.

So tumbling will have to wait until the new belts are made. That will happen on Monday. If all goes well I should be able to ship out fifty cases to my friend on Tuesday.

Bah Humbug

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By awa