Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,499 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For years I have gotten by with a rock tumbler my late wife had.
Wasn't the best in the world, but it got them clean and it was paid for. It has died an ignominious death, smoke got out of the motor!
So...new tumbler time. Thoughts? Opinions? Haven't bought any new reloading equipment since the early 80's. Don't wanna buy something that will end up on the gunshow table in a week.
Thanks, Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
I have an RCBS and a Lyman vibratory tumblers. Both are good and honestly if I had to buy another one I would look at the Frankford Arsenal one.

It's all about the media though. I prefer treated corn cob for the speed. Treated walnut is too dusty.

Brace yourself for the onslaught of wet tumbler recommendations. I'd rather run my brass through a media separator for a couple minutes than wait for em to dry out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I switched to the Thumler's high speed a couple years back. I got a separate recapping die and have never looked back. I highly recommend it. I know they are expensive, but my opinion is buy once cry once. I also think the wet tumbling is safer that the lead and other contaminants in the dry media.

Regards,

Kris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,460 Posts
I used a vibratory tumbler for 25 years. Corn cob and walnut shell media. Corn cob is more of a polishing medium. Walnut shell will be more effective on tarnish. Both got to the point where the dust was intolerable in my basement. This despite adding dryer sheets and trying to sift out the media outside.

I had two tumblers. An old Cabelas and a Frankford Arsenal. Both worked well. The Cabelas for 20+ years now--still going, and the Frankford at 10+ years.

I recently got the Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler. It comes with stainless steel pins, and two strainer caps for draining the water. First few times I used the pins--and the brass really does come out looking brand new. But the pins are a bit of a hassle. Then I started using it without the pins. The brass still comes out looking brighter and cleaner than it ever did with the dry media. That's plenty clean enough for me.

To dry the brass, shake it well inside the tumbler or in a dry media separator. I spread them out on a towel overnight, or put them in the sun for a few hours, or in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour.

I'm done with the filthy, dusty media, and then the nearly as dusty brass. The inconvenience of waiting a bit is worth not dealing with the dust, as far as I'm concerned.

If you're going to use dry media, go to one of the big pet box stores, and get lizard litter. It's far cheaper than tumbling medium and it's walnut shells. Better, they are ground small enough that they seldom get stuck in the primer holes. Maybe you can figure out a schedule for how many times to use your media before discarding it to minimize the dust.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
This is my setup.
Water bottle Luggage and bags Wood Bag Bottle


I reload in the winter, as far as, going outside to separate brass that's not going to happen! I also shoot from inside my house, my backyard is my range up to 300 yards. I run targets with a heated sxs. Call me spoiled if you want, I call it smart. As far as media separation, a standard separator works fine with stainless pins. Cold water enough to cover the brass and pins couple drops of Dawn dish liquid and a sprinkle of lemi shine works fine.


Tim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
I've used both wet and dry cleaners. Dry cleaners probably work the best. Like others have said, corn cob is much less expensive at pet stores but it can be difficult to find small enough granules. Walnut shells can be bought in bulk from automotive/sandblasting supply stores. A word of warning: Walnut dust is toxic. Very toxic to some pets. It also deteriorates certain plastics. Lead and brass residue in the dust compounds any hazards. That being said, it's safer if you run the vibrators outside.

One way to clean the media dust off your brass is to blow it off with compressed air. Remember Walnut dust is toxic, blow it towards your neighbors house not your's. Wearing a respirator would be better than a dust mask.

I used to use wet stainless pins until a buddy of mine had some stick in a case when he was reloading. It tore up his barrel pretty bad. Now I just use a cheap sonic vibrator I got from Harbor Freight. It may take a couple of cycles to wash and a rinse with distilled water but it's not like I sit and watch it as it cleans, so I don't really care how long it takes.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
25,662 Posts
I have the Frankford Arsenal tumbler as well. Been using it constantly for 6 years now with no problems. Didn't cost that much (maybe 35 bucks?) but that was before Sleepy Joe took over........................
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,549 Posts
Depends some on your goals. I use a Frankfurt Arsenal but I am not looking for like new cases but cleaner ones. Use walnut quite a bit but may go back to corn cob after reading about how toxic it its.

DEP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
I have a Frankfort vibrating(dry) with corn cob material but rarely use it, as 444pistol's photo shows the Dawn dish soap and Lemishine work really well. I use without even tumbling, vibrating etc other than an occasional stir from a wood spoon. I de-prime before wet cleaning and use the wet mix 3-5 times before changing. If cases come out of an autoloader they usually get a pre rinse first.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
782 Posts
My Lyman Turbo vibrator lasted 25 years of heavy use - I got my money’s worth. Replaced it with a Midway unit ten years ago and it’s still running strong. Walnut media does get dusty, but I periodically clean it by tearing up two paper towels into 4” squares, stick them on the bowl with about 20 cases and let it run for an hour - the towels grab up the dust well. If the walnut is really dirty then repeat. The dust will no longer be a problem. Recharge the media as needed with Lyman Turbo polish.

I borrowed a friend’s wet tumbler once to see if I wanted one - it cleaned the brass fine but drying the cases just did not fit into my reloading regimen. Replacing a functioning tool with another tool which disrupts my work flow just because it’s popular with others made no sense.


.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
397 Posts
Had an 80's Frankford tumbler that caught fire, replaced it with a hornady one some time in the late 90's. Still have it, but it no longer seems to tumble as quickly anymore. Tried tightening up all nuts and bolts and oiling, but didn't see a return to a normal tumble time. I think only a new motor would fix it. Got one of the big frankford wet tumblers with SS pins and haven't touched the hornady tumbler since. If I had to get another tumbler it would likely be the big thumler model as they seem to have a long track record. I add dawn and car wash-n-wax to the mix along with lemi shine and more cases come clean inside and out in a couple hours than I could clean in a day with the hornady.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,810 Posts
Most of the time anymore I use my Hornady ultrasonic cleaner after I size and deprime the brass. It gets it nice and clean and also gets the primer pockets clean. I use the Hornady cleaning solution in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
280 Posts
I have used rotating and vibrating tumblers. I now have 2 rotating tumblers, and I run them wet with pins, wet without pins, or dry with cob (lizard media) depending upon what I’m trying to accomplish.

I suggest getting the FART if it has sufficient capacity for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,024 Posts
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top