Best Large Capacity Tumbler?


September 30, 2007, 06:40 PM
I'm looking to buy another tumbler, I reload for large rifle (300 winmag) and I want to get a large cap tumbler to speed up my brass processing. What is the best out there? I want quality, price isn't a big deal (I'll spend what I have to in order to get a large tumbler that will last me several years). Your opinions are much appreciated, Thanks in advance.

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September 30, 2007, 07:57 PM
I have never used one but I hear these are the best.

Bad Flynch
September 30, 2007, 08:05 PM
I have a friend, a dealer, whose money-making activities include polishing old brass and reselling it. He runs his tumblers for days on end, sometimes. His experience is that Thumlers are the ones to have.

BTW, there is at least one larger than the previous post would suggest, but you're not gonna like the price.

September 30, 2007, 08:42 PM
Best I've ever seen started life as small cement mixers - not very portable and maybe annoyed the neighbors in a residential neighborhood but stout as it gets and well cooled motors for constant duty.

Ala Dan
September 30, 2007, 09:03 PM
Don't think of a vibratory tumbler, as all it does is shake the brass while
in the media~! :eek: I learned from experience, after buying an RCBS
model. ;)

September 30, 2007, 09:45 PM
Thumler's Model B rotary. About $150 from Cabela's. Huge capacity, and you'll wonder why you ever owned a vibratory.

September 30, 2007, 11:38 PM
Thumler's Tumbler Model B is $136.95 at Buffalo Arms...this is the high speed version like the one sold by Cabelas. I agree that this is the best rotary.
Deciding which vibratory is the best is a harder decision.

evan price
October 1, 2007, 01:05 AM

Add 50-lbs crushed walnut; 1/2 bottle nufinish, 5-gallons of brass.

October 1, 2007, 01:26 AM

Man don't post things like that, my wife was walking by and said "No..." on reflex alone.

October 1, 2007, 02:27 AM
Dillons CV-2001. Bought mine used 4 years ago and I have ran it at least 200 hours.

Lloyd Smale
October 1, 2007, 06:36 AM
another vote for the big dillon. Mine runs an average of about 2 hours a day and has never given me a lick of trouble.

October 1, 2007, 08:06 AM
Man don't post things like that, my wife was walking by and said "No..." on reflex alone.

You must be a newly wed! After a few years they wait until you want it, so they can crush your soul. :D

October 1, 2007, 08:17 PM
You must be a newly wed! After a few years they wait until you want it, so they can crush your soul.

yeah we're just over one year. nice to have something to look forward to tho. :P

October 1, 2007, 11:10 PM
Looks like the consensus is that a "rotary style" is the best, from Thumbler's I gather. are they that much better than the vibratory style cleaners? pros/cons? thanks again, your input is much appreciated.

October 1, 2007, 11:13 PM
oh yeah, one more question: does anyone know what the warranty is on the dillon tumblers?

October 1, 2007, 11:16 PM
1 year....not that great of warranty.

October 1, 2007, 11:59 PM
I run two Dillon CV2001 case vibrators almost constantly and They are quick and hold a large volume of cases per load but I have not ben impressed with durability. They admitted to me that they had been having issues with Motors when I called to get a return autorization on my second unit after running it for only four days! They both have new motors on them and my only cost was 7 bucks to ship them each back to dillon and a little downtime waiting for them to return. I had a Lyman Turbo mag go a yr at commercial use before it crapped though! Only half the price of my Dillons at that. We'll see how I feel about the Dillons in a few months. They should be the same No Bull warranty as all their products though!

October 2, 2007, 05:15 AM
I went with the Thumler's because I was tired of the vibratory noise. Couldn't share a room with that thing, and you could hear it all over the house. Durability is not an issue. Guys have been using them for +20yrs without a hiccup. Rock tumblers run them continuously for weeks on end. The Model B has a huge capacity. 600 45acp cases disappear in the thing. Does fine with less than half the media I was using in the vibratory. I was surprised to find that cleaning time is cut in half. It's not silent, but worlds better than a vibratory. The noise it makes is the muted sound of brass rattling rather than a floor-shaking buzz. My only gripe is that the lid closes with 6 wing nuts rather than one, but I can live with that. I'm told that Lortone units use a single nut, but I don't know for sure.

Linear Thinker
October 2, 2007, 09:03 AM
I have both the rotary tumbler (RCBS) and a vibratory (Dillon 2000). Dillon does a better job in the same amount of time. After many hundreds of hours of use, there's never been a problem with the 2000, other than a frayed power cord. I can't say enough good things about Dillon service.
I've delegated the rotary to moly'ing the bullets.

October 2, 2007, 09:14 AM
I have used a $50 Frankford Arsenal vibratory tumbler for a couple of years. I have probably tumbled 15,000 pieces of brass in it. I would estimate a minimum of 300 hrs of use. Its cheap, its loud, but it works, and gets my brass nice and shiney.

evan price
October 3, 2007, 01:02 AM
Ya know, that 1.5 cubic foot cement mixer costs LESS than a Thumbler's Tumbler large size unit, holds more cases and media, and would be useful for other stuff besides just tumbling shells, in case the spousal unit objects to the purchase of a single-task machine. Put in a walkway or patio for her. Then clean it up and use it for your brass. :) Marital Bliss!

Midway 1292 I picked up on eBay for $46 to my door holds 300+ .357 cases or 200+ .44's, no sweat.

October 3, 2007, 01:18 AM
pros/cons? thanks again, your input is much appreciated.
Thumblers can be used wet, which is how mine is used 99% of the time now. No more separating brass and media or cleaning primer pockets. I use a Lee universal decaping die then clean in a model B if needed or wanted.

October 3, 2007, 08:22 AM
I've had a small Midway tumbler forever that has never had any problems. The large Dillon (2001) will hold 1300 rounds of 357 and 550 30-06 cases. Also I have a friend that had the older version (2000 I think) that the bowl wore out and Dillon sent him a brand new 2001 two years ago. Thats when I bought mine and the media separator. Burned up two hundred bucks but is so much faster.

Edit: the guys that are telling you to try a cement mixer haven't tried one (I tried an old sears one once...once)

October 6, 2007, 11:02 AM
Eliphalet, what do you use for your "media" when you tumble wet? Soap and water or.....?????

October 27, 2007, 10:25 AM
I'm sure you guys have seem something like this before...

Once fired .223 brass, free from a well protected source...
Cement mixer, $100 from harbor Freight...
Ground walnut shells, $12 from PetCo...
The results, Priceless!

There is also some Franklin Arsenal polish in there. The mixer takes a full .50 cal can of .223 at a time, runs about 3 hours in the garage, then it's inside to the reloading bench. My kid shoots about 1K rounds per month, we can reload match ammo for about .25/round. So is it worth his time to pull the Dillon 650 handle for a quarter?, you bet!

October 27, 2007, 11:07 AM
That is a sweet setup. :)

October 27, 2007, 12:58 PM
JRhines, what are those pieces of paper in the cement mixer for? Did you remove the agitation blades from the mixer, or do you use it as it came? Ever use a wet media/cleaner?

October 27, 2007, 08:50 PM
to help keep down the dust & pick up some of the dirt. Seems to work OK, or at least that is my perception. I left the agitator blades in, as they came (I think I have them in right, the instructions for assembly take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out.) Never tried a wet media, do you have any suggestions? A special recipe?

WA - The sweetest part is the free brass, mostly LC & WWC 04!

Jim M
October 28, 2007, 01:36 PM
I have used both vibrating and rotary tumblers for years. My first rotary was a Pacific tumbler that I bought in 1965. It worked very well, but the fiber gears stripped after about 20 years.

I always deprime the cases before I clean them. That avoids water stuck in the primer pocket or case tumbling media in the flash hole, and helps to clean out both the primer pocket and the flash hole.

I tried a Lyman TurboMag, and that worked fairly well, but not as well as the rotary. The motor bearings crapped out a few years ago, and Lyman didn't have a motor to replace that with. I guess the tumbler was just junk to them, once it was out the door. Well, I agree with Lyman on that.

I now use an RCBS Sidewinder rotary tumbler. It is the best system I have ever used for cleaning brass, although it is fairly slow because of the limited case capacity. It holds about 250 to 350 .45 ACP or .38 Special cases, or about 100 .30-06 rifle cases at a time. RCBS service has mostly been very good. I had one drum for the Sidewinder that started to leak, and I sent it back to RCBS and they replaced it. No complaints there.

I use Ajax lemon dish washing liquid in my tumbler. Dump in about 350 pistol cases and put in enough hot water to cover the cases by about 1/2", then add one or two cartridge cases full of the dish liquid. Tumble until clean.

The lemon dish liquid not only has a detergent which removes all of the crud from the case, it also has a bit of citric acid which removes corrosion and leaves the cases shinier than anything else I have tried.

One more advantage -- If you fill up your tumbler at the kitchen sink and then dump the water there when you are through, you are likely to get the third degree about what you are pouring down the cook's kitchen sink. If you can tell her that it is just dishwashing liquid, that should keep you out of trouble.

After the cases have tumbled for as long as you want (I use any where from 30 minutes to three hours, depending on how cruddy the cases were to start), drain off the sudsy liquid and rinse the cases thoroughly at the kitchen sink. A colander purchased for this use for a buck or two will make the job easier. It is cheaper to buy your own colander than borrow one from the cook. Don't ask me how I know this!

Make sure you rinse all of the dishwashing liquid off your clean cases. Then, you can get most of the water out (if you have deprimed first) by turning the cases for a minute or so in a media separator. If you don't have a media separator, just pour the cases back and forth a few times between two containers. I use the cardboard flats that a dozen cans of dog food or beer come in. That gets most of the water out. Then, set the cases out in the sun to dry completely.

This system works very well and gives excellent results. The only problems are the price of the RCBS Sidewinder and its limited capacity. I am looking at small cement mixers to add to the Sidewinder in order to speed up the job with large lots of cases. The one jrhines posted about looks ideal. I would use that with hot water and the Ajax lemon dishwashing liquid, and it should be perfect even for a thousand or so .30-06 cases at a time.

Jim M

May 30, 2010, 03:17 PM
Bringing this one back from the dead.

I have been using a Frankford vibratory for walnut, RCBS separator, then a Hornady M2 with corn cob. Problem is both capacity and noise. The FA is REALLY noisy, the M2 not so bad, but I can still hear them about anywhere in the house (garage is not wired for wall outlets yet).

I know Thumler is a good name in rotary tumblers, but I have stumbled on a couple other LARGER capacity ones as well. Anyone heard of MJR or BLEAKCO tumblers? I found them for reasonable prices given the capacity, just can't find much on them.

May 30, 2010, 06:27 PM
When the kids were home we used about 1000 rds. per week ( summertime )
I had a Thumblers Bumbler rotary with a Lyman tumbler.
I finally got tired taking the wingnuts off of the Bumbler & purchased a RCBS tumbler.
The Lyman is still running--the RCBS died years ago.
Kids are somewhat gone ( all of them w/in one mile ) but I shoot under 250 per week.
Thumbler is a good unit--just a pain sometimes....................

May 30, 2010, 06:33 PM
#21: "Ya know, that 1.5 cubic foot cement mixer costs LESS than a Thumbler's Tumbler large size unit, holds more cases and media,..."

My thoughts exactly. And it's often on sale at a lower cost. Leave the bolted-in stirring paddles out and go!

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