Recommend a Tumbler


November 27, 2007, 03:41 PM
Iím looking for a good quality case tumbler that I will be using primarily for rifle rounds. Previously, I used a cleaning solution, but a tumbler seems to be the way to go in the long run. Iíve heard nothing but good things about Lyman tumblers, but they have a lot to choose from. I would say the biggest load that I would do at one time would be 100 .300 mag cases. Does anyone have any recommendations as to what would work best? Iím moving soon to an apartment, so I probably shouldnít get something that is insanely loud. As far as price, I would say that $100 would be the ceiling, but I'd prefer to stay cheaper.

If you enjoyed reading about "Recommend a Tumbler" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
The Bushmaster
November 27, 2007, 03:52 PM
Look at ...They usually list the capacity of each tumbler...Yup Lyman, or whoever makes it for Lyman. Mine has been running for over 20 years and only cleaned the motor twice or maybe three times in that time...Good product...

November 28, 2007, 12:31 AM
I bought the Cabelas brand @ the store. It seems to work fine. I have nothing to compare it to though. The unit has a fan for the motor & an on/off switch. It is made by Berrys. The clear lid is not a big advantage as is get dust on it. I find you take the lid off to see better when you want to look at what's going on. The strainer type separator is fairly effective.
In trying to figure out what to buy there were too many conflicting reviews on every model. 1 guy says it is quiet & stays put. The next says it is loud & walks.
I was wanting a Lyman but decided to go cheap & get started. The autoflow looks like a good idea. Some reviews say it is great & some say it doesn't work.
I guess expectations play into it. I find how I load mine makes a difference.

evan price
November 28, 2007, 01:49 AM
I have a midway 1292 with the basket strainer, I leave it on for days at a time and it doesn't overheat or walk off my dining room table. As far as noise, if you load a lot of long rifle cases in it they will rattle and clatter but if you have a lot of pistol cases in it it is pretty quiet.

Be sure to check eBay for good deals on tumblers! Got my nearly new Midway 1292 with bucket, strainer and 6 lbs of media and both lids for $26 plus $12 ship.

November 28, 2007, 08:15 PM
I just ordered the Cabelas tumbler,not a bad deal and comes with a bunch of stuff for under $50.

November 28, 2007, 08:21 PM
I just ordered the Cabelas tumbler,not a bad deal and comes with a bunch of stuff for under $50.

November 28, 2007, 10:32 PM
I wouldn't mind having 2 myself.

November 28, 2007, 10:36 PM
+1 for Lyman. I've had mine for 15+ years. Not the cheapest machine on the market, but very dependable.

FYI - I've found that adding a used dryer sheet to the contents helps reduce the noise.

November 28, 2007, 10:40 PM
I use one of these had mine about a years no problems so far

November 28, 2007, 11:51 PM
Another +1 for Lyman. Mine has been going strong for 10 years.

November 29, 2007, 12:41 AM
My Lyman turbo Magnum 2500 went 1 yr at Commercial (daily) use while my two Dillon CV2001's have been back to Dillon for motors twice and I bought them in June and August 2007! At least they do it for free other than $7.50 each time to send them to AZ. The Dillons run super quiet for about the first 100 hrs after which, they sound like a cessna as the bearings go to hell! I love the capacity of my Dillons but I could have bought 4 more Lymans for what they cost.

November 29, 2007, 08:25 AM
My Midway vibratory tumbler has served me well for probably 20 years or so. Now sometimes it doesn't want to start up when I flip the switch, so I guess it is become time to get something else.

Was thinking of one of those barrel type tumblers which you can use wet. Don't know that wet media will be any better, but maybe it is.

Smokey Joe
November 29, 2007, 12:19 PM
Sam 700--You want a vibratory tumbler, not a rotary (possible wet use) tumbler. Because you never want to get yr cases wet, since then you have to dry them, bringing up issues of proper drying methods, damage to primers if not dry, accidentally annealing cases while drying them in the oven, etc, etc.

The few cases that can't be cleaned dry aren't worth the hassle of cleaning 'em wet--chuck 'em into yr scrap bucket. Scrap brass is selling very well nowadays anyhow.

As to which vibratory tumbler, IMHO it doesn't make enough difference to worry about; they are all built the same. Get one you can get a good price on, and it will serve you well for many years. There's really not much to go wrong with these things--They're not exactly rocket science.

Never had a problem with mine "walking" while working, but I was concerned about that when I first got it so I made a simple fence for it, putting together 2 pcs. of 1x2 at a 90į angle, which I clamp to the workbench edge. The machine sits behind that, humming away.

I have BTDT with case cleaning: Cleaned by hand with a rag, washed in a bucket & dried in the oven, cleaned with horrid chemicals, etc, etc. Thought I was being smart in saving $$ not buying a tumbler. I wasn't. I was wasting my time and effort.

Get a cheap, vibratory tumbler, and a bag of finely-ground corncob lizard bedding from a pet store, and be done with it. (Some lizard bedding is too coarse!) A nice tumbler should cost < $40, and lizard bedding is much cheaper than corncob tumbling medium, although it's the same thing. You'll be glad you did.

December 1, 2007, 09:07 PM
Is the auto flow on the Lymans a worthwhile feature for the money?

December 1, 2007, 11:07 PM
You are going to get media everywhere anyway! May as well just pour it out the top. I bought a Frankford arsenal media separator for about ten bucks and just use a small coffee can to empty the big Dillon machines but my lyman I just poured it into the separator. I would not spend anymore for a hole in the side of my machine!

December 2, 2007, 03:39 AM
Lyman Turbo Pro 1200, the name is fancier than the price. It's a good one!

Don't forget if you live in a sizable town, the corn cob media and ground walnut shells are common bedding in the larger pet stores for little pet lizards. Save big dollars and buy your media there! Thanks to the lizards we can save good money.

December 2, 2007, 11:24 PM
I have one from Midway that has been going strong for 8 or 9 years. It is there own model. They are now sold under the frankfort arsenal name.

December 3, 2007, 05:12 AM
Vibratory tumblers are loud, period. Living in an apartment, you might not be able to run it without complaints from the neighbors. I went with a Thumlers Model B rotary because of noise, and couldn't be happier. The downside is cost. At $150, it was more than my press. The upside? Cleans faster and better than my old vibratory. Uses less media (dry, not wet). Built to last a lifetime. Quiet.

Smokey Joe
December 3, 2007, 11:51 AM
Pinky Mingeo--I must respectfully disagree. You saidVibratory tumblers are loud, period.My tumbler--It happens to be a Berry's--sits on my basement workbench while working, and upstairs directly over the workbench there is a barely audible hum. What tumblers did you listen to, while actually working WITH a load of medium and cases, before deciding that they were all noisy? IIWY I wouldn't tar 'em all with the same broad brush.

I will certainly agree that a rotary is quiet, dry or wet. And your using yr rotary dry rather than wet, is a mark of intelligence IMHO. But unless you were to operate it on top of some kind of sounding box, I can't imagine a vibratory tumbler making an unacceptable racket.

Mind you, I'm glad you now have something that works for you, and that you are happy with. Agree that in an apartment situation, consideration of the neighbors' reaction to yr activities is important.

December 3, 2007, 11:54 AM
Be careful with the coarse reptile corn and small diameter rifle cartridges like the .223.

.223 brass will fill up and clog tight.

It can take you hours to get the corn unjammed.

In straight wall pistol, coarse reptile corn works. It's cheap and cleans fast.

In shouldered rifle, use the small stuff.

December 3, 2007, 12:09 PM
I'm in the market for a 2nd tumbler just to have as well. I think the vribratory are all basically the same. I have a old midway that has served me well for 15+, and it has been given a workout. I am going with whatever I can get my hands on easily and for the right price. When i stumble onto one, I am going to get it, what color it is dosn't really matter. Just my .02

December 4, 2007, 04:10 AM
I went with the Lyman Turbo 2500 from Natchez. It was on sale for $61.99. The only problem with the 2500, it does not have an on/off switch. I ended buying an appliance timer and set it when I'm doing a load of brass. The brass comes out clean between 2-4 hours, depending how dirty the brass was.

December 4, 2007, 04:39 AM
Me and my sweeping, all-encompassing statements! A vibratory doesn't have to be objectionable, of course, if you have the facilities. My house is wood, floors wood, no basement (it would be under water), no slab. Any place I put a vibratory it, well, vibrates. And the sound carries. On the other hand, I can share a room with the rotary no sweat, and the neighbors aren't throwing rotted fruit and road kill in my yard to retaliate. Since the Thumlers has enormous capacity (600 45acp is the most I've done at one time, but it'll take a lot more), is quiet, and will last forever my choice was clear. Other folks, other circumstances, other choices.

December 4, 2007, 09:24 AM
I've had a Llyman for over 20yrs. It's still going strong. I recently bought a "Frankford Arsenal" tumbler from miday because of the volume of cases I need to clean. It works great and is larger than my Llyman. And, it was on sale for $29.95. I use the RCBS media seperator, and just dump the tumbler contents directly into it. If you set the tumblers in the floor on carpet or a rug of some sort, they are very quiet, especially the Llyman.

December 4, 2007, 10:35 AM
So, if I picked up a vibratory cleaner and put it on a carpeted floor, would the noise level be acceptable in an apartment? It sounds like a wood table would be a no-go in this situation.

What about dust. Is there ever an issue with them spreading dust when the cover is on or does the lid seal pretty well?

December 4, 2007, 01:55 PM
My tumblers are on the sun porch where there is indoor/outdoor carpet. I just set them on the floor and let them run. Once you walk out of the room, you can't hear them. The dust occurs when pouring the media and brass into the separator. I have a RCBC separator that has a lid to contain the dust as you operate it. Very little gets out.

December 5, 2007, 08:48 AM
I started with a Lyman tumbler. I think it is the Turbo model -- the one with the removable little window at the bottom to allow the tumbling media to drain out into the supplied pan.

Tumbler cleans brass just fine. The Turbo part does not work at all -- spills media all over the place.

Then I bought a tumbler from Berry's bullets. This one offered a separate rotary cage, like the one you may see at a bingo hall. You place the cage in the supplied clamshell, close the clamshell, and turn the cage handles back and forth. This catches all the media in the clamshell, and the brass stays in the cage. Works perfectly, and it comes with a clear plastic lid on the tumbler so you can see the progress of the cleaning brass.

I do believe that many different companies sell tumblers, but only a few companies actually manufacture them, so my Berry's may be the same thing as your Dillon, for example.

My advice: look for a clear lid; avoid the Lyman Turbo.

December 15, 2007, 08:10 PM
The Cabelas tumbler works great. Im happy with the purchase. It is actually made by Berrys. I also got a media separator from RCBS that has a cover to close while tumbling, it prevents you from breathing in the fine dust while you spin the handle.

December 16, 2007, 01:24 AM
Mine is running about 48 hours straight this weekend, excluding changing cases.

Everyones says cut up the used dryer sheets for dust reduction. I'm just putting the whole used sheet right over the rod and it works well. The sheet also catches some other contaminants as well.

It is outside right now with the top off & a wind the dust goes elsewhere. When I have it inside with the top on the dust tends to accumulate in it.


December 16, 2007, 08:40 PM
I bought a used Lyman 600 on ebay...serves me really well so far.

December 16, 2007, 09:38 PM
I have a cheap tumbler from Harbor Freight. It works fine and isn't very loud. If I put it on my workbench and walk into the house I can't hear it after I shut the door behind me. Be careful about putting it on anything to thick. Most tumblers draw air from the bottom to cool the motor. If you block the air flow you will burn it up.

December 16, 2007, 09:40 PM
I think they're all made in the same chinese factory, just pick the color you like best

December 28, 2007, 09:21 PM
Ah, the Lyman is made in the USA.

How does a person know when the corn cob media is ready to be replaced?

December 28, 2007, 09:26 PM
Cabelas tumbler comes with polish and matterial for around $40. Then get the RBCS media separator for about $25, it has a lid so you dont inhale the fine dust.

December 28, 2007, 10:17 PM
When the media (corn cob or walnut) begins to break down or becomes very dirty, Its time to replace it. I use a polish and add a little more when the tumbler takes more than about 2 hrs tops to polish brightly. When I begin to see fine black dust on the cases or start getting fine brass dust on my hands when changing the loads, I throw it out and start with new. I do get about 60 to 80 thousand pcs polished before changing media. If you use a dryer sheet in your tumbler for each load, it will take out the dust and greatly extend the life of the media. I am not an expert, but I do polish about 100,000 pcs per week in various calibers and I have discovered what works.

December 28, 2007, 11:18 PM
My first post.

The lead poisoning sticky is very informative. In that thread, various writers suggest that tumbling brass with the spent primers still in them creates lead dust that is is dispersed when you transfer the brass and media to the sifter. I would worry about the lead dust getting onto the rug. The posts from that thread suggest depriming the brass first, throwing in 1inch squares of dryer sheet, and using a capful of polish such as Nufinish car polish.... Just some thoughts.

I have the Frankford Arsenal tumbler and it works fine. You can dampen some of the noise by placing a strw over the threaded rod the lid attaches to. I hated the Frankford Arsenal media separator. The spill guards didn't work. The plastic was pretty cheap, and dust spilled all over. I threw it out and bought the RCBS media separator. It is completely enclosed and works very well and very quickly.

Hope this helps. Most of this I have taken from other posts. Good luck.

If you enjoyed reading about "Recommend a Tumbler" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!