Does Tumbler brand matter?


December 28, 2008, 12:52 PM
I've been reading all the posts now that I'm gearing up to start (Hornady LNL on its way)

Does the brand of tumbler matter? Besides being obsessive and just matching the color to your other equipment, are they all made in the same factory somewhere or are there real differences between them?

I saw that Cabelas has a lifetime warranty on their bowl, Lyman has some sort of auto sorting doodad, and people say Berrys makes the fastest.

Does this really matter, or can I just get the same flavor Kool aid as my press?

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December 28, 2008, 01:15 PM
Ive got the hornady and love it, it was my first choice in tumbler after I did a bunch of research. And I mixmatched most of my reloading setup.

Brand doesn't matter, but stay away from frankfords, just to many defective units. A cabelas tumbler would be great, I almost bought one. I *heard* lymans auto sort is a PITA.

December 28, 2008, 01:15 PM
I don't think the brand is critical.

However, I just bought a Lyman tumbler to replace the Midwayusa/frankford arsenal one that burnt out after 2 years of light use.

I bought the Lyman because every person I know who has been reloading forever seems to have a Lyman 1200, so hopefully there is something to that.

On a side note: My Lyman tumbler has the auto flo feature. I would not spend the extra money to add this feature as it only works so so. Especially with 223 brass.

December 28, 2008, 01:33 PM
Lyman tumbler

I went through five in a matter of two months. they had a run of bad motors. What pissed me off was that sending them in for replacement was not reimbursed so

I had five units returned at about $14 each for shipping sent. Last Lyman I will buy.

December 28, 2008, 01:37 PM
I have a Frankford and have for years - no issues at all.

December 28, 2008, 01:48 PM
I have been using my Lyman, about 4-6 hrs/week, for over 10 yrs.

December 28, 2008, 02:36 PM
Brand doesn't matter, but stay away from frankfords, just to many defective units. A cabelas tumbler would be great, I almost bought one. I *heard* lymans auto sort is a PITA.

I have a frankford, and it has worked flawlessly for me. Admittedly, I haven't been loading for years, but in the past week or so I've tumbled through a significant portion of a five gallon bucket (68lbs) of brass.

I wouldn't personally dismiss these tumblers as an option, because they are definitely priced right, and they certainly work :)

The Bushmaster
December 28, 2008, 03:41 PM
And my Lyman Turbo 1200 has been in use for the last 22 years...It does, on ocassion, loosen up the bowl mounts. Must be the vibration. Ya think?:D

December 28, 2008, 05:37 PM
I have the frankford and it works great, just don`t put to much media in it or you will burn it up.

December 28, 2008, 05:50 PM
My old Dillon shows signs of lasting longer then I will.
Had to replace the in-line switch about a month ago, but only because I stepped on it and broke it!

All of them from the reloading manufactures & suppliers are pretty similar, and work about the same.

Haven't heard much good about Harbor Freight tumblers though!


dagger dog
December 28, 2008, 05:52 PM
When Frankford came out with their tumbler at 1/2 the price of the Orange, Green, Blue,Red ones, it placed it within the means of the hobby guys. It is reliable and a good buy!

If you are a competetive shooter, your needs may be more than the Frankford tumbler was designed, and you may want to go with one of the other manufactuers.

December 28, 2008, 06:13 PM
I have two Cabelas tumblers that are about 1 year old and a Frankfort thats about 10+ years old. Both have been bullet proof for me. This year I did over 2 tons of brass in these three units. For the money, I think the Cabelas tumbler is the best buy out there.

December 28, 2008, 06:32 PM
I agree with the cabelas tumbler, great buy and if you get the kit it has everything you need to get started. 3 year warranty on the motor and life on the bowl.

Smokey Joe
December 28, 2008, 06:35 PM
So, you see, Shrink MD, there are abt. as many favorable responses as there are brands.

Mine is a Berry's; it works just like all the others work; never had a lick of problem with it.

Bottom Line: Buy the tumbler you get a deal on; don't pay extra for any bells or whistles you don't feel you need.

December 28, 2008, 06:50 PM
Shrinkmd -
Is there a difference? No not really. Are they all alike? Definitely not!

The 3 differences are: action, max number of brass, and ease of maintenance:
There are 2 actions: true "tumblers" and vibratory units. The latter is probably faster.
Make sure the one you order will is right-sized for your number of brass. If you're going to clean off 100 brass, don't buy the Dillon 2000. You can go too big as well as too small.
Most all the modern plastic basin ones are easy to clean.

The type media has a lot to do with the speed also.

December 28, 2008, 07:04 PM
All I have to add is that the old Frankfords are better than the newer ones that go flat up to the top - instead of curving in.

Side by side my old Frankford cleaned brass way faster than my friends newer model.

December 28, 2008, 07:59 PM
I posted this elsewhere, but this thread is more active, so...

How about concerns over lead dust? Someone on Midwayusa wrote that the lid on the RCBS Sidewinder is tight, so that dust doesn't get out. Other people say they decap first, and then tumble, to deal with this problem?

Any thoughts? I wasn't planning on spending 4 bills on a tumbler, but if it reduces the lead dust in the garage I am willing to do it.

December 28, 2008, 08:22 PM
Keep the media from getting too dry by adding water and polish ( as needed. Used drier sheets also help, but just keeping the media from getting too dry will eliminate the dust.

I had a Lyman 1200 for over 20 years before it died. I have a Berrys ( and a Lyman 2500 ( now. I am very happy with both of them.

Pic of them in the shed. (

December 28, 2008, 08:32 PM
Well, yes, it does matter, at least if you're the kind of guy who thinks names mean anything in firearms, ammo, trucks, or power tools.:mad:

I just ordered Graf's brand tumbler - because they were out of stock momentarily on the Lyman 2500 that died on me last month.:uhoh: It was the second one:scrutiny: that didn't make it to its second birthday.:fire: I figured, well, heck, I have 2 extra bowl assemblies now - the usable carcass left over when the motors burned out:barf:. I figured, well, as long as I have two extra bowls, that gives me one extra for moly coating bullets, and one extra to put walnut or something in. That would leave me with a new one to use corn cob.... but, hey, wait, what to do when the new one dies in 2010 or so?:banghead:

I'm hoping the Grafs product will do better. It doesn't hold as many cases as my Lyman, but it does work. Worst case, I'll know how good Grafs is on warranty.

December 28, 2008, 08:36 PM
Stay far far away from the Harbor Freight ones. The bearings in the motors are sleeve and do not hold up even for a short time. Cabales are a good buy for the money and if you live close enough to go there, the warrenty can't be beat.

December 28, 2008, 09:27 PM
I have the Thumlers Tumbler UV18 and the Dillon FL-2000. Have worked wonderfully for many, many years.

Trivia question: Who among us can relate what the "FL" in the Dillon FL-2000 means?



December 28, 2008, 09:38 PM
First Line or Florida (FL)? :)

December 28, 2008, 10:29 PM
I bought a frankford on sale for 35 and it works just fine. I had a lead to the motor break but I just crimped on a new spade connector and I was back to tumbling. While I had the motor out it does have a ball bearing motor. It is just a cheap little shaded pole motor but it gets the job done.

December 28, 2008, 10:47 PM
I have a Frankford Arsenal tumbler from Midway.....sitting on my bench dead. I also have a Lyman Pro 1200 that I recently bought on sale for like, $40 or so, and it's far superior to the FA unit.

The Lyman's bowl is shaped more like an upside-down bagel, and the cyclonic action it produces is FAR better then the FA. I load my 1200 clear to the top, just cram it full with brass and media, and it still just roils that stuff like mad. Really amazing how quick it works, and it's much quieter too.

I wasn't impressed when I unboxed it, the bowl and lid looked cheap, but man do they work good! The bowl takes such a beating it doesn't need to be pretty, just tough. And I swear the design of the bottom of the bowl has a lot to do with it.

December 28, 2008, 11:04 PM
Have you taken the FA apart to figure out what died on it? Mine started to flake out and then died was just a broken wire making a bad connection.

December 28, 2008, 11:11 PM
Mr. rabolin,

When Mike Dillon wanted to start making tumblers, he asked Lyman about buying the tumbler motors from them. Lyman told him not no, but hell no. The "L" in FL-2000 stands for Lyman. Take a guess what the "F" stands for.

This story is mentioned in Bill Wilson's Book, The Combat Auto.

Just my .02,

December 29, 2008, 01:09 AM
I still use my old, beat to hell Midway 1292 Tumbler. I have absolutely no compliants about it. It does its job, always has. I have run it at least 4-5 batches a week for the last I don't know how long and it keeps on chugging. What will I do if and when this tumbler dies...

For Media, I mix up a batch with the Graingers corn cob and pet store crushed walnut. I add Nu Finish every 2K of cases and a capful of mineral spirits and a cut up dryer sheet every time I flip the switch - BLING!!!!


December 29, 2008, 02:58 PM
LeonCarr wins for the correct answer to the trivia question concerning the meaning of the "FL" in the Dillion FL-2000 tumbler.

December 29, 2008, 05:12 PM
I want a Dillion FL-2000 now..........

December 30, 2008, 07:25 AM
I've got a RCBS vibe thats still going great and it just had its 15th b-day! I also just about 2 months ago got 2 smart tumblers from midsouth, they were really inexpensive, so I figured I'd try them. At 29 bucks apiece they seem pretty good. Fast but very noisy and no power switch, have to be plugged/unplugged. At only 2 mo old I cant say about longevity, but cool so far.

Side note: go to local hobby shop that sells R/C planes and get some wing saddle tape. its available in1/4"x1/16" rolls and works perfect for sealing the vibes lids, self adhesive and you just stick it in the groove of the lid.


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