Rotary Tumblers - Are they better?


December 6, 2009, 05:01 AM
Most of the brass I pick up is caked with sand or clay. I cleaned my first few hundred rounds or so by hand with just hot water and detergent and some good rinsing, but I kept finding sand in otherwise clean cartridges. Was a real pain having the dump out almost every cartridge individually, and then of course waiting for it all to dry. So now I'm looking for a proper setup.

Are rotary tumblers superior to vibrator tumblers? They sure are more expensive. I started thinking about them when I heard about vibratories burning out and any dust is a real problem as this will be indoors. Also considering the DIY rotary route.

Do rotaries take longer too clean the brass? Is wet media superior except that you have to wait for it to dry? What exactly is wet media? Detergent and water? Does wet media only clean and corncob would be needed to polish?

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December 6, 2009, 07:28 AM
I have a rotary one that I threw together years ago out of stuff in the junk bucket and it works ok. I don't know if it is better then a vibrator, but if I run it for 3 hours the cases look nice and shiny. But I still get some dust when I dump them out. One thing I did do to eliminate most of the dust was take the bag of crushed walnut outside on a windy day and slowly pour it from one bucket to the other a few times. The wind carries away 99% of the really fine dust.

December 6, 2009, 09:12 AM
I have found that those anti-cling static things that my wife puts in the dryer to be a big help in keeping that fine dust down when I run my tumbler. Just toss one sheet in when starting and discard when through. Works for me!

December 6, 2009, 10:58 AM
A lot of the problem with dust is from using way to much polishing compound. The media that is already treated usually has way to much and can be cut by adding plain untreaded media. The dryer sheets work wonders, use a used one tho.

December 6, 2009, 02:10 PM
Hum, so separate the wheat from the chaff and use a dryer sheet and the dust level is relatively OK.

I read about one apparently very knowledgeable guy ( using a Thumler's Tumbler and a stainless steel pins, detergent, water slurry. Apparently this is a real carbon buster.

December 6, 2009, 05:00 PM
Finally found it. I just spent about 30 minutes trying to locate this. This is a guy who uses a rotary unit. looks good but too slow for me. Good videos though.

Snipers Hide (

December 6, 2009, 11:03 PM
There's no comparison between a rotary tumbler and a vibratory model. The vibratory model will be at least twice as fast. And they can be bigger so they can handle more brass at a time.

Then there's the drying time to add to that IF you use a wet media. The media that's usually used wet would be small ceramic beads along with water.

December 6, 2009, 11:16 PM
looks good but too slow for me.
Me too.

And I thought it was a pain to get walnut media separated when a n00bie. Those videos just made my head hurt!


December 7, 2009, 02:24 AM
Man, I don't ever want to work that hard to reload. That looks like way too much work and I want reloading to be fun.

December 7, 2009, 03:26 AM
The thing is he goes to all that trouble to get the carbon out of his cases!:what: Carbon doesn't hurt a darn thing, and it doesn't "build up" like some think. I just tumble to get them clean on the outside. What carbon comes off the inside is a bonus.

Some people just like to fiddle, make things harder than they have to be!:uhoh: To each his own I guess, it takes all kinds!:banghead:

I wonder what the video will look like when he has his first miss fire because he didn't get all the water out of the cases?:evil::neener:

December 7, 2009, 11:37 PM
I use a vibratory tumbler with corn cob media. Vibrate for 4 hours and they look new, at least on the outside. I don't care about the inside.

December 8, 2009, 12:23 PM
Did anybody get a glimps at the cost for the stainless media he was using? *CHA*CHING*


December 9, 2009, 12:29 AM
Link Roccobro? Didn't notice it.

December 11, 2009, 01:19 PM

It was $5+/lb, @ 50lb minimum. "Additional sizes available upon request."


December 11, 2009, 01:29 PM
This is one of ours. Its actually intended for rock polishing.


December 12, 2009, 04:01 AM
Have always had great success with my cheapy Frankfort Viber. Have never liked the walnut for the dust issue. I Find corn media with a pinch of jewelers rouge is just the ticket. ;)

December 12, 2009, 10:40 AM
"Rotary Tumblers - Are they better?"

Better is a reliative thing. Most of us agree a viberator is "better" overall for rational reloading needs, by a ratio of perhaps a hundred to one in the market.

I see no significant difference in the utility value of one media type over anyother, it all works fine for me

"Range brass" with mud/clay inside needs to be washed clean and given a couple hours soak in vinegar to remove any black tarnish before tumbling.

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