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Tumbler: brass going around in circles and not cascading - what to do?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by IMtheNRA, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    Can't figure this out. Sometimes, my brass and media have a great cascading action, which gets the brass clean and shiny in a very short time. Usually, however, the media and brass just go around and around, which I think results in significantly less brass/media contact than cascading and takes three times longer to get it real pretty.

    I tried to add and subtract media and brass, but I can't seem to hit the magic weight ratio. I just randomly get good effect, but usually I don't.

    What's the secret to cascading? :banghead:

    I use a cheap Frankford Arsenal tumbler and three types of media - Lyman Tough Nut walnut, corn cob, or sometimes, a combination of the two.
  2. CMV

    CMV Well-Known Member

    I use the HF crushed walnut so don't know if that makes a difference but I have the same tumbler.

    Mine has an uncovered threaded rod down the center that I worried about scuffing up the cases. I inverted a funnel over it to keep the brass from touching it. This also seemed to change the flow inside and make everything move a little faster. Might want to try that. The one I used is a medium sized kitchen funnel. Maybe 2.5-3" along the top.

    I've never noticed mine not "cascade" what's inside but it got the funnel on day 1. They still move around in a circular pattern, but also move top to bottom - like a spiral/corkscrew type deal is best I could describe it.
  3. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Well-Known Member

    Do you add any type of dust collector? Something like dryer sheets or paper towels.

    Might help.... IDK,,, maybe just let it run.

    Good Luck :)
  4. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    No, no dust collection. I can see how a funnel might help...
  5. myFRAGisFUBAR

    myFRAGisFUBAR Well-Known Member

    I use the same setup as you and mine cascades almost every time. I shoot for a 60/40 ratio of media to brass. I just use the bare minimum for media that I can get away with.
  6. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Frankford Arsenal, there's the problem. I started with one, I was happy when it crapped out. It did OK if I didn't load it too much, but choked if I did.

    Is the bottom of it flat like a mixing bowl? My Lyman has a raised center, the inside is shaped like an inverted bagel, and it churns like mad.

    That funnel idea sounds like a good one! You might try a 3" or 4" funnel slid down the rod, it might work great. If it does, maybe you could glue it down or use a nut on the rod to hold it down. Try it and report the results.
  7. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    My small Dillon unit is sensitive to the amount of brass and media. The more brass, the more media that's needed. Still, 223 brass seems to circulate freely while most pistol brass (if in the same tumbling load) will not rise high enough to be seen. From this I understand that it's no good to mix longer bottleneck cases with shorter pistol brass and expect to see the same circulation.

    I now install the brass, turn the unit ON, then add media until I get the amount of "churn" deemed best.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013

    HOWARD J Well-Known Member

    As things get old I have a habit of moving them around.
    I have for one unit a Lyman base--a Hornady bowl & a RCBS cover--works great.
    My other unit is a Lyman--lyman bowl & cover--unit is 30 some years old--still working good.
    Try a Lyman unit--you will like it.
  9. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    I wondered if I don't have enough media, so I added more - the bowl is probably a little more than half full now. This helped a lot. The media and 100 .45 cases are now cascading, but slowly. I'm going to add more media to see if it speeds things up.

    The motor doesn't seem to like this heavy load - I now hear frequent fluctuations in the rattle/hum of the machine. Mostly rattle...
  10. 32_d3gr33s

    32_d3gr33s Well-Known Member

    i make sure my tumbler is completely full...
  11. blarby

    blarby Well-Known Member

    Lots of media is the key in most of the operations.

    It sure works that way in my cabelas....

    2nd one btw- I thought that first one would never go out. When it did it sounded like it was breaking concrete !
  12. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    Thanks for reminding me.... I pour media in until the rattle stops. The rattle is brass against the bowl of the unit. In the case of my Dillon, when it has enough media to lift the brass off the bottom, then the circulation seems to be maximized.
  13. mdemetz

    mdemetz Well-Known Member

    My Lyman sorta does that if you leave the sieve top off. Attach the top and you can see the churning increase.
  14. ole farmerbuck

    ole farmerbuck Well-Known Member

    My Hornady is smaller than my Lyman but will 'churn' the brass 3 times faster.
  15. CMD-Ky

    CMD-Ky Well-Known Member

    ole farmerbuck

    That signature is priceless.
  16. Tommy Van Alen

    Tommy Van Alen Active Member

    you guys probably know this already, but lizard litter from like Petsmart is crushed walnut shells. works just the same and is priced cheaper than anything sold for guns or reloading.

    I would rather have way too much media when compared to brass. Not enough media gives it like this log jam effect.
  17. higgite

    higgite Well-Known Member

    I agree with rfwobbly, the rattle is probably brass against the plastic tub and/or brass on brass. As you have already discovered, more media is better than less. It circulates better, cleans better and is quieter.
  18. myg30

    myg30 Well-Known Member

    I took the cover off my frankford and found the counter weight on the motor shaft was loose. It took me 30 seconds to fix it and 45 mins to find my off set screw driver !
    My lyman is smaller but has never given me any trouble. The cyclonic action is way better in the lyman too !

  19. steve4102

    steve4102 Well-Known Member

    There is a counter weight on the motor shaft inside the base housing. Take the bottom of the tumbler off and make sure the weight is still in the proper position on the motor shaft and secured tight with the set screw.

    Also make sure all other motor mounts and bowl mounts are tight and secure.
  20. ole farmerbuck

    ole farmerbuck Well-Known Member

    lol Thank you.

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