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Tumbler function/operation question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TennJed, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. TennJed

    TennJed Well-Known Member

    Picked up a Frankford Arsenal quick n easy tumble and have a qestion about its function and operation. This tumbler has a clear cover so I can see it while it works. I seems to just shake the media and brass and moves it in a circular pattern. The demos I have seen on youtube show the contents moving toward the center and rotating from top to bottom.

    Mine does not do this. I filled it about 2/3 full with corn cob media and about 400 9mm brass. I ran it for about 2 hours and it seem to clean it well and has a decent polish shine to it. Does this seem to be normal or ok? I can still return this itme no questions asked, but since it seems to clean the brass I wonder if I should do anything. I am more concerned that it is not working to its full abilities now and will not last long.

  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    Vibratory tumblers work via friction. It doesn't matter which direction the friction is applied, just so long as the media moves around the brass.

    I have three tumblers that are working most of the time. Two tumble inward, and one moves in a circular fashion. They all do the same job, in the same amount of time.

    Hope this helps.

  3. cberge8

    cberge8 Well-Known Member

    I have the same tumbler and it works quite well. The action on mine is the same as you describe with yours. I have been using it for over a year now (about 1000 rounds through it a month), and have had no troubles with it.

    "The demos I have seen on youtube show the contents moving toward the center and rotating from top to bottom."

    Mine does do this as well, but only if I run it without the lid on. When I do this there is no appreciable difference in polishing ability as opposed to running it with the lid in place.
  4. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    What size corn cob? If I use Lymans media, I get the tumbling action. I tried pet store corn cob, and it was too big (not as dense). The media just kinda stayed on top.
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Vibrating tumblers work by a motor running with an off center weight on the shaft. Definitely not rocket science. Over the years, I have had three tumblers from different manufacturers. The cases move a bit differently in each one although they are of the same basic design.

    As long as the brass moves in the media, it will clean. I find the movement of the brass in the tumbler depends some how much brass is in the tumbler. Weight of the media and brass in the tumbler affects the action of the tumbler.

    400 pieces of 9mm is probably on the high side of what I would tumble at onetime in the Frankfort tumbler, I have one. But that does not mean I have not tumbled that much at one time at some time.

    As already said, if the brass is cleaned and polished, the tumbler is working.
  6. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I have two FA vibratory tumblers (old model and new model with clear top) and Cabela's 400 (Berry's). With corn cob/walnut media, they all move the media in a circular motion towards the center bottom to top. I would say rate of rotation is about 5-9 seconds to move the brass in a complete cycle for all three models depending on how much brass was added to the bowl.

    I usually run the tumbler with NuFinish polish and once it is mixed well without any clumps, I add enough brass until it starts to slow down the speed of the circular movement.

    2 hours with 400 cases seems excessive. Were you using any polish with the corn cob media? It usually takes me just over 1 hour with corn cob + polish for a brilliant shine.

    For me, I found about 400 9mm cases as the practical capacity for the FA tumbler (if I add more, the movement slows down considerably and takes much longer to polish the cases to the same level of shine). Perhaps you got a unit with a weak/defective motor. If the movement is slow, I would consider calling MidwayUSA and return the unit. If you do a lot of tumbling, Berry's tumbler has a more powerful motor with greater capacity. I usually tumble around 800 9mm cases with walnut/NuFinish and it takes about 30 minutes to clean the brass with a light shine for me to reload (1 hour in walnut/NuFinish gives me good to very good shine). If I want brilliant shine, I run them in corn cob/NuFinish for 1+ hour.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    I guess I hardly tax my tumblers!
  8. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

  9. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    NuFinish car polish ...... It helps to put either Drier sheets or paper towels in with the media. If you using the treaded stuff you can fore go this. I cut mine up in 2" sq or throw some gun cleaning patches in. The paper towel will work to collect the powder reside as well with the polishing. 400 9mm not too many, about right. I have found there is a sweet spot on how much brass and media to use. If you use too little or too much the brass does not move like it should.
  10. chrt396

    chrt396 Well-Known Member

    I have two RCBS Vib. Tumblers. Loud they are! They work great though. I just picked up a new Berry tumbler from a gun show and the guy threw in some corn cob media and some brass polish for $40. The tumbler is quiet as a mouse and considerably less than the RCBS. I would doubt that the warranty and support staff is as good as RCBS..but it's QUIET...and cheap..and it works great!
  11. TennJed

    TennJed Well-Known Member

  12. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    Try more media and more brass. My Berry's tumblers I use 5-6# of brass (about 500 38 specials or 750 9mm or 500 45's) and an equal amount of fine walnut. Basically I fill it with media while running until, when it is evenly mixed, it is just spilling over the sides. I find the large plastic tubs that Country Crock or Parkay margarine come in are perfect- one full of brass, one full of media.

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