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big tumbler from Harbor Freight

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by rondog, Nov 6, 2008.

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  1. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Does anybody out there have any experience with these 18lb. tumblers from Harbor Freight? They're big, honkin' mothers, but they're expensive and I don't know how durable they are. They're currently on sale for $50 off, but they're still not cheap. I just have a LOT of brass that I've bought that has to be cleaned up. But that would buy me a lot of primers or bullets.....

    Anyway, good or junk? I'm pretty familiar with HF's products, so I know their reputation, but not this tumbler.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=96923

    And they have rotarys too.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=90979
     
  2. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    I would consider getting 2 smaller ones instead.

    You can tumble 2 stages at once: 1 walnut & 1 corncob
    You can put .40 in one & .45 in the other with no nesting.
    If 1 goes down you still can operate at 50%.
    Brag that you have 2 tumbers or sell 1 off after you get to where you don't need it.

    My uncle has the smaller tumber from HF & has no problems with it.
    The Cabela's tumbler is a pretty good deal also.
     
  3. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Since you, like me, obviously have to consider the budget, why not just accept the time and use a normal sized tumbler? That BIG HF bugger IS expensive and will only be in the way after you get through with it after the first use!
     
  4. ants

    ants Member

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    I've been using the standard size 5 lb vibratory from Harbor Freight. Same as the ones you buy at Cabelas or MidwayUSA or the other suppliers. It was on sale for $32. I do 2 or 3 batches per week, it runs like a champ.

    An 18 lb vibratory is huge. If it registers over 3.2 on the Richter Scale it could cause damage in an earthquake zone.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    If I was going to spend that kind of money, I think I would go with a Dillon or a Thumblers.
     
  6. esheato

    esheato Member

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    I have a small Berrys, a large Dillon and the Thumlers. My brother just purchased the HF unit.

    I have yet to see the HF unit, but he has seen my large Dillon in operation. He claims the HF tumbler is extremely quiet and has the capability to do wet/dry tumbling. He likes it more than my Dillon.

    I know for a fact my Dillon is loud as hell and I can hear it inside my house from the garage.

    He promises me that I'll want one when I see his.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  7. D. Manley

    D. Manley Member

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    +1. I'm with Walkalong on this, for the money the big Dillon.
     
  8. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    I have the smaller HF tumbler and it worked great for a year and seemed to slow down a little. It still works but I bought another tumbler so if something happened I wouldn't be without. The HF tumbler cost $31.
    [​IMG]
    When I bought my new tumbler a friend recommended the Cabela's tumbler. I am very happy with the Cabela's tumbler. It is advertised to hold 650 38 spcl cases. It is light weight and very quiet. You can pick up the Cabela's tumbler in the mid $40.
    [​IMG]

    Rusty
     
  9. Win52D

    Win52D Member

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    "If I was going to spend that kind of money, I think I would go with a Dillon or a Thumblers."

    +1 to that. I have used the same Thumblers for 20 years and it still going strong. Quiet too when loaded with enough media
     
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I bought a Dillon CV-500 used and it's a great tumbler. I don't know how much it was used before I bought it but I've used it at least once a week for over 3 years now. I would think the CV-2001 would be just as good only with a larger capacity.

    If I was going to buy new I would probably buy one from Cabela's because of all the good things I've heard about and the low price.
     
  11. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I have a Midway 18lb tumbler. It too can be heard throughout the house when full and operating. It's been to Midway twice. The last time, they said they would no longer honor the warranty as they no longer utilize the Manufacturer or carry parts. It works extreamly well however. The first time it went back, it was the motor that crapped out. The second, the bolts that hold the base (not the bowl) to the motor stripped out. So far, it has held up, though. I have cut off and replaced the center threaded (gets worn to where the nut(s) won't tighten down) post. It has seen a LOT of use through the past 15yrs, however.

    I also have a Thumblers "large". about a 7lb unit. It has never given me a moments trouble, and is very quiet. An excellent buy.
     
  12. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Thanks for the input y'all, much appreciated! FWIW, I already have a Frankford Arsenal tumbler, and it works well. I've just accumulated so much brass of all flavors in the last few months that I was curious about a larger capacity machine. I've drug home a couple thousand 30-06 cases alone, and more dang pistol calibers than I can count.

    But, like I said, I could buy a LOT of primers for that money. And I NEED a lot of primers. Perhaps I'll just slog along with my FA for now. I doubt that tumblers are going to be hoarded, outlawed or taxed outrageously like ammo components might be. But a small HF model as a secondary/backup ain't a bad idea. I think they're on sale too.
     
  13. offthepaper

    offthepaper Member

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    I also have the Frankford tumbler and am very unhappy with it, after only being used 3 times with only 80 pieces of brass each time the motor has died. :fire: I sent it back to the mfg several weeks ago but haven't heard anything back. keeping my fingers crossed
     
  14. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I had 3 or 4 Harbor Freight tumblers before I finally gave up and asked for my money back. The bearings in the motors were bronze sleeve bearings and wouldn't hold up. Went to cabela's and spent an extra $5.00 and got one thats been running for over 2 years now and has a forever warrenty. Just my 2 cents.
     
  15. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Are you sure it was the motor, and not the in-line switch? If it WAS the motor, did you happen to run the thing on carpet? They have to get some airflow to keep cool, and they breathe from below, AFAIK.
     
  16. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    My tumblers have always sat on a cement paving block. 14" X 14"
     
  17. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Hmmm, I've heard of the in-line switches failing or the connections getting loose, that's why I asked.
     
  18. the foot

    the foot Member

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    I have one of those orange Lyman tumblers, does all the tumbling I need.

    I set it on the floor in my reloading room (built on a slab) and there is minimal noise. I don't worry about different-size brass nesting, since I deprime before tumbling and clean each piece of brass individuallyafterwards.

    The idea is to buy one that will not wear/burn out, right? Stay away from Harbor Freight when you are tumbler-shopping!
     
  19. SDefender

    SDefender Member

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    I don't have much time these days to peruse the forums so my response is a little late. However, I have the large HF tumbler and like it a lot. It replaced a FA which does not work well after a year and the largest Lyman, which still works well. The HF is very quiet, stable and seems to be well made. I can do ~ 1300 .40 S&W or ~ 1000+ .45 auto cases in ~ 45 minutes using a 50/50 mix of lyman green cob and some smaller cob (the size escapes me now).

    Have only used the HF a few times so time will tell if it lasts longer than the FA. But so far, I am very impressed and that is hard to do with me. Think I paid ~ $140 for mine.
     
  20. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Thanks all for the input! I've ordered a ceramic porcelain polishing kit from Cabela's, which is supposed to work fine in regular bowl-type vibratory tumblers, so we'll see how it does. I've seen photos of brass polished in ceramic media, and it truly looked brand-new, so I just have to try it.
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have a Berrys and a Lyman. My Lyman 1200 lasted over 20 years, so I bought another, only I bought the bigger one this time.

    Both are top notch. I need to put an inline switch in the Lyman though, like the 1200 had. :)
     
  22. the_right_reverend

    the_right_reverend Member

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    My experience with Harbor Frieght..... If it has more then 2 moving parts you are wasting your money I have bought a couple of items and they were trashed after the first use.... we have bought some stuff for one time use and it wouldn't work out of the box....

    I had a dillion tumbler and it finally died after 20+ years :eek: I replaced it with a small Frankfort arsenal and a Lyman and they work just fine:D
     
  23. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I bought a H/F reg. size tumbler, the sleeve bearings went out on the motor in the 2nd week. They replaced it with a new one, then they replaced that one with a new one, then they replaced the 3rd one with a new one. Finally they gave me my money back, went to Cabelas and bought their brand, Guaranteed forever and have never looked back. Its been running for 3 years now and have tumbled 10,000's of both rifle and pistol brass. Can't beat it.
     
  24. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Rondog let us know how good it works and how long it takes compared to the walnut or cob you are using.
    Rusty
     
  25. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Even adding wax to my media, I'm finding the brass tarnishes before I can reload to the bottom of the bucket. So I've reverted back to tumbling smaller lots in my small tumbler. My large tumbler is sitting idle. So buying a huge tumbler may be "good money after bad".
     
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