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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Darksider's Den (Moderator: Cuts Crooked)  |  Topic: Which case tumbler would be the best buy? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Which case tumbler would be the best buy?  (Read 13995 times)
wildman1
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« on: April 02, 2011, 07:51:32 am »


I am going to buy a case tumbler and would like several opinions as to which one would be the best one for the money. It will be used for personal reloading only but I would like something that will do a good job and last. Thank You. WM
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 08:11:20 am »

I never had much luck with the green one
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 08:40:51 am »

I don't have a tumbler, its a vibrator, & I would have thought they are all pretty much the same.  Mine's orange, had it for years, sometimes it runs for days on end, never had a problem with it.
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 09:01:25 am »

I don't have a tumbler, its a vibrator, & I would have thought they are all pretty much the same.  Mine's orange, had it for years, sometimes it runs for days on end, never had a problem with it.


I guess there is a diffrence tumbler- vibrator.   there are many home built ones on  you tube
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 10:20:28 am »

I have been using a Lyman Twin Pro for the last 2 years.I am very pleased with it and have had no problems.
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2011, 10:43:17 am »

I like my Cabelas case tumbler, on and off swith on cord, clear top and does a great job on my BP cases. Tumbler kit, including tumbler, media, polish and sifter pan was only $54.

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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 11:58:13 am »

I've had a bunch.  The first 2 were from Midway in the mid to late '80s.  As far as I know, the guy who got them from me in a gun trade is STILL using them.

Then, in the mid '90s I got another Midway.  Then around the same time, a small Dillon.  Both crapped out about 5 years ago.  I had the Dillon rebuilt.  I replaced the Midway with a Berry's.  Both crapped out about 2 years ago.  The Dillon can no longer be rebuilt so it's a new one or nothing.  

Then I buy another cheap Midway (the one in their "vibratory package deal."  It got left on (accidentally) for about 48-56 hours.  Bye-bye Midway.

I borrow an orange Lyman from Dave.  It's working fine, but I decide that I'm tired of buying vibratories and shell out for a Thumlers Tumbler.  That's a year old now and hasn't worn off the "new" yet.  I think it may outlive me, from the way it's built.

A friend explained the problem with the vibrators to me.  To make them work, they have a weight hooked to the shaft that makes them run weird.  That causes strain on the motor and ... whoop - there they go.
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2011, 12:32:13 pm »

Mine is Orange, and has the big bowl (Lyman Turbo 1200). It's 30 or so years old and still going strong.

The Dillon media separator is a cool thing to have as well.

If you have to room to do so on your bench, here is a tip... get some sort of plastic container (like a dish pan) large enough for the tumber to fit into and put it in there when it is in use or being loaded/unloaded (all the time basically). The container will help slow the migration of corn cob into locations that you don't want it to go (as in anywhere that your wife can see  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2011, 01:59:44 pm »

I used a green midway vibratory cleaner for about 10 years, when it went bad, I got an orange Lyman and it has been running strong for 3 years.

I recently got the Frankford Arsenal Kit from midway and I do like the separator and bucket that comes with it.  It is a lot louder than my other ones but it does a good job of cleaning.

I clean my brass after every match and after range sessions for about 3-5 hours, that's about every weekend at least, so they get a lot of use.

I think that all major brands work and last about the same.  Find the best deal and go with that.

CR
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 07:08:25 pm »

There's tumblers and there's shakers.  Right now the best buy in a tumbler is the Thumler AR-12.  Tumblers will run a wet load, shakers generally won't.

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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2011, 08:49:06 pm »

I have a blue Midway vibratory tumbler. Bought it new back in 1989. It's been used a whole bunch & still running great.
I add some powdered kitchen cleanser to walnut media & it cleans like crazy.

Slim
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2011, 09:55:52 pm »

Most of the tumblers we see associated with reloading are the very lowest level in quality and durability.  The true market for tumblers is in gem polishing and jewelry making.  The tumblers that professional jewelers use are generally larger capacity and higher quality than we are used to seeing at the gun shop.

The one vibratory tumbler that is aimed at reloaders that is also professional quality is offered by Dillon Precision and comes in two sizes, BIG and REALLY BIG.  These, as well as all vibratory machines, are meant to be used with dry media -- typically walnut hull and corn cob.  These do a good job of polishing the outside of brass cases in preparation for reloading them.

The other category of tumbler, as Dick has mentioned, is the rotary tumbler.  The Thumbler AR-12 is one of two good ones to consider.  The other is the RCBS Sidewinder.  The rotary tumblers work with wet media, which is a ceramic or stainless steel media that is run with water and detergent.  This category of tumbler will clean and polish the inside of the case, primer pockets, as well as the outside of cases.  These can be used for all reloading but are favored, in particular, by black powder shooters who want the inside of the cases to be cleaned of fouling along with making the outsides of the cases clean for reloading.

None of the recommendations I've made here are cheap.  Rather, they are the best Values in terms of performance and durability.

Most of us limped along for years with an amateur tumbler and called it good.  When the second, or third one of those burned out, we ponied up for a quality tumbler.  Those who have used the Dillon, or Thumbler, or Sidewinder would not go back to the cheap models.  I know I won't.

What you probably should be advised to do is contact Dick Dastardly and let him set you up with a wet tumbling system.  You won't be sorry.
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Fox Creek Kid
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 01:34:43 am »

Firstly, if you are shooting REAL BP then corn cob media or walnut shells are a waste of time & money as you will be changing the media more often than your underwear as it "loads" up too fast with gunk. Get some of Dick Dastardly's ceramic media and a REAL tumber, i.e., a Thumler's or better yet a Lortone QT12 that has the power to tumble (not vibrate) ceramic media. The media never wears out.  Wink
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2011, 05:24:36 am »

My Lortone QT 12 works like a dream with ceramic and with a Berry's for drying and the final polish, my brass looks new all the time.
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2011, 11:38:30 am »

I watched ebay for about a year before I found a Thumler's that I could buy cheaply. bought one that wasn't in working condition. Ordered new belts and it has run for a couple of years.

Love it, won't go back to dry media tumbling, I use DDs ceramic media.  I would like to have a little smaller or different shape but will happily continue to use DDs until such a media change can be made.

It has run several times over a weekend because it is so quiet that I don't hear it as I'm shutting down the shop for a weekend.

No harm.
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2011, 11:58:49 am »

If you plan to tumble bottleneck and tapered cases, beware that ceramic media has a tendency to stick in them and depending on the caliber is difficult if not impossible to remove. Seems to work best with straight cases.
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2011, 12:02:38 pm »


It has run several times over a weekend because it is so quiet that I don't hear it as I'm shutting down the shop for a weekend.


I rigged up a Leviton 12 hour timer to an outlet in my shop near the vibrator. I just set it for the appropriate amount of time based on what I put in it and walk away.
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2011, 12:36:07 pm »

I've been following this thread with some interest and I've a question to ya'll for I'm getting a bit confused:


What style / type of tumbler are ya'll talk'n 'bout.... the vertical shaky-shaky-shake-shake....OR.....a barrel rolly-rolly-roll-roll like in rock lapidary.....   Huh  Huh

I've been think'n 'bout replacing my green shaky-shaky for a rolly-rolly with Dick's wet ceramic concoction.....   Huh
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2011, 01:36:14 pm »

I have a Lyman 600 that I turned into a 1200 with a new bowl, and also a Lyman 2200. I shoot BP so I run them overnight 2-3 times a month for the last 12 years on one and 8 on the other, and both work fine. Just throw some auto paint swirl remover in with the media and it works much better and it lessens the dust. I have a Thumlers Tumbler that I use when I aquire very bad used brass and clean them in ther for the first time and then in the Lymans from then on. The Thumlers are too small for me to use all the time, plus I had the same problem with the bottlenecked 44-40 cases. 
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2011, 01:41:18 pm »

I've had a Lyman tumbler for probably 30 years, and still using it.  However, I just purchased one of the new Hornady Magnum Lock-N-Load ultrasonic cleaners - the big one that costs about $220.  I love it.  It has a timer that goes up to 99 minutes and is heated.  I cleaned a batch of brass and well as my disassembled 1911.  Everything was squeaky clean and the brass was really nice and shiny and clean inside and out.

I'd highly recommend checking into one of these.  I'm impressed so far.
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2011, 02:20:43 pm »

Started out with an orange one.  Was shooting a lot of high power in those days.  Wore out the bushings in about 3 years, may have been overloaded a few times.  Replaced it with the blue one from Scottsdale in 98, still going strong.  Something about steel bearings rather than bushings.  Got the media separator at the same time.
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« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2011, 08:02:37 pm »

Remember also another HUGE benefit of running "wet" ceramic media in a rock polisher style tumbler is that there are NO lead fumes which you get with a dry media and a vibratory cleaner. This is important if you are tumbling in an enclosed area IMO. Ceramic is much faster as well. Usually about 3 - 4 hrs. and they are better than new.
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« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2011, 10:45:40 pm »

Remember also another HUGE benefit of running "wet" ceramic media in a rock polisher style tumbler is that there are NO lead fumes which you get with a dry media and a vibratory cleaner. This is important if you are tumbling in an enclosed area IMO. Ceramic is much faster as well. Usually about 3 - 4 hrs. and they are better than new.

The dust aspect of wet tumbling is an advantage if your planning to empty/sift indoors or your garage. This process should also help deburr new Starline cases. As far as speedyness of cleaning, I only vibratory-clean for 2 hrs.
Regardless of method, I've not seen cases cleanup to better than new  Cheesy

Slim
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« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2011, 08:57:31 pm »

I used to shoot quite a bit. (understatement LOL) I bought a Dillon small tumbler back in 97 and have been using it ever since.

Works for me.

My $0.02 worth

Mason
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« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2011, 10:26:48 pm »

The dust aspect of wet tumbling is an advantage if your planning to empty/sift indoors or your garage. This process should also help deburr new Starline cases. As far as speedyness of cleaning, I only vibratory-clean for 2 hrs.
Regardless of method, I've not seen cases cleanup to better than new  Cheesy

Slim

That's because you are using a VIBRATORY tumbler which is made for "kitty litter" tumbling and not ceramic.  Wink
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