June 11th, 2019

Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass — Some Smart Solutions

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Ace tactical shooter and gunsmith Jim See of Elite Accuracy LLC recently tested a Frankford Arsenal rotary brass tumbler. Like the older Thumbler’s Tumblers, this can tumble your cases in a liquid solution. The wet-tumbling process worked very well Jim reports. Posting on Facebook, Jim noted: “I was super impressed with the Frankford Arsenal rotary tumbler and cleaning packs they sent me. I ran 350 pieces of brass for one hour. They now look great.” Jim appreciated not having to deal with dry tumbling media, such as crushed walnut shells. Dry media produces dust and can leave residues or clog flash-holes.

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers Frankford Arsenal wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Interestingly, Jim recommends you try wet-tumbling WITHOUT using stainless media. At least give it a try. Tumbling without media simplifies the process and you don’t have to worry about pins stuck in flash-holes or case-necks*. Jim reports: “Stainless steel pins come with the Frankford kit, but mine hit the trash right out of the box. There is no need to clean the inside of your cases 100% and that’s all the pins add to the equation. The brass bumping brass with hot water and Frankford’s liquid cleaner works great all by itself.” One wag stated: “That’s great to hear. Stainless steel pins are a PITA.”

Other Facebook posters concurred with Jim’s evaluation of the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler:

“I’ve had one for a couple years, and it works well. I usually run about 250-300 Dasher cases at once in it. But I use the pins because I’m OCD about clean brass.” — David W.

“I’ve had one for a year and a half and it definitely works with or without pins.” — Luke C.

“I got one about six months ago and have yet to use any SS media. I just use some dawn, distilled water, and Lemi Shine®. Turns nasty 5.56 range brass bright and shiny.” — Brian D.

“I don’t use the pins either and use a combination of Dawn soap and Lemi Shine.” — Jon N.G.

This video shows how to assemble and operate the Frankford rotary tumbler. But note, Jim See does NOT feel that it is necessary to use stainless media.

How to Dry Your Brass — Hair Dryer Vs. Machine

The downside of wet tumbling is that you end up with a pile of wet brass at the end of the cleaning cycle. There are many ways to dry brass, from drying in the sun to using a kitchen oven (be careful not to “overcook” your brass). One Facebook poster asked Jim: “What is your drying method for wet brass, and how long does it take?”

Jim See replied: “To start I just drain off the dirty water, and rinse the brass with clean hot water. Then I roll the brass on a towel for 30 seconds and put the brass in a one-gallon bucket. Next I insert a hair dryer in the bucket (with the brass) and let it run for about 5 minutes. With this procedure, the drying process for me is done in less than 10 minutes.”

Jack Lanhart has another method: “I use a food dehydrator. It takes 30 to 45 minutes.”

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass Frankford Arsenal stainless media lapua cleaning dryer dyhydrator frankford Lyman Cyclone

For those who don’t want to mess with towels and hair dryers, Frankford Arsenal offers a matching Platinum Series Case Dryer that simplifies the process of drying brass. Lyman also makes an excellent Cyclone Case Dryer. Both drying machines cost about $60.00 and both have multiple levels so you can separate different types of cartridge brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The Lyman dryer can also be used for ultrasonically-cleaned gun parts.

Cyclone Lyman Case cartridge dryer dehydrator


*The Frankford Rotary tumbler does include media separators if you choose to use the provided pins or other media. CLICK HERE for diagram showing how to use media separators.

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January 7th, 2019

Bargain Basement Brass Tumbling System — Under $60 Invested

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Super Clean Brass Without Breaking The Bank

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sierra Bullets
Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

I recently purchased 1,000 rounds of once-fired 5.56 LC brass that was fully processed and ready to load. The brass had been wet tumbled, using stainless steel pins and looked great inside and out, including the primer pockets.

I had always used a vibrating tumbler with either corn cob or walnut media and I always thought my brass looked pretty good until I saw what the wet tumbling and pin combination did.

Being the budget minded reloader that I am, I started looking for a cheap way to wet tumble my brass using stainless steel pins. Harbor Freight had recently opened a store nearby and I had received coupons in the mail, one of the coupons was 20% off any one item.

So I headed for the Harbor Freight store and after roaming around for 20 minutes or so I found a dual drum rotary rock tumbler for $55.00 and thought it would do just fine for what I was planning. The drums are rather small and only have a 3 pound maximum load limit each, but I figured that was big enough for around 150 .223 cases or maybe 300 9MM cases at a time.

I pulled the wrinkled up coupon out of my pocket, paid, and walked out with my new $47.00 brass cleaning machine. I didn’t have any stainless steel pins and couldn’t find any locally. At our local hardware store I picked up some brass plated ½” finishing brads that I thought might work until I could get some pins ordered.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

When I got home, I started depriming .223 brass for my new toy, I mean brass tumbler. I deprimed 100 cases, put 50 in each drum, dropped a package of brads in each one, filled them ¾ of the way with water, gave each drum a small squirt of Dawn dish soap and a tablespoon of Lemi Shine. I sealed up the drums and fired up the tumbler.

After an hour and a half, I just couldn’t stand it any longer and had to see the results. The water was filthy but the cases were super clean, I couldn’t be happier. For a total investment of around $55.00, I can now get my cases looking almost new.

Here are the before and after pictures of my first run of brass:

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

I have since ordered two pounds of stainless steel pins, I put one pound in each drum. To be honest the brass really doesn’t look any better, but the pins don’t seem to get stuck inside of the cases near as bad as the brass-plated brads did.

Tip: Make sure to inspect your cases and look inside each case to ensure all of the brads/pins are removed.

Just lay the brass and brads/pins out on a towel and let them dry. Mine were dry after about 12 hours.

If you want your cases to look like new without breaking the bank, give it a try. You can’t clean 1000 at a time like the $200.00 tumbling machines that are made for specifically for brass, but this is a much cheaper alternative and the results speak for themselves. — Gary Prisendorf, Sierra Bullets

EDITOR: Actually you can get a machine for a whole lot less than $200.00! See the next paragraph.

Lyman Cylone Rotary Tumbler with Factory Rebate
Sierra’s Technician got his rotary tumbler and brass media for $55.00. For eighty bucks more that you can get a much better, higher-capacity system from Lyman. The Lyman Cyclone Rotary Tumbler features a large, polymer drum that holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases. The kit includes media separation trays, plus five pounds of correct STAINLESS media. The Lyman Cyclone system costs $139.39 delivered from Amazon.

Yep you can get a complete Lyman Cyclone system WITH stainless media for under $140.00. To be honest we think that’s money well spent, compared to the “El Cheapo” Harbor Freight unit. The Lyman will run six times as many .223 Rem cases, be easier to operate, AND get the job done faster. We suspect long-term durability will be better with the Lyman tumbler as well.

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

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March 30th, 2018

New Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer — Fast and Affordable

Lyman Cyclone Cartridge Brass drying Case Dryer

Here’s a new product that should please shooters who wet-tumble their brass with stainless media, or use ultrasonic cleaning machines to clean cartridge brass (and gun parts). Employing forced hot air circulation, the new Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer will dry a large quantity of brass in under two hours. Internal racks provide five drying levels. With “street price” under $60.00, the Cyclone Case Dryer is a very affordable and effective addition to an ultrasonic or rotary-tumbler cleaning system.

Lyman Cyclone Cartridge Brass drying Case Dryer

The Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer works fast. No need to wait overnight (or longer) to air-dry your brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The handy individual trays keep different types of brass separate. The dryer can also be used for gun parts that have been ultrasonically cleaned.

Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer Features:
• Holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases or 2000 9x19mm Luger cases
• Works with cartridge brass cases or gun parts
• Fast drying time — Typically 1 to 2 hours
• Timer control can be set up to 3 hours
• Durable ABS trays with recessed handles

Watch How Cyclone Case Dryer Functions with both Cartridge Brass and Gun Parts

Cyclone Case Dryer 115V (Part #7631560) MSRP: $69.95
Cyclone Case Dryer 230V (Part #7631561) MSRP: $69.95

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