Looking to get into the art of reloading? Investing in the best brass tumbler will ensure you have a fun time learning this cool new skill. Reloading bullets has been a thing for ages, but not many people get into it out of fear. However, with our help, you can put your fear to rest and start reloading like a pro in no time.
Despite the common misconception, reloading is actually quite a simple task, if you know what you are doing. And technically you can use any spent casings that you fired to reload. However, you need a way to make it fresh and usable, and that is where a brass tumbler comes in.
This tool allows you to clean your spent casing so that you can use them again. But, if you do not use a brass tumbler that is capable of the job, you might be asking for trouble. If you do not want your effort to go to waste, you need to ensure that you are investing in the right unit.
In this article, we will give you a quick rundown of everything you need to know about this machine, along with our recommendation for some of the best models that you can find on the market. So without any further delay, let us dive in.
Top 7 Best Brass Tumbler Reviews
Now that you have enough knowledge to know whether you get into this task, we can head into the main part. As we already mentioned, brass tumblers are an integral part of the reloading process. With it, you can make ammunitions that you can truly be proud of.
In the following section of the article, we will give you our review of some of the best brass tumblers that you can buy today to start cleaning your ammo casings.
1. Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ 110V Case Tumbler Kit
We will start up our list with a no-brainer. The Quick N EZ tumbler kit by the brand Frankford Arsenal is one of the most popular and budget-friendly choices in the market. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, this kit gives you enough options to get the most value for your money.
It has a decent capacity to get through cleaning a lot of your brass at a go. If you are using 9mm casings, it can hold up to 600 units, and for .223 caliber cases, the number comes down to a respectable 350. Simply cleaning your brass takes up to an hour at best with this tool, while polishing it can take around three hours.
The kit comes with all the necessary elements you would need to start tumbling your brass. It includes a Rotary media separator, a brass polish of 4 ounces, a 3-pound cleaning media, and a plastic basket. So you do not need to make any additional investments once you have it in your hand.
And the best part about this kit is how well the component works with each other. With the rotary separator, you can quickly separate the brass and the media. It also features an on/off switch at the plug that you can quickly access to turn it on or shut it down when you need to.
2. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler
For our next product, we will be looking at another offering by the brand Frankford Arsenal. This unit is from the platinum series, which is focused on more experienced reloaders. For this reason, it comes with some beefed-up features making it suitable for professionals and amateurs alike.
First off, the brass capacity in the unit is huge. It has 7 liters of carrying capacity, which can practically clean a thousand cases of .223 caliber brass at a single go. The unit also comes with a maintenance-free drive train, which reduces the chance of belt replacement when it is in use.
With your purchase, you get five pounds of stainless steel media and a sample packet of their own brass cleaning solution along with the rotary tumbler. So, in theory, you are all set for around hundreds of washes without requiring to invest in any additional media.
When in use, the tumbler is extremely quiet thanks to the rubber lining on the interior and its dual-layer drum design. IT comes with a timer on the base where you can set it for 3 hours, which is the most it takes to polish your brass like new. You will get a thorough cleaning even if you do not use the stainless steel media pins with it.
3. Extreme Tumblers Rebel 17 Ammo Reloading Tumbler
If you do not mind a little learning curve, the next product will probably be the one for you. The Rebel 17 by the brand Extreme Tumblers gives you extreme performance. Granted, it is not the most user-friendly model you will find out there, but it is definitely one of the finest.
Its capacity for brass caps out at 700 units when you are using .223 caliber brass shells. But the capacity is not the main thing that you need to look for. Because of the heavy-duty powder coating on the interior, the unit can shrug off any damage that can happen from frequent cleaning.
Additionally, the heavy-duty ball bearing and the large shaft enhances the overall durability of the product tenfold. It has a max rpm of 3000 that is capable of cleaning brasses fast and thoroughly. To minimalize vibration while in operation, it comes with dual mounting brackets.
The body of the machine also features rubber lining that makes it extremely quiet. If you are using stainless steel media, it is one of the best units to make full use of it to clean your brass and make it fresh as new. Although a bit on the pricy side, you get everything that you pay for with this machine.
4. Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler (115-Volt)
The worst part about starting reloading is the lack of a decent product at an entry-level price. To help you out of this issue, the brand Lyman has the Pro 1200 Tumbler for you to try. It is an entry-level unit that has many of the features that you find in professional-grade models.
For instance, it boasts a robust construction made of heavy-duty plastic. Do not let the plastic fool you as it can handle most abuse like a champ. The powerful motor in the unit also provides a consistent performance for anyone who cleans brass regularly.
In terms of capacity, it can handle around 350 units of .223 shells. The number might not be that high for a professional, but for a newbie, it is more than sufficient. On top of that, it can hold 2 pounds of media ensuring you get a thorough cleaning every time you power it up.
One missing feature that sometimes hurts with the unit is the lack of a power switch. This means that you need to prepare everything before you plug it in the wall socket. But if you can overlook this slight issue, the value you get from this affordable unit is extremely high.
5. Lyman Pro Magnum Tumbler (115-Volt)
For people with a bit more experience reloading the Pro 1200 might not be the best model. If you are one of them, the Pro Magnum tumbler by Lyman might be better suited to your needs. It features all the best things about the previous unit, with a little something extra for heavier users.
The first major upgrade with the unit is the higher brass capacity. It features a two-gallon bowl that can handle around 1000 .38 caliber units at a go for a thorough scrubbing. This capacity is significantly higher than the previous model for not that much of a price.
You also get a heavy-duty motor with this unit to deliver consistent and powerful performance. Despite having a larger capacity, the motor can clean through the volume with relative ease and no additional stress. There is no doubt that it is intended for people who require high volume tumbling at a low price.
One thing that this unit does not address though, is the airflow. Since it is an entirely enclosed structure, there is a chance of it overheating if you use it for a long enough period. However, drilling a few screws at the bottom easily fixes that. But for a new user, this trick might not be something that comes to mind easily.
6. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler Lite
For the next product on our review, we have another offering from the brand Frankford Arsenal. The Platinum Lite by the brand is a stripped-down version of the previous product you saw on our list featuring many of the best features at a budget-friendly price range.
It comes with a smaller capacity of 3.3 liters compared to the 7 liters of the previous unit. While it might not be the best for an experienced user, someone who is looking for a high-quality entry-level product, it is a great option. You can churn through 300 units of .223 brass at a go without any issue.
The unit is also quite user-friendly, giving you a clear window to monitor your cleaning progress in real-time. It comes in a compact form-factor with a simple on/off switch at the base to make things extremely efficient for the user. Furthermore, the large twist-cap on the bottle allows you to remove it quite easily.
Despite being an entry-level unit, the build quality is surprisingly good. It features a completely leak-proof design ensuring that your workspace will remain clean. In addition, the rubber sealing makes sure that any noise it produces is minimal, giving you pleasant work experience.
7. Hornady M-1 Case Tumbler (110V)
Wrapping up our list of reviews, we will be looking at a unit by the brand Hornady. Anyone involved in reloading business knows the brand and its reputation of building high-quality units. This model, despite its excellent performance, maintains an affordable price tag earning a well-deserved spot on our list.
It has a capacity of 400 units of .38 brass. The amount might not be the most on our list, but it is also not the least. Moreover, thanks to the included sifter, you can separate the polished brass easily after the strong cyclonic action of the tumbler takes care of the cleaning process.
The unit is not made for bigger batches. For the best performance, you should stick with smaller batches, and you would notice a fast cleaning action without any noise issues. With larger batches, it does get a bit noisier. So if you want to go through large volumes without noise, you are out of luck with this model.
Construction-wise, you have nothing to complain about. It comes with a solid build quality with adequate airflow to ensure it does not overheat. Running on 110V power, it will provide a consistent experience as long you stick within the specified capacity. It is a great little unit for anyone on a tight budget.
Things to Consider when Choosing the Best Brass Tumblers
After getting through our brass tumbler reviews, you must be itching to go out and buy one for yourself. However, before we let you go, it is essential for you to understand some of the features that make a good tumbler. Without learning to identify these elements, you always run the risk of investing in the wrong product.
To get the most value out of your purchase, here are the things that you should consider when buying the best brass tumblers.
With brass tumblers, the first thing that you want to consider is the total capacity. Whether you are a professional or a newbie beginner, you want to get the most brass cleaned at a single go. And the amount that you can tumble at once varies from one device to another.
So before making your purchase take some time to look at its maximum capacity. Usually, a brass tumbler will give you the amount for a specific type of cartridge, so you need to calculate the change if you are using a smaller or bigger caliber of ammunition.
It really does not matter if the brass tumbler comes with massive capacity unless it can efficiently clean it too. A good unit must be reliable and should offer you a good performance every time you put it to use. If you need to clean and polish a few cartridges repeatedly, then the unit is not doing its job properly.
If you stick with a reputed brand such as the ones that you saw on our list, you can be sure of reliable experience. This issue is more likely to occur with products from knock-off brands that claim absurd levels of quality at a dirt-cheap price. If a price is too good to be true, it usually is.
- Included accessories
Some brass tumblers give you not only the machine itself but also a few other nifty additions to get you started. Although you can buy these from the market yourself, it does add some extra value to your investment since you do not need to spend more on your project.
Some examples of this include a type of cleaning media or a simple basket to keep your cleaned brasses. Even the tiniest of elements can add extra value to your investment. Although not an essential factor, it might be worth looking for, especially if you are on a limited budget.
Obviously, you want your unit to be durable. But trying to determine the durability of a brass tumbler simply by looking at it can be tricky. First off, you need to look at the material used for its construction. Metal or steel construction are always preferred as they tend to be more durable. But plastic can also work depending on its quality.
Another section you need to check is the airflow of the unit. Without an adequate flow of air through your unit, it can overheat easily. This, in turn, can severely damage your unit and even fry its circuits. Heat and electronics do not go well, and that is why you need to ensure proper airflow in the brass tumbler.
Noise might not be something you think about when you are browsing the market. However, once you get your unit home and plug it in, it becomes apparent in the quiet environment of the workshop. Generally, loud appliances in your workshop are not a pleasant thing to have.
If you want to keep your work environment productive, it might be worth investing in a unit that produces less noise. A brass tumbler causes vibration when it is in use, which leads to a lot of noise. Although you cannot fully eliminate it, you can invest in products that keep the noise issue somewhat under control.
6. Time Investment
Finally, you should consider the time it takes for the tumbler to clean a certain amount of brass. You can only clean so many brasses a day, so you need to make sure you have the quickest time cleaning through a batch to make things more efficient for yourself.
Typically a solid tumbler can work through a batch in around 3 hours. However, the number of brasses you are using also plays a part in this case. If you are using more cartridges, the time it takes for a thorough cleaning will increase along with it. The key is to find the right balance that is most efficient for you.
The Pros and Cons of Reloading ammunition
Before we head into the list of reviews, we want to give you a proper understanding of what you will get out of reloading your ammo. We want you to be clear on your expectation and prepare yourself before you commit to buying your tool. This would make sure you are fully satisfied with your investment.
Reloading is not for everyone. It takes a lot on your part and tests your discipline. And not everyone can handle the delicate nature of the job. Instead of going out and spending your money on a reloading press, consider the following:
If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, then you have what it takes for reloading.
The main advantages of reloading ammunition are:
- Saves money on bullets
By reloading, you end up saving a lot of additional bullet costs. If you are someone who practices on the shooting range a lot, you already know how many bullets you chew through every month. If the expense of bullets are getting too much for you to handle, reloading gives you an easy way out of it.
Even after buying the necessary additional items like primers and such, you end up with a better value per bullet you reload compared to what you would spend by buying it. Since you can use any spent casings, you will not run out of reloading options anytime soon.
- You can improve your shooting experience
Reloading is not only an economical solution but also a practical one. In fact, many sharpshooters around the world prefer reloading their weapons instead of buying factory bullets. That does not mean there is anything wrong with the factory bullets. But reloaded ammunition allows you to optimize it for the best accuracy.
For experienced shooters, even the slightest increase in gunpowder can affect their aim. A veteran sharpshooter knows exactly how much gunpowder and primer he needs in his bullets, which allows him to prepare his ammo precisely. Even if you cannot match this level of insight, you can start experimenting with your reloading press.
- Unlimited Ammo
By reloading, you can potentially have unlimited ammo in your arsenal. As long as after a shooting session, you spend some time picking up the casings from the ground; you can reuse them to make new bullets. Casings can even be used multiple times in some cases.
- It is fun
Let’s not forget the best thing about reloading ammo; it is extremely fun. If you are someone who enjoys tinkering and likes to experiment with different projects, you will definitely enjoy reloading your ammo. There are a lot of things that you can learn about your bullet when you get into this job.
Learning and experimenting are definitely fun for a select group of people, but some might hate it too. So, it is important you understand yourself and know what you enjoy before investing your time, energy, and money in a reloading press. The last thing you want is for all of it to go to waste.
With some of the advantages covered, let us take a look at the problems you might face if you decide to take on reloading your own ammo.
- Huge starting investment
Although reloading does save a lot of money in the long run, the starting investment is quite high. Not only do you need to invest in a reloading press, but also many other elements such as primers, gunpowder, and even some bullets to collect the casings.
- Takes a lot of time
Reloading demands a lot of time on your part. You need to give yourself time to learn and must take things slowly. If you rush the process, not only will you fail at the task, but you might even harm yourself. People who are impatient by nature usually do not enjoy reloading ammo.
Reloading ammo is not something you would exactly call safe. Remember, you are dealing with gunpowder and bullets. If you rush things and make stupid judgment calls, the result could be fatal. So, you need to be patient and learn everything you can about reloading before you start experimenting with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I Need the best case tumbler?
For any reloading process, the first step is to find the casings. Since you can collect and reuse your old spent casings, you do not necessarily need to buy new ammo every time you want o reload. However, for that to work properly, you need a high-quality tumbler.
You cannot simply pick up old casings and start reloading it. It needs to be cleaned and polished before you can fix up its shape. With a tumbler, you can clean large volumes of casings easily in a matter of hours. Cleaning each of them by hand is an impossible task if you want to have an efficient reloading experience.
How long does a brass tumbler need to clean the casings?
The simple answer to this question is as long as it takes. There is no exact answer to this question as it depends on a number of variables. For instance, the number of casings that you are planning to clean plays a significant impact on the time it takes for the batch to be cleaned.
Furthermore, the power of the unit is also something you must consider. If you want a general answer, you can expect anywhere from 3 to 4 hours when working on a batch of around 300-400 casings. Another factor that impacts this time period is the type of casing that you are cleaning.
How do make my brass shine like new using a tumbler?
To make your brass shine, you should stick to dry tumbling. Since with dry tumbling, you do not need to think about soap or any other chemicals building-up on the casings; it is usually the best route if you want that pure shiny look.
Ideally, you should leave the casings inside he tumbler as long as you can. With more time spent inside the tumbler, the casings will start to shine. For an added effect, you can add some car wax inside the tumbler to give it a polished feel.
There is surely a lot more to learn when you want to start reloading your ammo. But if you are looking at brass tumblers, know that you are on the right track. It would take a lot of your patience, and you need to be disciplined if you want to succeed in this task.
The best brass tumbler sure makes things easier in the long run. It is, in many cases, the first step to reloading. If you have it covered, the rest of the processes become far easier to master.
After going through our extensive article, you should now have a decent idea of which products are worth your time and attention. We hope we could shed some light on the matter and make things easy for you when you are looking for the right product.