What size tumbler

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Lost One, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Lost One

    Lost One New Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    SLC, Ut.
    I have been looking around at tumblers and doing some reading about them. Now more than likely I would be using it for a couple hundred cases but who knows about the future maybe some day I will want to run larger batch's at one time.

    Reading one article said that you should keep to a smaller size tumbler if you are not doing large batch's and that it would clean better than using a large tumbler that is not loaded close to capacity. I had my eye on the Lyman 2500 Pro Magnum which would give me plenty of room to grow. Those of you that have larger tumblers do you find if you do a small batch does it take longer or not clean as good as a smaller tumblers would?

    I'm just trying to get a list together of the equipment that I want so when the time comes I can start looking for sales or where the item is that I want.
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    It's not a question of how big of a tumbler do you need, it's more like How Many? I'd say go for capacity on the first one and then later on down the road you can pick up another one. I personally don't find much difference in tumbler size, but that is due to the fact that I have them on timers and I set it and let it do its job. When time is up, I can't tell the difference. You question brings up some testing ideas though. Next time i have a sizeable batch, I'll try out some methods to better answer your question.

    I have two at the moment, a Lyman1200 and a Frank-Arsenal/Midway special. They both do the job required quite nicely. I use the two to seperate between rifle/pistol and large/small cases as needed.

  3. KellyTTE

    KellyTTE New Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    Denver CO
    Woolley, what kind of timers do you use?
  4. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    Just don't buy one from Harbor Freight. The first one that I bought was a drum roller that broke its belt every 3rd time I used it. The second was the vibratory tumbler and that started falling apart after the fifth load.

    This is what I finally bought and it works perfectly HERE
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  5. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    The key to successfully using a barrel tumbler is to keep the barrel at least half full but not so full that you lose the "sliding" action as the media and load revolve. It is this sliding action that generates the motion required to polish or clean your product. If the barrel is too full, the material merely turns around and the lack of sliding motion prevents the most effective cleaning action. Too little material in the barrel likewise doesn't work well because you lack sufficient weight of material bearing down on the material in motion, and this slight pressure is needed to polish. The equivalent would be applying polish to your car and then very, very lightly rubbing with a cloth. A certain amount of pressure is required to polish.

    I would also suggest buying what will work best for you now, then add another tumbler later. That way you can clean in one machine and polish in another, or run two different calibers at the same time.
  6. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    When I first started reloading I bought a barrel tumbler, very small one , it may have held 100 .45 cases. Not long after that I bought a Lyman Turbo 600 Tumbler, similar to this link: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=286322 I gave the barrel tumbler to my neighbor about 3 years ago and it is still going strong.

    Two years ago, after about 30 or so years, that one quit vibrating so I ordered the Turbo 1200 base directly from Lyman and I am still using the two original bowls. The small bowl will hold about 200 .45 cases and the large one will hold about twice that amount.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  8. olehippy

    olehippy New Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    S Tx near San Antonio
    "Just don't buy one from Harbor Freight". . .

    :D I think everything I bought from Harbor Freight broke down or didnt work (before I learned better!:eek:), you got fairly good service out of the crap the sale!

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  9. Lost One

    Lost One New Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    SLC, Ut.
    I was looking at the Lyman 2500, I was reading about it on Cabela's site but after reading some of the reviews about it I'm not sure. I am also looking at the Model UV-18 Industrial from Thumler. I would prefer to pay more and get one that will last than to get one that I would save $$$ in the start and have to replace often.
  10. Suwannee Tim

    Suwannee Tim New Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    I've done tumbling in industrial processes and I know a bit more than the average bear about it. The cleaning effect will be little influenced by the charge of parts and even if it was, just run a little longer. Get a big one unless you have a good reason to get a small tumbler. Looking at the UV-18, it certainly seems as it would do you a good job. I've used a Dillon with good results.

    Agreed though I have some gear pullers and a strut compressor I got from Harbor Freight that have worked every time I needed them. I got the compressor cheap, at NAPA it was expensive, same exact tool.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
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