Frankford Arsenal Roller Tumbler...experiences.
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Thread: Frankford Arsenal Roller Tumbler...experiences.

  1. #1
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    Default Frankford Arsenal Roller Tumbler...experiences.

    I have watched several YouTubes on this machine.
    Comments range from Top of the Mark to Absolute Junk ( leaks, burnt-out motors, hard to start, then runs 10-15 minutes and stops, etc).
    Any GB members' experience, advice? Or should I stick with RCBS or Lyman ( liquid w. Steel pins), or go back to my Granulated Dry PVC?
    TIA,
    Doc AV

  2. #2
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    I can't see any advantage of it over a vibrator tumbler.

    As for a roller tumbler, I built my own. It's a wet tumbler using ss pins.

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  3. #3
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    From the experiences of a few friends that jumped on the steel pin bandwagon I'd say the Frankfort Arsenal stuff is as it always has been. Some lasts forever and some won't work out of the box. Its all chinese made and a lottery. My cheap $35 vibrator tumbler lasted about 6 years of hard use and my dillon heavy duty lasted about 10 months. If I was going to buy a steel pin tumbler I'd buy one I knew was good or like some of the others here build something. I know a few guys who bought the Thumlers Tumblers and they are all working well. 2 of the guys are commercial loaders and their equipment sees extensive use. For what you could be doing with the time it takes to build something I'd buy a thumlers tumbler if I was going for the steel pins. They're more expensive but solid and durable. You can load a lot of blanks in the time you'd spend building a tumbler. Make money-spend money....you choose.

    The steel pins do some serious cleaning and even get the insides of the primer pockets shiny. We do find that there are some issues with bullet pull after cleaning so thoroughly so most of the long range target guys either use a neck lube or just the vibratory tumblers that don't clean the carbon out of the necks.

    Frank
    Ich hab den Reset-Knopf gedrückt
    Doch nichts ist passiert

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  5. #4
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    Aren't these the same thing you can buy from Harbor Freight or any lapidary supply for half to 1/3rd the price?
    Live, learn and be happy.
    Vic

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosinitis View Post
    Aren't these the same thing you can buy from Harbor Freight or any lapidary supply for half to 1/3rd the price?
    Yes, actually the vibe tumbler from Harbor Freight looks exactly like the one from Frankfort Arsenal (and a couple other brands) - at about 2/3 the price. My daughter bought me one from HF several years ago and it's still running. But I don't use pins in it.
    "Never argue with someone who is stupid, they will just bring you down to their level of stupid and then beat you with their experience with being stupid." -
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  7. #6
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    After all the comments, I thinkI will stick with Lyman for small
    Lots (100-200 rifle shells, 300 pistol shells,)
    And build my own with a 20 litre plastic drum with a clamp-on sealed lid. And a decent horse-power motor with positive toothed belt drive (washing machine type, for use with bulk:
    500-1000 cases).

    Thanks to all who contributed.
    Doc AV

  8. #7
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    Doc, I suggest not using a motor smaller than a continuous duty 1/3 HP.

    Many of the tumblers I looked at before I built mine (including Thumbler) had light duty 1/8 HP motors and light duty round (sewing machine) drive belts. The complaints on these machines were mainly burnt out motors and stretched/broken belts.

    A toothed belt and pulleys aren't really required, even for heavier loads. A 4L V-belt and properly sized pulleys (to get the proper barrel rpms) will work fine as long as you build in a way to properly tension the belt.

    The pulleys I use are a 1" on the motor shaft, and a 5" on the roller shaft. And figuring in the diameter of the barrel I end up with approximately 40 rpms from a 1700+ rpm motor.
    "Never argue with someone who is stupid, they will just bring you down to their level of stupid and then beat you with their experience with being stupid." -
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  9. #8
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    The old Thumber Tumblers run forever. They were made for rock tumbling where they run for days on end. I have a Model A-R6 that just keeps on running after over a quarter of a century that I've owned it and it's hard telling how long it was used before I got it. I plug it into a timer and set it for 2 1/2 hours and it turns itself off when it's finished.

    You can tumble wet or dry with it. I prefer dry with corncob media since you don't have to fool with drying out the cartridges. The cartridges don't need to be squeaky clean to work perfectly anyway. In fact they don't need anything but the grit cleaned off so it doesn't harm your dies.

    The only thing I had to do to it is replace the belt a couple of times over the years which only takes a couple of seconds to do.



  10. #9
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    If you're building your own drum you need to make sure you're setting up something inside to keep things moving around. A round drum will just let stuff slide and it doesn't really work very well. Most of the better tumblers have flats inside with rubber linings to keep things moving well. I know some guys using concrete mixers with steel pins but thats a bit over the top for me.


    Frank
    Ich hab den Reset-Knopf gedrückt
    Doch nichts ist passiert

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook49 View Post
    The old Thumber Tumblers run forever. They were made for rock tumbling where they run for days on end. I have a Model A-R6 that just keeps on running after over a quarter of a century that I've owned it and it's hard telling how long it was used before I got it. I plug it into a timer and set it for 2 1/2 hours and it turns itself off when it's finished.

    You can tumble wet or dry with it. I prefer dry with corncob media since you don't have to fool with drying out the cartridges. The cartridges don't need to be squeaky clean to work perfectly anyway. In fact they don't need anything but the grit cleaned off so it doesn't harm your dies.

    The only thing I had to do to it is replace the belt a couple of times over the years which only takes a couple of seconds to do.


    I've had one for 40 yrs...replaced belts (about 8 so far) and works like a champ. Slow...not fast like a vibrator type brass cleaner but its good for wet or dry. I'd trust it far more than Frankfort Arsenal model.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post
    I've had one for 40 yrs...replaced belts (about 8 so far) and works like a champ. Slow...not fast like a vibrator type brass cleaner but its good for wet or dry. I'd trust it far more than Frankfort Arsenal model.
    One other good thing about the Thumbler rotary tumbler is that they're quiet. You can actually stay in the same room with it while its running. All you hear is the muffled clinking sound of the cartridges tumbling in the rubber drum instead of that loud vibrating sound coming from the vibrators with the plastic bowls.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by amafrank View Post
    If you're building your own drum you need to make sure you're setting up something inside to keep things moving around. A round drum will just let stuff slide and it doesn't really work very well. Most of the better tumblers have flats inside with rubber linings to keep things moving well. I know some guys using concrete mixers with steel pins but thats a bit over the top for me.

    Frank
    Most definitely! My barrel is a piece of heavy-wall, 6" diameter PVC. I took an 1 1/2" diameter piece and split it lengthways for my agitators.

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    "Never argue with someone who is stupid, they will just bring you down to their level of stupid and then beat you with their experience with being stupid." -
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  14. #13
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    So, I bought a Frankford wet tumbler after lots of advice from other shooters, esp. since I'm shooting more and more black powder these days. I've used dry media vibratory tumblers for 30 years, with good results, but this wet tumbler with the SS pins cleans beyond anything I could imagine with my Lyman 1200 AutoFlo--cases are so clean they look brand new, inside and out. It is stunning. Does it help my accuracy>? Hard to say, but it probably helps preserve those big and expensive BPCR cases.
    I use SS pins and and about a teaspoon of Dawn detergent, and fill the tumbler completely with water after loading the cases and pins. I found that if I wetted the end cap gaskets with water and a bit of detergent before sealing they wont leak. Usually two hours or less cleans everything completely. A little bit of a learning curve at first, but after I figured out how to strain out the water, using the extra fine strainer screen Frankfurt sells, then shake the pins out with the regular strainer, it has become routine. No durability issues so far, a few months into it.
    Last edited by FGD135; 07-06-2020 at 02:52 PM.
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  15. #14
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    I have positive results with my Frankford Arsenal Tumbler. I have been using it for over 2 years now. No leaks no problems at all. In fact I just finished tumbling 250 303 British cases minutes ago. They come out like brand new brass. I gave my old Lyman vibrator to my friend. The Lyman had the one with the vents on it. Dust used to come out from the vents. I was concerned that the dust may have been a health hazzard and later moved it to the shed. Now the dust is absorbed in the water and I dump it down the drain. If you buy one get the magnet to pick up the pins.
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