Best Brass Case Tumblers for Reloading
Reloading can be a blast, but only if you have clean brass casings with which to seat your bullets! In fact, cleaning your brass casings is arguably the most important part of the preparation for a reloading session. You have to make sure the casings are clean if you want things to go smoothly.
However, no one wants to spend hours on end cleaning their reloading casings by hand or in small batches in the sink. That’s why tumblers are so effective and appreciated by reloaders across the world. Let’s take a look at the best brass case tumblers on the market.
The Best Brass Case Tumblers
This is a pricier than average Rotary tumbler, but it’s well worth the asking price when you consider its features. It includes a stainless steel media and a liquid cleaning solution combined to clean brass on the outside and inside much more thoroughly compared to other vibrating tumblers.
It features small stainless steel pins that can easily slip into cases and primer sockets; these help to clean some of the dirtiest places on a brass casing that are often missed. It also features a high-capacity drum that can hold up to 1000 pieces of .223 or similar sized brass.
Even better, it features a built-in timer that can be set to run between zero and three hours depending on your needs. They can also be automatically shut off and features a large end cap for easy loading and unloading. An additional pair of sifter pans make it easy to separate pins from cases.
All in all, this tumbler is a great example of the machine’s value at the top of the pricing chart; it’s for those looking for the best of the best.
This pick shows us a high-quality vibrating tumbler. It features a 1.75-gallon bowl, allowing you to handle about 315 rifle casings sized similarly to 30-06 cartridges at a single time. Even when loaded to capacity, it’ll still manage to clean all your casings thoroughly and quickly.
The tumbler is powered by a heavy-duty motor that aggressively cleans the inside and outside of your brass casings. It even comes in two varieties: one in 110 V for domestic use and a 230 V variety if you want to use it in international settings.
It’s easy to load and use, making it a great beginner tumbler for those who don’t need anything too fancy. Since it can be a bit loud, we’d recommend setting it aside in the garage and letting it clean while you’re away.
This high-quality vibrating tumbler does the job and nothing more, but many reloaders will appreciate this simplicity and quality.
This is another rotary tumbler with a relatively high asking price. But it comes with a rubber line drum, which not only keeps the noise of the tumbler down but also protects your brass casings as they are being cleaned. Even better, the purchase comes with a stainless steel media and a liquid media so you don’t have to buy them separately yourself.
The drum rotates at about 60 RPM to uniformly clean all the casings up to its maximum capacity. It’s easy to move around thanks to the ergonomic handle on the drum, which also lets you load and unload your brass casings relatively quickly and easily. It’s available in either 124 or 240 V models for use in the US or European countries.
This pricey tumbler nonetheless comes with everything you need to thoroughly clean your brass casings, including the media you have to purchase yourself otherwise.
This is a vibrating tumbler that’s quite affordable, with an excellent overall capacity of about 350 cases per cycle. It can also hold up to 2 pounds of media to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of every case you throw inside. An additional sifter lid is included with the purchase to let you quickly and easily separate media from your brass casings.
The tumbler is exceptionally easy to use and rests on a circular base that remains stable even at maximum speed and cleaning power. It features rubber feet to prevent it from moving as it’s being used and prevent it from rattling noisily in your garage.
Even better, the electric motor is thermally protected to prevent it from overheating even if you use it for multiple cycles in a row.
This simple vibrating tumbler is an excellent pick if you don’t need anything too fancy but want a device that can reliably clean your brass without breaking in the process.
Here’s another vibrating tumbler with fantastic capacity: up to around 600 casings at the 9 mm size or so, with even more room for smaller cartridges. Even for larger rifle casings, you should be able to fit several hundred within the cleaning drum without too much trouble.
It has a unique bowl design that’s meant to increase brass agitation and facilitate aggressive cleaning. This also reduces wear on dies and can extend the life of your brass. An included sifter pan helps you to separate the media from your brass once cleaning is finished.
Even better, the tumbler comes with a clear lid that lets you look into the bowl as cleaning is occurring. You can then shut the tumbler off once things are clean rather than having to guess. Altogether, the tumbler gets rid of lube and tarnish quickly and is best used with dry medias.
It’s a top-tier vibrating tumbler that’s simple and extremely easy to use, with a clear observation lid, a cord mount to keep things organized, and a fantastic bowl design.
What Is a Tumbler and Why Does It Matter?
A reloading tumbler is a machine you use to clean brass casings in bulk. Before tumblers and similar machines were invented, brass casings had to be cleaned either by hand or in glass bowls with cleaning chemicals in hot water. While this works just fine to clean away the grease and dirt on brass casings, it also takes a lot longer than many reloaders like to spend. This is especially true if you want to reload high quantities of ammunition at once.
Brass casings must be cleaned before they are reloaded in a press and slotted into a rifle or magazine. This is also true for hobbyist reloaders that pick up brass casings from the gun range in order to save a few bucks. Even if the brass looks clean on the outside, you need to fully clean the casing for it to react properly within your rifle and prevent a critical malfunction. Cleaning brass also makes it last longer.
In a nutshell, tumblers possess motors that vibrate a bowl filled with casings, water and/or a cleaning media. The cleaning media is the chemical or the substance that rubs away the dirt and debris off of a brass casing. One of the most common media is ground walnut shells.
The tumbler motor vibrates the bowl and forces the media elements to rub against the brass casings. This physically removes mud, dirt, grease, and even tarnish from your brass casings over time. Some tumblers only make a light hum that isn’t too distracting to the ear or the mind, meaning you can let the tumbler run in your reloading workshop while you do other things.
Tumblers can clean an entire bucket of brass casings in an hour or less. This is why many reloaders find them extremely helpful to their hobby, especially compared to hand cleaning the brass casings.
Things to Look For in a Brass Case Tumbler
Before you finalize a purchase, consider the following factors in you can determine which brass case tumbler will be ideal for your needs.
Brass case tumblers come in two major types: rotary and vibrating. Rotary tumblers are a little more expensive but, they also incorporate wet media like hot water or cleaning solution in addition to the dry media like walnut shells. Rotary tumblers theoretically do a little better job of cleaning away tarnish and grease or debris that is rubbed deeper into the brass casing material.
Vibrating tumblers are simpler, cheaper, and only use dry media. However, both types can be effective depending on how you use them and how much brass you put into their bowls.
Some brass tumblers are made with cheaper materials like plastic. Others may be made primarily with steel or aluminum, though they are more expensive. The trade-off is that cheaper tumblers are a little less durable over time. However, these materials are usually fine for most reloaders, as you don’t expect to put the tumbler through lots of wear and tear.
The next most important factor to consider is capacity. Most tumblers can handle up to about 300 brass casings in a single batch. But you may want to clean even more cartridges at a time, in which case you’ll want a tumbler that can take up to 1000 casings or more in a single batch. There’s no right or wrong answer here; it just depends on how quickly you want to clean your brass casing collection. Keep in mind that larger capacities usually require larger motors, so those tumblers may be a bit louder.
Speaking of which, consider the noise factor a tumbler is reported to have either via user reviews for the tumbler or the product specifications. Quieter tumblers are easier to use indoors, like if you have to set it up in a kitchen, or in a crowded garage if you don’t have lots of space for your reloading kit. Alternatively, louder tumblers can be placed in the garage when no one is around and vibrates in peace without disturbing anyone.
The vast majority of reloading tumblers are powered with a cord that can be plugged into a standard power outlet. But if you rely on portable batteries that can be recharged or powered by a generator. These are more effective if you want to bring your tumbler with you out in the field or to the firing range for whatever reason.
Types of Cases They Can Clean
Finally, some tumblers can only clean certain types of brass casings. This also impacts their overall capacity. Be sure that the tumbler you are considering can take the primary type and size of casings that you use for your reloading efforts. It would be a shame to purchase an excellent tumbler only to find that it doesn’t work well with your brass casings.
In the end, the ideal brass case tumbler for your reloading workshop will depend on your needs and preferences. Hopefully one of our favorites is a great fit for your setup; if not, remember how we determined the best brass casing tumblers and use that to find the ideal machine. Good luck!