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Review: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Tumbler

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Dyjital, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    A couple of years ago I was using a Harbor Freight (Chicago Electric) lapidary drum to clean the brass that I was using. While I have absolutely zero complaints from that machine (I had the dual drum), I was finding that my ability to process quantities of brass lacked.... and lacked.

    Fast forward to three years later.

    Finally I made the move towards a larger tumbler.
    713881.jpg

    When I got this mammoth of a box home and opened it, surprisingly it was just like the above image! No way!!!

    The real test was in the capacity since I knew already that using stainless media was a winner for cleaning brass. I've heard how amazing vibratatory tumblers work, how great ultrasonic cleaners work... no thanks. More pins for me.

    The Frankford Tumbler comes with 5 pounds of stainless media. Yes, that's 5 pounds. Additional batches of 5 pounds can be purchased on the shelf of most sports stores under the Frankford Arsenal brand ($50) or by going to Stainless Steel Reloading Supplies | Tumblers, Separators, Media, Brass & More! (http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/) and ordering there.

    Reasons why I went the Frankford Arsenal route:
    • Capacity, they advertise 1,000 .223 cases
    • Came with media, meaning I could sell my old tumbler with the media and not need to buy more
    • Timer, cannot count the times I forgot about my brass and left it tumbling longer than I wanted to
    Here are some before and after:

    Before:
    Photo May 25, 12 22 22 PM.jpg

    After: Granted this was a 1 hour tumble and I didn't have enough soap in there.
    Photo May 25, 3 53 12 PM.jpg

    Some .308 brass after a 90 minute tumble:

    Photo Jun 09, 11 31 00 PM.jpg

    Zero enhancements were made to the images. Photos taken with an iPhone 6s.
    I could show that all primer pockets after the 90 minute run were completely clean, flash holes were clean and brass cycles well through sizing dies (in the handgun cases).

    I use this:
    ultra_shine_wash_wax_64-oz.png
    I found that using Dawn or a "strip it all" detergent would leave spots on the brass and that was not acceptable (even for aesthetics). Also using a detergent with no wax would allow your fingerprints to leave oxidize marks from any oils you have on your hands (yes even sweat) and tarnish the brass. Using the above with the wax has allowed me to keep brass clean and especially when doing large amounts of pistol brass, running the lightly waxed cases up into a sizing die is butter smooth.

    Since purchasing the tumbler I have added a brass dryer (temp controlled food dehydrator) by Frankford Arsenal. It was time for me to stop using an old baking pan that was ruined and the house oven. It was just time to quit that tomfoolery. Have not used the brass dryer yet... will post up review afterwards.


    I have received zero compensation for this review.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
    mjbskwim, PBinWA, 2ndtimer and 4 others like this.
  2. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Awesome!
    What discolors my brass is the heated drying i I do.
    I tinkered with the recipe many times, settling on a small amount of dawn and some lemon juice. (half oz). My last 10 or so batches of rifle brass have yielded bright brass like yours. Air drying, it stays bright.
    I'll have to try the armorall - thanks for the tip!
     
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  3. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Nice! I bought an older, but still new in box rock tumbler last year - it's got 2 large drums with lots of capacity. I've not yet run brass through it, but I'm definitely sold on the wet method, the results are a step above the vibratory method. I'll have to check out the Armor All product you reference.
     
  4. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    @P7id10T and @etrain16

    Something interesting... If you don't use enough soap your brass comes out black. If that ever happens drain, fill and run for about 30 minutes with a little more than you used last time. You will find the right amount over a few sessions. With the FA tumbler I'm using about an ounce and a half. Impossible to use too much, but so easy to use not enough.
     
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  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good to know, thanks!
     
  6. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    I still use Lemi-Shine along with the Armorall with mine. Really nice to switch from the drum tumbler with 2 small drums to something bigger. Cuts down the time considerably.
     
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  7. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    I also use the FA tumbler and it does an excellent job with Dawn and a small amount of Lemi-shine. I will have to try the Armor-All Ultra Shine wash and wax with mine. How much do you use? I just put a decent squirt of Dawn with a 1/4 teaspoon of Lemi-shine. As for drying, I just spread the brass out on a couple old towels on the backyard deck for an hour or two in the summer and it almost gets too hot to touch!
     
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  8. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    With the Armorall, I don't use any Dawn detergent. I just dump some in, probably about a quarter cup. If you have lots of suds left over, you're probably adding too much soap.
     
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  9. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    @2ndtimer
    Ounce or two. Takes a little more than a straight detergent.
     
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  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I peen harden my brass by shooting it.






















    :hide
     
  11. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    30 bucks for 5# pins @ Cabela's on line, shipped to Tualatin store for pickup.
     
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  12. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Just tossed some quasi clean brass in the tumbler (.223x250) to do a final clean before they are sold.... Fully processed, and the water was black still. 30 minutes only. Currently they are in the brass dryer at 160*, we will see how dry they are in an hour.

    image.jpeg
     
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  13. Gonzales

    Gonzales Albany, OR Member

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    I have been using mine for awhile. I tried using just the Armorall, but found that the carbon would always mix with the wax. Not that that is a bad thing. Brass that is too clean is worse than dirty.

    So I now use Dawn and lemishine for the main tumble. After I tumble and do the initial rinse, I dump the brass into a 5 gal bucket of lukewarm soapy Armorall, then give it a quick final rinse with cold water.

    I end up with stupid shiny brass with a thin protective coating. It seems to be storing well. This was one of my main conserns. I did not want my freshly cleaned brass to start oxidizing immediately after I had cleaned it.

    One thing to note, I'd deprime all your brass if you are going to tumble. I've had problems with primer residue leaching out and etching the insides of the cases, if they are left in. I rinsed the crap out of it too! Left over Lemishine in the primers?
     
  14. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    I found that too, the blackening on the cases. Turned out adding more soap fixed it. :) I guess my ratio was off.

    That nasty black film was gross.
     
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  15. ageingstudent

    ageingstudent NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Yes on decapping first. I tried one batch without decapping first a couple years ago and the pockets took forever to dry out and still smelled like a mix of cleaning fluid and burnt primer residue. I don't want wet contaminated primer pockets; heck that's where all the good stuff starts.

    I just dry tumble after the pin cleaning with some nu finish or Cabela's cartridge polish. It makes the brass feel like butter in the dies and I almost never have to clean my dies anymore. The brass stays shiny in storage that way too. Brass I process today usually doesn't get fired till next year so no hurry.
     
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  16. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    This has thoroughly convinced me that I need to upgrade.
     
  17. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    Keep an eye out for sales at Cabelas. When I bought mine, it was on sale, plus they had a $20 off coupon I also have their credit card so used points too. Don't remember what the final price was, but it was a pretty sweet deal.
     
  18. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  19. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    They just had them for $165
     
  20. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yep, I just picked up 5# on Friday. Great deal.
     
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