Harbor Freight Dual drum rotary tumbler

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by res1b3uq, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. res1b3uq

    res1b3uq Active Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    I took a friend to Abilene yesterday for a Dr.'s appointment, and all of our visits to Abilene wind up at Harbor Freight. On a bench just inside the door sat three tumblers.The dual drum rotary was 39.95. The two vibrators were more expensive. I bought the rotary, along with 25 lbs. of walnut hulls. When I got home, I read the instructions, which naturally told me nothing about tumbling brass. I pulled the tumbler out of the box, and it seemed ready to go, but the instructions said to oil the bushings with one drop of oil, which I did. I put one cup of walnuts into one of the barrels, and then put deprimed, sized, .45ACP brass into the barrel
    until it looked to be about 3/4 full. I put nothing else in the mix. I only filled one barrel, since I was just checking the machine out. It requires some care to put the lid back on the barrel, but it is not a problem. The metal lid is aluminum-I think they use stainless on some of the more expensive tumblers. I set the machine on the bathroom floor and plugged it in and turned it on at 9:30pm. There is very little noise from this machine, which is why I bought the rotary in the first place. At 8:00am this morning, I cut the machine off and unplugged it. When I opened the barrel, I found clean, satin-shined brass. The primer pockets, as well as the interior of the brass, had been cleaned, although the inside was not as clean as the outside. I have been manually cleaning the primer pockets, so this was fine for me. (I was amazed when scanning the internet, that many do not clean their primer pockets). Almost every one of the primer holes had walnut in them, so I did have to clean these up with a small jewelers screwdriver. I was surprised to find that I had cleaned 57 pieces of .45ACP brass while I was sleeping. I did not weigh the barrel, but I do not feel the barrel was overloaded, and I feel the machine will handle both barrels full with no problem. (The other barrel was on the machine even though it was empty). Conclusion: The Harbor Freight Rotary Tumbler (Chicago Electric) Will do the job, if you are a cheapskate like me. It is not as refined as some of the more expensive tumblers. I do not know if it would handle larger rifle ammo as well as it does pistol ammo. 25lbs. of walnut will last me two lifetimes, but it cost less than 1.00 per pound. The machine has a 90 day warranty, which should be enough if it is going to burn up. I think the full replacement warranty is 5.95 a year. Everything considered, I am pleased with my purchase.:p


  2. TxEMTP69

    TxEMTP69 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

    Feb 17, 2009
    sweet, I may have to go check it out. never thought to look there for anything firearm related
  3. Bullseye Shooter

    Bullseye Shooter Active Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Texas Panhandle
    I've been using a Lortone rotary tumbler (their QT-12 model) since around 1974. You'll find that if your brass is not too dirty to begin with, that it should be clean enought to reload within an hour or two.

    The Lortone is still made and will handle a pretty good quantity of cases. They are more expensive than your Harbor Freight find. I use walunt shell media from HF, as well. Good price and it works. I usually add a very small amount of brasso or Nu-Finish car wax to the media. When it gets too dirty to clean the brass effectively, I use it in old shot bags to make rests for the rifle range.
  4. texasjim

    texasjim New Member

    Sep 9, 2008
    cleaning tumbler media i.e. walnut shells

    when your media gets dirty you can revive it by washing it in a 5 gal bucket with some dawn dishwashing soap an old gunny taught me this trick just swish it around and flush out the dirt then pour it out on an old newspaper to dry I then recharge it with a little brasso or other media polish all it takes is about 2 tablespoons full for 5 lb. of media jim
  5. freedomjesse

    freedomjesse New Member

    Mar 14, 2009

    I bought the vibratory tumbler at harbor freight here in Lubbock and am using some frankford arsenal fine walnut hulls. Works excellent. $49.99 much cheaper than some of the others, same size.

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