TESTED: Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite

There are many times when I have need to clean small lots of previously fired brass. It could be for load development, a cartridge that I don’t shoot much of, or it could be separate cleanings for each headstamp for a particular cartridge (sorted by headstamp). In these scenarios, I prefer a moderately sized cleaning device so that I can conserve on cleaning material and also maximize efficiency. In this article, I’ll be demonstrating Frankford Arsenal’s solution for this scenario: the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite. Check out the video where I tumble a BUNCH of my previously fired Starline 224 Valkyrie cases!

What’s Included

The Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite comes with everything shown above:

  • Base with motorized drive
  • Cap
  • Window and gasket
  • Instruction booklet

All you need to add in order to start cleaning is some tumbling media, cleaning solution (optional), and a separator.

Here’s the specs for the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite. From the Midsouth Shooters Supply Product Page:

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler LITE 110V (Stainless Steel Media Tumbler)
by Frankford Arsenal

Midsouth Shooters now offers the new Frankford Arsenal Rotary Case Tumbler Lite. The Rotary Case Tumbler Lite has many of the great features that are in the Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler, but in a smaller, more compact design. The Rotary Tumbler lite is capable of tumbling up to 300 pieces of 223 brass and is perfect for specialty cartridges and lower volume reloading. Featuring a simple ON/Off switch and a maintenance free, direct drive electric motor as well as a leak proof cap that is clear and allows you to check up on the tumbling action while keeping your reloading area clean and dry. The smooth rotary action allows small stainless steel pins to easily penetrate inside cases and into primer pockets to deliver unbeatable cleaning power. The drum is light and easy to lift off to dump into a media separator once the cases are clean. The cap has an integrated carry handle, making it easy to screw on and off as well as making it a easy to carry the drum, even when full of brass and media. 

Specifications and Features:

    • Smaller, more compact design
    • Easy ON/OFF function
    • Holds up to 300 pieces of .223 brass
    • Works great with stainless steel pins
    • Leak-proof cap design
    • Clear viewing window in cap
    • 3.3L capacity

Wet Tumbling with the Rotary Tumbler Lite

Wet tumbling with the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite is super easy! Here are the steps (my cleaning process,  options will vary)

  1. Open the drum (screw off lid, remove window and gasket)
  2. Fill drum with brass (up to 300  223 cases for reference)
  3. Pour in tumbling media (I use stainless pins, enough to mostly cover brass)
  4. Pour in cleaning solution (Here I’m trying Frankford Arsenal cleaning solution which works great)
  5. Fill with water (to neck below flange)
  6. Insert window and gasket, cap. Then tighten (doesn’t take much torque)
  7. Place drum on machine and turn on
  8. Wait 20-60 minutes (longer if you’re restoring very tarnished brass)
  9. Remove drum from tumbler
  10. Remove cap, window, gasket
  11. Pour brass and solution into strainer or media separator
  12. Optional: use magnet to separate pins
  13. Dry brass

I like to leave the cap and window/gasket off the drum so that it can dry out inside.

For drying brass you have some good options:

  1. Air dry on towell (they need to be FULLY dry inside before loading)
  2. Place brass on cookie sheet and bake in oven (low heat, about 150 deg. F)
  3. Put brass in brass dryer

Frankford Arsenal makes a case dryer that should work great (haven’t used it yet myself):

Conclusion

The Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite is the perfect tool for cleaning medium sized lots of brass. This will be my go-to cleaning tool for brass quantities up to about 500 9mm cases or 300 223 cases. The 224 Valkyrie brass I cleaned turned out perfect in under an hour. And I love the window that shows you what’s happening inside. This makes it super-easy to monitor the tumbling action (verifying you have the right ratio of brass + media + water).

Midsouth Shooters Supply has all of the Frankford Arsenal tools and supplies you need for wet tumbling brass:

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Thanks,
Gavin

4 thoughts on “TESTED: Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite”

  1. For many years I used a vibratory tumbler and corn cob media with less than desirable results. The big pieces of crud were gone but primer pockets had to be brushed, media had to be poked out of the flash holes. and even though I used a media separator, my bench always had media on it. The first time I used this tumbler it was like Christmas morning. Dump nasty range brass in and new brass comes out. The primer pockets are perfectly clean as are the inside of the cases. Money well spent.

  2. As the saying goes, “the proof of the pudding”, is showing the viewers the dirty brass with the primers removed and showing the viewers the cleaned brass (including the brass pockets) after going through the tumbler.

  3. A step I find necessary is to tap each piece on a soft piece of wood to dislodge any pins trapped inside. Check flash hole too. I would estimate 3 to 5% will have pins inside the case.

  4. Gavin, Where can I get the set of 2 sifting trays you used for separating the brass from the SS pins? Looks like a very efficient step in the process. Thanks, Gene

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