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Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Recipe

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The Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler is a popular and efficient tool used for cleaning and polishing brass casings in the process of reloading ammunition.

It offers a thorough and consistent cleaning method, ensuring that brass is not only free of dirt and residue but also polished to a high standard. Here are some key features and considerations regarding the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler:

Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Recipe


  • Brass casings
  • Stainless steel media pins
  • Water
  • Cleaning solution (optional)


  1. Start by collecting the brass casings you want to clean.
  2. Add the stainless steel media pins to the rotary tumbler. These pins help in scrubbing off dirt and residue from the brass.
  3. Place the brass casings into the tumbler with the media pins.
  4. Add water to cover the casings and pins. The water acts as a lubricant and aids in the cleaning process.
  5. Optionally, you can add a brass cleaning solution to enhance the cleaning power. Follow the recommended dosage on the cleaning solution packaging.
  6. Close the tumbler securely and turn it on. Let it run for a sufficient amount of time, typically 1-4 hours, depending on the level of cleaning needed.
  7. Once the cleaning cycle is complete, drain the dirty water and separate the brass casings from the media pins.
  8. Rinse the casings thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaning solution or residue.
  9. Allow the brass casings to dry completely before reloading.

This recipe should help you achieve clean and polished brass casings for reloading.

What is the purpose of using a rotary tumbler for brass cleaning?

The purpose of using a rotary tumbler for brass cleaning is to effectively clean and polish brass casings, primarily for reloading ammunition. The rotary tumbler utilizes a tumbling action, combined with stainless steel media pins and, optionally, a cleaning solution, to remove dirt, residue, and oxidation from the surface of the brass.

Here are the key benefits and purposes of using a rotary tumbler for brass cleaning:

i. Thorough Cleaning:

The tumbling action ensures that the stainless steel media pins reach into every crevice and corner of the brass casings, providing a more comprehensive cleaning compared to other methods.

ii. Polishing:

In addition to cleaning, the rotary tumbler polishes the brass, giving it a shiny and uniform appearance. This is particularly desirable for reloaders who want their finished ammunition to have a professional and attractive look.

iii. Efficiency:

Rotary tumblers are known for their efficiency in cleaning large batches of brass casings simultaneously. This is especially useful for reloaders who process a significant amount of brass regularly.

iv. Reuse of Media:

Stainless steel media pins are durable and can be reused for multiple cleaning cycles. This adds to the cost-effectiveness of using a rotary tumbler.

v. Consistent Results:

The process of rotary tumbling provides consistent and reliable results, ensuring that each brass casing undergoes a similar level of cleaning and polishing.

vi. Time-Saving:

While the duration of the cleaning cycle can vary, rotary tumblers are generally efficient and save time compared to manual cleaning methods.

vii. Versatility:

Rotary tumblers are versatile and can be used with various brass calibers and sizes, making them suitable for a wide range of reloading needs.

How long should I run the rotary tumbler for brass cleaning?

The optimal duration for running a rotary tumbler for brass cleaning typically ranges from 1 to 4 hours. However, the specific duration can depend on various factors, including the level of dirt and residue on the brass, the type of media used, and personal preferences. Here are some general guidelines:

1. Light Cleaning:

If your brass casings are relatively clean or have undergone some initial cleaning steps, such as decapping and resizing, a shorter tumbling time, such as 1 to 2 hours, may be sufficient.

2. Moderate Cleaning:

For moderately soiled brass with average levels of dirt and tarnish, a tumbling time of 2 to 3 hours is often effective.

3. Heavy Cleaning:

If your brass is heavily soiled, tarnished, or has stubborn residue, a longer tumbling time of 3 to 4 hours may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

4. Experimentation:

It’s advisable to experiment with different tumbling durations to find the right balance for your specific situation. You can start with a shorter duration and adjust based on the cleanliness you observe during the process.

5. Media Type:

The type of media used in the rotary tumbler can also influence cleaning time. Stainless steel media pins are commonly used for efficient cleaning, but other media types may have different characteristics.

Frequently Asked Question for Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler

Q: Can I use a cleaning solution with the rotary tumbler recipe?

Yes, you can use a brass cleaning solution for enhanced cleaning power. Follow the recommended dosage on the cleaning solution packaging to achieve optimal results.

Q: Is it necessary to use stainless steel media pins, or are there alternatives?

Stainless steel media pins are recommended for their effectiveness in cleaning brass casings. While there are alternative media types, stainless steel is commonly preferred for its durability and efficiency.

Q: Can I reuse the stainless steel media pins?

Yes, you can reuse stainless steel media pins multiple times. After each cleaning cycle, separate them from the brass casings, rinse them thoroughly, and store them for future use.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take when using the rotary tumbler?

Yes, always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, especially when handling cleaning solutions or brass casings.

Q: Can I clean other items besides brass casings in the rotary tumbler?

While the rotary tumbler is designed for cleaning brass, some users have successfully used it for other small metal items. However, always check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility.

Q: How should I store the brass casings after cleaning?

Ensure the brass casings are completely dry before storing them. Store them in a cool, dry place to prevent any moisture-related issues.

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