Lyman’s Cyclone Rotary Tumbler Cleans Up A Storm


Lyman’s Cyclone Rotary Tumbler is large enough to clean hundreds of empty cartridge cases.
The unit comes with a double drain pan to catches empty brass on one level and the tiny steel
media pins at the second level

For many years I’ve used a Lyman vibratory Turbo tumbler to clean up my empty cases, and it’s always been able to get the range residue off and brighten up the brass.

But recently there was something of an epiphany after trading a few messages with a guy who had produced a pile of shiny like-new cartridge cases by wet-tumbling them in a rotary tumbler. I mentioned this to longtime pal Rick Ran-zinger, president at Lyman Products, and he confirmed this method of cleaning brass seems to be gaining traction with handloaders.

It led to my introduction to Lyman’s heavy-duty Cyclone Rotary Tumbler. Where brass comes out of a Turbo clean, my empties emerged from the Cyclone looking like they just came off the production line, inside and out.

The Cyclone can be timer-set for up to three hours by simply turning the dial.

The “secret” here is no secret at all. Lyman’s Turbo Case Cleaner mixes with dis-tilled water inside the drum, and the tumbling media is thousands of tiny stainless steel pins that get inside and out of each empty cartridge case, and even clean out the primer pockets. On my first go-round with the Cyclone, I tossed in more than a hundred cases in .41 Magnum and .45 Colt, along with a couple of .30-06 empties just to see what the process would do to some twice-fired brass.

The result was downright impressive. Old handgun cartridge cases looked better than new with a bright sparkle.

The Cyclone operates on a timer that can be set for up to three hours. I went for the maximum and wasn’t disappointed.

Lyman supplies two “sifter” pans, one catches the cleaned empties and the other has a heavy screen for catching and retaining the steel pins. The Cyclone comes with a 5-pound bag of pins along with a small supply of Brass Cleaning Solution, but be warned in advance, if you’re a high volume shooter and handloader, the small bag of solution won’t last long. Get a bottle of the concentrated cleaning solution.

Closeup of a few empties in the stainless steel pin media. These tiny pins are
small enough to scrub out primer pockets and they clean brass inside and out.

Dave got a bottle of Lyman’s Turbo Sonic solution that mixes with water
(distilled is recommended) to create a cleaning solution.

The Cyclone’s drum holds up to 1,000 empty .223-caliber cases, so it will easily handle a few hundred empties from my .45 ACP or the aforementioned revolver cartridge cases. I’ve also got a pretty hungry .357 Magnum, so I can anticipate dumping a lot of range empties into the suds this summer.

The people who designed the Cyclone knew what they were doing. The heavy-duty synthetic drum features a large end cap that is a two-piece affair and it seals tight. The interior of the drum is rubber-lined to protect the brass, and — just as Lyman literature explains — it helps quiet the process while the tumbler is operat-ing.

Once the tumbling process is finished, just set up the double tray to catch the brass and then the tiny pins, while dirty water drains through. Take my word for it, the water will be dirty, affirming the tumbler has done its job.

I rinsed off the brass with clear water and then allowed brass and steel pin media to air dry. This process can be speeded up with the use of a hair dryer or by plac-ing the media and brass in a greenhouse, or even out in the sun if you prefer.

The Cyclone Rotary Tumbler weighs 10 pounds and can be set up on any solid surface. I put it to work on the bench of my workshop, on top of an old thick plas-tic cutting board and it worked like a champ.

For more info:
Lyman Products Corp.
Ph: (800) 225-9626

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