Review: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Tumbler
A Brass Cleaning Solution for Reloading Ammunition
by Timothy P. Banse
If you've been putting off switching to wet tumbling, then the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Tumbler may be what pushes you over the edge. It boasts the most effective brass-cleaning process available. In fact, according to the manufacturer, tumbled brass comes out cleaner than new.
Savvy shooters know that for the brightest, shiniest, gleam it's best to wet-tumble brass in liquid with reusable polishing media, rather than relying on dry media in a vibratory tumbler. Exactly how a tumbler works its magic is as simple as the sea is salt. The rotating, water-tight, tumbling drum holds brass, cleaning solution and stainless, pin-type media. So instead of corn cob, walnut or other traditional media, it relies on liquid and/or stainless steel pins. Trust me. The liquid bath removes residue quicker than ultrasonic or vibratory tumbling methods. But more importantly, the small, stainless steel pins easily migrate deep inside cartridge cases and primer pockets, scrubbing them clean in addition to the outside of the cartridge case.
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Tumbler boasts a large-volume drum with a capacity of 1,000 pieces of .223 brass (7-Liters). I don't care where you're from, that's impressive! The watertight, polymer drum rides on four rollers which rotate the drum around its horizontal axis. There are no bothersome belts (think maintenance-free). During tumbling I really appreciated the molded-in rubber lining that served double duty, both protecting the brass and reducing noise during churning. Don't misunderstand, like any other tumbler, this one too is noisy. It's just that the rubber lining is worth mentioning for the way it knocks off a couple of dBs worth of sound. A built-in timer in the base can be adjusted to run from 0 to 3 hours with automatic shut-off. During testing, I found two hours was plenty. Proviso: Don't leave the brass soaking in the solution overnight or it can discolor.
I've used the Platinum several times now and I am very pleased with its performance, particularly when using the metal pin media. The first time I cleaned 500 rounds of 9MM Luger, it cleaned the brass so shiny clean that it looked brand new. In fact, when comparing it to brand new I couldn't tell the difference between the two. Even the primer pockets came out clean and shiny. Once tumbling was finished, I liked the way the included sifting-end-caps assisted me in quickly separating stainless steel media from brass.
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Tumbler includes five pounds of 304 stainless steel media pins as well as a sample packet of Frankford Brass Cleaning Solution. Which brings up the point that this tumbler is capable of cleaning the brass without the stainless steel media pins with only a mixture of Frankford Brass Cleaning Solution blended with water. The value of using the media pins is to ensure the primer pockets and case insides are come clean. Finally, a word of advice. Never tumble mixed caliber pistol brass with walnut shell media. If you do make that mistake, you'll spent hours separating the .40 and 9 mm cases that will end up stuck inside the .45 ACP cases. To separate polished brass from the stainless steel media pins simply use the Frankford Arsenal magnet.