As part of an effort to become more educated about ammunition and to see if I could manufacture some reloads that could produce an accuracy from some of my rifles greater than that being achieved by off the shelf ammo, I decided I would finally venture into the realm of reloading. This review could possibly be looked at more like a "product spotlight" than actual review, but I thought it may be helpful to show the products I decided to purchase on my quest for knowledge and custom ammunition.
This past Christmas I found a Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Cleaning Kit under my Christmas tree. Honestly, I did have to coach Santa in the right direction on the purchase. The reason I decided to go with this case cleaning system was simple... value. This kit comes with a case tumbler, rotary separator, 3.5 gallon bucket, brass polish and corn media all for a sale price of $63.99 from MidwayUSA.com. At the time of this review the sale was over so the current price is $73.99. At the Frankford Arsenal website lists a MSRP of $99.99 so make sure you shop around for the best price. It is hard to beat the price considering all that comes with the kit and clearly the kit is a good value compared to purchasing the components separately.
What's In The Box
The kit comes boxed as shown below.
These next two photos show the labeling on the outside of the box and give you Frankford Arsenal's advertising information on this product.
When you open the box. there is a bucket of items shown below. Actually the Frankford Arsenal website show the bucket as the final packaged configuration but my guess is that they decided to go with the box to have a more standard handling and transportation configuration.
When you pull everything out of the box and bucket, you have the following items. I have provided links back to the Frankford Arsenal website for each item (where possible) so you can see more detail if desired.
The basic steps for assembly of the Tumbler and Separator are shown below. These steps shown give you a good idea on how a product is put together and show some of the features of a product, but you should always consider the instruction manual as the official source for safety, assembly and maintenance of any product.
Case Tumbler Assembly
Assembly of the tumbler is pretty simple. You need the tumbler base, tumbler bowl, clear tumbler lid and the hardware pack. You also need a Phillips screwdriver and 7/16" wrench.
Turn the bowl over an place three hex nuts into the slots as shown below.
Flip the tumbler base over and place the tumbler tabs over the tumbler bowl so that the hole in the tumbler base line up with the hex nuts.
Put a star washer on each of the three screws and thread each of the screws through the holes and into the nuts. Only tighten these screws to no more than 10 in-lbs of torque or 1/4 to 1/2 turn after the screw bottoms out.
Flip the tumbler assembly over and thread the remaining nut on the threaded rod about 3/4" as shown below.
Thread the threaded rod into the brass insert in the bottom of the bowl until the threaded rod bottoms out in the insert. Next hand tighten the nut on the threaded rod until it is in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Tighten the nut 1/8 turn using the wrench. Make sure you don't over tighten the nut because doing so will loosen the brass insert in the bottom of the hole.
To install the tumbler lid, place the lid on the bowl and over the threaded shaft and install the flat washer and wing nut as shown below.
Just like with the tumbler assembly of the rotary separator is very simple. The parts you need for assembly are shown below plus the bucket.
You should insert the rotating collar and handle into the bottom
sifter half as shown below. The collar and handle will snap
into place. The instructions state that a left handed user
should swap these components and install the handle on the left
The top sifter half and bottom sifter half snap together to form a hinge connection.
After closing the top on the bottom sifter half, insert the pin which keeps the two halves together when rotating while separating your media and cases.
The two bucket adapters snap on each side of the lid as shown below in the area around the bucket handle.
The kit also comes with two media shields that snap on the edge of the bucket to prevent media from flying out of the bucket when rotating the separator.
The sifter assembly sits in bucket adapters as shown below. The unit is now fully assembled.
To evaluate how well the Quick-N-EZ Tumbler would perform I decided to send several batches of brass through the tumbler. Since the kit comes with corn media, I decided to stick with it instead of getting some ground walnut media. I tumbled about 500 cases of .308 Win in three different batches and about 350 cases of .38 Special in a single batch. Next I decided to clean some .243 Win brass that I started collecting about 20 years ago so there is a wide variety of ages (tarnish) on these cases along with some serious corrosion on a few that I will most likely toss out in the end anyway. The photo below shows 155 cases prior to any cleaning.
This next photo shows the cases after about 1.5 hours of tumbling in untreated corn media. The cases were noticeably cleaner and would probably be suitable for reloading. I feel that if I would have used ground walnut media for this cleaning stage the brass would have been noticeably cleaner. The instruction manual provides a tip which says, "Clean your brass before polishing with “untreated” ground walnut shells."
Next I added the brass polish per the instructions which was 3 teaspoons per pound of media for new untreated media. Since the tumbler came with 3 pounds of media and this quantity seemed to fill the tumbler bowl to the proper level, I used all three pounds and added 9 teaspoons of brass polish then tumbled the cases for another two hours. The addition of the brass polish really helped to make the brass shine.
There are two simple modification to the rotary separator that I feel would make it more user friendly. The first is the addition of rubber bands over the bucket adapter ears to keep the separator from trying to pop out when rotating. The second would be attaching the bucket adapter on the side with the crank handle so that it stays in place better when rotating the handle. A couple of screws through the adapter and bucket should fix this easily.
I'm very pleased with the Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Cleaning Kit. For the price, it is hard to beat considering you get a rotary separator, media and polish all for a very competitive price. I was surprised at how quiet (relative term) the tumbler was when running it on carpet and it seemed to do a great job. When using the rotary separator, you will need to start out rotating it slowly at first to keep from slinging media everywhere, but after a few turns you can pick up the speed and within a minute, your media and brass are separated. Overall I would say the Quick-N-EZ Kit is a great value and I would recommend this product if you are in the marked for a tumbler.