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Comparison: Lortone QT12 and Thumler Model B

When polishing rifle brass, wet tumbling with stainless steel media is now the preferred method – for reloaders, this process is faster and much more effective. There are a number of options when deciding which tumbler to buy.  The Qt12 and the Thumler B tumblers are two of the most popular models so we thought it might be useful to do a detailed comparison to help you choose.  Note for reference – the Lortone tumbler is blue and the Thumler tumbler is red. The following table shows the main differences which will be discussed in more detail below:

Table showing differences between Lortone QT12 and Thumbler Model B tumblers (compiled by Aussie Sapphire)

Footprint of the tumblers is very similar although the base of the Lortone is more robust and substantial.  The design is simple and all parts on both are replaceable/available so you can keep your tumbler operational for years and years.

Both tumblers are belt driven. Note that there is NO belt tension adjustment on the Thumler so once the belt starts to stretch, you will need to replace immediately while the Lortone allows some tightening by moving the motor mounting bolts in the slotted holes. There is a belt guard on the Lortone while the Thumler polycord belt is unguarded.

 

The barrels are very similar size (see dimensions in table above) – the Thumler has a slightly larger total volume but is also heavier. When weight rating and optimal load volume is taken into account, this means the load capacity is very similar between the two machines. The Lortone barrel is solid rubber with a double lid system with a single central thumb nut (the boot gasket on the inner lid is replaceable) and 10 internal sides for optimal tumbling action. The Thumler barrel is steel with a rubber liner and separate rubber gasket under the lid which is secured by 6 wingnuts – it is hexagonal shaped. Unlike rock tumbling, brass polishing is a non-abrasive process so you are unlikely to wear out liners or gaskets.

Motors are very similar – the Lortone is fitted with a slightly more powerful version but both handle the job easily.  Both run hot – it is normal for either motor to run too hot to touch but they are designed to work continuously for years (replacement motors are readily available and easily fitted). The Lortone has an in-line switch while the Thumler must be turned on/off at the power point. The Thumler is mounted via two bolts on an L-shaped bracket – if you find the motor vibrates in use, you can block underneath it with a small piece of dense foam. The Lortone is more securely mounted to the base frame with two slotted holes for belt tension adjustment.  Note that it is possible to fit a high-speed motor to the Thumler – the standard speed motor is fitted by default but it can be swapped out if desired.

 

Rotary tumblers run a drive shaft and an idler shaft both of which have nylon bearings.  These should be oiled before use and regularly thereafter with a suitable light oil (suggest Singer Sewing Machine Oil or similar product).  Use of a thick grease or other unsuitable product can damage shafts and cause other problems (gummed-up shafts can also damage drive belts for example). The motor on the Thumler should also be oiled (there are two oil ports either end of the motor) – the Lortone motor does not require oiling.

The Thumler shafts have rubber guides to keep the barrel in place – it should be placed with the lid nuts facing away from the pulley. The Lortone has a barrel guide which fits the lid nut recess as shown below.

Ultimately, either of these tumblers will do a good job polishing rifle brass. Which one you select is down to your particular needs and budget. Note that we do stock smaller Lortone tumblers for those who do not need the capacity of either of these two options – similarly, if you need even more capacity, we suggest you consider the larger Lortone commercial series tumblers (up to 40 pounds compared to the 12-15 pounds of the Qt12/ModelB). When considering what size you need, please use the volumetric capacity data given in this data sheet.

Our full range of rotary tumbler is listed on our website here. If considering other options, please consider availability of spare parts and warranty support from an Australian dealer who is subject to local consumer protection law.  Compared to the very cheap reloader vibe tumblers, these rotary tumblers are a significant investment – make sure you choose one that will be reliable for many years of use and buy from a dealer who can support you with a full range of spare parts.

Note:  this information compiled by Aussie Sapphire for the benefit of our customers. Copying or distributing without permission is not permitted   Click here for a downloadable version of this article.