Lyman Cyclone Brass Cleaning System – Stainless Rods Clean Better than Walnuts & Corncobs

Midsouth Lyman

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I’ve been using the vibration with dry media method for cleaning brass for many years. It can be messy, especially when the media isn’t so new and all that dirty dust fills the air. And it can be time-consuming and noisy. But I was always afraid that using a wet system would be far messier and more expensive, and so year after year, I have just stuck it out with the vibratory cleaning method.

The new Lyman Cyclone Rotary Case Tumbler rotary tumbler has shown me that you don’t have to trade one kind of mess for another, and you can achieve cleaner brass in far less time without all the noise and dust.

The heavy duty construction and quality bearings make this machine run quiet.

The heavy duty construction and quality bearings make this machine run quiet.

Priced on sale right now at $165.95, the Cyclone arrived nicely packaged and totally complete. The whole unit weighs about 25 pounds, primarily due to a very solid base and internal motor. Five pounds of that is stainless steel cleaning media – little needles that are about ¼” long and provide the friction and abrasion to scrub the brass clean.

It literally comes with everything you need to get started and get your brass shiny clean and ready to reload. You can go from opening the box to cleaning brass in minutes.

You simply pour in your dirty brass – filling the tumbler about half-full is recommended. For most handgun calibers, that can be a couple thousand pieces. Next, add the stainless steel cleaning media that is supplied with the Cyclone. Use all five pounds of it. This is what will scrub the brass inside and out, so you want all of it in there.

The rubber-lined tumbling canister is one of the reasons for quiet operation.

The rubber-lined tumbling canister is one of the reasons for quiet operation.

Lyman provides a sample of their brass cleaner solution – a 2 oz. packet. Instructions indicate that you’ll need half of that for each use. It can be purchased separately in convenient 32 oz. bottles, and the math is easy enough even for me to do – that’s 32 cycles of tumbling. And if you’re cleaning a couple thousand cases per cycle that could add up to 64,000 brass cases cleaned per bottle of solution. I picked up a bottle for about $22. That works out to $0.0003 per case – or just over 34 cents per thousand.

Next step, just fill the canister to near the top with plain water. You’ll see the cleaner already foaming up. Install the inner seal lid, being sure it and the lip of the canister are clean for a good seal. Then screw on the outer cap snugly and you’re ready to go.

The timer on the Cyclone will go up to three hours. Set the timer as desired and let the Cyclone do its work. Lyman says that two hours is about adequate for a half-full tumbler. More time might be needed if you fill it up more or have seriously dirty brass.

The timer can be set for up to 3 hours, and the machine is auto-off when time expires.

The timer can be set for up to three hours, and the machine is auto-off when time expires.

The strong bearings, quiet motor, and rubber-lined tumbler make the Lyman Cyclone run quietly. The machine is made of industrial quality parts, and this is where it pays off. I was surprised how much the rubber lining in the tumbler quiets the sound. When the tumbling is complete, take the canister back to the sink to drain the tumbler. The two basket system allows you to dump the entire contents and will separate the cleaning media from the brass cases. A utility type sink is best, because if your wife catches you doing this in the kitchen you’ll probably be sleeping in the dog house. If that isn’t an option – you might just be able to take it outdoors.

Rinse the tumbler out several times and thoroughly rinse and agitate the brass cases. This will remove all the cleaning solution and separate the stainless steel cleaning media. Lyman recommends spreading the clean cases out to dry. Putting an old towel underneath and using a hair dryer makes quick work of it and ensures no water or solvent spots. This process was far easier than I’d imagined it might be, and because you’re handling pristine freshly cleaned brass, there is no unpleasantness. No dust cloud from dumping brass and solid media (i.e. corncob or crushed walnuts) into a sifter. It took only a minute or two with the dryer and it was done.

The cases come out so clean they look brand new.

The cases come out so clean they look brand new.

I’m sold on the Lyman Cyclone system after comparing the inside of cases that were cleaned twice as long in a vibratory cleaner to the cases cleaned with the Cyclone!


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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Pepprdog October 13, 2017, 10:09 am

    No dry system I’ve seen comes close to cleaning brass like the wet/steel pin systems.
    Only issue I’ve ever had with steel pins is rare but occasional pair of pins stuck in the primer hole not allowing the primer to be inserted. They are easily removed but it does happen.

  • Tom March 28, 2017, 2:26 pm

    You better not try to contact Lyman by e-mail for parts (seal for the lid ) you’ll never get a response. Very poor customer service.

  • Donald Welch October 27, 2016, 11:49 am

    Still using my Turbo 1200

  • Tim September 28, 2016, 10:45 am

    Use one teaspoon of Lemishine and one tablespoon of Dawn. Works well at a fraction of the cost of Lyman cleaner.

  • dave September 26, 2016, 10:20 am

    There are a couple of big benefits you failed to mention about wet cleaning with stainless steel pins or ceramic media.
    First is that it cleans the inside of the brass as well as the outside. I shoot black powder cartridge and the inside of my cases get a lot of buildup that dry cleaning will not address no matter how long I leave the cases in the machine. Wet tumbling cleans the cases inside and out.
    Second is that if you deprime the brass Stainless Steel pins will clean the primer pockets as well.
    Couple of lessons learned from using stainless steel pins. Screen all your brass to ensure that you are leaning only one caliber at a time. Having 45s in with your 9mm will result in the cases becoming stuck together so tightly that they cannot be separated. This is true for any cases that allow one to fit inside the other.
    To get the pins out of the cases dump them into a rotary media separator and fill the lower tub of the unit with enough water to ensure the cased will be submerged as you rotate the basket. As you rotate the basket the pins will be washed out of the cases and settle to the bottom of the lower tub. Other methods will often result in pins sticking to the inside of the cases. Since I switched to the rotatory separator I haven’t found a pin inside the case.
    I switch to wet cleaning over a year ago and now my vibratory cleaner just collects dust.

  • dave September 26, 2016, 9:44 am

    One danger you forgot to mention about dry cleaning is the health hazard associated with breathing the dust from a vibratory cleaner. The dust in a vibratory cleaner has the potential to have a lot of lead and possibly mercury contained within it. Wet cleaning eliminates this hazard.

    • Justin Opinion October 9, 2016, 7:22 am

      That is a very good point – glad you mentioned it. And even if there is not significant lead in the dust, I’m pretty sure no doctor ever said, “you need to breathe in more carbon soot and pulverized walnut shells”. 😉

  • Mike September 26, 2016, 8:34 am

    A couple of concerns here.
    I can reload the second I’m done tumbling with a dry system.
    I wonder how many molecules of brass are removed by the stronger steel rods over time…
    If you get one molecule of liquid in that case when you reload…guess what, you have a cap gun…
    Lastly if this guy used a capful of case polish in his vibratory unit, his cases would look better… Mine come out as nice as his with this steel gizmo..
    Too expensive, at least price it to compete.

    • dave September 26, 2016, 10:32 am

      There is no detectable removal of brass from the cases using stainless steel pins. Your cases will split from repeated belling and crimping of the case mouth first.

    • Bullet BoB September 26, 2016, 6:57 pm

      I’very been using the stainless steel media for over four years.
      1. Bright clean brass. Inside and outside and primer well is just as clean as the inside. Even the primer hole is clean.
      2. Conversation while it’s cleaning is at a normal level.
      3. Cracks and split cases are easily seen
      4. Fast. One to two hours and the brass is ready, just rinse with clean water.
      5. Place in a colander grab your wife’s hair dryer. Set it on high, direct the hot air into the center of the brass. Shake the cleaned brass cases until they are hot to the touch (about three minutes).
      6. Spread hot/warm brass out on a solf towel.
      7. Get your primers ready. By the time you have your primers you are ready to start reloading.
      May seem like a lot to go through, but it’s quick and easy.
      Oh, deprime the brass first, but I don’t have to tell you that.

  • John Donovan September 26, 2016, 7:53 am

    I have used the model manufactured prior to this latest model for about one year now, and am completely sold on the system and will looking to give away my old vibratory cleaner but may keep my ultrasonic cleaner for other uses. Not covered in this review is the fact that if you deprime the brass prior to tumbling you will be amazed that the primer pockets are also cleaned to look like new brass. This feature is important to me because I had over-reamed some .308 primer pockets and got leakage, so now I never ream a primer pocket. I highly recommend the additional purchase of a Frankford Arsenal Media Release Magnet (@ about $15) for collecting the steel pins, especially those that make it through the separator and end up on the bottom of the sink as they do in this video. This is a fantastic product that I now use all the time.

  • Dan miller September 26, 2016, 7:12 am

    Don’t know about the Lyman! But,mice had a STM for years and it’s the heat! Like the look and design of the Lyman tumbler! Has some great features. May switch to the Lyman! Believe me it’s the way to go!

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