AMERICAN GUN REVIEW: RCBS SIDEWINDER CASE TUMBLER (120V)

RCBS SIDEWINDER CASE TUMBLER (120V) – REVIEW

WANT TO USE DRY AND WET MEDIA?  NO PROBLEM…

     Most of my reloading equipment is RCBS brand and I trust the name and their products. I already owned the RBCS vibratory tumbler which I love. However, I wanted to clean and polish faster and quieter than my vibratory tumbler.  

When I began looking, at first I considered in ordering another vibratory tumbler. However, I was attracted to the Sidewinder when I saw it at http://www.sinclairintl.com. Not only could it clean with the standard dry media, but it is capable of cleaning with liquid media as well. So I decided to order and when it arrived I was very impressed to say the least. 

The unit is basically two pieces. The main unit (base) which has the motor, built in timer and power cord (120v). The other piece is the drum which you load the media and brass into. The built in timer is located on the left side of the unit and can be adjusted to tumble for 15 minutes and as much as up to 12 hours. The best part about this tumbler is that it is SUPER QUIET. This is a HUGE plus for me as my new reloading room (man cave) which is located inside my house. However, due to the noise of the vibratory cleaner, it is still in the garage. My wife would never let me bring it in the house…so that is where the Sidewinder saves me!   

The most beneficial thing about this tumbler is the ability to use both types of media. Using the dry media is easier and much cleaner than using my vibratory tumbler. You simply load the media into the drum, add the brass, put on the lid (lid with no holes), place the drum back on the base and turn on the timer. I find that it also cleans brass a lot faster than a vibratory tumbler and is easier to separate the media when done. I usually set it for about 4-6 hours and that usually takes care of medium to heavily soiled cases. However, with dry media you will more than likely need to clean out the flash holes of the media particles and it simply will not polish or clean really dirty cases very well.  Separation can be very messy without a strainer of some sort and it really sucks to sweep up off of a floor when you do happen to spill some.
 
BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE DRY MEDIA PROCESS     

This is an example of unclean and cleaned brass.  Obviously the left is an example of brass that you may have just picked up at the range.  The right is an example of cleaned brass after a few hours of tumbling in the sidewinder with dry media.  The brass can be made to be even shinier if you decide to add brass polish, or media with polish already added.  Personally, I like to use liquid Brasso…it make the cases look better than factory loads!
BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE WET MEDIA PROCESS  

But dry media isn’t it.  You can also use wet media with the Sidewinder and this is definitely my favorite feature.  Each Sidewinder comes with one 8oz bottle of RCBS Liquid Media. You simply follow the mixing instructions and add 2-4 oz. per gallon of water and put it in the drum and add brass.  I like to use an empty milk jug.  Obviously you need to make sure the milk jug is clean and free from old scummy milk.  Add the concentrated liquid media to the milk jug and fill to the top with hot water.   

     Seal the drum with the solid lid (lid with no holes), wipe down the excess water that may have made it’s way onto the drum and place it on the base. Now instead of tumbling for hours and hours, it takes literally an 30 minutes to an hour to completely clean and polish heavily soiled cases.  It really just depends on how dirty your brass is.  After it runs it’s course, simply drain the liquid down your sink (septic safe), rinse the cases with hot water a few times and pour the rinsed brass onto a towel.  Once you have pour them onto the towel, roll them around until all of the cases have been dried on the outside and so that they are all laying flat.  Then place them onto whatever drying surface you choose.

You may have a rack or special drying device…but in my case, I took old pistol bullet holders, drilled holes in every square and filled it with the newly cleaned brass.  The holes ensure that any water that is left over will drain out of the cartridge over night by dripping out through the holes drilled into the bottom. This process can be done even quicker by putting them in an oven to dry faster.  However, oven temperature gauges can often times be off which could cause the cartridges to become brittle….no thanks.  I’ll stick to the 24 hour drying system. The down side to liquid media is that it tends to be messier than the dry media. Like I said before, pros and cons to both.  I will say this though…liquid media is my preferred method to clean my cases as it seems to do a way better job than dry media.  It just takes a little longer and requires a little more clean up.    

Wet media cleaned on the left, dirty soiled cartridge on the right…

All in all, I really like this unit and I like it a lot better than my RCBS vibratory cleaner. The only downside to the Sidewinder is cleaning space…the vibratory tumbler holds more brass and media and can clean a higher volume. Other than that, I am glad I ordered this tumbler and think it does work better than the other. I highly recommend to any reloader especially one that needs super clean brass in a hurry. I would also suggest having a vibratory tumbler in addition to this one as they both have advantages for different uses. Buy one, you will love it!  I hope that this review was beneficial and I hope that you will consider the Sidewinder when your in the market for a quality dual purpose tumbler.

~Mikey

 
American Gun Review’s Rating:
8 OUT OF 10
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Aly Chiman

Aly Chiman is a Blogger & Reporter at AlyChiTech.com which covers a wide variety of topics from local news from digital world fashion and beauty . AlyChiTech covers the top notch content from the around the world covering a wide variety of topics. Aly is currently studying BS Mass Communication at University.

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