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Cleaning Brass Cases


Snakebite
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22 hours ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

If you don't use the pins do the insides still get clean? I shoot BP and I like to get the insides clean also, especially if I de-prime first. 

 

I started using Yul's method late last year.  Thanks Yul.

 

I shoot a fair amount of blackpowder.

 

The cases do get cleaned on the inside, the water does the work, they just aren't nice and shiny on the inside like they are on the outside.  Usually give those an extra hour in the tumbler.

 

Also, I have thrown in really stained cases, and even the almost black ones that have been outside for years, and they come out way nicer than plain old dry tumbling with walnut.  May not be fresh out of the box Starline pretty, but certainly good enough.

 

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OK... the Strat-O-Sheen arrived and I have completed my first test using it. I used it on the brass from last weekends match. I cleaned the brass in the Ultrasonic cleaner using the Strat-O-Sheen with the water heater turned on. It came out clean and certainly ready to reload,  but there is no shine to it at all. It is a far cry from the results I received using Hornaday One Shot in the same test. 

 

But that was not the recommended method given earlier in this thread. So after next weeks match, when I have some more dirty brass,  I will follow those directions given  and will use the Wet Tumbler with the Strat-O-Sheen and no SS Pins.  I can tell you that using the Wet Tumbler with Hornaday One Shot AND the SS Pins, the Brass comes out as shiny as if I had buffed every single case. I am anxious to see how the Strat-O-Sheen performs WITHOUT the SS Pins. 

 

Snakebite

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Just ordered some Strat-O-Sheen to try . It got pretty expensive when I saw everything else the have , but I needed some new needle files , and I just couldn’t pass up one of those baby hack saw kits 

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On 6/14/2021 at 9:34 AM, Snakebite said:

OK... the Strat-O-Sheen arrived and I have completed my first test using it. I used it on the brass from last weekends match. I cleaned the brass in the Ultrasonic cleaner using the Strat-O-Sheen with the water heater turned on. It came out clean and certainly ready to reload,  but there is no shine to it at all. It is a far cry from the results I received using Hornaday One Shot in the same test. 

 

But that was not the recommended method given earlier in this thread. So after next weeks match, when I have some more dirty brass,  I will follow those directions given  and will use the Wet Tumbler with the Strat-O-Sheen and no SS Pins.  I can tell you that using the Wet Tumbler with Hornaday One Shot AND the SS Pins, the Brass comes out as shiny as if I had buffed every single case. I am anxious to see how the Strat-O-Sheen performs WITHOUT the SS Pins. 

 

Snakebite

 

One Shot is a chemical cleaner so can and does work in an ultrasonic cleaner.  On the other hand, Strat-O-Sheen is a burnishing compound.  It needs to be "rubbed" against the brass to work.  It's similar to using polishing compound on your car. You can't just slap it on and expect it to work.  You actually have to polish. :)

Edited by Shooting Bull
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I just tried my wet tumbler with Simoniz car wash with carnuba  wax and a dash of lemonshine. Sans as pins.   Brass is shined and bright.  Insides are clean but not as bright as when pins were used.  But cleaned enough!!   Ran for 2 hours and the tumbler 2/3 to 3/4 full.  No more pins for me!

Edited by Cheyenne Culpepper 32827
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I deprime then wet tumble with pins and Frankford cleaner. I rinse them in the tumbler with screens on the end. Then I dump them into a media separator and spin to win. Then the cartridges go in a bag made from towels for a good shaking. Dump them on another towel, spread them out and turn a fan on them overnight. It doesn't take as long as it sounds.

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I deprive and use a dishwashing pod, not Cascade, the blue one with gel. They look like new brass . No pins. If you think you need a little extra cleaning power use a little Dawn. 

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OK, I did my Strat-O-Shine test with last weeks brass. I only had 200 to clean. They came out nice. I did screw up and forgot about them out in the garage and they tumbled for many hours before I remembered them. However I think that this stuff is going to work out. using the SS pins does give me a slightly higher sheen, but not having to deal with separating them is more than worth the slight difference. Guess I'll own Yul a beer..... it will be domestic... nothing imported! ;)

 

Snakebite

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On 6/10/2021 at 8:59 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

I clean that with a dilute solution of grout removal cleaner - sulfamic acid.   In a pint of water, put in 2 ounces of vinegar and a tablespoon of sulfamic acid crystals.   Warm in microwave in a glass jar to dissolve crystals.  Dump in badly tarnished brass, stir a little, take out brass (no more than a minute) - after all carbonates have bubbled off the brass.   Wipe brass with a green scrubbie pad.  Rinse in water.  Takes the tarnish off like magic, and not had problems with it weakening the brass.  Just don't leave it in the solution for more than a minute.

 

It will clean range brass that has laid outdoors all winter and gotten really corroded, but getting that stuff clean often means a fair amount of the brass splits with one or 2 loads.

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Custom-Building-Products-Aqua-Mix-1-lb-Sulfamic-Acid-Crystals-050231/300176044

 

Use rubber gloves if you are going to be doing a lot.  I just run 10 pieces or so at a time and fish the brass out of solution with an old fork.

 

good luck, GJ

thanks ill try that on the bad ones - ive had a habbit of reusing what gets clean enough to reload and ignore the discoloration , 

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I just noticed on a can of Ballistol, it lists using it at 10% (w/90% water) in "Ultra Sonic and Jet Washers."  

Has anyone tried it like that?

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25 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Has anybody tried putting brass in a mesh bag and through a dishwasher cycle?   Just curious.  

I hope you’re not married 

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32 minutes ago, Buckshot Bob said:

I hope you’re not married 

50 yrs next year.  She shoots too. And when she isn't at home -  -  - 

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22 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

50 yrs next year.  She shoots too. And when she isn't at home -  -  - 

So in reality you’re just doing it to reload for her :) 

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2 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

I just noticed on a can of Ballistol, it lists using it at 10% (w/90% water) in "Ultra Sonic and Jet Washers."  

Has anyone tried it like that?

I wouldn't use Ballistol to clean my toilet! Cartoon poop vomits a gush

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1 hour ago, Buckshot Bob said:

So in reality you’re just doing it to reload for her :) 

Like I said, when she isn't home.  No excuses needed.  

Truth is, she'd probably try it herself.  I'll report results. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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17 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Has anybody tried putting brass in a mesh bag and through a dishwasher cycle?   Just curious.

 

Hope you are NOT serious with this.   Brass contains a lot of lead compounds that are easily dislodged during washing  - mostly from the residue (ash) of primer compounds.    Rather toxic to ingest or inhale.   And leaving that in a dishwasher - notorious for retaining a sludge of food and detergent particles in the pump and drain area?   That would be asking for major health problems. 

 

DON'T DO IT

 

good luck and good health - both are largely your responsibility - GJ

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1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

Hope you are NOT serious with this.   Brass contains a lot of lead compounds that are easily dislodged during washing  - mostly from the residue (ash) of primer compounds.    Rather toxic to ingest or inhale.   And leaving that in a dishwasher - notorious for retaining a sludge of food and detergent particles in the pump and drain area?   That would be asking for major health problems. 

 

DON'T DO IT

 

good luck and good health - both are largely your responsibility - GJ

Agree and thank you for the warnings. 

I was serious, but actually I have a discarded DW with a leaky lower pan but functional pumps, etc.  that is located outside and not connected to drains.  So before I took the effort to hook it up and try it, I wanted to just ask. I was mostly just curious if it had been tried.  

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I tried a few comparisons myself, with a curious result.  

 

In the image below, there are 4 pairs of cases from lots receiving different cleaning treatments. 

 

> The left pair are new, out-of-the-box Starline 9mm cases, never fired or cleaned.  

 

> The next pair to the right are two Starline 32 H&R mag cases that have been cleaned 3 times in a Thumbler's  wet rotary tumbler, with Dawn, Lemishine, and Strat-o-sheen, with ss rods, run for 2 hrs each time.

 

> 3rd from left are a pair of Starline 38 sp cases that have been cleaned once in a Thumbler's  wet rotary tumbler, run 2 hours with Hornady's Shell Casing Cleaner, Lemishine, strat-o-sheen and ss rods (no Dawn). 

 

> The pair on the right are two Starline .38sp cases cleaned once in the wet tumbler for 4-1/2 hrs, with Hornady's solution, Lemishine, strat-o-sheen and ss rods. 

 

The water used in the tests was uniform tap water from a domestic well. 

 

What is noticeable is the silvering coloration in the two right pairs, where the Hornady's cleaner was used with ss rods.  I am wondering if the chemicals in the Hornady's solution are dissolving either zinc from the SS rods or lead compounds from the cleaning residue, and redepositing the metals onto the brass case surfaces.  

 

I cleaned the rubber tumbler insert after each use, using Dawn, rinsed with lots of clean tap water, followed by an acetone rinse to dry.

 

 I realize there are a lot of variables to separate here, but there appears to be a pattern associated with the Hornady's solution.  

 

I really doubt that there are likely to be shooting performance problems associated with the color changed cases, but if you prefer the yellow new brass color, you might want to pay some attention to this.  

 

I also note that the silvered color of the two right pairs is quite similar to brass that has been cleaned in hydrochloric acid.  I haven't tested the Hornady's solution pH, but it is possible the color change is pH related.  

 

One last note:  When I scraped the silvered surface with a utility knife,, bright yellow brass showed through, and when I handled the large lot of cases from which the pair on the right were taken, it left a thin grey metalic residue on my skin.  It could be copper or zinc, similar to handling coins,  but if it is lead, that should be of interest from a health standpoint.

 

Anybody else have similar experience or more to add here?

20210626_124733.jpg

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Did you have any nickle plated cases in the batch?

 

That happens with the Strat-O-Sheen if you have any nickle cases in with the brass ones. 

 

You'll have to run the silvered cases by themselves a couple times to get rid of the plating.

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3 hours ago, Howlin Mad Murdock SASS #4037 said:

Did you have any nickle plated cases in the batch?

 

That happens with the Strat-O-Sheen if you have any nickle cases in with the brass ones. 

 

You'll have to run the silvered cases by themselves a couple times to get rid of the plating.

No nickel cases were included.  I dont use or like nickel plated cases, and if they get accidentally picked up and mixed in,  I sort/discard them before cleaning. 

 

My main concern is lead.  On Monday I will be at my old (pre-retirement) lab where I can do a chemical lead analysis on the case surface residue, by taking a clean  wiping from a group of them. 

 I will report back if lead is present on their surfaces.  

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On 6/26/2021 at 6:51 PM, Dusty Devil Dale said:

My main concern is lead.  On Monday I will be at my old (pre-retirement) lab where I can do a chemical lead analysis on the case surface residue, by taking a clean  wiping from a group of them. 

 I will report back if lead is present on their surfaces.  

Just to follow up:

I went to my old lab today and ran both chemical and gas chromatograph tests on the grey residue wiped from the outside of the silvered cases.  Lead was present, but in tiny trace quantities.   Trace amounts of zinc and copper were also present, probably from the brass alloy itself, and a trace of Cadmium was in the samples, possibly from the Strat-o-sheen or Hornady's solution. 

So I'm wondering if the silvered color is a pH reaction of the brass alloy itself.  It remains a mystery, but it doesn't look like anything harmful.  DDD

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On 6/25/2021 at 11:08 AM, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Agree and thank you for the warnings. 

I was serious, but actually I have a discarded DW with a leaky lower pan but functional pumps, etc.  that is located outside and not connected to drains.  So before I took the effort to hook it up and try it, I wanted to just ask. I was mostly just curious if it had been tried.  

i was thinking that an old DW in the garage might be the choice should i elect to try this , but our winters pretty much preclude me trying it and ill never - ever - get away with it in the house , ill keep dry tumbling in the garage as she never seems to mind that - besides it works most of the time just fine and i can recycle what it wont work for 

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