Why exactly am I cleaning fired brass?


February 25, 2006, 11:56 PM
I was preparing to wash some 204 brass (I put them throught the washing machine I don't tumble) and I just for fun swabbed the inside of a non-washed case with a Q-tip. It came out clean. I tried the Q-tip on a washed case and it came out the same way. To further the experiment I took a washed and non-washed case, sprayed a Q-Tip with Carb Cleaner and swabbed the inside of each case. Again they looked the same. So if the outside of my brass is dirt free why do I need wash or tumble my cases. I am assuming the results would be the same with a tumbled case but do not know.

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February 26, 2006, 12:18 AM
Tumbling brass, or cleaning it, is intended to keep dirt and debris out of your sizing dies, which will cause scratching and galling of the brass.

I also do it to make the brass shine, because my DI at MCRD, San Diego told me that brass better shine or he'd have my butt. Even though that was in 1965, I still don't want him after me...........

It also adds to the pride factor in my finished product.


February 26, 2006, 12:20 AM
Other than appearance, you want to clean any grit off the casings that can scratch your dies. Also, if you decap before you tumble, it will help clean the primer pockets to facilitate solid primer seating (if the media is fine enough). Some people don't do much to their brass at all, some just wipe it down. Tumbling/washing can help if your brass has really gotten dirty (dropped in mud, etc.). Normal residue inside cases shouldn't make any real difference at all. They do look pretty if you shine 'em up nice, though. :)

February 26, 2006, 01:13 AM
CLEAN isn't the same as POLISHED. Clean counts...get the dirt and grit off and out of the cases so it doesn't foul the dies. POLISHED is just for looks. Military ammo seldom has that bright polished look...it isn't just because flashy ammo isn't a great idea in some combat situations...is some evidence that the slightly dull look of military brass resists corrosion better than a bright polished finish.

I'll clean them...but gave up polishing them 10 or 12 years ago.

February 26, 2006, 05:17 PM
POLISHED is just for looks.

I'm not sure about that. In an autoloader, part of the action of the firearm is the sliding of the brass rounds against each other as they are stripped from the magazine... then slipping properly into the chamber.

I've always felt that polished brass aids in functioning. What do you think?


The Bushmaster
February 26, 2006, 06:33 PM
Part of the function of the brass is to cling to the chamber to some extent...Some say that if the brass is to smooth and shinny it can't stick to the chamber when fired...What do YOU think??? Clean them and make them shine...Yes. Use any kind of polish such as car wax or any other substence that leaves a residue...NO!!! I like shinny brass, but waxin' them in my (not so) humble opinion is gettin' on the verge of rediculous...

February 26, 2006, 06:47 PM
Ditto on waxing them sounding silly, and counterproductive in that it would gum things up. But make 'em shiny, clean and shiny. Clean, shiny brass is happy, contented brass, and contented brass just shoots better.

The Bushmaster
February 26, 2006, 07:17 PM
"Happy contented brass"??? L O L O K....Never crossed my mind that brass could be happy let alone contented...:D

February 26, 2006, 07:18 PM
SO that's what's worng with the military's semi-autos and full auto weapons...they aren't using polished bright cases so that must explain the all the jams.

The Bushmaster
February 26, 2006, 07:31 PM
Yup...The brass just isn't "happy and contented"...:neener:

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