marking brass


December 22, 2007, 03:27 AM
Does anyone mark their brass? how do you do it? (marker-which one? paint- what type?)
This is refering to marking your brass so you can easily identify yours when picking it up at the range... and maybe even difference in calibers so it's easier to sort later.

I have tried sharpie markers but they never seem to dry enough and an hour later can be wiped clean no indications that it was ever marked. I have seen people at the range that marked theirs with a "silver" strip... and when i asked them about it... they told me to mind my own (guess they had a secret to keep or just not wanna chat).

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December 22, 2007, 03:53 AM
When I load a batch of Pin loads, I mark them right then with RED Sharpie. They may sit for a week. Might only sit over night. But it doesn't wipe off at the shoot.

The Avery 'MarksAlot' permanent marker works pretty good too.

Other than that, ask the wife for some fast dry finger nail polish. She'll know what to buy. Almost any bloody color you desire. Dries easily in a half hour.


December 22, 2007, 04:11 AM
I use a permanent Magic Marker to identify loads. It dries quick and enough stays on so that I can read the charge weights after firing. My Dillon case lube with a little on a rag removes the mark before sizing. It's got alcohol in it so I guess the alcohol removes the mark. Does your loaded brass have a little lube on them that may keep the marker from drying? The Sharpie should dry and stay on even after firing. I would'nt want to mark all brass but it works well enough so that I can examine cases when working up loads.

The Bushmaster
December 22, 2007, 10:08 AM
I write what they are and their use on a strip of 1" wide masking tape placed on the plastic box. When I change the load data or use the tape is easily removed and a new one placed on the plastic box.

Calibre & Use
Bullet style & weight
Powder and charge & Primer
Date loaded

evan price
December 22, 2007, 10:23 AM
I used to mark all my .45 reloads with a colored Sharpie across the head so I could keep track of how many reloads they had had. The sharpie came off in the case tumbler. Now I stopped caring and just shoot em until they split.
Be careful using nail polish or anything that will artificially increase the thickness of the case head.
What I use to mark bullet tips on loaded ammo is what is called a "Valve action paint marker" we used them in my job to mark metal parts for cutting or grinding or to identify them. They are available at anyplace that sells metalworking supplies. They have a ball inside like a spray can. The tip is a thick felt, you shake it up and push the tip down on a hard surface to get the paint flowing to the nib. Available in any sort of color you could want. The ones I have now are branded "Markal" by La-Co Industries Inc of Elk Grove Village Illinois.

December 22, 2007, 10:30 AM
I used to mark the bullets, but I had a Hades of a time sorting them out down-range. And don't even get me started about gluing the little pieces back together so I could try to read what I had written on the bullet. :neener:

I finally gave up and just marked the bottom of the brass.


December 22, 2007, 12:36 PM
I use sharpie pens to mark my brass for use in matches. Other shooters also do this, so I pick two distinct colors and make two rings around the circumference of the case. Mine definitely don't come off until they are tumbled after shooting.

It's possible that you have lube residue on your cases and it's acting as a solvent for the permanent marker. Try tumbling your cases after sizing, or else tumble the loaded bullets (I know, a contentious point).



December 22, 2007, 08:12 PM
I mark the primer with a firing pin or striker. This, and the missing bullet tells me it has been fired and is inert.:neener: I have used a sharpie to mark heavy loads when building up 22-250 loads.

December 22, 2007, 08:46 PM
Prior to priming, I place my brass face-down in a loading block and "paint" it with Dy-Kem (

Stays on real good while shooting, plus it doesn't transfer to the breech-face. Comes off in the tumbler though.

December 22, 2007, 09:46 PM
i use a sharpie on the side of the cases when doing load development to tell me powder type and charge, and also on the book max load i write down stated book velocity. after development is done, i don't write on them anymore.

i can't get the sharpie marks off easily. it usually requires a couple of uses, and a few sizing and tumbling sessions before the marks fade enough that they can't be read. agree w/ previous poster that your brass isn't clean as to why your sharpie comes off so fast.

December 22, 2007, 10:10 PM
I was using a meium sharpie on the headstamp to denote how many times I loaded that case. Mark every other letter each time I load it. Finally, I ran out of letters. Now I just put a sharpie stripe across the bottom, making sure I tag at least two letters. When the round fires, sometimes the sharpie comes off. If you get the marker into the letters, it'll stay on until you tumble.

December 22, 2007, 10:49 PM
After I load up some 45acp, I put them in the 100ct plastic boxes. As I transfer them to the boxes I check them either with a case gauge or visually depending on thier intended use (match or practice). After they are in the boxes I again check (visually and by touch) to make sure I dont have any crushed or high primers. I then mark them with a sharpie so I know they have been checked.

Steve Koski
December 22, 2007, 11:14 PM
I cut an X in the bullet.

December 23, 2007, 10:06 AM
I've seen guys mark theirs with a sharpie by placing their pistol rounds in the cornermost compartment in the box, take the pen, place it at the junction of the box and the brass and turn the brass, thus imparting a circle around the case at that place.


December 23, 2007, 10:17 AM
Marking the base of a case helps very little to differentiate your brass when mixed with others. The problem is the only time a case comes to rest on the mouth (leaving the base in sight) is when it sticks into mud. The device below is easy to make and will stripe the OD of the case making it much easier to pick yours out from the crowd, at least while standing. Red is reputed to be the best color and some use multiple colors/stripes. FWIW I just pick up all that I can then throw it into the sorter.

December 23, 2007, 10:34 AM
fine point sharpie. i use a lot for test loads. This helps me to identify the brass later on. So that when i get back home and have a hundred or so empty brass cartridges. i can see which were the test loads so i can inspect how they performed. The sharpie works very very good. After tumbling the brass for 4 hours i still had sharpie marks on the brass. hahahah

The Bushmaster
December 24, 2007, 10:47 AM
Never had to mark a test loading. I usually load a few, make a note of it in my load bench log and dash out to my range just outside my back door, test shoot them and return to the gun/reloading room and enter the data. And do it all over again...Yes...It is nice...When the weather is (nice that is)...

December 24, 2007, 11:25 AM
Since I do not have the luxury The Bushmaster does, sometimes I will mark my brass with a Sharpie.

I may load three different powders and mark them three different ways. 1,2, or 3 lines, or sometimes a circle, a dot, and an X on the primer, etc.

If I am narrowing something down it may be three different charges of the same powder.

December 24, 2007, 10:57 PM
Thanks i have a lot of ideas. I like the sheet metal marking stuff... I think i have some left over from learning to weld. but i'll see what i'll come up with between now and when my order of bullets come in for my next reloading set.

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