Brass rat question


May 14, 2008, 04:08 PM
Would it be safe to use this brass? And what is happened to it? Too long exposure to the elements?

BB John

If you enjoyed reading about "Brass rat question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 14, 2008, 04:14 PM
Hard to tell in the photo. It looks like its just blackened up from shooting. Tumble it first then you can tell better.

May 14, 2008, 04:30 PM
They are tumbled.. Tumbled for 7 hours straight (Forgot to turn it off when i went to bed last night) My theory is that this is the state brass gets in before it starts turning chocolate brown?

BB John

May 14, 2008, 04:54 PM
From the looks of them they were on the ground for sometime.

May 14, 2008, 05:11 PM
I have reloaded worse with no ill effects.

I always make sure there is no corrossion of any kind and check the inside real good. If all that passes I load'm up and shoot'm

May 14, 2008, 05:17 PM
Cartridge brass is 70% copper and 30% zinc. When brass stays in contact with wet ground, an electrolytic cell is created between the chemicals in the ground and the brass. Tin can be leached out of the brass, and other ssubstances plated onto the brass. Tin reduction areas usually looks slightly red (copper red) in the centers of the dark areas. The longer the contact, the more that is leeched. The case which is 3rd from left on the bottom in the picture appears to be a classic example.

A small reduction in the % zinc can cause the brass to be brittle and can cause catastrophic rupture of the case. Examine them closely, inside and out.

How many cases are you talking about here???? If you have only this small number in the picture, recycle em.

May 14, 2008, 05:18 PM
i usually dont take the chance. there is plenty of good once fired brass at the range theres no sense useing even semi-questionable when you dont need to. brass is cheap a new gun isnt

May 14, 2008, 05:21 PM
Oki doki!

Well its more than those in the picture. alot more. But im in no danger for running out of good used brass so i guess ill throw them away. Thanks for the description, been wondering quite awhile why they get like that.

BB John

May 14, 2008, 05:23 PM
Did you tumble using a polish of some type? If you did and your media is fresh and charged with polish I say pitch them.

May 14, 2008, 05:44 PM
If you have time, you can use a Brillo pad (lightly) or steel wool (lightly) to remove the dark spots for inspection.

Don't throw the brass away, RECYCLE!

Smokey Joe
May 14, 2008, 11:11 PM
Katastrofo--If you have plenty of "good" brass then don't use this stuff. Butso i guess ill throw them away.EEK! Don't do that! With China gobbling up as much copper as they can get their hands on, the price for scrap brass has gone through the roof. Take the cases to yr local scrap yard and they should pay you a nice price for 'em. Last bunch of brass I recycled fetched $1.65/lb. That buys me more powder, primers, and bullets! :)

May 14, 2008, 11:47 PM
I've shot brass that looks alot worse than that. I usually use my brass till they split, after all they are enclosed in a chamber if in a revolver or most auto's. There is one "but" here though, I load on the mid to lite side because of arthritis in my hands and wrists. Wouldn't try it in the type of auto that isn't locked breech.

May 15, 2008, 12:25 AM
The only problem I see with that brass is that it'll be hard to find 'cause it ain't shiny.

I've had brass that looked like that or worse (chocolate) that I shined up with steel wool out of curiosity to see if it would shine up. It shines up like new.

May 15, 2008, 12:27 AM
...I have brass stained like that because I took a pee on them. Nevertheless, they load and shoot fine. If you tumbled them 7 hours, they are perfectly sanitary to handle now.

May 15, 2008, 12:36 AM
hahaha ants why did you pee on your brass?

May 15, 2008, 12:39 AM
Too much iced tea in a 53 year old bladder. My brother (a doctor) said there are salts and ammonia compounds in urine that stain brass, but don't weaken it significantly. That's why lots of plumbing is brass and copper.

May 15, 2008, 08:46 AM
ants ...I have brass stained like that because I took a pee on them. Nevertheless, they load and shoot fine. If you tumbled them 7 hours, they are perfectly sanitary to handle now.

Sounds like he has a method to mark his brass so he can pick it up later!:D


May 16, 2008, 01:35 AM

toss it...
better a handfull of brass..
than a face full of stitches... my opinion

May 16, 2008, 12:45 PM

I got very "dirty" and oxidized 357mag and 44mag brass. Even after tumbling them, they looked nasty. Some of them were so brown than they were almost black.

I used brasso to perform a first cleaning of the brass after the tumble. If it was coming back shiny, I kept it. If not, I tossed it.

Did I do good?

Thank you

May 16, 2008, 01:33 PM
Reload it. It's fine as long as you're not loading to & over max.

May 16, 2008, 02:13 PM

I've always heard that Brasso is NOT good for cartridges because it contains ammonia which causes brass to become brittle.

May 16, 2008, 02:23 PM

Indeed, I just did google and read that brasso contains ammonia. Now the question To chemists here is:

If I used it only once on the brass, did it weaken "significantly" my brass?????

I read by googling different opinions.

Thank you

May 16, 2008, 02:34 PM
As I stated above, cartridge brass is 70% copper and 30% zinc. Ammonia leeches the zinc from the brass at a rapid rate, the longer the contact, the more that is leeched. If the Brasso is applied and immediately rubbed off, there will be little danger of zinc leeching, unless it is done many times.

Try this experiment: put a dab of Brasso on a three different case that are trashed. Rub it off the first case immediately; let it sit for an hour, then remove from the second; and on the third, let it sit for 2 hours and rub.

Now compare the color of your Brassoed brass with new. If zinc has leached, you will see the reddish copper color showing on the brass that has lost zinc. The more zinc lost, the redder in color the brass will be indicating that more zinc that has been leeched.

May 16, 2008, 02:38 PM

oh!!!! So, if I understand well here, I can deduct two things of what you just wrote:
1 - When I polished my brass with brasso, I put a drop on it and used immediately a piece of cloth to polish it. So, I did not "damage much" the brass.
2 - There are some reddish cases in the lot I discovered after my polishing procedure. That means they are weak and I am better to toss them out. Right?

Thank you

May 16, 2008, 03:01 PM

IMHO, I would just stay away from Brasso and any other ammonia based product.

Personally, I put a cap full of Nu-Finish and a strip of dryer sheet in my walnut media. I have used the same batch for a couple thousand cases (without adding more Nu-Finish just a fresh piece of dryer sheet each time) and it's still working well.

May 16, 2008, 05:20 PM
Try polishing with walnut shell and add some polish and mineral spirits, this usually works for me on those tough stains.

May 16, 2008, 05:27 PM
take the worst one a smash it with a hammer, if it cracks then you may want to avoid reloading them. if it just bends you're good.

May 16, 2008, 05:52 PM
Bought another bucket and wrote "Recycle" on it and threw them in:)

As i wrote earlier, im in no danger of running out of brass (not auto brass anyway) so i wont take the risk.

BB John

If you enjoyed reading about "Brass rat question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!