Case Cleaning


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dispatch55126
January 3, 2009, 07:43 PM
Is tumbling brass required or are the liquid solvents sufficient? Tumbling makes sense but at the same time the solvents such as Iosso (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/pod/standard-pod-wrapped.jsp?id=0003071&navCount=2&parentId=cat20849&masterpathid=&navAction=push&cmCat=MainCatcat602007-cat20728-cat20849&parentType=index&indexId=cat20849&rid=) would appear to do a better job with decapped brass. If it truly removes all carbon and fouling, it would do a better job at cleaning the primer pocket. This and the time difference would seem to be an advantage.

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bullseye308
January 3, 2009, 08:14 PM
I've never used the liquid solvents you speak of, so I won't comment on those. A tumbler is not necessary like a chrono isn't. Both are nice to have but not necessary. It really depends on how your brass needs to be for you to be happy. At the least the brass should be cleaned in some fashion to keep trash out of your dies.

Here is what I do. Mix 1c water, 1c white vinegar, 1tsp salt, and 1tsp dish soap. Add brass and stir every 5 min for about 30 min and then rinse in clean water. Dry and go. That will remove most dirt, rocks, etc, and clean off some of the tarnish if present. At that point it is clean enough to start the loading process if you don't wanna tumble it to make it pretty. I do all my brass decapped and washing then tumbling cleans out the primer pockets enough for me. Hope this helps.

The Bushmaster
January 3, 2009, 08:43 PM
All liquid brass cleaning solvents require flushing with water and/or let dry or oven bake. All time consuming and increases the chance of loading a wet case and fouling the powder.

I'll stick with my ol' Lyman Tumbler. No fuss, no muss...And before some one says that they have a problem with media getting stuck in the primer pockets and flash holes. Let me remind you that I use a tumbler media that is fine enough to pass through the flash hole...:D

jcwit
January 3, 2009, 09:48 PM
You must be standing on your nerve. he he

The Bushmaster
January 3, 2009, 10:38 PM
Yeh...That must be it, I guess. Maybe if I step to one side it will get better

I've noticed that tonight a few of us are having this problem...

andcam
January 4, 2009, 01:58 AM
I use the birchwood casey liquid brass cleaner and it works great!

10 Spot Terminator
January 4, 2009, 08:24 AM
I too use the Birchwod Casey at times for badly tarnished brass as a precurser to tumbling ( like em purty ) but be warned not to feed nickle plated brass to most chemical cleaners, will turn them black and no amount of polishing will fix them . If in doubt just try a little on the neck of one case before you commit your entire lot of brass .

Walkalong
January 4, 2009, 09:11 AM
You must be standing on your nerve. he heToo funny. :D

The Bushmaster
January 4, 2009, 09:56 AM
That's right, Walkalong. Get a man when he's down...

Walkalong
January 4, 2009, 02:12 PM
Only time I can. :D

I see now that the system was getting a lot of folks last night. :)

grsjax
January 4, 2009, 02:17 PM
I use a cup of cheap ammonia cleaner in a gallon of water for the first rinse followed by a cup of white vinager in a gallon of water for the second rinse. I put the brass in the first solution for about 10 minutes stirring every couple of minutes. They go straight into the second solution for about 5 minutes stirred continuiously. Rinse with clean water and dry. Leaves the brass clean and shiny but will not remove heavy tarnish.

rfwobbly
January 4, 2009, 02:21 PM
...And before some one says that they have a problem with media getting stuck in the primer pockets and flash holes. Let me remind you that I use a tumbler media that is fine enough to pass through the flash hole...


I've been doing the 'pet store thing' and unable to find media that won't get lodged as you indicated. While it's easy enough to check and clear on 9mm, it gives me worries on 223. So 223 is simply decapped and washed in hot water with Tide detergent around here. However I'd like to tumble the rifle brass too.

Any suggestions on better sources?

Claude Clay
January 4, 2009, 02:38 PM
media stuck in the primer hole is a self correcting non existent problem----
it disappears at the depriming/sizing station.

rfwobbly
January 4, 2009, 03:01 PM
Apologies. I should have clarified.

The corn cob media I'm finding at my local pet stores (and I have checked quite a few here in Atlanta area) comes in 1 basic size which varies between 1/8 and 1/4 dia. While it goes in and cleans a 9mm very well, and sometimes gets lodged in the primer pocket (which is no big deal as Mr Clay pointed out), it goes in the mouth of a 223 and doesn't want to come back out.

Walkalong
January 4, 2009, 04:08 PM
Grainger

14/20 Grit (http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/2MVR4)

20/40 Grit (http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/2MVR5)

They don't charge shipping if you pick it up at the store. I am lucky to have one close to where I work. :)

Daniel1120
January 4, 2009, 05:25 PM
I deprime first then clean them in iosso. Rinse with water and throw in the oven to dry. Next I tumble them, and inspect. I always heard tumblers contribute greatly to lead poisoning, so I try to clean them before the tumbler. Iosso does not ruin nickel plated brass.

Walkalong, does graingers corn cob get dusty? If so what do you add to stop it?

snuffy
January 4, 2009, 05:43 PM
I use a cup of cheap ammonia cleaner in a gallon of water for the first rinse followed by a cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water for the second rinse. I put the brass in the first solution for about 10 minutes stirring every couple of minutes. They go straight into the second solution for about 5 minutes stirred continuously. Rinse with clean water and dry. Leaves the brass clean and shiny but will not remove heavy tarnish.



STOP IT! Ammonia attacks the brass in your cartridge cases, removing the copper from the brass. The result is weakened brass, unable to withstand pressure. DO NOT USE AMMONIA ON ANY BRASS CASING.

Why do you suppose they put ammonia in bore cleaner? To remove the copper from the bore, put there by the bullets.

Walkalong
January 4, 2009, 06:16 PM
STOP IT!Please.

grsjax
January 4, 2009, 06:35 PM
"STOP IT! Ammonia attacks the brass in your cartridge cases, removing the copper from the brass. The result is weakened brass, unable to withstand pressure. DO NOT USE AMMONIA ON ANY BRASS CASING."

Technically you are right but using a very weak ammonia solution and immediately rinsing with a weak acid reduces the leaching to a negligible amount. If I was using a concentrated ammonia solution and leaving the brass in there for a couple of hours I might have a problem. I have been a chemist for 30 years and am completely aware of the effect of different chemicals on brass. Haven't had a case fail on me yet. your mileage may vary so I am not advocating that anyone else follow my example.

Used to use dish washing soap but the cheap ammonia does a better job.

243winxb
January 5, 2009, 07:59 AM
grsjax, Can you tell me if this mix will do damage to brass cases? "1 pint of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of detergent". Mix the solution in container. Shake 10 minutes with brass. Rinse 10 minutes clean water. Sun dry. This was printed in an NRA reprint of loading for the 45 acp many years ago. I have used it for many years. But have had problems with brass becoming brittle in 223 LC brass. http://www.hghouston.com/coppers/brass75.htm http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/223LC86Brittle_002.jpg The brass in the photo was being neck sized. Some have seperated on firing also. I have been reloading 40 years, first time i have run into this.

snuffy
January 5, 2009, 11:14 AM
"STOP IT! Ammonia attacks the brass in your cartridge cases, removing the copper from the brass. The result is weakened brass, unable to withstand pressure. DO NOT USE AMMONIA ON ANY BRASS CASING."

Technically you are right but using a very weak ammonia solution and immediately rinsing with a weak acid reduces the leaching to a negligible amount. If I was using a concentrated ammonia solution and leaving the brass in there for a couple of hours I might have a problem. I have been a chemist for 30 years and am completely aware of the effect of different chemicals on brass. Haven't had a case fail on me yet. your mileage may vary so I am not advocating that anyone else follow my example.

Used to use dish washing soap but the cheap ammonia does a better job.

We've been told repeatedly that the ammonia contained in Brasso will render brass un-usable,(when used in a tumbler to shine up the brass). It too is a tiny amount, then some say it evaporates, so it can't affect the brass.

I will NOT use a liquid cleaner containing ammonia, or an abrasive such as Brasso in a tumbler. While brass is comparatively cheap, I don't want it falling apart while being fired.

What you're saying is, what we've been hearing is false, it doesn't matter?

243winxb
January 5, 2009, 11:34 AM
http://www.6mmbr.com/ultrasonic.html More to read. But will it hurt brass? :confused:

grsjax
January 6, 2009, 08:38 AM
"grsjax, Can you tell me if this mix will do damage to brass cases? "1 pint of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of detergent"."

That is a pretty acidic solution and the salt isn't helping any. I guess it would depend on how long you expose the brass to the solution and the composition of the brass. If the brass has a relatively high zinc content it will be effected more than one with less zinc. That said I would cut the vinegar with more water and leave out the salt. The reason you use the vinegar in the first place is that it is very effective at removing oily/greasy deposits on the brass. No need for that much to get the job done.

Almost forgot. You need to use something to neutralize the acid. Try adding a little baking soda to the rinse water.

grsjax
January 6, 2009, 08:44 AM
"We've been told repeatedly that the ammonia contained in Brasso will render brass un-usable,(when used in a tumbler to shine up the brass). It too is a tiny amount, then some say it evaporates, so it can't affect the brass.

I will NOT use a liquid cleaner containing ammonia, or an abrasive such as Brasso in a tumbler. While brass is comparatively cheap, I don't want it falling apart while being fired.

What you're saying is, what we've been hearing is false, it doesn't matter?"

I am not saying anything. Just providing information on what I use. A weak solution of ammonia works very well for removing powder residue and soot.

BigCheese
January 6, 2009, 09:12 AM
The most dangerous form of attack by ammonia is not leaching or dezincification. Aqueous solutions of ammonia cause "stress corrosion" which causes the boundaries between the grains of the brass to separate. This can occur without any significant weight loss from dissolving the brass.

Attached is a photo showing this condition. You may be a chemist for 30 years, but not a metallurgist. I am a metallurgist, and even more of an old timer than you (45 years practice). See my website rdkraft.com

For this cracking to occur, both a tensile stress and ammonia are needed. This would make neck cracking where the brass has been expanded a primary location for failure.

grsjax
January 6, 2009, 10:06 AM
Big Cheese
Good point. I usually only neck size and haven't noticed a problem but I don't shoot thousands of rounds a year and most of my cases have only been reloaded a few times. I may just not have a large enough sample to observe any effects. Something to keep in mind.

One question. Is it exposure to ammonia while being stressed or ammonia exposure on a previously stressed sample that is the problem?

243winxb
January 6, 2009, 10:19 AM
The 15% Acetic acid in vinegar depletes the 5% zinc in brass. The brass will have pink or peach colored spots. When the zinc is removed, brass becomes weak and brittle. The reaction of the acetic acid will continue to corrode the brass. Brass will turn dark in color. This corrsion must be stopped. It has been suggested that Baking Soda when mixed with water at a rate of 1 grain Baking Soda per ounce of water will neutralize the acid, when the brass is agitated in it. My conclusion is that vinegar should not be uses as a cleaning agent on brass.:confused: Acetic acid is corrosive to metals including iron, magnesium, and zinc, forming hydrogen gas and metal salts called acetates. Vinegar is typically 5% to 18% acetic acid. Solutions at more than 25% acetic acid are handled in a fume hood because of the pungent, corrosive vapour. Dilute acetic acid, in the form of vinegar, is harmless to humans for the most part. However, ingestion of stronger solutions is dangerous to human and animal life. It can cause severe damage to the digestive system, and a potentially lethal change in the acidity of the blood.Due to incompatibilities, it is recommended to keep acetic acid away from chromic acid, ethylene glycol, nitric acid, perchloric acid, permanganates, peroxides and hydroxyls.

243winxb
January 6, 2009, 10:25 AM
grsjax, the strength of the vinegar solution would make a difference as you said. Dezincafication may only apply to certain blends of brass when the level of zinc is higher than 15%. But i dont know for sure???

243winxb
January 6, 2009, 10:29 AM
BigCheese, everything i read is saying Ammonia and brass should not come in contact with each other as you said. ty for the info. It would seem that vinegar can cause stress corrosion of brass also.

BigCheese
January 6, 2009, 01:10 PM
grsjax

Stress corrosion cracking occurs under the simultaneous conditions of tensile stress and the corroding medium. When you cold work the brass by neck expanding or belling, a residual stress remains in the brass. Also, when the case is fired, the diameter expands to fill the chamber and this causes tensile stress due to stretching.

243winxb;

I haven't run across acetic acid (vinegar) causing stress corrosion cracking. That does not rule out general corrosion (leaching) by vinegar. Stress corrosion cracking of brass occurs most commonly in moist ammonia. Mercury is also very bad; that's why old corrosive primed brass may crack.

snuffy
January 6, 2009, 01:39 PM
This is exactly the purpose of forums like this, the sharing of information. Here we have a chemist AND a metallurgist getting to the bottom of a subject that has always been a topic of contention in the reloading community.

I stay away from ANY kind of liquid case cleaners because I tried some iosso cleaner ONE time. I didn't make sure the cases were dry first, had a bunch of fail to fire in .357. Besides the long time period involved to let them air dry or having to commit a cookie sheet to ONLY casing drying to be put in an oven. Then there's the possibility of getting the brass too hot. Having a mother that was tighter than 3 coats of paint didn't help, she'd scream about the power bill if I turned on the oven to dry brass!:cuss: I built a tumbler using a coffee can, that worked much better, and was quicker. Now I use a vibratory tumbler.

grsjax
January 7, 2009, 02:48 PM
Very interesting discussion. I was unaware of the retained stress issue in resized brass. Goes to show you are never to old to learn something new. As for the effect of ascetic acid on brass a lot depends on how much zinc is there. Usually if the zinc component is less than 15% there is little if any dezincification but it would depend on how long the brass was in contact with the acid. Would be very interesting to soak some cases in white vinegar and weigh the cases every hour or so to see how much weight was being lost. Might do that some day if I can find the time.

243winxb
January 9, 2009, 05:05 PM
I wonder if the alloy is about the same between different manufactures :confused:The yellow brass (copper alloy 260)
contains approximately 70% copper and 30% zinc. It is used
in the production of all types of cartridge cases and primer
components. The red brass (copper alloy 220), which
contains 90% copper and 10% zinc, is used mainly to
manufacture small-calibre projectile jackets. http://www.snctec.com/imports/pdf/en/fiche_technique151.pdf Link to the info on General Dynamics website. http://www.gd-otscanada.com/html/en/products/ammunition-small.php Seems the above info is correct. The cartridge case, bullet, bullet coating, and metal jacket also contain specific elements that can be detected. Virtually all cartridge cases are made of brass (70% copper and 30% zinc). A few have a nickel coating. Primer cases are of similar composition (Cu-Zn). Bullet cores are most often lead and antimony, with a very few having a ferrous alloy core. Bullet jackets are usually brass (90% copper with 10% zinc), but some are a ferrous alloy and some are aluminum. Some bullet coatings may also contain nickel. (Ravreby, 1982).

link to info here> http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNGSR.html

ar10
January 9, 2009, 05:48 PM
Not again. :banghead:

snuffy
January 10, 2009, 12:53 AM
Not again.:banghead:


HUH?What you mean "not again?"

ar10
January 10, 2009, 06:53 AM
HUH?What you mean "not again?"

The subject seems to never end, popping up every couple of months in just about every case cleaning thread.
response " I use Brasso"
response "Brasso has ammonia, you'll screw up your cases"
response "I've been using it for 20yrs with no problem. Works great"
From there the threads seem to go from detailed high science and advanced chemistry to hogwash and it's never resolved.
No one is going to change anybody's mind and everyone has a certain point of view from DON'T DO IT to YES YOU CAN

bullseye308
January 10, 2009, 10:33 AM
No one is going to change anybody's mind and everyone has a certain point of view from DON'T DO IT to YES YOU CAN

Every time this comes up we seem to be getting closer to the real science of the matter and an honest scientific answer. It looks like we are on the verge of resolving this due to having the "right man for the job", a chemist and a metallurgist. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this myth generator and put it to bed this time. Sit back, take a deap breath, chill and let this play out. Maybe we will get something difinitive, maybe we won't, but we're closer. :D

The Bushmaster
January 10, 2009, 10:42 AM
I solved the problem a LONG time ago. Like maybe 22 years ago. I just don't clean my brass with an ammonia based cleaning substance or a cleaning substance containing ammonia...

Problem solved...Here anyway...

ar10
January 10, 2009, 11:12 AM
I solved the problem a LONG time ago. Like maybe 22 years ago. I just don't clean my brass with an ammonia based cleaning substance or a cleaning substance containing ammonia...

Problem solved...Here anyway...

How true.:D And 25 yrs ago I was a virgin welding engineer, I was smart as hell back then, knew everything. Problem is, as I got older I got dumber.:o

crashcarruthers
January 10, 2009, 11:18 AM
I guess i will put my thoughts in on the matter of Brasso or not. Fact ammonia products are used to clean copper out of gun barrels, because ammonia dissolves copper. You can argue all day about concentration levels, temperature, pressure,reaction rate, etc., but at the end of the day there are known brass safe products that clean brass very good that are as cost effect as Brasso. I can not see the point of taking a none needed chance, when there are safe and cheap options. You can use gasoline to light charcoal or you can use charcoal lighter fluid, both work and both cost about the same, everybody has a choice.

grsjax
January 10, 2009, 08:30 PM
Just to throw another idea into the mix. Maybe cleaning the brass isn't necessary. I believe it was Richard Lee that did some tests and found that the only advantage to cleaning the brass was shiny brass. That probably doesn't apply to people looking for the highest level of accuracy but for the majority of shooters it may well be true. :rolleyes:

rondog
January 10, 2009, 08:37 PM
In my experience, the Iosso stuff doesn't remove all the crud all that well from deprimed cases. It WILL remove very heavy tarnishing, but it leaves the brass pinkish.

ar10
January 11, 2009, 06:56 AM
Just to throw another idea into the mix. Maybe cleaning the brass isn't necessary. I believe it was Richard Lee that did some tests and found that the only advantage to cleaning the brass was shiny brass. That probably doesn't apply to people looking for the highest level of accuracy but for the majority of shooters it may well be true.

Richard is wrong. Everyone knows shiny brass is much more accurate than dirty brass. :D

Clark
January 11, 2009, 11:34 AM
Quote:
HUH?What you mean "not again?"
The subject seems to never end, popping up every couple of months in just about every case cleaning thread.
response " I use Brasso"
response "Brasso has ammonia, you'll screw up your cases"
response "I've been using it for 20yrs with no problem. Works great"
From there the threads seem to go from detailed high science and advanced chemistry to hogwash and it's never resolved.
No one is going to change anybody's mind and everyone has a certain point of view from DON'T DO IT to YES YOU CAN

I was actually getting something out of THIS thread.
But in the last 15 years, I have seen enough of "Can I shoot 38 sp in my 357?" and "9mm vs 45acp".

Carl Sagan. "Cosmos" 1980

A great moment in television history was featured in Carl Sagan's outstanding thirteen-part series on astronomy called "Cosmos". He was pictured in New York library surrounded by millions of books. He pointed to a tiny section and said:

"It is only possible in one person's lifetime to read this many books."

He then turned to the camera and made the following profound statement:

"The trick is to read the right books."

Many forums have an ignore feature.
You need an ignore feature in your head.
I have read thousands of books, simply by reading parts of the table of contents and the introduction, skimming a few pages and putting the book down.

I look at hundreds of forum titles every day and pass on almost all of them.

Lately, I have seen some real fanaticism over case cleaning.
That is a good thing.

243winxb
January 11, 2009, 12:07 PM
Using LC and Federal brass and 5 different acids. Sit for 1 hr. The NRA mix and ammonia were the most aggressive. Plain vinegar, lemon, apple made the brass shine also. NRA & vinegar & ammonia started getting green spots after a few hours. Brass was not rinsed in water or baking soda to stop the chemical reaction/corrosion. Some of the brass lost 1/10 gr in weight, dirt washing out of it i think. The ammonia liquid turned very dark almost black. Safer to use birchwood casey liquid brass cleaner, corn cob media, or some other commercial product thats safe. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/ACIDTEST1.jpg

243winxb
January 11, 2009, 12:10 PM
http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/AMMONIA3.jpg I think i am done with liquid cleans, at least homemade ones. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/NRAMIX1-1.jpg

ar10
January 11, 2009, 12:13 PM
Lately, I have seen some real fanaticism over case cleaning.
That is a good thing.

Actually I think some of it is hilarious. I think of it as a "moo point" (much different than "moot point"). It's like discussing advanced case cleaning theory with a cow.
If someone thinks his/her procedure works for them and then someone else says "don't do it", then followed up with all the science known about subject. It's a "moo point". :D

243winxb
January 11, 2009, 01:48 PM
If you can make your own home brew and save a $ or 2, thats what reloading is all about. In fact i know of one person that now has his own bore cleaner for sale and is doing quit well with his "home brew";. Maybe cleaning the brass isn't necessary. I believe it was Richard Lee that did some tests and found that the only advantage to cleaning the brass was shiny brass. That probably doesn't apply to people looking for the highest level of accuracy but for the majority of shooters it may well be true. grsjax, For small lots of brass, i clean them by putting them in a towel and rolling them around, or hand wiping 20 at a time. For large amounts,the NRA recipe has worked well for many years, till i let brass soak overnight by mistake.

snuffy
January 11, 2009, 01:50 PM
Actually I think some of it is hilarious. I think of it as a "moo point" (much different than "moot point"). It's like discussing advanced case cleaning theory with a cow.
If someone thinks his/her procedure works for them and then someone else says "don't do it", then followed up with all the science known about subject. It's a "moo point".

So you would rather not know the facts, just go blindly on with your method. Even though it may weaken your brass?

Like I said before, that's what forums like this are for. To discuss things, to educate people. We had a chemist, and a metallurgist get together to find out what really happens. For the first time I really know what has been standard operating practice for many years to be correct. Ammonia and acid is harmful to brass. PERIOD! Don't believe it, do what you want to anyway, it's still a free country, or at least it is until king hussien gets sworn in!

grsjax
January 11, 2009, 05:41 PM
RE: Acid Test
Interesting that the Federal did not seem to lose any weight while the LC seemed to lose a consistent .1gr. A point to ponder is that .1gr is less than the variation in weight you are likely to see in brass cases.

243winxb
January 11, 2009, 06:00 PM
RE: Acid Test
Interesting that the Federal did not seem to lose any weight while the LC seemed to lose a consistent .1gr. A point to ponder is that .1gr is less than the variation in weight you are likely to see in brass cases. Balance beam scales have a built in error of 1/10 gr. So the weight is meaningless i think? There may have been more dirt inside the LC case also.

akanotken
January 12, 2009, 03:36 PM
If the scale ways the same object and returns results at an average +/- .1 grain then you are correct.

My suspicion is that they are claiming the scales reading are within .1 grain of the true weight, then the conclusions are correct. i.e. reusing the same scale on the brass will return weight loss relative to that scales earlier reading. Hmmm, this stuff is described better in my head;).

Also, I don't think the answer is always black and white. You might corrode metal at such a slow rate that the damage is minimal, less than actual firing of the rounds or other factors. This is why chemical concentrations and exposure timings are important. This is a trick that some use, state an actual fact, but overstate the importance. Imagine some tunnel builder stating that wind and rain erodes our highways, so we need to incase all highways in tunnels. He's right. He's also: trying to make a buck, Not telling you how long a road could survive without a tunnel (for cost break even analysis), Not telling you that normal useage is 1000x's more damaging than wind/rain, tunnel encased roads are more accident prone, are terrorist targets .... etc. A VERY LONG winded way of stating that things are NEVER simple ... in my world :)

YMMV:neener:

243winxb
January 13, 2009, 07:05 AM
akanotken, I should have said, the scale should read out to a finer measurement, say .001 instead of .1 Also the time the brass is in the mix is most important as you have said. What concerns me most is, when does the chemical reaction stop effecting the brass? Some would say water will not stop the reaction? Baking soda or citrus acid will? :confused:

243winxb
January 13, 2009, 07:28 AM
Is it possible that ammonia is formed on firing?:confused: The residue left behind on the inside of some brass necks seems to turn green after a while. This would indicate to me that a chemical reaction is taking place. When ammo is put into storage (20years) after reloading this might cause "stress corrosion". Even when cleaning the necks with a brush/lube, the part on the shoulder is not touched. Could this be where the corrosion would be working on my cases?

243winxb
January 22, 2009, 09:46 AM
This recipe for a liquid brass cleaner should be safe. I feel that this recipe containing 1 pint water, 1 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tea spoon detergent will not hurt brass when washed for 10 minutes then rinsed for 10 minutes in mild ascorbic acid (juice from 1 lemon to 1qt water) and sun dried. Firearm brass has many names,( Admiralty Brass, Copper alloy 260 or 70% Copper & 30% zinc, with tiny amounts of tin and arsenic. The acetic acid in vinegar will not harm brass alloy of this type. Admiralty brass is used for centrifugal pumps handling 20%-100% acetic acid at 20oC. http://www.hghouston.com/coppers/brass73.htm We have learned that ammonia, in any form should never come in contact with brass as "stress corrosion" caused by the ammonia will weaken brass and cause it to crack. "Stress corrosion cracking occurs under the simultaneous conditions of tensile stress and the corroding medium. When you cold work the brass by neck expanding or belling, a residual stress remains in the brass. Also, when the case is fired, the diameter expands to fill the chamber and this causes tensile stress due to stretching."
. One question still needs to be answered. Is ammonia formed/created with combustion of smokeless powder? :confused:

mhconfo
January 26, 2009, 03:06 PM
Hello everyone,
I am a new reloader and have begun reading threads/stories about the negatives of using a reloading vibratory cleaner to clean brass with, due to the issues of possible lead poisioning. For those of you who do use a vibratory cleaner, do you use it outside or in the garage with the doors open? I currently have a Dillon tumbler and have used it once in the basement to clean cases, but I am thinking I am making a mistake based on the threads I have read about lead poisoning.

Thank you for your time.

Best Regards,
Mike

ar10
January 26, 2009, 03:55 PM
I have an 18lb vibrator/tumbler. What keeps the dust(lead) down is dryer sheets. I had it in the basement at one time but moved it to the garage, not because of lead dust, but because of the mess.

jcwit
January 26, 2009, 05:00 PM
I tumble my cases to clean them, I cast my own my own bullets, I handle the bullets to lube them and to load cartridges. Been doing this for 40 years.

That said I get tested every 6 months with my regulator check-up, and have no problems with lead levels.

snuffy
January 27, 2009, 01:28 AM
Tumbling and Lead Poisoning -- What do you all do?
Hello everyone,
I am a new reloader and have begun reading threads/stories about the negatives of using a reloading vibratory cleaner to clean brass with, due to the issues of possible lead poisioning.

The issue with the tumbler and lead is the lead styphonate that is in the primer compound. It is inside the fired casing and the primer pocket. The tumbler media has some of it in with it in the form of dust. The styphonate is absorbed only by ingestion, which includes breathing in the dust. It can then enter your bloodstream.

Avoid the dust when taking the tumbled cases out of the media either by individually picking them out or using some sort of separator/sieve. It's best if you have a young family or are thinking of starting one, to keep lead away from them.

I wear a dust mask while separating cases from the media. Since I live alone, and have no younguns around, I don't try to keep the tumbling area clean.

243winxb
January 27, 2009, 11:33 AM
Cartridge companies use dilute acids to clean brass during manufacture.
Weak acids are way better on brass than alkaline substances.
Acids will react with the corrossion and grime on brass more than the brass .
Alkaline substances will react with the corrosion , the grim and the brass case all at once.
Ammonia and other amines , sulfur dioxide and nitrites is poison on brass and will harden the brass and speed up stress corrosion also. It is said to also react with zinc in the brass case.

Natural acids are better than ammonia or any alkaline cleaners .

Sulfamic acid is widely used to clean copper and brass . In a dilute warm solution it will clean cases quite well . It is the basis for denture cleaners. Sterident for one.
However you don't heat it to over 140 degreess F. because some of the acid will hydrolyse to stronger acids like Sulphuric.
If cases are badly tarnished then tumbling first in a media of some kind and then finishing off in a liquid cleaner can be more effective.
Ultrasonic cleaning works well from all reports . I have not used it myself yet however I don't think I like the alkaline ultrasonic cleaners much. They appear to me to be basicly dishwasher powders or similar substances.
I may be wrong on that but I still don't like them on brass at the moment .
Time will tell.
The other thing is that I have not heard of ammonia being present as a byproduct of burning smokeless powders or in combination with moly coatings either.
Generaly the combustion products for a single base powder are carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Under some conditions, methane, carbon monoxide, irritating aldehydes and carboxylic acids, and hydrogen cyanide may be formed.

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The Thread can be found here. Post number 21 http://www.benchrest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58344

243winxb
January 27, 2009, 11:56 AM
My brass looks like it has Stress corrosion cracking. Having never knowingly used ammonia for cleaning, then i would have to quess that the brass was damaged by the NRA mix? But Admiralty Brass containing 70% copper & 29% zinc + 1% tin and arsenic is resistent to acetic acid. Copper alloy 260(rifle brass) is made of 70% Copper & 30% zinc with small % of tin & arsenic if my internet search is correct? Maybe the brass just died of old age. This brass may have been from a batch that was left soak in the NRA mix overnight by mistake.

gmerkt
December 17, 2009, 12:49 AM
I know this is a long thread but I've got a question resulting from reading it.

I have a tumbler, but I also use Birchwood-Casey liquid case cleaner quite a bit. It's a mild solution of phosphoric acid. I know this is used in the industry; Sierra Bullets uses phosphoric acid as a wash stage in their bullet jackets. I don't mind the dry time; in reloading I never try to hurry anything up.

My question is about the pink or rose color that some tarnished brass takes on after cleaning. This has been mentioned a few times in this thread. Typically, cases that have lain out in the desert exposed to the elements take on a brown color, and after cleaning with phosphoric acid, they are the pink color. Someone also mentioned ammonia occuring in nature (like lying out on the ground for extended periods?). Does the pink color indicate that zinc has been leached out of the brass, and therefore, should these cases not be used?

Dannix
December 17, 2009, 04:08 AM
A word to the wise -- don't forget about your brass.

I dropped my fired brass into jug with a half-gallon of water with a maybe a 1/4 cup of baking soda and a tablespoon or so of dish detergent... forgot about it for a few days. Then rinsed and filled with a half-gallon of water and about 1 cup of vinegar and a tablespoon or so of dish detergent... forgot about it for again for a few days.

The result: spoiled brass. Ruined about 500rnds. Don't let it happen to you. ;)

http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/7114/spoiledbrass.th.jpg (http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/7114/spoiledbrass.jpg)

qajaq59
December 17, 2009, 06:00 AM
I guess I'm doing it the lazy way. When I get home from the range I simply toss the brass in a tumbler (which tumbles not shakes) with crushed walnut and a little car polish and go about my business. Eventually I remember it is in there and take it out. All nice and clean. :D

Dannix
December 17, 2009, 07:52 AM
^in regards to the "ruined" brass above -- is it totally ruined? Even for even for light plinking loads? It's just when I looked it all over it's more like 1k qty, which I would hate to loose.

Walkalong
December 17, 2009, 09:02 AM
For that few brass, toss it in the scrap bin and don't worry about it. Sitting in vinegar can't be good for it.

243winxb
December 17, 2009, 09:40 AM
My question is about the pink or rose color that some tarnished brass takes on after cleaning. This has been mentioned a few times in this thread. Typically, cases that have lain out in the desert exposed to the elements take on a brown color, and after cleaning with phosphoric acid, they are the pink color. Someone also mentioned ammonia occuring in nature (like lying out on the ground for extended periods?). Does the pink color indicate that zinc has been leached out of the brass, and therefore, should these cases not be used? The pink or rose color is a sign that something in the alloy has changed, :confused: is my guess. Ammonia in nature happens when you have moisture and vegetation rotting, this attacks the brass. Metallurgist confirms that ammonia makes brass brittle over time. The acid in vinegar will cause Dezincification of firearms brass that is made up of 70% copper & 30% zinc. This makes the brass dark over time as the reaction from the acid never stops working. It would seem to weaken the brass over time. My brass/loaded ammo has been in storage for many years 1993 or longer, GI metal ammo can, temerature between 60-70 degress. Another lot# loaded in 1997 is like new, bright and shiney, but was never in the NRA vinegar cleaning mix. The time element seems to be the biggest factor?:confused: I now use All free and clear laundry detergent to wash, then rinse with 1qt water with lemon juice. Is All safe?:confused: No more vinegar mixes for me. Tumbling seems to be a much safer method, no chemicals. IMO

243winxb
December 18, 2009, 03:26 PM
Dezincification may show itself as dull red spots developing on the surface of brass after long periods of exposure to urban or industrial atmospheres. Follow link here > http://www.hghouston.com/coppers/brass75.htm Note that gun brass is 70%copper/30% zinc. Dezincification was first recognised as a serious problem in 70/30 brass tubes used for ships’ condensers before about 1920. Dezincified brass retains the original shape and dimensions of the component before corrosion but the residue is porous and has very little strength. Service conditions that can give rise to more significant dezincification usually involve acidic or highly saline conditions.

nulfisin
December 18, 2009, 10:14 PM
Why not just tumble? No offense, but it's idiot proof. Just shake the corn cob out as best you can, deprime, and you're set. My corncob seems to last many tumblings and handles all handgun calibers in maybe an hour or, depending on how much I stuff in the bowl. Rifle cartridges require a little more care, but I don't have as many in the hopper at the same time.

Dannix
December 30, 2009, 10:08 AM
I'm going the stainless media route -- No acid involved. There are some pics and vids on at the following thread if you are interested:
media for tumbling (http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1519940&page=1)

twice barrel
December 30, 2009, 10:42 AM
Dannix,

I looked at your pics and didn't note anything wrong with that brass. Why do you feel its ruined?

TB

Dannix
December 31, 2009, 04:55 PM
^ I figured the brass could be compromised and not just tarnished, e.g. Walkalong's post.

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