Brass that has had dirt inside of it.


June 3, 2011, 12:43 AM
So a couple of weeks ago I was at the range and picked up a ton of brass someone had left on the ground. The problem was some of it had dirt inside of it. All of it was dirty on the outside with the exception of about 60 pieces of rifle brass. Anyway, I didn't have time to mess with it until now. I took it out, and now all of it's dirty from mixing around in the bag, but I took it all and blew compressed air in it to get most of the dirt out. Some of it has stains on you can see on the inside walls, and I'm assuming I got all the dirt out, but it may be a few light pieces of dirt or something inside it. I've now thrown it in my tumbler, but of course it doesn't clean the inside. I'm going to blow it out again after I tumble it.

So is this stuff safe to use? Or should I be worried that dust or tiny pieces of dirt will mix with the powder when I load them? Also, what about where the brass seems stained. Is it going to be weaker here, or is it fine? Just wondering if I should just toss this stuff into the scrap bin or if I should use it?

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June 3, 2011, 01:14 AM
They should be okay to reload as long as you get the dirt out. The tumbler should loosen up any dirt inside, then blow it out or wash it out with water, then let them dry and tumble. The stains shouldn’t be a problem.

If you saw some of the range brass that I have cleaned up and reloaded, you might think those are primo.

June 3, 2011, 01:14 AM
When I get range brass that dirty, it gets a hot water-soap suds-lemon juice bath+overnight air dry before I tumble it. I gotten some pretty dirty brass cleaner then new...Bill:confused:

June 3, 2011, 01:38 AM
If tumbling isn't doing the job wash it with a vinegar and water mixture. I pick up tons of range brass that is sometimes caked with dirt and have never had problems using it after a good cleaning. Don't worry about it being stained unless it's pitted pretty bad.

June 3, 2011, 01:58 AM
So how do you clean it? Do you just fill a tub with water and dump a little vinegar in there and then the brass and let it sit for a while? Or scrub on it, or what?

June 3, 2011, 10:46 AM
My last batch of pickup brass was muddy and some of it caked with Idaho adobe. I gave it a bath in a bucket with hot water and Dawn, letting is soak for a bit, then swished it around a bit, then dumped it into a plastic collander and hosed it off in the kitchen sink with the sprayer nozzle, rattled it around to shake off the excess water, then let it air dry a couple hours spread out on a towel, stirring it up occasionally. Then I let it run in the tumbler with walnut hull for a couple hours, then loaded it. It was... a thing of beauty when I was done. >snif<
(I forgot the lemon juice... thanks for the reminder...)

June 3, 2011, 10:52 AM
I use an old centrifuge I put a chuck on to brush the inside of straight walled range brass. Bottle necked brass pretty much needs a jet of water to get the dirt out.

June 3, 2011, 10:53 AM
What they said!^

I pick up brass like this and you can't tell it from new after I get done with it. Now I'm considering moving to a drum-type tumbler and stainless steel pin media. That's supposed to REALLY work good!

June 3, 2011, 10:59 AM
This is where Stainless Steel Pin Media really shines (pun intended). Not only do the outsides look new when done, so do the insides. The good news about the dirt inside is that it hasn't been ground in by people walking on the brass.

If any of the brass, after cleaning, still has a lot of staining, I just toss it in a separate container. When I get a couple of hundred pieces I load it and then save it for shooting when I can't recover my own brass. I don't feel bad about leaving it behind then.

June 3, 2011, 01:15 PM
I use an old plastic coffee can. I pour my lemon juice (maybe 1/4 cup) then fill about half way with water as hot as the tap will allow. Then put about a couple teaspoons of Dawn in there and shake shake shake. It will get the dirt and tarnish off without gunking up your tumbling media. Also for me as a cast bullet shooter who casts his own and I make my own bullet lube, it really shines (pun intended) in getting off old blowby powder and lube deposits/lead smears.

June 3, 2011, 02:53 PM
Teaspoon lemi-shine (grocery store), couple squirts of liquid soap to 1/2 gal hot water. Shake occasionally. Repeat as needed. Dry completely before sizing.

June 3, 2011, 03:29 PM
Plain water bath works, followed by standard tumbling.

June 3, 2011, 03:59 PM
I use the vinager and water mix,swish it around in a pail,strain it and put them on old cookie sheets in the oven on the lowest heat for about 20-30 minutes,then tumble.

June 4, 2011, 12:23 AM
First put them in a bucket and blast them with a garden hose with the nozzle on the 'stun' position. Dump it out and do it again.
Put the following in your bucket.
Tablespoon of liquid laundry soap (has water softeners in it) 1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar, teaspoon of salt in a gallon of water. Dump in your brass, shake it up a little and let it sit for about 30 mins. (you can save the cleaner to reuse it.). Then blast the cases with the hose nozzle again. This does clean them inside and out. Let them dry.

Follow by tumbling and they will look like new again.

I only use South Texas range brass, and mine is usually full of dirt and very fine pieces of rock. I always use this method to clean them, and it does work well.

June 4, 2011, 08:43 AM
I take two, 2 lb. plastic coffee cans, fill one with the brass and hot soapy water and pour the brass and water from one can to another several times. Rinse and let dry on my patio table. I do this for all my brass.

June 4, 2011, 11:11 AM
I first deprime dirty range brass with a Lee universal de-priming die and , usually my Lee hand press .

Then I wash it in warm soapy water , rinse as many times as needed and drain .

In winter I put it ina an old somewhat rusty metal cake pan wu wifr was going to throw out . Set the kitchen oven for 200 degrees and put the pan of brass in the oven . Leave it for about 2 hours and turn off the heat . Let the oven and the brass cool naturally over nite .

In the morning , it is ready for further processing .

In the summer , I leave the brass , in the same pan , in the hot sun . Or if it is dusty outside , underneath a ceiling / paddle fan for a couple of days .

God bless

June 4, 2011, 12:27 PM
For pick-up range brass I'll deprime them and soak them in hot soapy water for an hour or so. Then agitate well, rinse, put them on a cookie sheet, and dry them outside or in a 200 degree oven. If I want them shiny I'll tumble them too.
Cruddy 45ACP cases get the major gunk cleaned with a small brush in my Dremel.
I lost a decapper pin on a pebble stuck inside a 38 spl case once. Now all the cases get a visual inspection first.

You might try one of these:

NC Cruffler
June 5, 2011, 08:46 AM
I'm lazy.
For range pick up brass I put them in a nylon mesh ladies zip-up garment bag (Wallyworld) and run them through the washer with a bunch of towels or jeans (to cut the noise).
Most times they come out sparkling. Don't want to overload the bag or use too few towels because the cases will wear a hole in the bag.
It's just a matter of leaving them scattered in the sun for a day and they are ready to go.

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