Marking Brass


June 12, 2013, 08:17 PM
Does anyone have any ideas for marking their reloads? I am getting into 9mm Makarov and I am having a terrible time finding my brass at the range.

The best idea I have come up with is to spray or soak the cases in UV paint and use a blacklight at the range, but I'm not sure if the cases will chamber.

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June 12, 2013, 08:23 PM
I've never bothered going beyond using sharpies.
Someone must make a UV/fluorescent only one if you are after a glowing effect to help find brass.

June 12, 2013, 08:24 PM
I mark all my brass with a Blue Sharpie permanent marker on the case head. But that is to ID it as mine so I do not pick up other peoples junk. There are lots of colors you can use. Some guys spray paint the case heads but that gets all over the breach face. The marker will also but comes of when you clean.

June 12, 2013, 08:27 PM
Maks really sling brass. If shooting on turf you might want to take an old sheet for them to land on( a big one--lol). Some use a magic marker to more easily keep 17s separate from 9s. If shooting under a shed why not hang that sheet behind you.

June 12, 2013, 08:27 PM
Ive only used sharpie, tell me which load is what when im testing loads out. But sharpie would work so you can find your brass at the range.

June 12, 2013, 08:35 PM
I shoot at a city (indoor) range which usually has piles of brass laying on the floor. I have the primers colored with Sharpies but the last session I only managed to recover 4 out of 16 rounds fired (test loads). There are literally hundreds of 9mm cases laying on the range.

June 12, 2013, 08:48 PM
I use nickel plated brass for Mak, gives me something to do with the nickel plated 9mm brass.

Jim Watson
June 12, 2013, 08:57 PM
Color on the casehead is all right for sorting out your brass after you have picked it up, but it does not show well while on the ground.
There used to be a little gadget that would put a colored stripe or stripes around the body of the case.
I don't know if you can still buy one, but it would be simple enough to make. It is just a V block you twirl the round in against one or two magic markers. It is all wood and the markers are held by clothespins.

June 12, 2013, 09:18 PM
I use nickel plated brass for Mak, gives me something to do with the nickel plated 9mm brass.
I just received 100 pieces of loaded nickel brass from Hornady but I haven't been able to find large quantities of it.

Jim, that's certainly an idea and I will see if I can make it work.

Jesse Heywood
June 12, 2013, 09:29 PM
If you catch it, you don't have to go hunting.

June 12, 2013, 09:36 PM
Red or other color magic Marker on the case heads for concrete floors on indoor ranges.

But it does less then nothing when the brass lands on the ground or grass outdoors.
It just camouflages them better where they land & hide.

Your best bet there is a $Big $Buck $Metal $Detector, and lots of spare time on your hands when others are not around shooting, or running you off.

Or just accept the fact most of us came to realize years ago.
You are going to lose a large percentage of your brass when shooting outdoors in the rocks and weeds of a typical outdoor range.

Unless you shoot revolvers & bolt-Actions, and not bottom feeders.

Or figure out how to catch them in the air.


June 12, 2013, 09:39 PM
I to use a sharpie, after loading I draw a line across the head stamps.
Or load 2.7gr of Bullseye with a 93gr cast LRN the brass will land a few feet away.

Old Guy
June 12, 2013, 09:56 PM
When we first started shooting IPSC, in Ontario Canada. We all marked our brass, mine was marked with fat marker, a cross, in black.

After a training session, all brass was picked up, then sit at a table, sort it all out. Now I leave the 9mm brass.

Now, I shoot IDPA, the only markings, red cross on the base of my magazines, plus a little red dot to mark the aperture, where the tenth round goes, one magazine has the 11th aperture marked for the first magazine to start the stage.

My Wife missed her bright red nail polish! I use Glock 17 magazines in the match, much easier in magazine changes, sticks proud of the butt stock, 1 inch, the Glock 19 magazine's pinch the edge of my hand, during fast mag changes.

June 12, 2013, 10:04 PM
Thanks everyone for the ideas and fast responses. I am going to color a bunch of cases differently and see what happens tomorrow. At least Starline brass is back in stock for 9 Mak.

June 13, 2013, 02:42 AM
I have shot someone else's Makarov with Wolf ammo ~ 14 years ago.
The recoil was intense.
Then I read the wimpy published loads for Makarovs. There must be some disconnect.

June 13, 2013, 04:27 AM
Clark, I can say that the reloads that I created (3.5 grains of Bullseye under a 95 grain bullet) are fairly stout. I haven't been able to fire any Wolf yet so I can't compare.

Old Guy
June 13, 2013, 06:32 AM
Makarov with Wolf ammo, Wimpy? This round is known for it's penetration, what will it penetrate? Anything it wants.

June 13, 2013, 07:22 AM
I don't generally shoot at ranges very often, so I haven't had to deal with what you are dealing with. But I do use a sharpie to identify load work ups, so I don't see any reason why that wouldn't solve your situation.


June 13, 2013, 10:34 AM
I went to upload a photo of a brass striper and was informed I already did, 6 years ago.

Check out post #15 in this thread

I think that may be what your looking for.

June 13, 2013, 11:24 AM
Then I read the wimpy published loads for Makarovs. There must be some disconnect.
I guess the load data reflects safe loads for pistols other than the PM that are chambered in 9x18 Makarov.
One of my favorite loads for my PM is 3.8gr of W-231 with a 93gr cast LRN 18bhn with CCI 500 with a COL of .968" for 1,050 fps. I am using a Wolff 19 lbs recoil spring.

June 13, 2013, 11:52 AM
I went to upload a photo of a brass striper and was informed I already did, 6 years ago.

Check out post #15 in this thread

I think that may be what your looking for.
Thanks for that. I will have to track down some wood or something.

June 14, 2013, 04:21 AM
Ok, I finally got to shoot some Wolf alongside my reloads and Clark seems to be correct. The Wolf ammo is noticeably weaker than my upper-end handloads.

June 16, 2013, 10:56 AM
Birchwood Casey makes a "brass black" liquid.

Years ago I experimented with immersing decapped brass in this solution, so that the last inch or so of the case came out black. Aside from being able to identify my brass, this approach gave the added benefit that nobody else seemed to want it. While shooting from the bench at a public range a scrounger came by, reached down, picked up one of mine, examined it, and tossed it back on the ground. LOL.!

June 16, 2013, 11:22 AM
I know that leaving brass in the dirt of the Texas black land prairies for one rain will stain them black as well.

June 16, 2013, 12:21 PM
When shooting in grass, I've taken large blankets/sheets from a thrift shop and place it on the ground. I then fire a few test shots to see where the majority of brass lands. I then move the "landing pad" accordingly. Makes life easier.

June 16, 2013, 12:25 PM
I have only marked primers with sharpies for load development. I have heard of people using an ink pad for rubber stamps and they press the bottom of the case on the ink pad to color the bottom of the case. sounds fast and easy.

June 16, 2013, 12:25 PM
I marked some of my brass with a Sharpie stripe (all of them already had primer markings). While the stripe does smear and in some cases come off, it works well enough to identify most of the time. I managed to come home with all the empties I fired.

The brass black seems like a decent idea to try, I will have to track some down.

June 16, 2013, 01:36 PM
I use one of the Magnum size markers in what ever the brightest color I can find.

Old Guy
September 2, 2013, 03:08 PM
One of my buddies shoots, and goes to Glock matches a lot.

He has a little cage on the end of a pole, he runs it over his brass on the ground, picks them up real neat. He does nor re load, but gives the fired cases to a guy who does.

June 21, 2014, 08:29 PM
I recently bought some paint pens and I will be updating this thread as I get pictures and results available. Hopefully in the next few weeks.

June 23, 2014, 09:57 PM
Here we have the test paint, from Testors in 3 colors (the black is actually Sharpie). Although it is admittedly blurry, you can still clearly pick up the contrast. I have already tried red Sharpie marks to good effect and it looks like the light blue paint will be perfect if it holds up to feeding and extraction.

June 24, 2014, 06:38 AM
A colored sharpie has worked well for me when I've needed to use one. Even in AL's the sharpie will be easily visible. Just run it all the way around the cartridge, you'll see it right away.


June 24, 2014, 05:09 PM
Do you have any problems with some of the Sharpie mark coming off?

June 25, 2014, 10:12 PM
i, like most folks here normally use a sharpie marker. although most felt tip marking pens would do. but on occasion, i have also dipped several rounds (fully loaded not quite to the bullet) in Dykem layout die. they make 2 different colors, deep blue and red. and i am sure there are other manufacturers making layout die for the tool & die trade.

June 25, 2014, 10:18 PM
X_wrench, interesting idea, but I'm not sure I'd do it with loaded rounds. Do you have any issues with the dye penetrating primers?

June 26, 2014, 05:11 PM
If you catch it, you don't have to go hunting.
I agree. I've always appreciated guys who use brass catchers at the range. Shows class.

June 26, 2014, 10:34 PM
Painful losing my 9mm Mak brass, the regular nine I dobn't mind.
Sharpie seems to work for me.
I use red, blue, green and black in the large size.
Can do the whole case head with 2 swipes.

Maybe hot pink when they are going to end up in the grass?:)

June 27, 2014, 06:14 AM
Dudedog, I started doing that exact thing on my 9mm Mak brass, but I found that since the cases almost always land on their side, the sharpie marks are hard to see.

As for a brass catcher, I would love to have one that I can use. Unfortunately, several of my guns have erratic ejection patterns that would force me to put the catcher in off-limits areas (the walkway behind the line for instance). Whenever I have a friend shooting with me we usually alternate picking up each other's brass.

I DO have a rigid brass catcher for my PTR because it not only throws brass 30 feet, but also in front of the line. Plus, being a rifle I can actually mount the catcher to it.

August 3, 2014, 07:35 PM
I finally got around to testing the painted brass. It didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but I think it was still a mild success. The blue came out the worst and the green is hard to see against the ground, but the red did ok. See for yourself.

August 3, 2014, 08:46 PM
If you reload, just drop a round into a reloading block, touch a Sharpie or Marks-A-Lot to the case wall and spin it between your thumb and first finger. Takes hardly any time at all.

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