Rat Poop In Brass


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*Kemosabe*
April 26, 2014, 12:27 PM
A friend, who doesn’t reload, just bought a house and found several thousand brass cases (mostly .45 acp and .40 S&W) in his shed and he asked me to come over and pick them up.

Unfortunately, rats had made a nest in them and rat poop was everywhere. My concern is that rats are filthy animals and are known to carry a number of diseases. I know that liquid bleach will destroy any pathogens that I can think of but…

Will the bleach do any harm to the brass. If so, can you recommend an alternative? Thanks….. Sabe

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rcmodel
April 26, 2014, 12:36 PM
Bleach will tarnish brass badly.

A bath in mild liquid dish detergent should kill the little bastas.

Or paint thinner.

Or boiling water.

rc

kerreckt
April 26, 2014, 12:38 PM
I would put them in the sink with hot water, dawn detergent and let them soak. Swirl them around and wash. I would then dry them. Tumble and reload them. You have eaten plenty of rat droppings with your rice and other grains. USDA permits an amazingly large(IMO) percentage in packaged grains.

*Kemosabe*
April 26, 2014, 12:48 PM
@ rcmodel - I like the paint thinner idea the best and as of now that’s what I’ll probably do unless a better idea comes up. Thanks.

kerreckt - “You have eaten plenty of rat droppings with your rice and other grains. USDA permits an amazingly large(IMO) percentage in packaged grains.”

You are right, but I see no value in tempting fate more than I have to. :uhoh:

Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me of that just before lunch! :barf:

armoredman
April 26, 2014, 12:58 PM
Rat poop flambe!

RussellC
April 26, 2014, 02:02 PM
I wouldnt mess withh paint thinner, just use very hot water idea, boil them first, let cool a little add dawn, stir with a big fat yard stick from lumber yard or whatever. Use big 5 gallon bucket to wash, whatever you boil in, DONT use for food again. (lead concerns, not to mention the whole rat poop thing) I have an old worn out "NON stick" stock pot that is in throw away condition I dedicated to do brass in. Aso dedicated a very large old metal spaghetti strainer and cookie sheet as well. Try not to breath the poop dust. Spray damp with spray bottle first?

It would take something a lot worse than this to keep me away from that brass. Maybe if it had plague in it...maybe.


Russellc

Schwing
April 26, 2014, 02:06 PM
I frankly wouldn't treat them any different than any other brass. I would put them in my tumbler with a cap full of mineral spirits and load them up. I tumble outside anyway.

Most of the pathogens that are carried in rat feces are only infectious if they become airborne and you have to have pretty high exposure to catch anything. I would just do the tumbling outside and toss the media when all of the cases are done.

moxie
April 26, 2014, 02:24 PM
I think I'd wash and rinse them outside, not in any sink. Oh, yes.

243winxb
April 26, 2014, 02:32 PM
Ammonia is the main problem. Weakens brass. Clean with citric acid http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=708100&page=2&highlight=unclenick See posts by Unclenick.

splattergun
April 26, 2014, 03:14 PM
Hantavirus is nothing to fool with. Do not handle them while they are dry without a good dust mask and nitrile or vinyl gloves. If you can, spray them down first with a water/Lysol or water/vanisol mix, them take them outside and wash them well. Should be good to go then.

RussellC
April 26, 2014, 03:32 PM
Rodent filth. Its in everything from spices, grains so on. good idea not to breath dust of any kind. Dont think there is any fear about plauge just clean them up and load them. Hemorrhagic fever notwithstanding, send them to me I'll fool with them!

Russellc

mbopp
April 26, 2014, 03:32 PM
From my days working on blood analyzers....
10% bleach was the standard cleaning solution, kills everything.
If you can, I'd wet tumble them with SS pins to clean the inside of the cases.

gamestalker
April 26, 2014, 03:45 PM
I sometimes will load ammunition that I know will either be stored for a very long time, or it will exposed to warm temps for extended periods, so any lingering lube residue must be completely removed (OCD), IMO. And since I don't like to expose my brass to water (OCD), I use acetone cause it most certainly removes any lube residue, dries nearly instantly, and it doesn't harm the brass. The down side is it can be expensive, so 91% alcohol would work well also, and it's a lot less expensive and would kill any lingering bacteria.

GS

jinxer3006
April 26, 2014, 09:39 PM
I would put them in the sink :eek:

You're not married, are you? ;)

blarby
April 26, 2014, 11:13 PM
Given the amount you've probably inhaled- I'd call it a moot point.

Separate them outside, and toss them in 2-3 hundred at a time into your tumbler with some mineral spirits.

snapshot762
April 26, 2014, 11:56 PM
Boiling water for ten minutes or so should do the trick.

Salmoneye
April 27, 2014, 07:27 AM
Dump them in a bucket, stick the hose in, and let it run on low for a while...

Anything untoward will be floated up and out with the water...

Reloadron
April 27, 2014, 08:52 AM
I believe rat and mouse urine is corrosive (ammonia in it) so I would really be inspecting the brass carefully for damage. Then too I never dumped rat urine on brass. :)

Also, possibly some baking soda and water to neutralize the corrosive effect. I figure where rats crap they likely also pee.

Ron

Elkins45
April 27, 2014, 10:13 AM
I believe rat and mouse urine is corrosive (ammonia in it) so I would really be inspecting the brass carefully for damage. Then too I never dumped rat urine on brass. :)

Also, possibly some baking soda and water to neutralize the corrosive effect. I figure where rats crap they likely also pee.

Ron
I almost ruined a perfectly good bullet mold that way. Mice nested in my piled up casting bench and the urine really did a number on the steel mold parts they nested on top of. I had a similar (but much more costly) incident with a gun cabinet I have mounted in the barn where I keep the "second string" of my firearms. Mice nested on top of a handgun on the shelf and the blueing was badly damaged. That's too bad because it's a gun I wouldn't mind selling, but cosmetically it's a bit of a dud now.

I think the boiling water option is probably the best. Acetone or alcohol would get pretty expensive, and I'm not sure acetone would accomplish your purpose anyway. I'm not sure if it has much in the way of antibacterial properties as compared to alcohol.

4895
April 27, 2014, 04:15 PM
I think the .99 cent store is going to be your friend.

I would use an old 5 gal bucket to initially wash them with high pressure from garden hose. I would pour them out over a .99 cent colander and repeat the process a few more times with only a little bit of simple green cleaner and a .99 cent store toilet plunger. I would cut a hole in the 5gal bucket lid to allow the plunger handle to stick through and add hot water to the bucket (3 gallons or so) and a capful of simple green or dawn dish soap (antibacterial of course) and plunge them until my arm was tired. I would then switch to the other arm and plunge again. I would pour that water out and repeat again. I hear good things about Lemi-Shine?? but have never used it. After I was satisfied that it was pretty clean. I would rinse with water quite well and then put them in the oven. I would set the oven to preheat at its lowest temp..170deg or so..and then turn it off. I would add the brass on a .99cent store towel and .99cent store baking tray and go watch a movie. Voila... A bucket of brass for about $4.


P.S. Eating brown rice and baked cod for lunch. Thanks for the reminder about rat scat in my food. lol.

LAGS
April 27, 2014, 04:29 PM
Too bad the cases are not covered in Bat Droppings.
Then you might not have to buy powder.
They make explosive propellants out of Bat Guano , and some car air bags are powered by it.
It is called Goonie.
And No that is no joke.

BSA1
April 27, 2014, 06:00 PM
I would use some vinegar and water. Works on killing the salts in blackpowder residue without harming the brass so should do the same thing with rat do-do.

kelbro
April 27, 2014, 10:23 PM
Rat poop is between Bullseye and 700x on the burn rate chart.

morcey2
April 27, 2014, 10:29 PM
Rat poop is between Bullseye and 700x on the burn rate chart.
And it meters better than 700X. But I think it requires a magnum primer.

BullfrogKen
April 27, 2014, 10:31 PM
Ammonia is the main problem

Yup.

You can see the poop. You can't see the ammonia from the urine.

stubbicatt
April 28, 2014, 07:58 AM
Damn. Just take them to the recycler. You guys must be some cheap so-and-so's to even think about messing with that nasty brass.

I am frugal, but there is a point where even I won't touch something. This is that point.

hceuterpe
April 28, 2014, 08:25 AM
Rats pee where they poop. So over time they probably got covered in uric acid and it's (along with ammonia) I'm pretty sure very caustic to brass. Why have you not considered tossing it already? Ewww

jerkface11
April 28, 2014, 09:33 AM
Just bring them home and ask your wife to clean them.

BigG
April 28, 2014, 10:21 AM
Brass - I would take it to a laundromat and run it thru a cycle. It will come out like new.
But before you start processing it to reload I would inspect any "found" brass to make sure it isn't worn out. I have seen much brass that was way over worked to reload. Either fired multiple times or loaded too hot, or fired in Glocks, especially 40 S&W which is known as problematic due to high pressure and weak head support.

jcwit
April 28, 2014, 10:30 AM
Ya, Take it to a public laundry mat, possible contaminate the washer with lead residue.

We in the shooting sports have enough of a hard time being accepted by the masses, this is a sure way to find more folks to accept the shooting sports as a good thing.

Doesn't anyone think of consequences anymore?

Plus the fact those two calibers are likely # 2 & 3 in being the most common after 9mm. Why not just recycle them?

bds
April 28, 2014, 10:42 AM
Ammonia is the main problem
Yup. You can see the poop. You can't see the ammonia from the urine.
If you have any concern over the quality/damage done to the brass, you can always take the cases in question to the local recycling center for bulk brass.

BullfrogKen
April 28, 2014, 10:44 AM
That's exactly what I'd do with it. It's not as if he paid anything for it; it was a find.

*Kemosabe*
April 28, 2014, 12:40 PM
Wow! I'm glad I posted this thread!

I was just looking to make the brass biologically safe for me to handle.

What I learned:

rcmodel told me that bleach will tarnish brass badly.

kerreckt reminded me that the FDA permits lots of rat droppings in our food. Geez kerreckt! Right before lunch?!?

armoredman has a recipe for rat poop flambé.

RussellC might possibly pass on the brass if it was infested with the plague.

Schwing says damn the torpedoes... just tumble with a little mineral spirits.

243winxb points out that ammonia from the urine that we were not initially thinking about is a worse problem that can’t be solved with disinfecting.

splattergun is the first to mention a specific pathogen, hantavirus. So do as he says and break out the nitrile gloves and the dust mask.

RusellC pipes up again saying that barring hemorrhagic fever he’s ready for me to send him the brass. Do you think he might consider paying the postage?

mbopp advises that a 10% bleach bath kills EVERYTHING!

gamestalker who is admittedly OC, suggests acetone or a less expensive soaking in 91% alcohol. Do you think that we would trade his OCD for my CRS (Can’t Remember Poop)?

jinxer made an astute observation that the poster who suggested using the sink could not possibly be married!

blarby says breathe deep because it’s already too late!

4895 has a plan - see it in post #20 . His lunch was also made less appetizing by the multiple mentioning of the rat poop permitted in our food.

LAGS laments that it wasn’t Bat Guano (aka Goonie) instead of rat poop as an ecological solution to the current powder shortage. Goonie, really goonie???

Comedians kelbro and morcey2 added some more humor to the mix.

stubbicat who must be walking in high cotton and eating high off the hog is looking down on us cheap so-and-so brass scroungers.

jerkface11 is either not married or won’t be for long if mamma sees that suggestion. Another possibility is that he is married and his wife gave him that screen name.

BigG figures to make it the public’s problem by using a Laundromat. jcwit holds BigG’s feet to the fire on that one!

Kudos and honorable mention to all the other posters….. Sabe :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

RussellC
April 28, 2014, 01:08 PM
So with all these responses, what does kemosabe do? Do tell...:cool:

Russellc

jerkface11
April 28, 2014, 01:16 PM
I hope he doesn't take my advice.

*Kemosabe*
April 28, 2014, 03:49 PM
RussellC - "So with all these responses, what does kemosabe do? Do tell..."

I'll give you a hint... keep checking the obituaries! ;)


jerkface11 - "I hope he doesn't take my advice."

My wife can shoot, so not on your best day! However, there is an Ex that I might try and get to do that for me... on second thought, I taught her how to shoot too! :cuss:

blarby
April 28, 2014, 04:03 PM
says breathe deep because it’s already too late!

If you were worried about plague or the hanta virus- thats true. :D

As for the ick factor, well.......

Field Tester
April 28, 2014, 05:17 PM
I agree with washing out the poop in an area outside and something to neutralize the ammonia. Dawn dish soap wash after. This should be pretty cheap and easy.

If it was me, I'd buy a 5 gallon bucket, fill wash and dump a few times with the garden hose. Get all the poop out. If you have a concern of the ammonia, neutralize it. Bottle of dawn and the same bucket with the same garden hose should work for the final clean and for disinfection.

A mask and gloves for any concerns about self contamination.
And of course he's going to check any brass he uses, this should automatically be done when anyone is reloading, but it's not a concern for cleaning right now.

I agree, this was blown way out of control.
BTW, congrats on the haul!

medalguy
April 29, 2014, 12:35 AM
Hantavirus is only carried by a couple of species of mice. Do you have the deer mouse, the white-footed mouse, the rice rat, and the cotton rat in your area? If not, you're likely fine. These are the only species of rodents so far known to harbor the virus.

Me, I'd wash well with detergent by sloshing the brass around in a big bucket with a lid(wear gloves), rinse well and repeat as necessary. Dry and inspect, and toss any suspect brass. As stated, this is pretty common brass. These days, at least. Next month, who knows? :scrutiny:

horseman1
April 29, 2014, 06:22 PM
Shoot the cr@p out of em', Kemosabe. Bird wants to see flying rat turds.

Tonto

splattergun
April 29, 2014, 07:37 PM
Hantavirus is only carried by a couple of species of mice. Do you have the deer mouse, the white-footed mouse, the rice rat, and the cotton rat in your area? If not, you're likely fine. These are the only species of rodents so far known to harbor the virus.

Me, I'd wash well with detergent by sloshing the brass around in a big bucket with a lid(wear gloves), rinse well and repeat as necessary. Dry and inspect, and toss any suspect brass. As stated, this is pretty common brass. These days, at least. Next month, who knows? :scrutiny:
Which is not too dissimilar of a process for taking care to avoid picking up hanta(or any other)virus spread by rodents. Rice rats or cotton rats living in Texas? Only a few of the several different species of those 2 tribes live in Texas.
"Since it is hard to tell if a mouse or a rat carries a hantavirus, it is best to avoid all wild mice and rats and to safely clean up any rodent urine, droppings, or nests in your home." -- Centers for DiseaseControl pamphlet
http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/pdf/hps_brochure.pdf

FROGO207
April 29, 2014, 09:11 PM
The only downside I see is cleaning the crap-out of it will cause it to weigh less when taken to the recyclers. So as I see it now you will have to work harder to reap less profit.:eek::D

PS: I liked the recap a lot.;)

stubbicatt
April 30, 2014, 04:48 PM
Kemosabe, I do not look down on you or any other human being. There are safety concerns which have been detailed by many here, as well as health concerns, which together tell me to pass on this nastified brass, aside from the practical issues of properly cleaning this "treasure".

In the same vein, I don't bust up automobile batteries to get the lead to make bullets either. I don't shoot powders which have deteriorated.

The few bucks you save on this brass, if you get sick, and have to go to the hospital, will pale in comparison to the medical bills you will incur. If one of those urine soaked cases fails and blows up your firearm, or peppers you with debris, I wonder whether you will re-think the prudence of this decision.

Like I said, it is your choice. Your responsibility. If we meet on the firing line, please let me know you are shooting this stuff, so I can take a safe position a little further down the line?

*Kemosabe*
April 30, 2014, 05:41 PM
stubbicat - Lighten up! Can’t you tell when a little fun is poked at you. When I inferred that blarby said, “breathe deep…” it was a joke… he never said that, but instead, he jumped in and made even more of a joke about it.

My whole recap, which included you, was meant to bring some levity into a post that should have ended a page ago. It didn’t end there because posters were having fun with it. Look at all the posters and you’ll notice that it seems that you are the only one who has taken any offense to a little jest.

I didn’t get through two wars and a career as a street cop and homicide investigator, not to mention completing graduate and post graduate work, by being a little “light in my shoes”. So give me some credit for being smart enough not to blow myself up after all that and over four decades of hand loading without incident.

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