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Is this a bad/dumb idea?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by hadmanysons, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. hadmanysons

    hadmanysons Well-Known Member

    So I've taken some ugly 30-06 brass that I have, put it on my Lee lockStud trimmer deal and put it in my drill and spun it around and cleaned it up with some Brasso. Will this ruin the brass/gun or anything? I know it's not a substitution for a good tumbling but it sure makes them look a lot better, don't you think?

    Case on the right for reference and on the left is the cleaned up one

  2. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    Theoretically it will wear out quicker. Could probably prove it in a lab.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Brasso have never been on the approved case cleaner list because it contains quite a bit of ammonia.
    Ammonia weakens brass.

    If you want them shiny, get a package of 0000 Extra Fine steel wool at the hardware store.
    Use it without anything on it at all and you can't hurt a thing unless you polish the same case for about an hour.

  4. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member


  5. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Well-Known Member


    Hadmanysons--I wouldn't call it a bad/dumb idea...I'd call it a waste of time. Beyond being not actually corroded (read: unsafe) or so crudded up as to impede loading & firing, or resizing, who cares what the brass looks like???

    How many cases you planning on polishing by hand like this?

    Sorry, I have better things to do with my limited spare time.

    That being said, I happen to have a tumbler-load of .357 cases cleaning at this very moment. But it's to improve their feeding into the resizing die, not for looks.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  6. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    I don't have a dog in this fight but has this ever been proven or even tested to any extent? Or is this another olde time hand me down myth like fast powder for short barrels cliche.

    For ammonia to weaken brass it would have to be absorbed into the brass structure would it not? and brass isn't known for being particularly absorbent.
  7. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    At first read, that's what I thought he did. I gotta quit speed reading. Darn that Evelyn Woodhead.
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    The way I heard it was, it was handed down over the years by old-time cops who carried ammo in gun-belt shell loops many years ago.

    There were actually reports of cases breaking off in the chambers when fired after months or years of weekly spit-shining the ammo with Brasso.

    I am also skeptical of it harming cases if used occasionally & sparingly.
    But I just thought it's better to be safe then sorry.

    BTW: I did throughly clean and polish a 100 year old kerosene organ lamp with Brasso years ago. It was in great shape and held kerosene just fine when I bought it.
    About a year later the brass oil tank started developing cracks and leaking.

    Was it because it was all of a sudden 101 years old, or because I used so much Brasso on it cleaning it up?
    Hard to say, but I won't be using Brasso on my ammo to find out.

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    a metallurgist said ammonia not good.
  10. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    I've heard when the 30-06 neck splits you can cut them down and made 45acp brass out of them.
  11. whoyouknow

    whoyouknow Member

    Pour in a cap full of NuShine in your tumbling media and it will fix 99% of your brass. For really bad old abused brass soak them in lemon juice for a few minutes before tumbling. Alot less abusive that ammonia but similar results.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    You heard wrong.

    The case-web taper in a 30-06 case is way to far up the case to cut them off & use them for .45 ACP without neck reaming.

    If you don't the bullet base will bulge the case and they won't chamber.

    Case capacity would also be much less as well.

  13. Actually Dean Grennel came up with a set of case spinners for exactly that purpose of using a drill to clean cases and it worked quite well although he did not use Brasso. Someone eventually made the little chucking case spinners avilable commercially but I can't remeber who that was right now.
  14. hadmanysons

    hadmanysons Well-Known Member

    Well anyway, it was just an idea. Thanks for all the input. I'll have to try the steel wool method. The brasso was just something to make me feel better till I bought a tumbler. To bad about the ammonia thing, cause they sure do look nice :)
  15. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

    Use Flitz or Scotchbrite


    the scotchbrite leaves a brushed finish that is rough to chamber and will take on stains (much like the steel wool which I have used but gets your hands cruddy as hell) but the Flitz leaves a protective slick finish that will make your rounds easier to chamber and will retard stains. Flitz will not harm the brass.

    I use a Zip Trim and one of those sponges that come in the top of a Barnes bullet box


    and hold a rag against it and spin to polish


    to trim, chamfer, clean the outside, clean the inside of the neck with scotchbrite and mica 50 cases takes me a little over an hour


    Caution, only for the OCD reloaders and Certified Case Prep Nuts! (I enjoy it!) :rolleyes:
  16. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    All this makes me glad I just reload pistol cartridges.
  17. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Me too! :D

    But I am being tempted to shoot 3-gun match by other shooters :evil:... and my Bushmaster is yelling out "shoot me, shoot me" :rolleyes:
  18. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    From http://www.reitzmetallurgy.com/downloads/Aug05CaseHistoryReitz.pdf

    Stress-corrosion cracking (SCC), also known as seasonal cracking,
    was first observed in brass cartridge cases in India
    that were adjacent to a horse stall during the
    monsoon season
    . This was the first evidence that
    ammonia caused SCC in brass. Three criteria are
    necessary for SCC to occur: the presence of stress,
    a corrosive environment, and a material susceptible
    to SCC
    . Brass is known to be susceptible to SCC
    when ammonia is present.

    The pertinent questions here are how much residual stress is there in the case when it's in the tumbler and how much ammonia is present. I used to use Brasso (a small amount) when tumbling cases and never had any case failures because of it. I figured that the ammonia was quite volatile and "evaporated" off fairly quickly. However, as rcmodel stated, I decided to find another product that doesn't contain ammonia. One less thing to worry about.

  19. geigersd

    geigersd Active Member

    Holy Cow Batman! Who has time to 'shiny up' their brass? I put that in the category of "Rock Painting" (you military types will know this term!).

    If it doesn't affect performance, it's a waste of time for me.
  20. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    Only rocks that don't move.:p

    I worked with brass for many years in the stamping industry. We used to anneal brass stampings by running them through a belt fed oven that used ammonia broken down into elemental nitrogen and hydrogen to prevent heat scale on the brass. I can tell you with certainty that a few minutes' exposure to ammonia will not stress brass. Keeping it in the presence of ammonia for several days will. So I wouldn't worry unduly about stress cracking my brass. Having said that, I use NuFinish polish just because it's easier. I'm not that OCD!

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