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Rat Poop In Brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by *Kemosabe*, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. *Kemosabe*

    *Kemosabe* Well-Known Member

    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
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Bleach will tarnish brass badly.

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

    Or paint thinner.

    Or boiling water.

  3. kerreckt

    kerreckt Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. *Kemosabe*

    *Kemosabe* Well-Known Member

    @ 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.

    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:
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    Rat poop flambe!
  6. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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.

  7. Schwing

    Schwing Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. moxie

    moxie Well-Known Member

    I think I'd wash and rinse them outside, not in any sink. Oh, yes.
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

  10. splattergun

    splattergun Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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!

  12. mbopp

    mbopp Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    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.

  14. jinxer3006

    jinxer3006 Well-Known Member


    You're not married, are you? ;)
  15. blarby

    blarby Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. snapshot762

    snapshot762 Well-Known Member

    Boiling water for ten minutes or so should do the trick.
  17. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Well-Known Member

    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...
  18. Reloadron

    Reloadron Well-Known Member

    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.

  19. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. 4895

    4895 Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014

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