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Soap Scum Inside Cases?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by holdencm9, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Well-Known Member

    I am just starting to get into reloading...I actually haven't even done my first batch yet (been super busy) but I have been stocking up on brass in the meantime. I was bored one night and got tired of looking at all the filthy brass I had collected, so I figured I'd try cleaning them. Since I don't have a tumbler yet, I looked online and seems like some people have had success with just soap and water...so I tried that. Hot water and dawn and rinsing. I am talking just a couple drops of soap for about a gallon of water.

    The first batch turned out great. I let it soak for just a few hours, rinsed all the cases out, they came out pretty shiny and even the insides while not shiny per se, you could tell that they were brass.

    The second time I did it, I sort of forgot about them :uhoh: and they soaked for a few days. When I rinsed them out, in some (but not all) of the casings, there is a splotch of white film/residue in some spots. The only way I can describe it is soap scum. I can get my pinky inside (these are .45acp cases), and it wipes off easy enough.

    My question is if leaving them in the water too long could have caused any issues and I should just toss the whole batch, or if the white stuff in there could cause issues with the powder burning and I should try to clean them out, or if it is maybe a non-issue?

  2. danbowkley

    danbowkley Well-Known Member

    Well it's not soap scum, since Dawn is a detergent and not a soap; the only time I've seen something similar is when cleaning steel cases in an ultrasonic cleaner, they came out kinda gunky greasy looking. Still not sure what did that, but they loaded fine after I dried them and then tumbled in normal walnut media. (Yes, you can reload steel cases, but only once or twice and you need carbide dies.)

    Personally, I'd either not worry about it and just load them, or if I were feeling especially paranoid that day I'd hold them over and tumble in walnut once you get a "real" tumbler. Plenty of folks don't bother polishing brass at all, you can get by just fine without doing it as long as you're somewhat conscientious about keeping sand and grit off the outsides of the cases so you don't scratch up your dies.
  3. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    I'd just load them and shoot them. If you can easily wipe them I fail to see what harm firing them would cause.
  4. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    Load 'em up and shoot 'em.
    This whole thing about cleaning and polishing cases till they look like a piece of jewelry is a pretty new phenomena.
    Many of us reloaded for years without such things as tumblers, merely wiping off the cases with a rag and going to it.
  5. Rule3

    Rule3 Well-Known Member

    Forget the soap or dish detergent. Mix a batch of the following to make one gal.

    2 cups white vinegar

    2 tablespoons of salt

    Add enough water to make one gal.

    Pour into a bucket, add your brass stir it around a little. Let is sit for 15 minutes or so.

    Drain through a plastic colander (dollar store) into another bucket and save the solution as you can use it again.

    Rinse the brass well with fresh water a few times, lay it on a towel in the sun to dry or garage or where ever. I am in Fl so I dry it on the driveway.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  6. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses guys!

    It sounds like the majority vote is to just not worry and load 'em, so that's what I will do. Thanks for setting my mind at ease.

    JohnM, I know that you could get by without cleaning, and eventually when the novelty of reloading shiny brass wears off, I will likely skimp/forego it, but for right now I just couldn't stand looking at all the dirty chimney chutes of brass! :) I wanted my first batch to look nice as well as (hopefully) shoot nice.

    Rule3, thanks for the new recipe, I may try that out for batch #3!
  7. Rule3

    Rule3 Well-Known Member

    The original recipe has a few drops of dish soap in it but I did not care for the foaming and rinsing. The vinegar and water will shine the brass a bit as well as clean. Dirty brass shoots just fine, The main thing if using range brass is get the dirt or sand off so you do not mess up your reloading dies.

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