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Brass + Leather = Corrosion?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by SleazyRider, Mar 22, 2015.

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  1. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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    I like to keep ammunition installed in my western-style cartridge loop belt just so the leather loops will maintain their shape and size (not to mention the eye appeal). Problem is, if the brass-cased rounds are left in there for any length of time, the cases discolor and get pretty ugly looking. I surmise that the acids in the leather are reacting with the .45 caliber brass case. Brass polish and lots of elbow grease will get them bright and shiny again, but I'd rather invest this time elsewhere.

    Any solutions out there?
     
  2. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    1) why does the brass need to be shiny?

    2) brass will not corrode to the point of its structural integrity being compromised..... it is fairly corrosion resistant, hell, its used heavily in salt water environments for a reason.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Get nickel plated cases.

    That's what they invented it for back in the day.

    The green verdigris you are fighting will continue to thicken on bare brass cases till they won't even chamber.

    Nickel plated brass is completely immune to it.

    Rc
     
  4. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    Don't use brass polishes on cartridges.
    There's chemicals in many polishes that will weaken brass and this can cause case failure.

    Anytime you put brass or copper against leather the chemicals used to tan leather will cause the brass or copper to tarnish and turn green.
    Left long enough and you'll find a green wax-like substance building up.
    That's called Verdigris.

    There's nothing I know of that will prevent this.
     
  5. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Yes. From what I have read, the Bad Ingredient in some brass polishes is ammonia, which will embrittle brass.
     
  6. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    As rc stated nickel cases are the solution and why they exist in the first place.
     
  7. cpileri

    cpileri Member

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    So this verdigris will not weaken the brass? I had same thing happen, really thick amount of green, and was wondering if they were unsafe or iust ugly. C-
     
  8. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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    Thanks, RC, that's precisely the kind of solution I was looking for. Now to find .45 Long Colt ammunition with nickel cases (I don't reload yet).
     
  9. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    No, it's just normal tarnish.
     
  10. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    And again...RC has it. Nickel plated...
     
  11. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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    Just ordered 2 boxes of Hornaday Critical Defense .45LC with nickel cases, and 2 boxes of "inexpensive" brass-cased. The former I'll install in the cartridge belt for display purposes, and the latter, for shootin'. Dang, I'd better start reloading soon!

    Thank you, gentlemen, for your replies.
     
  12. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Recommend that you clean the leather cartridge belt and if the nickel plated rounds have copper jackets that you spray the jackets with a laquer finish or they will become green too.

    RC? Comments?
     
  13. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    Veredigris is harsh on the leather.

    This might be true,,,
    However!

    The green verdigris that develops,,,
    Will cause serious deterioration of the leather.

    I've replaced the loops on many gun-belts due to this.

    It's actually better to leave the leather loops empty,,,
    They will always be a bit tighter than when left filled with cartridges.

    But if you really want to leave the loops filled,,,
    Buy some nickel cased ammo for display.

    Then if you really want to protect the leather,,,
    Paint them with clear lacquer.

    Aarond

    .
     
  14. Drail

    Drail Member

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    What is attacking the brass and causing the verdi gris are chemicals used in the leather tanning process - specifically chromic acids. If brass cartridges are left in the loops long enough they WILL be damaged. If you're planing on storing rounds in leather loops ( I wouldn't) be sure to ask what tanning process was used when the leather was tanned. If the seller doesn't know how the leather he is selling was tanned - keep looking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
  15. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    It's the leather attracting and holding moisture and chemicals used in leather tanning. Don't leave your firearms in a leather holster either.
    "...brass will not corrode to the point..." Brass, like steel, is a man made product. Nature dislikes anything that is not in its natural form. The green verdigris is the copper trying to get back the way it began. So brass will corrode to destruction. Just like steel does.
    Nickel cases are plated brass. They'll 'go bad' eventually too.
     
  16. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    let me rephrase....

    brass will not corrode to the point of its structural integrity being compromised.....within any reasonable amount of time.

    if you let it sit for a few decades, then you might have something to worry about......but for the few months it sits in the holster before you shoot it, its not going to be an issue.



    you can always try heating up the loops with a hair drier and melting a little bit of bees wax into the inside of the loops, this should help seal the leather and prevent the tanning solution from coming into contact with the brass.
     
  17. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    It's not what it does to the cartridges,,,

    It's not what it does to the cartridges,,,
    It's what that corrosive verdigris does to the leather is what matters.

    There are no chromium salts in vegetable tanned leather,,,
    But it still reacts badly with brass.

    Suede and upholstery leather are definitely chrome tanned leathers,,,
    But they don't develop verdigris any worse than veg tanned.

    The point is not why it corrodes,,,
    But that the corrosion is a bad thing all around.

    If you want to display with cartridges in the loops,,,
    Either use nickel plated cases or lacquer the brass cases.

    Aarond

    .
     
  18. royal barnes

    royal barnes Member

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    I don't know what he uses but Rick Bachman at Old West Reproductions guarantees his cartridge belts won't tarnish brass and he's right. I've kept them loaded with brass cased ammo for several years and the brass still looks fine.
     
  19. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Bachman may be using a wax of some sort, or just using a grade of leather that doesnt cause problems.

    I leave some of my cartridge belts loaded all the time. Some are more problematic than others, the better ones cause some discloration, but dont seem to form much real verdegris. I just take the rounds out a couple times a year or so and wipe them off with a rag, and sometimes clean the inside of the loops with a smaller caliber plastic bore brush. Carefully, so as not to damage the leather loops.

    I dont know what it does to the leather, but my 45-70 belt was made in about 1991 or so and has been loaded since then. My Lawrence 44 belt was bought from new old stock in about the same year and has been loaded since I got it. The 45 belt is a Hunter, and has been loaded since the early 80's when I first bought it. A couple 38 belts that I stretched a bit and use for 30-30 have been around since the mid 80's or so and been loaded since I got them. All look a bit "well used", but seem to be quite functional. None make much crud or verdegris, but will form a little black crud/dirt whatever on the rounds over time.
     
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