Case corrosion - when to load 'em, and when to fold 'em?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by bear166, Dec 21, 2021.

  1. Captain*kirk

    Captain*kirk Member

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    I pretty much follow Driftwood's schedule word for word...except after the brass has air dried and been de-primed, it goes into the wet tumbler with SS pins and Frankford Arsenal brass cleaner (one capful per tumbler) for a few hours. When it comes out, it's clean (primer pockets included) but somewhat dull. I let it air dry once again overnight, then into the vibratory cleaner (corncob media) for as many hours as it takes to make it look brand new...and it does. True, stained brass doesn't add any performance, but I do feel shiny slick brass runs though my dies a whole lot easier and minimizes wear on them. I take pride in my reloads and feel they should look as close to new as I can get them. Your mileage may vary.
    I'm generally not in a big hurry to get my cases reloaded; in fact, once they are ready to load they generally go into an airtight ZipLoc bag until I'm ready to load. Then they look and handle like new brass.
     
  2. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I drop mine into a jug of Windex and water. Rinse them off and put them in the tumbler with walnut shells and Meguiars auto polish. They are still stained but clean. I like shiny but I'm too lazy to go the extra mile to get them that way. I guess I've got no pride.
     
  3. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Yeah, windex works great. But I'm with you Hawg, I got no pride, and I got no class since I retired.
     
  4. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Well I'm a long ways from retirement, but I haven't had class since I was in school... Matter of fact that's the only time I ever had any class!
     
  5. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Well then, not only do we got no class, but we got no principals!
     
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  6. hawg

    hawg Member

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    And we got no innocence. We can't even think of a word that rhymes.
     
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  7. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Then I guess, school's out forever.
     
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  8. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Not to mention, school's been blown to pieces! Love me a good Alice Cooper reference, I'm fortunate to have seen him live and that is one heck of a show!

    Back on topic - I've been able to find a way to use my tumblers, and I started out dry tumbling my 25 cases from the other day that aren't nearly as corroded in walnut media, just for 30 minutes so far but will probably go longer. I think with the advice in here I should be able to avoid this happening again, but I'm curious - would you load this brass, or still chunk it? Maybe a go in the FART would be worth a shot?
     

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  9. gobsauce

    gobsauce Member

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    That brass still looks good to me.
     
  10. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Sweet! Glad to know all is not lost. I'd hate to make my new Sharps go hungry until I can find some more brass...
     
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  11. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Brush it out with a caliber size bronze brush then go soak it or tumble it.
     
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  12. gobsauce

    gobsauce Member

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    Maybe I should've elaborated, I meant to say that it still look serviceable. Looks like you can still use it, just clean it out first.
     
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  13. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Of course, just meant that I'm glad I'll be able to use it instead of scrap it.
     
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  14. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Oh so off topic! Don't look! I saw one of his "welcome to my nightmare shows", it was great. Off topic! Disregard! Don't look!
     
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  15. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Oh man, I'm jealous. I had a good long while to go before coming into the world yet at that time. Heck, my dad probably wasn't even old enough to know about Alice Cooper yet back then. Although he made sure I knew about him by that age, haha. Still puts on a great one today though.
     
  16. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Okay, I know I've probably revived this thread enough times at this point - but I have one last little update, and a question.

    I went out with the Sharps again on Monday. This time I dropped the cases straight into some soapy water, and after they soaked for a few days, I threw 'em in the dry tumbler for a few hours. They didn't get nearly as clean as I expected, but they sure didn't corrode any and I think I can use them. So thanks everyone for the advice! I think I can rest assured that I'm not going to lose any more cases.

    But, just for giggles, I decided to throw all that old brass into the wet tumbler with some stainless steel pins for two hours today, just to see what would happen. I'm a little surprised with the results. Sure, the insides don't look brand new (the outsides do), but compare this to the picture I posted initially. Same batch of brass.

    That said, I'm still skeptical. The ugly green has turned to a tobacco brown around where the bullet was seated (but completely disappeared from where the powder would be), which tells me there was possibly some permanent damage done to the brass. The picture is a little deceiving - there really is no pitting that I can tell under the flashlight. Overall, it doesn't really seem all that badly damaged, and I wonder if it might be recovered. I should probably just chuck it and move on, but as I only have about a hundred cases and slim prospects of finding any more soon, I figure it's worth another consultation with the experts anyhow! What do you think?

    jEQ6IsP.jpg
     
  17. Captain*kirk

    Captain*kirk Member

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    Well, I'm sure no expert, but FWIW I would use them again. If they are damaged to point of weakness the should split when you bellmouth the cases. Right now brass is near impossible to get. If they split on expanding throw them away then.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
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  18. hawg

    hawg Member

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    What he said. If you load them and they're weak they will split at the weak part but it won't hurt the rifle.
     
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  19. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    That's kinda what I was thinking. Reckon I'll give em a whirl and see what happens. Thanks again fellas.
     
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  20. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I would load them
     
  21. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Run a brush through them, and use them.
     
  22. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    To clarify, I did try running a brush through them and they didn't look any different after. Not sure what the deal is there.
     
  23. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Interesting, my process is use a bronze .45 cal brush with a twisting motion, dump out the residue and rinse the case. They ain't gonna be perfectly clean but still will be usable for quite a few reloads especially if you anneal the cases about every 5th loading.
     
  24. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Yeah I'm not suite sure why I've not able to get anything out with the brush. I tried it on both these old brass that were only partially cleaned many months ago and recently wet tumbled, as well as the last bunch I shot and dropped directly into soapy water before dry tumbling later. In neither case did it seem to have any real effect. Think I'll just load em up and see what happens (provided they don't split during resizing and expanding) and go from there. The recent bunch I may not resize because they still chamber fine in my Sharps, but the older brass that's in the worst shape was fired out of an old Trapdoor that has a bulged chamber - they'll have to be resized which should tell me how well they'll hold up to use, the way I figure it.
     
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  25. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I wouldnt hesitate to use them. Clean then more if youd like, Id probably use a bore brush after wet soaking in Lemi-shine.

    On another forum they discussed wet cleaning without pins using Lemi-shine dishwasher additive (citric acid). I got a two drum rock tumbler from Harbor Freight to try it, it worked very well. I also tried just putting old corroded shells in a bucket with warm water and Lemi-shine and hand agitate it a few times over a couple hours and was surprised at the results, i think my time of using a dry tumbler are done. Most seemed to feel they had been wasting a lot of effort with pins once they tried wet cleaning without it. A couple guys cleaned a 5 gallon bucket of 9mm brass at a time in a concrete mixer, a couple rinses, then I think dried on dehydrator screens in or out of a dehydrator. The dehydrators were relegated to brass use due to the lead residue potential, which the lead dust from primers and bullets was another reason some went to wet cleaning, some reported elevated blood lead levels when tested when using dry tumbling, which they wanted to reduce exposure potential with small kids in the house.

    When shooting black long ago I put the shells in a pot of water on the stove and simmered them on low for a while, then dumped out in a towel to roll back and forth to get as dry as i could then set to drain. The hot brass dried pretty quickly, thats all I ever did. the brass was dark, but shot fine, no corrosion. I let some sit once and it got corroded. I had a friend with a dry tumbler clean them, they were OK, but it didnt get it all. I just kept using them for years with smokeless loads.

    You can decap with the Lee hand decapper tool, its what I ended up using for my Lyman 310 tool after breaking several decapping pins, but I never found it necessary to do when cleaning brass shot with black.

    Some 5.56 shells I found in dads basement, I apparently had left them some time back in the 80s, They went through 2 basement floods and sat wet in a plastic bag for a couple years before i discovered them. These are the ones I cleaned in a bucket with 1/4 tsp Lemi-shine (walmart has it in the dish soap aisle) and hand agitated. The cautions of not leaving them soak for extended periods is valid, it can attack the copper if too strong and left too long and leave it tinted pink-ish colored, but I dont know if it can cause structural damage.

    Again, after trying wet cleaning with only Lemi-shine, ill never use a dry tumbler again. Wet tumbling is OK (no pins), but I think for most uses just the bucket treatment is plenty.

    Cleaned shells.jpg
     
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