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Wet Tumbling Brass - Strange Discoloration

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by coloradokevin, Jan 19, 2019.

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  1. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Have any of you encountered your brass coming out of a wet tumbler discolored (I tumble with stainless steel pin media)?

    I've been wet tumbling my brass for probably 4 years now, and normally the brass comes out looking like new brass. The lot I'm processing right now is Lapua brass for my competition rifle. I normally dry tumble briefly for the sake of keeping my sizing die clean, then size/decap, and throw the brass into the wet tumbler to clean it up nicely before loading.

    This time I was tired when I started, and I tumbled wet before sizing. The brass came out perfect, as always. But, I decided to give the brass another run through the wet tumbler after sizing, just to get all of the case lube off. When I pulled the brass out after its second tumble, I noticed that it looked a lot darker than normal in some spots, and had uneven discoloration.

    My recipe for this tumbler has always been very warm water, Dawn dish soap, and some Lemishine. I've always had great results in the past.

    Any idea what might have gone wrong this time?
     

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  2. Allen One1

    Allen One1 Member

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    Tumbling with the case lube is probably the problem. Do the cases feel sticky like they still have some residual lube on them? There was a recent thread about removing case lube not long ago. I think they ended up using a solvent to get it off.
     
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Is your water source downstream from an industrial chemical plant? Some chemical from a discharge might have gotten into the water, something the Water Department does not test for.
     
  4. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    I think it's your lube, still stuck to the cases and dirt has now stuck to the lube. What did you use?
     
  5. drband

    drband Member

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    lube
     
  6. nambu1

    nambu1 Member

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    I wet tumble, polish in the vibrator, size and then repolish to remove the lube. The only time I get the discoloration that you got is when I use too much lemishine.
     
    Axis II, coloradokevin and Mule like this.
  7. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    It might be too much lemishine, I suppose. Everything else was the same process, type of water, etc. I’ve done this for years and never had this result... but I eyeballed the lemishine tonight (didn’t use much, but it’s hard to say).

    Any idea if that would compromise the integrity of the brass?
     
  8. hollywood63

    hollywood63 Member

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    Did a aluminum case get in the mix? I had that happen and I found a couple aluminum cases figured the lemishine reacted to them??
     
  9. Axis II

    Axis II Member

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    Lemi shine! I had the same issue and cut back on lemi and fixed it.
     
  10. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    To much lemishime makes my brass dull, a stray steel case in the batch will have an effect too.
     
  11. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    To much Lemishine for sure. I only get this when I use to much.
     
  12. Spade5

    Spade5 Member

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    I also run the tumbler with no brass every now and then using just Dawn and you would be surprised how dirty the water is. Just saying.
     
  13. lightman

    lightman Member

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    Every once in a while I'll tumble a batch that comes out dull. There are a few things that I suspect cause this. Too much citric acid can. The amount depends on your water quality and you just have to experiment. I use a 9mm case as a measure. A steel or aluminum case mixed in can cause this. Leaving the brass sitting in the tumbler too long after it shuts off can cause this. That was probably my problem.

    In your case I suspect the case lube may be the problem. I usually spray my lubed cases with a degreaser before tumbling.

    Its a good idea to tumble stainless media in soapy water before ever using it and every once in a while afterwards.
     
  14. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    Oh yeah I have gone away from Lemishine all together and just use a dash of Armor All Ultra Shine Wash N Wax.
     
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  15. Strat Rider

    Strat Rider Member

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    If you got a new batch of pins, they could have oil on them still which would be similar to those above talking about leaving too much lube on the brass.
    Run a batch in cold water also - hot water makes mine duller here.
    And ofc, the lemi-shine to detergent ratio is a thing.
     
  16. Dudedog

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Cold water seems to make them come out with more shine.
    Seems like warm/hot water should be better but it doesn't work out that way.
    I may be mistaken but the brass is probably fine.
    Might run it one more time with less Lemishine and cold water and see if it shines up.
     
    Strat Rider likes this.
  17. drband

    drband Member

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    If it's lube, you may have to use a solvent to get it off.
     
  18. Wreck-n-Crew

    Wreck-n-Crew Member

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    Wet tumbling with Lemi-Shine will dull the brass if run for too long. Threw me off too when I accidently left it on for 2 hrs. The more Lemi-Shine in the mix the less you want to run it. I switched to Armorall Wash and Wax. You can run it for hours with no issues. Back off or eliminate Lemi-Shine all together. You can always run a batch with Dawn only and add a capful of Lemi-Shine 30 min before stopping and rinsing.
     
  19. ih772

    ih772 Member

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    Left it in the lemi-shine & soap mixture too long.
     
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  20. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    I wet tumble to get the lube off, and have never had that problem. Could be the type of lube, though. I use the Royal spray case lube. My wet tumbling recipe is about an ounce of Wash-n-Wax, and small amount of Lemishine, and the hottest water that will come out of my tap. I rinse with cold tap water.
     
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