I pick up a lot of range brass and it is real dirty and tarnished. I was told by the guy at the range to let them soak in vinegar for about 1 hour has anybody else heard of doing this? I tried it tonight on about 50 and it made the brass look almost new. Will this hurt the brass in anyway?
Where has that range brass been and what has it been subjected to????? Picking up range brass is a very bad idea. Buy commercially available "once Fired" brass from a known good supplier to save money. It is literally once fired and if you buy it from the right place it will be certified as such and will be from the same manufacturer. The brass I leave at the range may have been reloaded 20 or more times and I leave it becasue it is junk. The look of the range brass helps but is not the final answer as to whether it is any good or not.
Chemically cleaning brass with home products is not wise. Did the chemical attack the brass and weaken it somehow???? The accepted way to clean fired brass is with a vibratory cleaner using either walnut shell or corn cob media, where the later gives the best shine and the former the most aggressive cleaning. There are chemical brass cleaners on the market and I have no idea what is in them but you can be assured they will not hurt the brass if the direction are followed.
Safety is paramount in reloading cartridges. Taking short cuts (range brass and unkown chemical cleaning procedures) may be the fast way to a broken gun or a trip to the hospital for you or others standing near you when you fire the gun. The internal pressure in cartridge cases being fired vary from 15,000 PSI to 60,000 PSI. Short cuts could hurt.
It is a crapshoot picking up range brass-most of the time. I buy from trusted brass dealers mostly now. In my days of scrimping & saving every penny I would save brass collected at the range just before deer season(rifle brass) where guys were obviously sighting-in with a couple of boxes of factory stuff as evidenced by the brass colored primers & I'd ask it was ok if I picked up their brass if they were walking away from it. Chrome colored primers were a warning that the cases had been reloaded & I passed them up.