Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by lynxer, Apr 4, 2010.
Does anyone have any techniques for bringing severely tarnished / stained brass back to life?
Depends on the definition of "severe" and how good you want it to look afterward. But inspect it for damage, splits, bad dents and the like and then soak it in a case cleaner. I use IOSSO. Rinse it, dry it, size it, deprime it, clean the primer pocket and check it for length (trim as needed). I tumble mine in crushed walnut holes and if I want a nice polish I tumble some more in crushed corn cobs with a teaspoon of liquid polish add to the corn cobs. Matter of choice and the size of your tumbler media as to whether you tumble before you deprime or after. If the media is small it can get caught in the primer hole and you will have to poke it out. All that tumbling and polishing is just for looks as it won't fire a bit better whether it is shinny or not as long as it is "clean".
Don't know what I left out and there are a lot of different methods that others may suggest. This is just mine.
Assuming you have a vibrating tumbler: Put your brass in the bowl, just cover it with silica sand, add enough 50/50 Simple Green/Water mixture, you want the sand damp NOT wet, let it run over night. If the brass has corrosion spots on it you will need to scrape them off with a knife before you use the sand. The sand process will clean them good enough to inspect, get rid of the ones that are cracked, creased , or severely bent up, they are a waste of your time. If the ones left are still brown but you want to save, chuck them up in a drill press and use a steel wool pad with Comet, then do the walnut and corn cob routine.
The sand is heavy and hard on your tumbler motor, you should not do more than 50 or so at a time. I drag home so much "RANGE BRASS" I bought a very small concrete mixer from HARBOR FREIGHT and use a 50 lb. bag of silica sand but I throw the brass in a box till I get 500 to a thousand rounds then do them all at once.
There are home made and commercial liquid cleaners. What is easiest for me. I put the questionable brass in the Tumbler with Black Diamond Blasting Media, Run it for an Hour, Inspect the Brass. Any worth keeping, I re tumble in Walnut or corn media.
Wow! Now that is some serious case cleaning. What a great idea but way beyond my needs but sounds like it would work just fine. Like the damp sand/Simple Green idea too.
If there is nothing else wrong with the brass, other than it being discolored, I reload it. It's still good brass. If you really must have brass that looks new, then buy new brass to start with. It will save you a lot of work.
+1 Carver. As long as it's not corroded then just shoot it. Pretty brass shoots the same as ugly brass.
If the case is corroded then you may not want to shoot it. I toss anything with corrosion on it.
Using sand is a very bad idea. All it takes is one grain of sand lodged in the case and fired down the barrel, and you will have a scratched barrel. Or a scratched chamber. I sure wouldn't use sand in anything I was tumbling that I was going to reload.
If you want nice looking brass, you can get ceramic media to tumble the brass in, but it doesn't shoot any better. Or try a dip in plain vinegar, followed by a good rinse in clear water to remove fairly minor tarnish. I think corn cob witn NuFinish car polish probably gives the best overall cleaning and polishing.
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