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Old 01-08-2017, 10:16 PM
metricmonkeywrench metricmonkeywrench is offline
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Hopefully this does not turn into testimonials of unobtainium pins in a Mr Fusion cryogenic centrifuge, I am strictly small time working on less than 400 pieces of brass. 

I was given some old brass from a neighbor who has had it in a closet since his father passed. In the box was some  .38 wadcutter and 30-30 brass that i am hoping to salvage. The revolver brass was reported to be once fired and a couple boxes of the rifle brass had reloading tags from the 80's. Most of the brass was badly tarnished and a cycle thru the tumbler didn't do much. I ran them through a lemishine bath (not rich enough for a sonic yet) which cleaned off the majority of the tarnish on about half of the brass. On the remainder the cleaning left either brown stained fingerprints/splotches on the brass  or copper color blotches.. None of the brass is pitted or appears to be compromised so i believe it still may be usable ugly as it is.

Short of neverdul/brasso on each piece bringing back memories of boot camp setting on a footlocker,  does anyone have any thoughts on a way to batch clean the remainder of the staining? I can drop it back into the tumbler (Lyman treated corn) but doubt it may make much of a difference. 
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:30 PM
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I just picked up the RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning devise which works amazingly. If anything will take off the crude, this thing would be your best option. Being a long time media tumbler guy.......I was skeptical but was pleasantly surprised!!

If you don't own one or want to invest in one, maybe one of your shooting buddies has one??
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:37 PM
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It's not surprising that what you call a tumbler (Really a dry tumbler, the proper term is vibrator.) or a lemishine bath wouldn't touch serious tarnish. It's just not going to work for you.

IDK how well ultrasonic cleaning works, but there are other likely cheaper options.

Sorry to be an advocate for "unobtainium pins in a Mr Fusion cryogenic centrifuge," but a real wet tumbler with SS pins is the most cost effective way to really clean the brass.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:04 PM
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Always got to be one (or two)

The lemishine a actually was pretty surprising and did a pretty good job for the most part on a lot of the brass. I should have taken a before picture.

Technically I have a Cabelas Model 400 Vibratory Case Tumbler...least that's what the label tells me.

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Old 01-08-2017, 11:08 PM
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I load tarnished brass and it works as good as shiny brass.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:15 PM
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Think a good dose of Brasso added to your media in your vibratory case tumbler might do the trick?

BTW no need to turn this into a "Brasso contains ammonia" thread. That one has already been beat to death elsewhere - recently.

For heavily tarnished brass it seems like it might be worth a try....
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:18 PM
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Get it the best you can then load it, shoot it. Maybe it will look better the second time around!
Years ago I bought primed new R-P brass for 357 mag that evidently got damp as the cases had some heavy tarnish spots on them. Loaded and shot them as they were and worked fine. After tumble clean there were dark spots and stains still on the brass. I'm still reloading that brass.

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Old 01-08-2017, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post

BTW no need to turn this into a "Brasso contains ammonia" thread. That one has already been beat to death elsewhere - recently.
But it does and you shouldn't.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:33 PM
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load, shoot, clean, load, shoot . . . until you either split it or lose it! No one's grading on the beauty of your brass, only on how well it shoots.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:33 PM
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How long did you tumble it? Let it run for 24 hours or so and see how it looks.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:57 PM
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Until 1970 or so, when Lyman introduced their vibratory case cleaner, (It was the first I saw.) no one worried much about polishing brass. But, as "max" said, let the polisher run longer. There is no such thing as a "cycle", run it as long as it takes to get the job done. I bought my Lyman 1200 about 1971-72, and it is still going with the original motor. It has run thousands of hours.

From over night to 24 hours may be necessary. Cases that don't come clean by this time get tossed!

Listen to bigggbbruce about Brasso! It, and any cleaner with ammonia in them will cause Nitrogen embrittlement of cartridge brass and lead to premature failure. Before I learned this the hard way I lost a few hundred .32 S&W Long cases which cracked in storage after being loaded! The stress of the neck tension caused the embrittled brass to crack without being fired.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
Until 1970 or so, when Lyman introduced their vibratory case cleaner, (It was the first I saw.) no one worried much about polishing brass. But, as "max" said, let the polisher run longer. There is no such thing as a "cycle", run it as long as it takes to get the job done. I bought my Lyman 1200 about 1971-72, and it is still going with the original motor. It has run thousands of hours.

From over night to 24 hours may be necessary. Cases that don't come clean by this time get tossed!

Listen to bigggbbruce about Brasso! It, and any cleaner with ammonia in them will cause Nitrogen embrittlement of cartridge brass and lead to premature failure. Before I learned this the hard way I lost a few hundred .32 S&W Long cases which cracked in storage after being loaded! The stress of the neck tension caused the embrittled brass to crack without being fired.
Just curious, was that from ONE application of current formula Brasso - with only 1% ammonia?

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Old 01-09-2017, 12:20 AM
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Just curious, was that from ONE application of Brasso - with only 1% ammonia?
It was from hand-polishing with Brasso and thoroughly buffing them clean by hand ONE TIME! This was before I had the Lyman.

I don't see why you are trying to make such a big thing about this! There are other polishing additives such as Berry's, Flitz, Hornady, etc. that do just as good a job as Brasso, at about the same cost, without the risk. No one is out anything by avoiding Brasso, and stand nothing to gain by using it!
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:30 AM
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It was from hand-polishing with Brasso and thoroughly buffing them clean by hand ONE TIME! This was before I had the Lyman.

I don't see why you are trying to make such a big thing about this! There are other polishing additives such as Berry's, Flitz, Hornady, etc. that do just as good a job as Brasso, at about the same cost, without the risk. No one is out anything by avoiding Brasso, and stand nothing to gain by using it!
Dude! CHILL! I don't know why you get so bent so quickly and so often.

I was asking a frigging question OK? Nobody is "making a big thing about it" except you!

There has been a lot of conflicting info in a recent thread about this. Others have posted that they used Brasso in their tumblers repeatedly for YEARS with no issues. Apparently you had a different experience.

Some of us are trying to sort out the differing opinions on this subject. NEWS FLASH - yours isn't the only opinion that counts (contrary to what you seem to believe).

So calm down OK? If you can't handle anyone asking questions about your opinions, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to give them.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Alk8944 wrote:
Listen to bigggbbruce about Brasso! It, and any cleaner with ammonia in them will cause Nitrogen embrittlement of cartridge brass and lead to premature failure.
The ammonia concentration in Brasso is not sufficient to cause "season cracking". I have cases polished with Brasso in the 1980's that have been fired and reloaded many times since and they still have complete integrity and NONE have been lost to cracking.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:29 AM
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I just wet tumble my 357 brass in hot water with Limi Shine and liquid soap for a couple of hours. They come out clean inside and a medium shine outside. Primer pockets come out pretty clean; not perfectly clean but acceptable. They shoot just as good as new brass.

I had some range brass once (about 100 rounds) that was badly tarnished. After tumbling as above I put them on a tight fitting dowel rod and buffed them with my electric drill and 0000 steel wool. Now that got them as shiny as brand new. Haven't needed to do that since.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Short of neverdul/brasso on each piece bringing back memories of boot camp setting on a footlocker, does anyone have any thoughts on a way to batch clean the remainder of the staining?
Because of a neurological condition, I had to leave 500 rounds of brass in various stages of preparatation sit idle in ziploc bags for 20 years. When I recovered and returned to it, much of it was not only tarnished, but corroded.

Even corrosion that is confined to the surface layer of the case may be remediated. My approach was:
  • Soak the brass in a weak acid solution; either Vinegar at the rate of 1/4 cup per quart of hot water or Lemishine at the rate of one teaspoon per quart of hot water, for about a half-hour agitating the mix every ten minutes.
  • Rinse and dry the brass.
  • Tumble in dry media overnight (i.e. at least 8 hours).
  • Inspect the cases and return to service any cases that shown no cosmetic defect.
  • For the remaining cases, cut paper towels or napkins into strips large enough to cover the whole length of the case.
  • Saturate the strip in Vinegar.
  • Wrap them tightly around the case and let sit overnight.
  • The next morning, strip off the saturated paper and the cases will be pink and the corroded areas tan.
  • Tumble in dry media overnight (i.e. at least 8 hours).
  • Inspect the cases and return to service any cases that shown no cosmetic defect.
  • For the remaining cases, polish thoroughly with a metal polish like Brasso. Ignore the people who tell you it will damage the brass. The concentration of ammonia in Brasso is much less than the concentration of ammonia that ammunition was exposed to when it was stored over a manure pit. Read about "season cracking" on Wikipedia and compare those conditions to a few minutes exposure to 1% ammonia in Brasso.
  • I know there are people who have reported cracking or splits in Brasso polished brass, but without comprehensive records it is not possible to distinguish that from cracking that occurs as a result of work hardening.
  • After polishing, discard any cases that still have any cosmetic defects as it must be considered that these are no longer confined to the surface of the brass.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:35 AM
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When I started reloading, in the late 1980's, I had no vibratory cleaner. Come to think, I had no cleaning method of any kind, except to wipe off the brass with a rag prior to reloading, to keep the grit out of my dies.

Never had a problem. The brass got darker as the number of reloadings went up, but the rounds shot as well as any new. I would clean the primer pockets occasionally, more because I could do it with a primer pocket brush whilst sitting and watching the game on TV than for any other reason.

Do as you please with your free brass, but the cosmetics of reloaded rounds is just that - cosmetics.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:39 AM
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I use a vibratory tumbler with a heavy dose of Flitz media polish added to it. Brass cases cleaned for eight hours or more come out requiring sunglasses - much shinier and smoother than even new brass.

I will however caution you with regard to older bottleneck rifle brass. I have three 20-round boxes of Remington 6mm REM cases that are once-fired factory loads from the 1970s or 1980s - they are in the old green Remington boxes. I also have some 100-round boxes of new late-production Remington 6mm REM cases and was recently going to use one of those older cases to replace one of the newer ones that was lost.

Just for grins, I decided to weigh the two cases to see if there could be any pressure problems with doing that and found the older cases weigh ten grains more than the newer ones. Could their thicker walls cause enough of an increase in pressure to be a concern? I didn't know but have relegated that old brass to my "collector-item" carton. You might want to check your older .30-30 WIN cases too.

Ed
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:40 AM
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I find that walnut shell media works better than corn for cleaning. You can buy it at Walmart in the form of lizard litter. $6-7 for a good sized bag. I add a bit of Dillon rapid polish to the mix. I have cleaned some for 24 hours plus, without ill effect on the brass or the tumbler.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:52 AM
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Lemishine is predominately citric acid. Acid is corrosive. Acid also exposes bare metal.

If you clean brass with Lemishine or citric acid, you have to be sure to rinse every trace of it off your brass, and keep it in an inert enviroment, or coat it with some kind of preservative. If you don't, your nice clean shiny brass will almost immediately begin to tarnish or corrode again.

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Old 01-09-2017, 11:44 AM
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Clean the dirt and grit off the cases and load them. Forget about the gloss.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:21 PM
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Over the years I have acquired both a tumbler and a vibratory, and still use both for various needs.

In years past (when money was tight) I developed an inexpensive but effective method for cleaning tarnished brass:

1. Cut wooden dowel rods of a diameter larger than case mouth opening.
2. Make a lengthwise cut at one end about 1" long using a fine toothed wood saw.
3. Turn the cut end of the dowel in a drill while applying coarse sandpaper to reduce the dowel rod diameter to a point where it can be flexed at the cut end to enter the case mouth, thus retaining it by friction grip.
4. While turning the case on the dowel at low speed use 0000 steel wool to clean the cartridge case. Takes about 30 seconds per case.

Have used this with WW2 brass (.30-06 and .45 ACP), restoring it to nice clean condition. Have used that same brass through multiple loadings (the .30-06 is usually retired after 6 full-charge loads; the .45 ACP remains in use even now after 20-plus loads).

Older brass (1960 or earlier) will usually have a history of mercuric primers, so the cases should be thoroughly cleaned prior to reuse. I use hot water with dish soap, soaking overnight followed by two hot water rinses to remove corrosive residue.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:35 PM
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Try Lizard Litter in your tumbler. $3 at the pet store. Just don't use it on bottle neck cases.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:10 PM
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re: " usable ugly"
therein describes a not uncommon finding with a small percentage of my own brass.

Being motivated both by genuine interest in understanding the difference between 'cosmetically challenged' and 'fatally flawed' as well as simple economic advantage, in my ongoing brass reuse/reload/recovery project, I have come to an operational decision that works well for my purposes.

1) any obvious structural flaws in my brass-prep inspection process, is deposited in my 'junk brass' container headed to the metal recycling facility;

2) most 'cosmetic flaws' are just that, and far more typically are well defined as "usable ugly";

3) Virtually ALL (say 90%+) of actual stress cracks in (handgun) brass develop either in the resizing/bullet seating phase, with the rest (10% maybe) during actual firing in the gun.

Whatever initiates the actual physical crack is not readily observable in
my inspection process. Given 2 otherwise identical cases, one suddenly demonstrates a linear crack while the other 999 in the batch don't. Those cases stepped on while on the ground are by experience, doomed sooner than later so they go in the junk brass can anyway.

Once I quit over flaring the case mouth, by far the most cracks seem to originate mid-body.

I estimate my brass loss to such as *cracks* at less than 1% per week over the last several decades.

I've had a few brass corroded enough I didn't process them.
Nickle brass seems considerably more prone to cracks than brass brass.

My handgun brass is far more often subjected to the lower half of the reload recipe than the upper half.

Hope this interests other reloaders.

Cheers for the New Year.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:56 PM
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Wow, case cleaning is prolly the single most talked about but least important aspect of case prep/reloading. Simple metal working; if a particular tumbling media isn't working, try a more aggressive media. Crushed walnut shells are a more aggressive cleaning media than corn cob litter and regular tumbling media is available that will clean nearly every tarnish or discoloration of brass 5 lbs. Medium Ceramic Abrasive Polishing Tumbler Media 5 lb. Rust-Cutting Resin Abrasive Tumbler Media The resin media is easier on the brass and both will leave an even, clean matt finish. You can also mix the resin or ceramic with corn cob and get clean and shiny brass...

BTW don't mention that Brasso is not a good idea to clean brass cartridges...

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Old 01-09-2017, 03:08 PM
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Shoot them when nobody's looking. Reload. Repeat.


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Old 01-09-2017, 03:30 PM
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If I was concerned about shiny brass, I wouldn't be loading black powder cartridges for my .45-70 Trapdoors. Shiny brass, ugly brass; thay all work the same.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:59 PM
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Guess I should have done this up front... here's what the stages looked like. The 9mm is pretty much what all of the brass looked like across the board. The next three were after tumbling the whole lot and I sorted by head stamp. The third group is after the lemishine bath and where I have my issue the third piece shows the fingerprint up by the case mouth. The last set are the ones that cleaned up well and went back into the tumbler and are now ready to load.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigggbbruce View Post
I load tarnished brass and it works as good as shiny brass.
Me too. I shoot it until it develops a problem (usually a mouth split many loadings in) and recycle once that happens. Revolver brass can last a long time.

I shoot a lot of black powder as well, so tarnished brass is something that doesn't bother me.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feelinlucky View Post
It's not surprising that what you call a tumbler (Really a dry tumbler, the proper term is vibrator.) or a lemishine bath wouldn't touch serious tarnish. It's just not going to work for you.

IDK how well ultrasonic cleaning works, but there are other likely cheaper options.

Sorry to be an advocate for "unobtainium pins in a Mr Fusion cryogenic centrifuge," but a real wet tumbler with SS pins is the most cost effective way to really clean the brass.
You sure got that right!
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:17 AM
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Toss a capful of Simoniz Nu Finish in your media, let it run a half hour before adding brass, add brass. Run for a few hours.

The red blotches probably means you left the brass in the Lemi Shine a tad too long. The citric acid that cleans so well also can leach either the tin or the copper out. I can never remember which one.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:22 PM
bigedp51 bigedp51 is offline
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metricmonkeywrench

A Lee case trimmer base and spinning the case with a drill using 0000 steel wool will scrub the cases bright and clean.

Its winter and too cold to shoot in many places, stay inside and use the method above until your fingers get sore and start to bleed.

After your fingers heal and your able type then order a stainless steel media wet tumbler.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:46 PM
metricmonkeywrench metricmonkeywrench is offline
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Sigh… My question was quite simple (I thought) and as usual around here despite pleas otherwise this post has dissolved into an opinion piece that diverted away from the original question (bleeding fingers and brasso…didn’t anticipate that coming) and reached an inevitable end.

Thank you to those that responded with applicable beneficial pointers and suggestions addressing my original question. As suggested along the way I re-ran the brass through the tumbler for about 6hrs and the brass finished off really well, so I didn’t have to go as far as the steel wool route. There are still a few spots and some tarnishing left on a couple of the pieces, but overall I believe it is all still serviceable.

To the others- Those continued opinions on what equipment I must have were promptly ignored, I will not apologize or make any excuses for not immediately jumping up and dropping $200+ for a piece of equipment that I do not need to clean up a handfull of brass.

I tried to state tongue in cheek at the get go, I will not dispute the abilities of SS media (or sonic) but running a cost benefit analysis due to my low shooting volume (~1200 a year pistol) and single stage press I am able to spend more time to produce reloads that meet MY standards of quality and consistency and will instead put my $200 towards bullets, primers and powder. My entire working brass inventory including 9mm is probably less than 5000 pieces and only 2000 or so are loaded at any given time. My lowly tumbler (vibrator or whatever) and corn cob media have suited me for several years now and will probably continue to do so into the immediate future until such time that it is necessary to make a change.
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:25 PM
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As a non-loader I find this very interesting. I may stay a non-loader but what I heard was as long as the brass is clean it doesn't need to shine.

That was encouraging.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:37 PM
Qc Pistolero Qc Pistolero is offline
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As long as there is no grit inbedded in the brass,you won't scratch the gun's chamber(s).You should see some of the brass I shoot in my guns.It is not the shining that makes the case efficient;it is its elasticity when it enpands and then shrinks back down to near original dimensions that makes it work.After all,the shine is only beautifull but serves no other purpose.Like I keep telling my wife:I might not be the handsomest guy around but I'm darn efficient!
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by metricmonkeywrench View Post
Hopefully this does not turn into testimonials of unobtainium pins in a Mr Fusion cryogenic centrifuge, I am strictly small time working on less than 400 pieces of brass. 

I was given some old brass from a neighbor who has had it in a closet since his father passed. In the box was some  .38 wadcutter and 30-30 brass that i am hoping to salvage. The revolver brass was reported to be once fired and a couple boxes of the rifle brass had reloading tags from the 80's. Most of the brass was badly tarnished and a cycle thru the tumbler didn't do much. I ran them through a lemishine bath (not rich enough for a sonic yet) which cleaned off the majority of the tarnish on about half of the brass. On the remainder the cleaning left either brown stained fingerprints/splotches on the brass  or copper color blotches.. None of the brass is pitted or appears to be compromised so i believe it still may be usable ugly as it is.

Short of neverdul/brasso on each piece bringing back memories of boot camp setting on a footlocker,  does anyone have any thoughts on a way to batch clean the remainder of the staining? I can drop it back into the tumbler (Lyman treated corn) but doubt it may make much of a difference. 
I tumble my brass they come out nice and shiny nicer than new im the only one that see them usually but I reloaded some after resizing and prep no tumble and they shot just fine, of course I examined them , flash hole etc.
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Old 01-17-2017, 04:59 PM
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Brass is highly resistant to atmospheric corrosion. There is a reason it was widely used on ships before stainless steel came along.

I've loaded and shot plenty of black tarnished brass I've found in the field I shoot at, with no adverse effects. The reason being pretty much the only way to "hurt" brass is by work hardening, i.e. shooting and resizing, not corrosion or tarnishing.

Load it and don't look back.
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