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Old November 26, 2012, 09:16 PM   #1
Tex S
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Is there any cure for black brass?

Corn cob media and polish wont return it to its original luster.

So, I bought an ultrasonic cleaner and specially formulated brass cleaning solution hoping it would remove the black tarnish.

It didn't.

Is there anything that will work? I like to pick up old range brass, but I hate the dark cases. I guess the only thing left to try is stainless steel pins in a wet solution.

Oh, by the way, I am fully aware of the fact that discolored brass shoots/works just as good as shiny brass does, so there is no reason to remind me. I just like shiny brass. I figure if I'm gonna go through the trouble of reloading it, I might as well do the best I can.
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Old November 26, 2012, 09:27 PM   #2
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I want to be able to find my shiny reloadable brass among the dark steel cased stuff left on the ground.

I'm working on this right now. Picked up a bunch of very dark brass at some remote shooting spots.

Am presently trying metal polish on a gun cleaning patch to hand polish each case. Slow & tedious. Would like to chuck each case and spin them with a drill and may try that next.
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Old November 26, 2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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stainless steel pins is the only thing I have heard works....
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Old November 26, 2012, 09:58 PM   #4
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Try a brief soak in vinegar. The black should turn kind-of pink. Then you should be able to polish it using whatever method you like for dirty yellow brass.
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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Vinegar will dissolve the zinc in brass, not good.

Use stainless steel pins. The brass will emerge, after a couple of hours, looking like it did when it left the factory. I've run several batches of totally black, left-in-the-dirt-for-a-year batches and they all look wonderful.
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:08 PM   #6
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This is not a constructive reply, I will admit, and I have no recommendations for shining up dark cases, but I just had to chime in and say how much I like the dark brass cases. No, they are not easy to find on the ground, and no, they are not easy to spot cracks in, but I do love the looks of a nice dark, almost black case with a shiny bullet.

Practical and safe, no. Badass and cool looking, yes.
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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I have been saving all my black brass, when I get enough and/or need some of it, I will get a handfull of SS pins.... SS pins + gatorade bottle + a treadmill= shiny brass....., no need for a $200+ wet tumbler.....
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:37 PM   #8
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Citric acid works great.
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-brass-cleaner
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:43 PM   #9
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I use a rock tumbler , the thumbler model B high speed filled with 5lbs of stainless media ,3/4 gallon of hot water , a little dishsoap and a 1/4 teaspoon of lemishine and 2 lbs of your favorite brass . I decap the brass first with just a depriming die and run the tumbler for 3 hrs , It comes out like new with inside as shiny as the outside and primer pocket cleaned .
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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4 cups water, 2 cups vinegar, 4TBSP salt, and 2 TBSP of soap in a sealed container and shake the hell out of it every 5 minutes or so. Works great for me!
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Old November 26, 2012, 11:36 PM   #11
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A little lemi-shine with stainless steel pins in a Thumlers Tumbler will make any color brass shiny and new looking.
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Old November 26, 2012, 11:40 PM   #12
Tex S
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Anybody have experience with lemishine in an ultrasonic cleaner?

I have some but don't know what ratio to use. 4 or 5 tablespoons to a gallon?
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Old November 26, 2012, 11:43 PM   #13
justsoIcanupvotethis
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I dont know about ultrasonic but with the Thumlers I only use 1/2 Tea spoon in a gallon or whatever the tumbler holds.
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Old November 27, 2012, 02:08 AM   #14
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Try Iosso.
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Old November 27, 2012, 02:41 AM   #15
Tex S
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I think I'll just return the ultrasonic unit and go for the ss pin treatment.

Thanks for the info guys.
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Old November 27, 2012, 09:35 AM   #16
F. Guffey
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Yes there is, find an old B&M reloading manual, thumb to case cleaning. They provide a procedure for pickling brass, #1 time is a factor, they suggested an old ARMY procedure, 2 to 3 % H2SO3, soak for 3 minutes maximum then rinse in boiling water TWICE for 20 minutes +/-. So, if you come across brass stored in containers and the brass is black count on the brass being pickled, and they claim it is forever.

Then there is vinegar, again, time is a factor, maximum time 15 minutes (for the life of the case as in cleaning brass in vinegar is a bad habit), then rinse, time has taken its toll on the old ways, boiling water used to rinse has been omitted.

Then there is the spinner, I make spinners, I use spinners to clean the worst of cases, I use vinegar on the worst of cases to reduce tumbling time, vinegar allows me to reduce tumbling time by days, I am not talking about a few hundred cases, I am talking about thousands of cases.

Back to spinning, when I want to show off spinning is the only way to go and it saves time if I am loading 20 cases for test firing. Another advantage to spinning, if there is a problem with neck and or it is suspect the spinner pressure will cause the neck to split.

I use tumbling media and nothing in my tumblers, in your SS tumbling system, decide if the SS pins clean the cases, then the question is ‘WHY SS PINS? SS pins do not rust? What causes rust? Back to cleaning cases in vinegar for a maximum of 15 minutes for the like of the case, cleaning brass in vinegar is a bad habit.

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Old November 27, 2012, 09:48 AM   #17
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The link to the thread about citric acid was most illuminating.

I think I'll try a solution made from some Gatorade powder I have taking up space in the basement. (yes, really. It has citric acid in it.)
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Old November 27, 2012, 10:00 AM   #18
Jim Watson
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I clean black powder brass in a Thumblers Tumbler.
I started out with Dave Maurer ceramic. That and and the green additive that came with the ceramic does a great job of cleaning and polishing really nasty black powder cases. But the ceramic pellets can get hung up in the cases and takes time to separate.

So I got some steel pins from Buffalo Arms. They came with an amber additive. It took a while to get the pins themselves clean. Do not throw brass in with the pins the first cycle, it will come out with an ugly gray film.
After a few uses, I noticed the brass was still getting clean, but not shiny.
So I ran a batch with the green concentrate and got them bright as new.
I will add some Lemishine to the next run with the amber mix.
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Old November 27, 2012, 10:30 AM   #19
maggys drawers
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Quote:
Anybody have experience with lemishine in an ultrasonic cleaner?

I have some but don't know what ratio to use. 4 or 5 tablespoons to a gallon?
I use a quarter teaspoon to a gallon for my SS pin tumbler.
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Old November 27, 2012, 10:43 AM   #20
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I dig brass out of the dirt. Rinse out the sand/clay/grass/spider webs/etc. Stainless pins, water, dish soap and small amount of Lemishine in the tumbler gets 'em bright.
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Old November 28, 2012, 08:42 AM   #21
Ronbert
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Experimented with a few cases last night.

Mixed up some Gatorade powder into hot water and put in 2 black cases.

Mixed up some Fruit Fresh (wife had it in the kitchen) powder and put in 2 black cases.

There was no control for strength of solution since I don't have anything to test pH with.

After 90 minutes the Gatorade solution was showing lightening of the tarnish.
FF - no sign. So I dumped in some more FF.

Next hour saw progress in the FF solution and the Gatorade kept going.

Left them overnight. All cases were "clean" except for one of the Gatorade ones which still had a dark side. I attribute this to not agitating the solution overnight.

Of concern is that the brass, while no longer tarnished, is dull looking and a coppery color much like the Makarov brass I've seen discarded on ranges. I plan to drop the cases in the vibrator (mix of corncob and walnut media) and see if they polish up to normal color.
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Old November 28, 2012, 09:23 AM   #22
Jim Watson
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The long soak in acidic solution dezincified the surface of the brass, leaving red copper. It should be a surface effect that will polish off.
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Old November 28, 2012, 09:35 AM   #23
F. Guffey
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For me? I do not have to reinvent the wheel, I have no vain plan to discover America, both have been done.

Vinegar, just common, ordinary kitchen variety vinegar works, if the household variety of 5% +/- scares anyone just add water. To reduce the time stir or rub the cases with your hand, to render your cases scrap leave the cases in the solution overnight.

With 5% vinegar a reloader can clean cases good enough to load after soaking for 15 minutes then add time for rinsing and drying.

Again, for the worst of cases only. I reduced tumbling time by two days to 1 hour.

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Old November 28, 2012, 09:39 AM   #24
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I usually tumble with stainless pin sand some Dawn dish washing detergent.

Some cases come out with some minor black stains, which I usually just inspect for pitting and then reload.

If any cases are still completely dark, I discard those because I suspect that the oxidation has progessed too deeply into the brass to trust at high pressures.

If I want to get the minor stains off, after tumbling, I use an ultrasonic cleaner with a 1:3 dillution of white vinegar in water, which usually requires only 5 to10 minutes.

Whenever I use an acid to clean brass, I after-wash in a solution of water with baking soda dissolved in it. I usually put enough baking soda in the water that some does not dissolve, so that solution is saturated to start. That seems to keep the brass from tarnishing later. Of course, I rinse with tap water as a last step.

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Old November 29, 2012, 07:57 PM   #25
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"The long soak in acidic solution dezincified the surface of the brass, leaving red copper. It should be a surface effect that will polish off."

Correct. Vinegar is a very mild acid, we eat the stuff all the time in salad dressings, pickles, etc so it's not going to damage cartridge brass even after a full strength over-night soak. A half hour or so is usually enough to turn the tarnish pinkish tho; diluting simply means it will have to soak longer. Then flush it well in running water, dry it, tumble it and you won't know it from non-tarnished cases.
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