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Old November 30, 2012, 09:35 AM   #26
SL1
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Vinegar will COMPLETELY disolve brass if left submerged in enough of it for a long enough time. (Don't ask how I know that.)

So, you need to monitor the brass to see when it is sufficiently de-stained for your liking, rather than just leave it to soak until you get around to looking at it again. You CAN damage/weaken brass to the point where you should not shoot it, IF you don't pay attention.

But, vinegar is not such a strong acid that the soak time needs to be TIGHTLY controlled, as with some of the OLD military methods.

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Old November 30, 2012, 09:56 AM   #27
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You don't soak it in vinegar until the tarnish comes off, just long enough for the tarnish to change color a little. Then it will polish off.
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Old November 30, 2012, 11:01 AM   #28
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In an ultrasonic cleaner, you can actually watch the tarnish come off in a diluted vinegar bath.

But, in a still jar of vinegar solution, zxcvbob is right, you are actually looking for a color change that indicates that the stain can be mechanically scrubbed off easily in a vibratory or rotary tumbler with walnut media.

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Old November 30, 2012, 11:43 AM   #29
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I only have a vibratory tumbler and I don't want to buy more equipment (ultrasonic or rotary) What I've read it takes rotary for the stainless pins to be use?

I've concluded that the 2 posts above are about the right approach. Soak until color change (and no longer) then polish.

I bought the little drill chuck shell holder (2 pcs) Lee makes so the polishing will be quick.

I still wonder a bit about the brass because both sides of the case walls have been tarnished and then zinc depleted. Have to just try it out carefully and see what happens.

Seems like I've found yet another new hobby - brass recovery & rehabilitation.

Last edited by Ronbert; November 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM.
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Old November 30, 2012, 12:35 PM   #30
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ketchup and salt works great too. put a bunch of black/tarnished brass in a pot, squirt some ketchup and salt and water in it, heat heat it up and stir things up a bit. in 10 mins you can wash the stuff off, dry the brass out and throw it in the tumbler and it will shine like new.
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Old November 30, 2012, 01:30 PM   #31
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#0000 steel wool will clean them. Just have to have a little time if you got a lot of them to clean. Chuck them in the shell holder and spin them with a drill and cleaning goes fast with the steel wool .

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Old November 30, 2012, 02:54 PM   #32
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Quote:
I only have a vibratory tumbler and I don't want to buy more equipment (ultrasonic or rotary) What I've read it takes rotary for the stainless pins to be use?
A gatorade bottle and a treadmill makes a fine poor mans rotory tumbler. Pins, dish soap, and brass in, set it on there for a couple hours. (the gatorade bottle works because the inside is not smooth, so it keeps things agitated....)
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Old December 1, 2012, 10:32 AM   #33
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I don't have a treadmill so.....

Discovered something interesting while spinning cases last night.
I've been using Mother's Mag & Aluminum polish. Works ok but blackens a cleaning patch quickly and I can get about 5 cases per patch. Also uses a fair amount of polish paste.

Just for fun I tried some Remington Bore Cleaner (yellow bottle, comes out brown like polish) which I've used for years to scrub lead out of the barrel of my 1911 after shooting SWCs. It cleaned cases MUCH faster! And the same wet area on the patch can be used for multiple cases. Takes very little cleaner and the cases shine up quicker.

Now I wonder if I might have enlarged the bore on my 1911?? It's had a few strokes of this most every cleaning for 20 years. I'll have to test the cleaner on steel to verify.
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Old December 1, 2012, 01:05 PM   #34
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Not to worry. The Bore Cleaner abrasive is softer than steel. I tested on a knife blade which had scratches. The cleaner didn't touch them.
Mother's did.

Also tested Dillon Rapid Shine and TurtleWax medium rubbing liquid on brass.
Dillon was very slow. Turtlewax a bit faster. (I'm going to add that to my tumbling media when needed.) Mother's was faster than that.

The Remington Bore Cleaner was the fastest at cleaning the brass and rewetting the patch refreshed the polishing capability. So that's my chosen spinning cleaner.
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Old December 1, 2012, 02:29 PM   #35
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To remove the tarnish/oxide, the cleaning media must be harder than the tarnish; ie more abrasive. Some chemicals will remove tarnish but what is the trade-off, weakened brass?
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Old December 1, 2012, 07:06 PM   #36
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Ketchup works to reduce tarnish because it has vinegar and a couple of other mild acids that give it a 'tang'. Using straight white vinegar is MUCH cheeper, easier, cleaner and faster than a ketchup soak!

Brass is not porous so the vinegar can't soak into the metal itself, all it can do is sit on the surface and combine with the copper oxide that makes the brass turn black. When the dark places have turned pinkish the vinegar has done all it's going to do, it's time to remove the cases, flush them off, dry and tumble them.

I once soaked a few scrap cases in straight vinegar for a week to see what would happen; so far as I could tell, nothing happened.

Last edited by wncchester; December 1, 2012 at 07:19 PM.
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Old December 1, 2012, 08:29 PM   #37
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I don't know what is in Remington's bor cleaner, but if it has any ammonia, as many bore cleaners do, then it may be weakening your brass when you clean it. The brass may crack prematurely due to the ammonia exposure.

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Old December 1, 2012, 08:55 PM   #38
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Reasonable concern.

The MSDS for 40X Bore Cleaner says it's "natural earth in a complex mixture of saponified animal and mineral oils"

No ammonia.
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Old December 2, 2012, 07:35 AM   #39
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I've had luck with running it through my ultrasonic, hitting it with a green scotchbrite pad, then into the tumbler.
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