View Full Version : Brasso, really?

August 21, 2010, 09:09 AM
I see this thing about not using Brasso to tumble brass all over gun forums and it's always posted in a blanket statement that ammonia is harmful to brass. To date, I've yet to see anything showing Brasso's harmful ammonia concentration being backed up with lab testing, etc. After looking at MSDS sheets and such I'm curious just how serious of a problem it really is. I don't tumble with anything but dry media and can't say so from personal experience.

I did some searching and took the info from mfg sites, not forums... Alum is in brass to make it harder and pure ammonia is stated (MSDS) as "severely" corrosive to aluminum. The product in Brasso is ammonium hydroxid which is ammonia mixed with water...the highest concentration I could find (using several MSDS) is 44% ammonia and the smallest 15% ammonia...all are stated as "corrosive" (not severely corrosive) to aluminum. The concentration of ammonium hydroxide in Brasso's MSDS is 1% to 3%. Deduct the water by 65ish% and it's less than 1.5% ammonia in Brasso.

So if brass is harmed with Brasso, is that after soaking in Brasso for 10 minutes, 10 hrs or 10 yrs? It seems to me the amount of concentration is so small it most likely takes the alum stains off on the surface (like passivation does to SS) and doesn't penetrate far enough to trash the brass. I'm no expert on Brasso but from reloading over 20 yrs I know brass gets brittle without Brasso.

Does anyone have hard core info on how fast Brasso kills brass?

August 21, 2010, 10:55 AM

Google season cracking or look at the Wikipedia article, here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season_cracking). It is good enough. All it takes is the ammonia in air from compost to weaken brass. It is the reason the military started annealing case necks, which reduces bullet grip, but also reduces the stress in the brass where the seated bullet is stretching it. If you aren't doing neck annealing regularly and are letting your case necks work-harden with each reloading cycle, then shooting the ammo before it has time to stress relieve by cracking may get around the risk. I'm not certain.

I don't know how long it takes the ammonia in a polish to attack brass deeply enough to cause a stress cracking problem? Cartridge brass is 70% copper and 30% zinc, both of which react with ammonia. The reaction with zinc produces zinc hydroxide, which is a white precipitate. The reaction with copper produces copper hydroxide which is a deep blue color, and is water soluble. You've no-doubt seen it that on patches of ammonia-based copper solvent coming out of a fouled barrel.

Like you, I can't say I know anyone who specifically traced a split neck or a head separation to the use of Brasso, but then, since those things happen eventually anyway, how would they know whether Brasso had hastened the event or not? You'd have to do an experiment starting with a hundred new cases, polish half in Brasso and half in ammonia-free polish, always fire the same loads in both batches the same number of times and see if there is a statistically significant difference in their life expectancy?

For myself, just knowing ammonia can weaken brass, I figure Murphy's law will show me everything is just fine and no problems until I'm right in the middle of winning a match or on an expensive hunt, only to discover neck cracks that mean I've got less good ammo with me than I need.

In your shoes, I would anneal any necks I had used Brasso on then stop using it. There really is no need to risk losing brass prematurely with all the other cheaper ammonia-free polishes you can buy out there. Soft scrub works, though you'll want to rinse the soap off later. You can make your own tumbler polish by buying a bag of diatomaceous earth (http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/product/diatomaceous-earth-food-grade) and making a slurry of it with mineral spirits and maybe little oil to keep it from dusting. Then you don't need to concern yourself with letting the reloads sit around for a few years if it comes to that.

If you want to see ammonia's effect on brass for yourself, drop some .22 rimfire cases in a jar of ammonia and watch them dissolve. It takes weeks, IIRC, but the brass is weakened long before there is visible etching of them.

August 21, 2010, 11:03 AM
I have one material failure analysis book that shows an example of a brass propeller where the blade broke off due to season cracking caused by bird poop.

Some people can live with increased risk, some can't

"Conehead" took my friend Johnny for a nightime drive well over 100 mph. Johnny later examined Cone's car and found that three tires were bald and one was only being held on by two lug nuts.

I know Cone later went to the hospital due to a motorcycle wreck, don't know if he is still alive.

Risky people have a lot of accidents.

I have my limits and shooting weak brass is one of them.

If you need absolute proof, run a test. Expose a set of cases to varying levels of Brasso. Record the times and concentrations.

Then try to find someone who wants to shoot the stuff.

Do be ethical and tell that person he will be testing the rounds to destruction and that at the conclusion of the test, the tester might consider what type of medical prosthesis to use for his hand, or head.

August 21, 2010, 11:22 AM
The way I look at it is there are so many good products out there that will do as good a job and you know they won't hurt the brass, so why take the chance.

Mike Irwin
August 21, 2010, 01:58 PM
That nice brass cartridge case is the only thing that keeps the Powder Pressure Gnomes from escaping from your gun and ripping off and consuming chunks of your face.

Ammonia is the Powder Pressure Gnomes' friend in that it can help them escape from their brass prison, and they have a serious hankering for some sweet face flesh.

To me, it's QUITE simple, really.

Ammonia is known brass antagonist.

That brass case is the only thing that stands between you and as much as 60,000 PSI of chamber pressure.

At the very least you could damage your rifle severely.

At worst, you could be severely injured or even killed.

A blown case head is NOT something to screw around with.

August 21, 2010, 08:09 PM
"To date, I've yet to see anything showing Brasso's harmful ammonia concentration being backed up with lab testing, etc. After looking at MSDS sheets and such I'm curious just how serious of a problem it really is.."

There is no valid reason for using it on cases anyway, any metal polish without ammonia will do the job just as well. It isn't "Brasso", as such, that causes problems, it's the ammonia. How rapidly ammonia affects brass depends on a lot of things; the alloy, the strength of the ammonia, the temperture and the time of exposure.

Since there is no current data available and you question the validity of the information, perhaps you could do a series of tests with it and tell us much and how long Brasso can be used before experiencing a major case rupture.

August 21, 2010, 09:16 PM
i have heard the same as most of you that brasso is harmful to the intergrity of the brass case. have i witnessed any issues involving said brasso, negative. i have heard enough to NOT use it to clean my cases. that kinda sux becouse brasso cleans the hell out of brass, very quickly. :(

P5 Guy
August 21, 2010, 09:25 PM
I worked in a plating shop for 5 years. In that shop an ammonia solution was used to strip copper from triple plated chrome bumpers. The old way of doing decorative chrome was the plate the base metal with copper then nickel and then chrome.
I always hated the smell of that stripper.
Copper is the major metal in the brass alloy.

August 21, 2010, 09:25 PM
Is Dillon Case Polish just Brasso in a different container. It sure smells like its got ammonia in it and its the same Carolina Blue color.

August 22, 2010, 02:09 PM
I'm just curious and looking for facts on the real vs imagined risk. I'm not interested in being a guinea pig for the use of Brasso either and I don't use any type of polish on my brass. Just for fun I may soak a couple shells in Brasso and do some destructive bench testing over time to see what happens.

IKE666, Dillion advertises their product not to contain ammonia.

August 22, 2010, 02:29 PM
Dillon polish has water, petroleum solvents, silicones, silicon dioxide, abrasives, oleic acid, amine and dye, no ammonia.

August 22, 2010, 03:59 PM
I have used Brasso for many years with not one problem. Just a little glug in the media and you are good to go. I never knew that was a bad thing:D

August 22, 2010, 05:15 PM
Lets hope you never get the final proof that it is. It will be less of an issue in most common pistol rounds just because the pressures are lower than rifle rounds. But as a guy who likes to keep reloading .45's up until about the 50th go-around or so, I'm still going to stand clear of it.

August 22, 2010, 05:42 PM
whats a better alternative ?
I use Brasso,no probs so far but why take a chance

Ole 5 hole group
August 22, 2010, 05:50 PM
Take a little time and read this thread


F. Guffey
August 23, 2010, 07:49 AM
Belding & Mull hand book 1955 on cleaning and pickling brass for storage and blocking oxidation, it worked and easy to identify, when finished the finish turned black.

The process started with submerging the cases in a 1% solution of sulfuric acid for a maximum of 3 to 5 minutes then rinsed, after rinsing the cases were to be rinsed again in boiling water then dried inside and out, drying? nothing has changed, they did not recommend placing the cases in the oven with the door closed. back then (again) if the case gets too hot to the touch the case is too hot.

Cleaning brass, again, for the worst of it, the cases that would require three days of tumbling I reduce the time factor to 2 hours maximum by cleaning in vinegar FOR A MAXIMUM OF 15 MINUETS, because I took the time to determine the effect 4% vinegar had on the case, in time, the vinegar will dissolve the brass case, it starts with turning the case pink etc., etc.. For the worst of cases there is nothing to be gained by soaking the case beyond 15 minutes AND I have satisfactory results with less time, so time is a factor, Cleaning with vinegar is a one time thing, with vinegar, the case does not turn black.

Tumbling: I use media and nothing.

F. Guffey

44 AMP
August 23, 2010, 08:55 PM
After looking at MSDS sheets and such

MSDSs are wonderful things, containing all the legally required data for worker health and safety.

However, they virtually NEVER adress product use (beyond safety) and the nice to know stuff about where it is suitable and where not. That info has to be found other places.

Always heard that Brasso was bad for your reloading cases. Good for your uniform brass, but not shooting brass.

Probably a small amount in the tumbler willl not cause significant problems (especially if cases are cleaned after, with something to neutralize residue). I think the "Brasso is bad" comes from people hand polishing cases with it, like we did for our uniform brass in the service.

August 23, 2010, 09:25 PM
Here's what I know.

A friend gave me two boxes of "new old stock" unfired .223 brass that had been sitting in his workshop since about '88. When I prepped it and started loading box "A" was fine but the other (box "B") I had cases cracking at the mouth as I sized and/or crimped them and a lot of cases in box "B" had little black spots all over that cleaned off when tumbled but left copper spots which I later learned were leeched out weak spots.

We puzzled over this for a while and then my friend remembered that box "B" was stored on a shelf right over his cat litter box (in a small closet) for many years...yup, a constant ammonia cloud.

August 24, 2010, 01:07 PM
Alum is in brass to make it harder

I would suggest you read a lot more.

Alum is a chemcial compound, hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate [Al(SO4)2 * 12H2O].
The class of compounds known as alums have the related stoichiometry AB(SO4)2 * 12H2O.

If you meant aluminum, it is not present in cartridge brass.

Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc (cartridge brass is 70% copper & 30% zinc).

Ammonia attacks brass with residual stress like the tension we use to hold bullets in cases.

The zinc is the main target, and lower zinc brasses are less subject to stress corrosion cracking.

With all the available things to clean and polish brass, using anything with ammonia (or ammonia compounds) is not worth the risk.

65,000 PSI 3,000 F gas in your face, and possibly metal shards from a failed case, are not pleasant.

August 24, 2010, 02:26 PM

Thanks for the validation. I read soldiers would occasionally relieve themselves in the corner of the old ammo storage bunkers. Same effect on nearby ammo.

Ole 5 hole group,

Thanks for the excellent link. I've only read the first page thus far, but it matches the experience I had with putting brass in a stainless passivating solution. Unlike vinegar, which activates the surface, the citric acid does not induce after-tarnish. I'm not sure of the mechanism, though I am pretty sure it is not the same as passivating stainless steel. In that scenario, the acid etches out free iron, usually embedded by tooling or micro inclusions that didn't alloy well. The brass won't have those.

Phosphoric acid, acting on plain steel, leaves a thin iron phosphate layer behind, kind of like micro-Parkerizing, but with iron rather than zinc or molybdenum, that helps protect the metal for a short time. It's not great protection and a couple or three days is the usual limit before moisture tunnels through. There are some commercial phosphoric acid rust treatments that include enough potassium or sodium dichromate to deposit chromium oxide on the steel to inhibit rust further.

As to Citric acid on brass, since it is a chelating agent, I expect it converts the oxides on the surface to citrate complexes and some of these remain bonded to the surface. It may be better to leave your brass in this condition than to tumble it afterward. Hatcher described leaving polished and unpolished brass on the roof of a building in an area that produced chemicals and that had a very corrosive atmosphere. The unpolished brass was oxidized at the neck from flame annealing and also some during working, apparently. A year later the unpolished brass was still intact, while the polished brass had all been eaten away. That is why military brass specs insist the annealing stain be visible. They want to insurance it was not polished as commercial brass is.

What is interesting is that the action on brass is said to be self-limiting. In the case of phosphoric acid, I've seen that in Parkerizing. After a few minutes the bubbles just stop forming. I assume that's because the phosphate layer is protecting the metal at that point? The same is apparently the case with citric, from that post. I did not realize that, as I simply withdrew brass from citric acid when it looked clean. Leaving it for a time would be an interesting experiment.

I don't know whether to like vinegar or not. It clearly activates the brass surface, as it stains heavily over the next several days if not polished. But perhaps that staining adds protection a-la-Hatcher's experience? It may. The problem I have with the vinegar stained brass has simply to do with finding the stuff in the grass after firing it in a self-loader.

Re Brickyee's comments, those who are interested should go to matweb.com (http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=595d116eb0cd4f7d919c9c970ac4e324) and search on cartridge brass. You will get a long list of different tempers to choose from, but the 70/30 composition is correct in any of the UNS C26000 brasses. The technical datasheet includes composition, density, and other properties you may or may not be interested in.

August 24, 2010, 05:56 PM
would suggest you read a lot more.

Alum is a chemcial compound, hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate [Al(SO4)2 * 12H2O].
The class of compounds known as alums have the related stoichiometry AB(SO4)2 * 12H2O.

If you meant aluminum, it is not present in cartridge brass.

Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc (cartridge brass is 70% copper & 30% zinc).

Ammonia attacks brass with residual stress like the tension we use to hold bullets in cases.

The zinc is the main target, and lower zinc brasses are less subject to stress corrosion cracking.

With all the available things to clean and polish brass, using anything with ammonia (or ammonia compounds) is not worth the risk.

65,000 PSI 3,000 F gas in your face, and possibly metal shards from a failed case, are not pleasant.

Yep, my bad. I didn't think most people would know AL is aluminum so I abbreviated it to alum. I suppose everyone knew I meant aluminum but you so the abbreviation wasn't a total loss. Yep again, on zinc (Zn) in brass (Br) cases, but zinc is rated the same with ammonium hydroxide so I didn't go back and change aluminum (Al) to zinc. The only reference I could find on brass case composition was two mfgs (manufacturers) that sell blanks to make cases...they are 71% brass & 29% zinc.

I posted here because I thought someone would have data that was more specific than "ammonia is bad for brass and the ammo will cause it to blow up in your face". Technically, based on no other data that is correct...eating too many asprins (Asr) is techincally correct too. If we're getting picky, Brasso contains Ammonium Hydroxide (NH3OH) which is another bird from ammonia on the corrosion scale.

I will have to "read a lot more" to get the answer to my original question. Nobody knows what the risk using Brasso really is but whatever it is they are afraid of it. So far, two or three have posted they've used Brasso for a long time and never had a problem. That small sampling of empiracle evidence based on experience says something for reality. Maybe a scientist who works in a labs and tests stuff will chime in.

Thanks for the comments from everyone. Its interesting what has developed.

Bill C

August 25, 2010, 06:08 AM
I am reprinting this from one of my previous posts.

Any time you use acids (vinegar), bases (ammonia), or salt on cartridge brass, you can get chemical reactions that alter the brass. The key element is time, how long is the substance in contact with the brass.

The scientific reason WHY NOT TO OVER USE any compounds with these substances is:

Cartridge brass is 70% copper and 30% zinc. Chemicals and resulting voltaic cells leech the zinc from the brass at a rapid rate, the longer the contact time, the more that is leeched (key words). A small reduction in the % zinc will cause the brass to be brittle and can cause catastrophic rupture of the case.---Try this experiment: put a dab of Brasso on a case that is trashed. let it sit for an hour, then remove the Brasso. You will see the brass is now reddish. This is the copper showing on the brass that has lost zinc.

You can also see the same phenomena, spots of reddish color, in brass that has been weathered. Salts and moisture in the soil set up voltaic cells.

If you use a little Brasso in the tumbler, it is diluted thru the media, and the ammonia is probably dissipated by evaporation, causing little damage to the brass. Compare the color of the well Brasso'ed brass with new. I would wager that it will be a slight bit on the coppery side compared to new.
If you use a little Brasso in the tumbler, it is diluted thru the media, and the ammonia is probably dissipated by evaporation, causing little damage to the brass. The "acid test" (pardon the pun) is to compare the color of the Brasso'ed brass with new. If it is a slight bit on the coppery side compared to new, you are starting into the danger area.

Over long use of chemicals is spinning the roulette wheel. And with continued over long exposure, it's only a matter of time before a case ruptures.

F. Guffey
August 25, 2010, 07:12 PM
I am not a member of the claims department as in I did invent/discover it, the B&M article from 1955 cautioned against using the diluted acid solution for more than 5 minutes and started at 3 minutes, they also had information on ammonia but reloaders have trouble with discerning the difference between moisture and atmosphere so that part is of little value.

Vinegar: For me Vinegar is safer, before I start I can drink it and or put it on a salad, again maximum for me is 15 minutes, this does not mean 10 minutes would not work and it is only for the worst of cases, and for the worst of cases for $14.00 I purchased 1,400 30/06 military cases that everyone passed on because they did not want to clean them for 2 weeks, anyhow I cleaned and formed the cases from/to about everything I load for,, none of the cases were made after 57 so most were fired with corrosive primers, in the old days we called vinegar 'recipe' a friend came over and said it smelled like vinegar and we cleaned ole rusty tools with it, time? did not bother to chack results for the first 5 hours, when cleaning with H2S03 we had minutes.

And I tumble with media and nothing.

F. Guffey

August 25, 2010, 08:14 PM
Zinc and HCl are a common way to obtain hydrogen gas i the chem lab.

As you get away from the nominal 30/70 composition brass is no longer as malleable.

We rely on this malleability and work hardening in cartridges to harden the case head while allowing the body and neck to be annealed to provide a good seal in the chamber.

Anything that alters the composition of the brass needs to be used VERY carefully.

It does take time to produce changes, but given all the variables it is relatively risky at best.

Vinegar in the US has a standardized acid level (4% I think) so at least that is controlled somewhat.

The issue is how much risk is acceptable?

Some mistakes you only get to make one time.

August 25, 2010, 09:35 PM
Well Brickeyee, since you seem to have knowledge of chemistry, what are the effects of a tall oil fatty oleic diethanol amide mixed with titanium oxide on brass that we use in our guns? FWIW, CAS 68155-20-4 and CAS 66402-68-4?

F. Guffey
August 26, 2010, 08:08 AM
Risk, how much? I have a watch, scales, presses and micrometers, tools? I have tools, I make tools, not sophicated. enough for most but if something is missing and the weight is known before, the amount of weight that is lost can be determined.

Effect on the case, again I use forming/trim dies, turning one upside down in the press allows the neck of the case to inter the die first (up to the shoulder), when the ram is raised the case does not have many options, I expect the case to collapse like an accordion or bellows, a few cases will collapse and or split, most will form a bellows, so if I have cases that are worked hardened or the integrity of the brass is compromised for me it is not a matter of talking about it, I have tools, starting with a watch.

I make spinners, case spinners, on the worst of cases I can spin cases and clean with the 3m Green pad, then finish with steel wool, even then care must be used with cases that are not suspect, I have spun cases that shredded the mouth, neck and shoulder before they got up to speed.

And if the case has intergrity questions give them to someone that forms cases, neck them down, neck them up, blow them out etc.,

F. Guffey

Mike Irwin
August 26, 2010, 09:00 AM
I know that brass and aluminum are alloyed to make brass more corrosion resistant (Marine brass), but I can't think that it would be a good combination for use in cartridge brass.

I'd think that the aluminum would pretty much destroy the brass' ability to flex repeatedly without cracking.

August 26, 2010, 08:37 PM
I found this an interesting article on the various types of stress cracking.


John Wilson
November 10, 2011, 06:50 AM
Bumping this old thread 'cause I just shot some old ammo. 30years ago I had a 308W and reloaded Norma brass. I'm fairly sure I only fired these cases twice (never shot this rifle much) and would have been loaded with 4064 and have 100gn plinker bullets in them. Loads were mild (I don't use max loads) and primers showed no signs of pressure. I swapped that rifle for a 270W 30 years ago.

This week, I got a used 308W rifle to try out and as I still had this ammo, I used it. Plus also used some ex military ammo, at least 40 yr old.

All military ammo was ok, no sign of anything unusual. I had 2 out of 12 Norma cases crack, one at the head with gas coming back thru the bolt (Mauser 98). Then I decided to stop. None of the primers in the Norma brass showed any pressure signs.

I used to clean brass with Brasso. Can't be sure, but I think cases sitting in a box with traces of brasso for 30 years is probably the cause.

Anyone want some slightly used Norma brass?

November 10, 2011, 09:19 AM
Once Brasso has completely dried out (powder) what ammonia/ammonia components are left?

November 10, 2011, 09:42 AM
From wikipedia:
Brass is susceptible to stress corrosion cracking, especially from ammonia or substances containing or releasing ammonia. The problem is sometimes known as season cracking after it was first discovered in brass cartridge cases used for rifle ammunition during the 1920s in the Indian Army. The problem was caused by high residual stresses from cold forming of the cases during manufacture, together with chemical attack from traces of ammonia in the atmosphere. The cartridges were stored in stables and the ammonia concentration rose during the hot summer months, so initiating brittle cracks. The problem was resolved by annealing the cases, and storing the cartridges elsewhere.Who ya going to believe?

November 10, 2011, 03:40 PM
Once Brasso has completely dried out (powder) what ammonia/ammonia components are left?

My thoughts exactly. And that ammonia evaporates fairly quickly anyway.

John Wilson
November 10, 2011, 04:08 PM
If not brasso, anyone got any ideas why with light loads, I had 2 Norma (not cheap) cases out of 12 with cracks - one letting gas escape? Others showed some very minor bulging near the head? Ex-Military ammo, no problems. Headspace is ok. Some of the Norma cases look ok - no probs

Could the chamber be a bit oversize? But military ammo and some Norma cases show no signs of stressed cases.

I will cut the case that let go lengthwise to see what is going on on the inside and try posting a pic.

50 shooter
November 10, 2011, 04:08 PM
You can also look up dezincification for more on the subject.

The way I look at it is this, why would you risk blowing up your rifle and possibly maiming yourself. Add to that, if you're at a range and your rifle blows up and someone else gets hurt you're looking at being sued.

As was said already, there are plenty of aftermarket polishes that don't contain ammonia. So there is no reason to put yourself at risk by using Brasso.:rolleyes:

November 10, 2011, 05:02 PM
been using brasso for years,just a squirt into the tumbler
never an issue.....

November 10, 2011, 05:25 PM
AL is aluminum so I abbreviated it to alum.

Al is the symbol for aluminum.

Upper case 'A,' lower case 'l.'

Alum is a compound.

There are reasons many things are 'standardized.'

November 11, 2011, 10:56 AM
I don't think the original ammonia has to linger. That speeds things up, but you probably just need humidity to continue the damage once you have some zinc hydroxide or zinc nitride present from the original exposure. IIRC, zinc nitride actually makes ammonia by reaction with water if some of that is left over. All it takes is time.

I seem to recall Hatcher mentioning season cracking in ammunition stores occurring after they were several years old. This would have been before brass neck annealing was first begun. I don't believe Hatcher said this, but I got from elsewhere that the damage could be caused by soldiers urinating in back corners of the underground bunkers. The 1920's were still outhouse days in many places. That would lead to bacterial breakdown of the urine, releasing a little ammonia gas. Didn't take much, it seems, which reinforces the idea that once the damage is started it can keep going. In Mr. Wilson's case, for the original exposure to have had 30 years to act on the brass could well explain the more dramatic damage.

As for other folks who've used Brasso for years, well God bless, but I'm guessing you either live in low humidity or don't age your brass in the cellar the way I've been known to do with some. There are too many variables for anecdotal evidence for one person's experience to prove or disprove the degree of risk, so I'm sticking with the military's experience and concern. They've had more statistically significant sample sizes aging at different time than I have.

One other possibility that has to be allowed for, though, is some additional source of airborne chemistry than just the original Brasso ammonia exposure. When Hatcher was in charge of ammunition manufacturing at Frankford Arsenal he set samples of brass both polished and unpolished after manufacture on the roof of the arsenal building for a year. There were a lot of chemical fumes in the air from various plants in the area at the time (no EPA back then). After a year the polished brass had corroded through but the unpolished brass was intact. It was concluded from this that the oxides formed on brass during manufacturing and annealing help protect it. This is why you don't see annealing stains polished off military brass as you do with commercial brass. It really does survive better under adverse atmospheric exposure. That may be why Mr. Wilson's military brass and not his Norma brass is still good. If so, perhaps he should have bought Lapua instead of Norma. Lapua's annealing stains are intact.

November 11, 2011, 05:34 PM
First time i have ever posted any thing on here, but into the fire i will go. I have personally polished brass rounds for about 5 years now and have experienced no problems, however i do shoot what i load and only store go to the woods military ammo. Everything else i shoot and either reload it or re-cycle it. As far as the safety of this, i kinda think it is like driving a car on the expressway. Cars are made out of metal, plastic, and verious other substances powered in large part by the burning of gasoline and oxygen in an internal combustion engine. Than we are out there with people on cell phones, texting, putting on makeup, doing drugs or drinking. Or just daydreaming or having a bad day. We try to be as safe as possible in an unsafe enviroment. Bottom line, re-cycle old brass. Load the good stuff. Enjoy your sport and shine it with what ever blows your skirt up. Ps i do use brasso when i want them to be real pretty, most of the time i dont care what they look like as long as they group tight and put meat on the table.

November 12, 2011, 09:32 AM
Welcome to the forum.

I'd agree with you except that, unlike automobile accidents, which the local news inures us to by daily exposure, every time there's a gun accident they play up the coverage to try to support their claim gun ownership is more dangerous than helpful. So I don't see any harm in being extra careful to help protect the shooting sports. The non-ammoniated polishes are widely available for everything from case tumbling to car buffing to fiberglass cleaning. Much of it is actually cheaper than Brasso and works just fine to my eye. If you want the shine to last, add a little carnauba wax or use automotive Nu Finish, so the polishing job is protected.

November 12, 2011, 11:45 AM
Brasso uses Ammonium Hydroxide and Flitz just uses "ammonia solution."

Once ammonia starts attacking the brass it keeps going.

November 12, 2011, 03:54 PM
When I was in high school (1980 or so) I had a bunch of .30-30 ammo. I also happened to have some surplus machine gun ammo links.

I decided it would be cool to put some of my spare .30-30 ammo in the links and hang it on the wall in my bedroom. Of course, I had to polish them up nicely with Brasso first. Keep in mind I only polished them once.

Some 20 years later I unpacked an old Rainier beer crate to look through my old junk. I found some .30-30 ammo in there that looked great. Then I found the linked ammo and it was covered in white crust and some of the cases had split. Powder was spilling out of them.

I figured it might be a reaction between the steel links and the brass until I read about the ammonia issue. Of course, I'm sure the military stores linked ammo for longer than 20 years.

I stay away from ammonia now.