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Old August 17, 2011, 10:55 PM   #1
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Is this brass bad?

So these aren't hand-loads but I didn't know where else to post this...

I have some .38 spl Winchester factory FMJs that have been sitting in my rarely-used snub for the past 3-4 years. These have been handled a fair amount--mostly to remove from the gun when I want to dry fire it, etc.

So needless to say the casings are not at all bright and shiny due to the oils in my hands. However, the casings are starting to look quite bad--tiny dents and discolorations all over them, specifically brown rust-like spots (I know brass doesn't rust).

Problem is that I'm out of .38 spl ammo and don't really want to trudge down and buy new stuff unless I have to. Should I dump these cartridges or is this merely cosmetic?
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Old August 17, 2011, 11:48 PM   #2
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ugly brass

try to polish the spots off , if they remain; the brass could be weak in those spots. not worth the safety issue. a friend gave me a box of old 300 Savage
ammo with some mild corrosion--the first one didn't fire (bad primer) I pulled all the bullets and tossed the cases & powder. safety first! I loaded up the bullets(150 grn) they are accurate!
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Old August 17, 2011, 11:54 PM   #3
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Can you post a picture?
It would help if we could determine exactly what's going on. It could be anything from significant corrosion, to tarnish from handling. I picture would go far, to clarify.
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Old August 18, 2011, 12:09 AM   #4
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Probably just bad tarnish, but I agree a pic would make a big difference. Maybe try to polish one case with Flitz and see if it cleans up-- if you do that go ahead and shoot 'em if they look OK. Don't put them back in your carry gun.

Can you see any deep pitting typical of corrosion under the dark spots, or just dark color? If pitted, trash 'em.
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Old August 18, 2011, 07:31 AM   #5
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Buy nickel plated ammo next time.
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Old August 18, 2011, 09:20 AM   #6
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Chances are they will fire just fine. I have fired ammo that has had all kinds of corrosion on it, just to see if it would fire. (Always clean the gun very well afterwards.)

I would get another box of ammo (I like the idea of the nickle plated ammo if you are not shooting it very often) and switch out the old rounds for new one.

Again, the chances are the rounds would fire, but if it is your personal defense weapon, why take the chance.
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Old August 18, 2011, 11:32 AM   #7
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These cases, damaged by water, proved to have only about 0.001" penetration by the worst of the corrosion after cleaning in the ultrasonic. It takes serious corrosion to actually eat through, though I have seen it. Always was verde gris (the green corrosion) present when it happened, though.

Don't use a polish with any kind of ammonia in it. I recommend a little diatomaceous earth on a damp cloth. A little toothpaste will give you that. Wipe it off afterward. Just don't let the damp part get on the primer.

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Old August 18, 2011, 12:06 PM   #8
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If the rounds have been in your gun for a long time, and you have rust colored stains on the brass, you probably should give the cylinder chambers a real good looking over.

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