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What method do you use - s/steel pins in tumbler, or vibrator with walnut/corn?
Knowing which you use will help us understand where the problem might be.
 

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XXX delete XXX
 
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Got a bunch of once fired range brass that was given to me. Some of it has spots even after hours of tumbling. Not as pretty as the rest, but will shoot just the same!
 

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After four years in military school, I learned several things, one of them being, brass will always shine up. If it don't, it's either not brass or you didn't put enough work into it.

Drop it in a container filled with a mild acid like white vinegar, let it sit for a couple of hours and then see if you can polish by hand with Brasso or similar polish.
 

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Some acids and polishes actually attack the molecular structure and weaken the brass. If it's clean and free of grit,you can reload it to shoot the same as inspection perfect brass. Protecting your dies is priority #1,right up there with safe and accurate reloads.
 

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Be careful when using vinegar. A mild solution mixed with water will work but straight vinegar will leach out the zinc in the brass which will weaken the brass if left to soak too long. This is called dezincification...look it up. Vinegar can also leach out copper if left for a long period of soaking. If the solution starts to turn blue you know it has soaked too long and you might as well trash the brass as that blue is copper leaching out.

Not saying not to use vinegar but do be careful how you use it. Probable a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for one to two hours would be fine but personally I wouldn't go longer than that. A thorough rinse is a must after a soak.
 

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Got a bunch of once fired range brass that was given to me. Some of it has spots even after hours of tumbling. Not as pretty as the rest, but will shoot just the same!
Some acids and polishes actually attack the molecular structure and weaken the brass. If it's clean and free of grit,you can reload it to shoot the same as inspection perfect brass. Protecting your dies is priority #1,right up there with safe and accurate reloads.
:dito:

I'll just add, if it looks as black as some of yours do, I toss 'em... Just ain't worth the risk...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What method do you use - s/steel pins in tumbler, or vibrator with walnut/corn?
Knowing which you use will help us understand where the problem might be.
I`m using treated walnut with some Frankford brass polish now and then. Most of my brass comes out very nice, i`ll let it run for 10 hours.Ive been using small pc`s of used dryer sheets from time to time too, seems like it removes some dirt from the media.

My guess would be the amount of copper in the brass alloy.
Andrew
I thought that too, but headstamp is the same as some that shines up nice.

:dito:

I'll just add, if it looks as black as some of yours do, I toss 'em... Just ain't worth the risk...
Ya, those few pcs I can afford to just toss. I thought maybe there was a common reason why some turned black. It could have been a few pc`s that were laying at the club for a long time, but any more, I cant find a .45 acp case. People have been scarfing it up and picking up all they shoot (as I do too) I might have to break down and just buy some brass.
 

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I had some brass given to me that had laid on the shooting range for a while. None of it was pitted or corroded, but oxidized brown. I threw it in the Frankford tumbler with stainless pins and gave it my normal 90 min spin. All but about 10 pieces shined up nicely. The cases that didn't had a copper/brass color to them but were still dark. On inspection I found some steel cases had got in the mix. Now I run a magnet over all of the brass given to me.


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Echo Rob42029.

Acid embrittles brass causing failure cracks.

AC
My grandfather taught me something when I was a kid, moderation. Too much of a good thing is bad. Too much oxygen and you will die. Acids are not lethal to brass. Too much acid bath will be bad though. Think of it as baking a cake. Leave it in too long, and it will be unpalatable.

There is no good reason to go freaking out about using acids to clean nasty brass. Just don't over do it.
 

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Play nice and respect one another opinion minus the parting shots.

Jack
 

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Acids are not lethal to brass. Too much acid bath will be bad though
Leave it in to long and it can be bad but acids are not lethal to brass...kind of a oxymoron don't you think? Anyway, it could be lethal or at least damaging to the shooter if his/hers brass fails, and that is I think the point being made in my opinion.

BTW...Brasso made in the USA contains 5-10% ammonia which is not good for brass. Use at ones own risk.

OP, a friend once gave me several hundred pieces of 9MM brass to load up for his sons that were coming for a shoot at his place. About two dozen or so were black tarnished like the those in the picture. I tumbled them in a tumbler with stainless pins, water, a little Limi Shine and a few drops of Dawn soap. They all came out bright and shiny, even the dark colored ones. I don't think my tumbler with walnut media would have worked on the discolored ones which had been weathered a couple years behind his house, but the wet stainless pins worked.
 

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Be careful when using vinegar. A mild solution mixed with water will work but straight vinegar will leach out the zinc in the brass which will weaken the brass if left to soak too long...........
A 50/50 mix of vinegar will still attack the zinc if left in too long. Diluting vinegar does not make it safe(r) to use, it only slows down the reaction. Cleaning brass with acid is chemistry. It can go very right or very wrong.
 
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OP, a friend once gave me several hundred pieces of 9MM brass to load up for his sons that were coming for a shoot at his place. About two dozen or so were black tarnished like the those in the picture. I tumbled them in a tumbler with stainless pins, water, a little Limi Shine and a few drops of Dawn soap. They all came out bright and shiny, even the dark colored ones. I don't think my tumbler with walnut media would have worked on the discolored ones which had been weathered a couple years behind his house, but the wet stainless pins worked.
What he said.
Since my conversion to the s/steel method I've wondered how we didn't stumble on it long time ago. Wouldn't use anything else now; the vibrator and walnut/corn have long gone. No more need of a primer pocket cleaner and the dies have a much easier life. Also makes it very easy to spot flaws in the case.
I love "new" brass.
 
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