???

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by ebiss9, May 11, 2018.

  1. ebiss9

    ebiss9 Member Supporter

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    I’ve run into a situation where I’m at a loss for an explanation. I was given about 50 lbs. of .40 Smith & Wesson range brass by a friend, half of which is fairly well oxidized from sitting out in the weather. I usually don’t use many oxidized cases when I clean them up with the wet tumbler and therefore never had the following problem. I deprimed and resized about 100 of this brass, 50 of which were heavily oxidized and 50 which were fairly shiny. First I ran them in the vibratory shaker for about 3 hours with some corncob media to get some of the discoloration off of the weathered brass. Next I put them in my Rebel Extreme wet tumbler with the proper amount of car wash and Lemi-shine as I always do and let them tumble for about 3.5 hours.
    When I opened up the tumbler and inspected the contents I noticed all the brass had a black coating along with the stainless steel media pins and inside of the tumbler liner. They also have a waxy or oily feeling to them and whatever you touch, (brass, SS pins, or inside of tumbler), will leave black on your fingers. I had to scrub the inside of the tumbler to remove the black coating. I put the stainless steel pins in my ultrasonic cleaner along with some RCBS ultrasonic cleaning solution. The cleaning solution contains citric acid and ammonium hydroxide in distilled water at 40:1 ratio. I ran this for 40 minutes at 140 degrees F and the pins still have a black coating that gets on your fingers. Next I tried vinegar and water at 2:1 ratio for the stainless pins and some black is still there. If anyone knows what would be causing this please chime in! I guess the best thing to do at this point is sort through the brass and toss the weathered stuff as I’m not sure if they are the cause. And it's probably best not to take the chance that the oxidation may have caused the metal to become fatigued in some way. I think the stainless steel pins are destined for the same fate………
    Brass problem.jpg
     
  2. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Personally I'd say the problem is from the solution you used, too much "car wash"? What else is there in your solution that would leave a "waxy" coating?. I know that wet tumbling with plain water works fine, but the cases soon tarnish because of the bare metal exposed. Try tumbling with just water and mebbe a bit of auto wax.

    Wet tumbling is more of a "mechanical" action rather than "chemical" action, so plain water works because it's not the chemicals in the solution that cleans/polishes the brass but the action of the pins against the brass...
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018

  3. Dakota1

    Dakota1 Well-Known Member

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    It wouldn't be wise to risk your fingers, eyes, & face using that brass. Besides metal fatigue from oxidation, anything that contains ammonia weakens brass. And the 40 S&W is a high-pressure cartridge to begin with.
     
  4. FFL01user

    FFL01user Active Member

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    I wouldn't waste my time on it...
    50 lbs. of brass at scrap price of $1.70 per lb. = $85.00. Add $45 to that and you've a case of factory new 165gr. 40SW ammo. You've then got 500 pieces of good, reloadable brass that you know is 1x fired.
    Prices noted are local to me, yours may vary.

    ...
     
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  5. ebiss9

    ebiss9 Member Supporter

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    Hi mikld, I've wet tumbled my brass numerous times before with the same soap and Lemi-shine solution and they've always come out like new. This is the first time I've used oxidized brass with the present results. Thank you for the reply.......
     
  6. ebiss9

    ebiss9 Member Supporter

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    I'll agree, it's not worth the risk.......
     
  7. ebiss9

    ebiss9 Member Supporter

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    I'll pick out the clean stuff and take the rest to a recycling center, thanks........
     
  8. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I gotta agree. Using range brass that has no history is not something I'd trust.
     
  9. FFL01user

    FFL01user Active Member

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    I've brass for sale should you need any. I have a couple thousand .40 on hand, other calibers available. All from indoor range.

    ...
     
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  10. FFL01user

    FFL01user Active Member

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    Range brass from indoors I've never had a problem with, or even outdoors as long as I know it hasn't been sitting there for weeks in the weather. All others go the scrapper. I've a few hundred pounds I've gotta get there, just been lazy (and keep watching the scrap prices!).

    ...
     
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  11. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Unless cartridge brass is pitted or "leached" (chemical zinc removed, leached out) is is as strong as ever. Discoloration from tarnish or solutions don't affect cartridge strength. Toss them if you want to, but not because the metal has been discolored/coated by your tumbling solution...
     
  12. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    Read up on dezincification. Unless it has a stabilizer (which firearm brass does not), even plain water is an issue.
     
  13. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Why would I "read up on dezincification"? If a case is "pink" rather than golden yellow, there's a good chance of the zinc leeched out. If a case is just coated with goop or discolored from a tumbling solution, it is still strong enough to be reloaded. There may be other problems with the brass, difficult, sticky sizing, etc., but strength shouldn't be a problem...
     
  14. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards. Staff Member

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    Pretty sure PD is saying that plain water has the potential to cause dezincification. If you already know about it, great. But if the cases are so covered in goop that they look black, maybe there's a little pink happening under it.
     
  15. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Black, greasy and non-water soluble reminds me of the smut that you get from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. I will bet that if you clean the brass in a strong solution of trisodium phosphate dissolved in hot water, they will clean up nicely.
     
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  16. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the SS pins are still dirty try non chlorinated brake cleaner to save the pins. You could also try it on a few pieces of the contaminated brass.
     
  17. mikld

    mikld Member

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    For any definitive answer/opinion, I'd have to have one in my hand. But I think removing the gunk, whichever method you choose would be enough to reload them safely...
     
  18. Minorcan

    Minorcan Active Member

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    Chainfire has a good idea. TSP is a great cleaner that is safe for you and the brass. A little Lemi-shine added in should do the trick. If not I would be suspect of the integrety of the brass and toss it. In general I only reload my brass that I have a history on. I count the number of times I reload the cases. I also have a drop measure and case size checker for before and after reloading to make sure they meet specifications.