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Author Topic: Discolored Brass Question  (Read 3219 times)

MikeT

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Discolored Brass Question
« on: March 13, 2019, 04:38:10 pm »
I have a mixed lot of brass that I purchased at a local auction (probably about 300 pieces). A fairly significant portion of the brass is discolored maybe 75 to 80 pieces all total. It appears to me that it may be some sort of sunburn suffered from the Arizona sunshine. I hope to be able to upload a couple of pictures of a sample of the brass involved. If that happens the pictures will be of the same group of 5 pieces. The middle piece is normal color, the left two pieces are a sample of the darkest color and the two on the right seem to be not as severely discolored. MY question is what do you think is the prudent disposition of this group of discolored brass pieces? None of the brass appears to have been exposed to any kind of excessive pressure. It's all normal size and shape for 300WM fired brass. The primers all appeared normal also. My concern is possible hardening of these pieces because of being sun-baked or something else. Photos attached below I hope. I just discovered my photos together are too large so I will post the second picture in a reply to this post.

Mike

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    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 04:41:03 pm »
    Picture #2 attached...Thanks Mike

    steve2md

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 04:41:58 pm »
    Just a little light tarnish. Not knowing how many times they were fired, I'd anneal the necks. Otherwise tumble em, and put em into service
    Heat it till it's hot, then beat it with a hammer until it's the shape you want.    Blacksmith's advice that works for pretty much everything in life

    6.5 Gunner

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 04:42:08 pm »
    Looks like a couple went through a media tumbler. Just toss them all in for an hour or two and they'll come out nice and shiny.

    coelacanth

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 04:54:57 pm »
    I think the advice to anneal the necks is sound regardless how they look when they come out of the tumbler.
    " A republic, if you can keep it. "
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    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #5 on: March 13, 2019, 05:49:56 pm »
    Thanks for the advise guys! I think what I'll do is mark a few of the worst ones maybe 10 or so, anneal all the necks, clean/polish them as soon as I get a wet tumbler and then load the marked ones down near the very low end of the Hornady manual. Shoot those and give them a very close inspection and then decide what to do with them. If anything I like to error on the side of caution using an unknown. Thanks for all your excellent advise.

    Mike

    straightshooter1

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 08:32:20 pm »
    Being "sun baked" doesn't effect the hardness or strength of the case . . . just tends to accelerate the oxidation of the brass.  And it appears to me that's what your seeing is simply the difference in the brass surface oxidation (some being cleaned or recent than others).  I'd bet when you wet tumble them for a couple hours or so in SS media, you find they all will look the same in terms of their color.

    And as mentioned, it's always a good idea to anneal those necks.

    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 08:59:56 am »
    straightShooter, Thanks for the reply. Will do on the anneal and cleaning. Just must decide on the wet tumbler and get it ordered. have three in mind, but reviews on all three are mixed, some good some really bad. Looks like I'll be taking a chance no matter which one I pick.

    straightshooter1

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 09:59:39 am »
    straightShooter, Thanks for the reply. Will do on the anneal and cleaning. Just must decide on the wet tumbler and get it ordered. have three in mind, but reviews on all three are mixed, some good some really bad. Looks like I'll be taking a chance no matter which one I pick.

    As far as a wet tumbler goes, I got the Frankfort Arsenal Rotary Tumbler from Amazon and as I recall, it also comes with some SS media.  While it does a great job, I don't use it as much as I thought I would as I use it sparingly (though always with any brass I may have collected from a firing range).  Though wet tumbling cleans the cases really nice inside and out, I typically use the Frankford Vibratory Case Tumbler loaded with rice (not long grain rice) for my regular reloading procedure as the reloads tend to get better consistency by not having the necks so clean inside . . . it and speeds up my reloading process over wet tumbling as I do precision reloading on my .308.

    car-ram-rod

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 11:02:01 am »
    I have the FA SS wet tumbler as well. Its quick!!! i tumbler for about 30 minsseparate it and dry and its ready to go. Alot cleaner IMO then dry tumbling.
    NRA Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun Instructor
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    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #10 on: March 15, 2019, 09:05:26 am »
    I'm waffleing between the Frankfort and RCBS wet tumblers, I've eliminated the Lyman, Thumlers and Hornady units because of listed problems in reviews and my personal experience with the Hornady  Lock & Load auto-charge dispenser/scale. Still on the fence with these two. There were a few rather unfaverable reviews of the Frankfort, but it's still in the running. Only a few reviews in total for the RCBS but the lowest rating was a three star. The Franfort the over 230 reviews but of that 6 one star.

    Mike

    car-ram-rod

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #11 on: March 15, 2019, 09:40:05 am »
    Rcbs does have better CS so I’d go with them personally. They didn’t have one when I was in the market
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    steve2md

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #12 on: March 15, 2019, 10:33:17 am »
    Since I only wet tumble range pickups and my black powder 45lc cartridges, I didn't need room for large batches. I just use the double drum rock tumbler from harbor freight. Works great for small batches.
    Heat it till it's hot, then beat it with a hammer until it's the shape you want.    Blacksmith's advice that works for pretty much everything in life

    fr3db3ar

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #13 on: March 15, 2019, 01:50:19 pm »
    same here.  HF tumbler works just fine

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    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #14 on: March 16, 2019, 06:23:44 pm »
    Thanks for the comments guys. The HF sounds tempting but often times I will have pretty large batches of brass to tumble. I'll head over to HF and check out their tumbler. Wife and I both shoot and we may be getting back into Precision Pistol this year so that would be 360 pieces of .45 brass each match. Sometimes I might have to go three or four matches before cleaning the brass. I'll take a look though. Thanks.

    Mike

    rubinschmidt

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #15 on: March 17, 2019, 09:40:14 am »
    If you're on a budget (or just really, really cheap like me), you can make an effective tumbler from stuff you already have.
    I used a variable speed drill, coffee creamer containers, and an old roller skate.

    I drilled a center hole in the base of a large Cremora container (a steel coffee can can work too) and used a 1/4" bolt with nuts and washers to secure it in the drill's chuck. The drill was gently mounted in the jaws of my vise, and the I now had a rotating drum assembly that I set on the roller skate wheels for support. A smaller plastic Cremora container would then fit inside the rotating drum with media and brass inside. The Cremora container was perfect because it has hand grips molded into it that extend inside the container, which makes the brass tumble when rotating rather than just slide..

    Use a wire bread wrapper tie to set the trigger on the variable speed drill to the speed you want, and come back in 30 - 60 minutes.

    If you don't have an old skate around, you can use almost anything else, but the skate provided the most trouble free support for the drum.

    I mostly use this with stainless steel pins and citric acid to move scale from brass that I anneal to make jackets for my homemade 45-70 bullets. For normal fired brass cleanup i still used good old fashioned walnut shells and Nu-finish in a vibratory tumbler.

    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #16 on: March 18, 2019, 07:32:25 am »
    Thanks Rubin, Very creative. I love those kinds of ideas and creative problem solutions, but for myself in this instance I'll be going with the store bought solution. Not that I don't like saving money (who doesn't) but Oddly enough I don't have a variable speed drill that can be locked at any other speed but full speed also no roller skate. So I'd be buying things to make the idea work, might just as well buy the solution.

    Mike

    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #17 on: March 21, 2019, 09:36:11 am »
    Well everything is now on order. It will be an RCBS Rotary Tumbler, Lyman Cyclone Dryer, Frankford Arsenal Magnet for the media and Lyman Dual Media Sifter Set. Expect the order to be shipped today. I'll report back on how everything works once it's set up and running.

    Mike

    car-ram-rod

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #18 on: March 21, 2019, 09:48:32 am »
    Get lemishine. Wet tumbling sucks without it
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    GTGallop

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #19 on: March 21, 2019, 11:22:17 am »
    Lemishine and Let it Shine!
    The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper.
    Once we, as a society, lose that affinity, we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself.

    https://www.qrz.com/db/n5mkh

    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #20 on: March 22, 2019, 08:51:12 am »
    Thanks guys, already have a supply of Dawn and Lemishine. The tumbler and other stuff shipped yesterday scheduled to arrive on Friday 3/29 (figures crossed). Downloaded the manual for the tumbler, a little light on details but usable. Says 30 pound weight limit on the load on the machine. Tells how many pieces of certain brass weighs one pound - OK, but doesn't tell me how much the tumbler barrel weighs or how much water weighs (I know one gallon = 8.35lbs). Also downloaded the instructions for the dryer, but haven't looked at it yet.

    Mike

    ynotaz

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #21 on: March 22, 2019, 09:34:53 am »
    Just a couple options.  I use powdered citric acid in place of Lemi-shine, same chemical much cheaper in # bag from Amazon, Wife  also uses it in dishwasher.

    If you're in Arizona sun drying brass spread out on window screen mesh works most of the year
    I gotta think about a new sig.  Hmmmmm?

    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #22 on: March 23, 2019, 08:16:05 am »
    Hi ynot,

    Thanks for your comments. I'm not a real patient guy so if I have something wet that I want dry, I'd rather get it dry asap, the screen would probably work really well down in the Valley. My valley (Chino) we get sunshine too but I'd rather have it dry in a couple of hours or so. I was watching some videos yesterday and saw a couple of folks using powdered citric acid, so I'll give it a try when I start to run low on the Lemishine, although at 99 cents for 12 oz of Lemishine it may not be a great savings.

    Mike

    straightshooter1

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #23 on: March 23, 2019, 11:18:13 am »
    I'm not very patient either, so I simply use a hot air blower (like a hair drying) blowing hot air on them, as they're laid out on a towel, to heat them up and they dry out pretty quick . . .  especially on dry Arizona days when humidity is below 20%.
    « Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 11:20:17 am by straightshooter1 »

    MikeT

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    Re: Discolored Brass Question
    « Reply #24 on: March 25, 2019, 07:54:06 am »
    A few guys in the youtube videos use hair dryers, as my reloading is done in a separate building from the house, I have a feeling that my wife might object to her hair dryer leaving the premise for the shop. So buying another hair dryer would proabably be near the same price of a dedicated brass dryer it's pretty much a toss up. Some of those youtube guys are also using food dehydrators to do the same job. I thought about that but some of the fancier ones are pretty spendy so I just settled on the Lyman it should do the job.

    Mike

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