Liquid Brass Cleaner

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Again,

Not long ago there was a discussion posted on liquid brass cleaners. If I remember correctly, it was a formula for cleaning heavily  corroded cases. I think it contained a small amount of muratic acid. I think  it was Ed Harris who gave his formula for a liquid cleaner that would do the job. I've looked back through the discussions and can't find it. Can some one please tell me about the mixture?

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Ross Smith posted this 4 weeks ago

Brasso won't do???

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G.Chapman posted this 4 weeks ago

Something I just used on a 105 mm artillery case (headstamped 1944, heavily corroded having been outside for a decade) might be worth a mention here.  I read about the process, but figured it was hooey.  As a matter of fact I am amazed with the results!  Don't laugh guys!  Mix up a 7-1 solution of water and molasses.  Immerse the brass, cover, and allow to soak for two weeks, Agitate a bit every couple of days.  Apparently molasses contains a compound which is a natural chelating agent, which de-bonds corrosion from the base metal. Corrosion just falls off, with no damage to base metal which occurs with mechanical/abrasive cleaning. The case came out a little "mottled" looking, but a quick going over with Mother's Polish left it looking like a brass mirror!  I imagine a quick session in the vibrator would finish off smaller brass.  I bought a gallon of molasses at Tractor Supply for a whopping $8.00. Apparently used in animal feed or as a game attractant.   Anyway, I was totally blown away!

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Ross,

Thanks for your response and suggestion. What I'm faced with is a friend gave me a bunch of  once fired .300 Win. Mag. brass that got damp and is corroded pretty bad. I don't want to spend the time on using something like Brasso or leaving it in my case cleaner and wear out all of my media in order to get it clean. I also am just interested in what all that the liquid cleaner consists of. And also I got all of the polishing brass with Brasso during my 7 years in the military that I wanted.

Thanks again,

Mashburn 

David a. Cogburn

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 4 weeks ago

See if someone you know or is close by that has a rotary tumbler that uses the ss pins. I started using one a few years ago and it is just short of amazing. In 2-3 hours it will take heavily corroded brass and make it look new. I can do it for you if you will handle the shipping both ways. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello David,

Thanks for your response and suggestion. In fact, the guy who gave me the brass has the ss pin setup. I'll probably wind up taking it to him. I bought a bunch of new brass before I got the donation from him, so I really don't need it in a hurry. I wish I could find that thread that had the post about mixing up the liquid cleaner. I started to write it in my notes, but didn't. It wasn't very long ago that I read it on the forum. The post was made by Ed Harris or some of the other regulator contributors. Maybe they will read this and respond. These cases would be a good chance to see how that mix works.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Mr. Chapman,

This is one of the most amazing activities that I have ever heard of. Where in the world did you dig up this info. Are you a chemist or just hear it through the grape vine. I am definitely gonna put this in my notebook just to know that it has been done and it works. If I ever have an old artillery case, I know what I can do to clean it and also I can relay that information to people just to see the look on their faces. You now need to experiment with the different kinds and brands of molasses and determine which works the best. When I was a kid I thought I wanted some Burr-Rabbit molasses. Anything with such a pretty rabbit picture on it had to be delicious .My sweet mother bought me a gallon can. After the first meal of biscuits, butter and Burr Rabbit, I had the worse heartburn that I ever had. Never ever ate any Burr Rabbit molasses again. However, when feeding dairy cows, I was know to taste the livestock molasses occasionally.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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sluggo posted this 4 weeks ago

I have had success using a mix of " dawn" liquid dish detergent and a product called " lemi shine". The lemi shine is used to remove stains from dishes in the dishwasher. I use it in my tumbler with the walnut media REMOVED.

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max503 posted this 4 weeks ago

Doesn't anyone still use the warm water, salt, lemon juice, drop of soap recipe anymore?  I prefer it over tumbling, because, just call me paranoid - I don't like the dust given off by tumblers.  

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G.Chapman posted this 4 weeks ago

Hi David,

I actually ran across the molasses process researching old artillery shell restoration. Seems to be a pretty well known procedure with those folks,  and as I said, it really works!  Undoubtedly the "'Brer Rabbit" brand would be the go-to stuff.... If it burned the lining off of your upper G.I. tract it should have no trouble cleaning the corrosion off of those cases!  I actually have quite a bit of WW2 era M2 Ball brass that is in terrible shape, and for kicks I'm going to throw some in the slurry and forget about it for a couple of weeks,  and then give it a quick trip through the tumbler and see how it turns out.  Think I'll go whip me up a batch of biscuits and butter,  and grab the molasses and some ROLAIDS!  Take Care.

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delmarskid posted this 4 weeks ago

The molasses recipe works oyn rust too. I'm going try it on a rusted mold.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

... mild acids work on the corrosion on brass ... but do leave a faint etch ... just cosmetic, can polish it easily ...

... base ( ... ammonia ...  ) mixtures will actually eat into the brass but still useful if you don't leave it soak too long ...  remember we use ammonia to remove the copper in our barrels .. not the best idea for a great barrel tho ...

molasses is a very mild acid .... takes a while but can be gooped on odd shaped objects...

and speaking of gooping on ... try kitchen ketchup also ... it is one of my favorites for just brushing on odd objects such as rusty shop tools and vices ..

ken ... feeling a little corroded myself ...

 

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cfp4570 posted this 4 weeks ago

When I was a kid, I decided to start a cartridge collection and went to the gun shows with my dad and bought loose rounds of random ammo from the guys with "junk boxes" on their tables. Anyway, my dad threw a few cartridges that were tarnished in a bowl of water and added two of his denture cleaning tablets and left them overnight. Next morning, those cartridges were really clean, but not shiny at all. Totally flat and they polished up easily. No idea if it's safe for usable cases and never tried it on cases with heavy corrosion or on a large number of cases. Probably only novelty, but it did surprise both of us.

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Geargnasher posted this 4 weeks ago

You have to be careful what acids you use in cartridge brass, particularly any which will be reloaded. Most acids at significant concentrations will dissolve the zinc and leave you with soft, porous copper. I think it was Ken Mollohan or maybe Felix Robbins who explained the chemical reasoning behind the use of CITRIC acid for safely cleaning cartridge brass. No other additives are necessary unless the brass has any wax or oil on it. A concentration of 1/2 teaspoon of pure citric acid powder per gallon of water works well. Add a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid to cut bullet lube or any wax/oil. McCormick spice company produces cittric acid powder for canning tomatoes, but Lemi-Shine is easier to find in grocery stores, I use a full teaspoon per gallon of LemiShine. Lemon juice works too but it requires more per gallon.

The citric acid solution will actually passivate the brass surface as well as get rid of the corrosion and it allows a thorough safety evaluation of the brass after cleaning because any zinc-depleted soft spots will show as bright copper.

I recently took a bunch of jacketed bullets which had been corroded with mouse urine and swished them in a jar of citric acid solution, they were shiny as a new penny in under five seconds. All my cartridge brass gets the SS pin tumble in a rotary tumbler filled with the 1 tsp Lemi-Shine/1 Tbs Dawn/gallon rainwater solution.

Citric acid will also remove rust from and passivate stainless steel. It is great for cleaning sinks and the SS 10/22 barrel that got left in a boat over the winter and helps keep corrosion from recurring.

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Geargnasher,

Thanks for the response. I found it very informative. I particularly found the statement about mottled bras as a result of zinc loss. I have brass get old and when you put it in the tumbler it would come out mottled(shiny in spots and not in others), If that is a result of zinc loss? If so how did it happen without ever been treated with some sort of acid.

What exactly is Lemi-Shine, is it a furniture polish. How much lemon juice would you suggest per gallon of water for a cleaning solution.

Thanks again-very informative,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Sluggo,

Thanks again for responding. I know know what Lemi-Shine is. I may try the tumbler with a cleaning solution.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Max503,

Thanks for your response and info.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Mr. Chapman,

I have found your molasses solution so fascinating that I have been sharing it with a lot of people that I talk to.

We went over to my oldest son's ranch this afternoon to celebrate our delayed by 3 days 53rd. anniversary. He's a shooter and re-loader also so I had to tell him about your post. Before long the whole family at the get together was telling molasses stories. This discussion has turned into a very informative one.

I still say that the livestock feed molasses that I used to sample on the farm is much better than Brrr rabbit Molases.

Mashburn

 

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello delmarskid,

I may try that on a mold also. Thanks.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Ken,

Now I know what to do with the catsup packages that I get at the burger joints. Since I don't like catsup, I'll just save them up to make brass cleaner. ha

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello cfp4570,

Since, I myself wear a 5 tooth partial plate, I'm, just for kicks, going to put a cleaning tablet in some water and throw a couple of cases in just to see what happens.

Thanks for your response,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello to all of you contributors,

This thread is not only informative but also humorous. I don't know about you other readers, but I have learned a lot. I've always liked to listen to the ways that people attack problems differently. Even though a lot of you readers will probably never try any of these methods, I still bet you have learned some interesting stuff.

Thanks, 

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello cfp4570,

After reading your reply about your dad putting denture cleaner in solution, I had to try it. Last night when I was getting ready for bed, I dropped two denture cleaning tabs in a cup of water and put a .357 Mag. case and a .35 Rem case in. I forgot about them  until this afternoon. When I checked them they were bright and shiny but had a little bit of black stuff on them, which wiped off with 4 ought steel wool with no effort at all. I'm going to experiment again and watch and see how long it takes. The tabs have no ingredient list on them. All I know is they were polident brand. I don't know if any damage was done to the cases or not . This discussion is becoming fun.

When I first started reloading many years ago I was on a tight budget and couldn't afford a media tumbler and used the old Herter's liquid cleaner. After you cleaned cases in that stuff they stayed clean forever. I don't know what they would have looked like if you had thrown them in a tumbler after the liquid dip. My budget didn't allow for the purchasing of new brass either and I fired these 30-06 cases many, many times. In, fact I think I still have most of them, I hardly ever throw any thing away. They had a very weird color.

Thanks you for your response again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Bud Hyett posted this 4 weeks ago

Talking of old case cleaners, a friend bought some home-brewed concoction at the Aledo Gun Show five decades ago. Cheap and guaranteed to clean, the directions were to leave the cases in for fifteen minutes, then thoroughly wash cases in clear water and use baking soda to assure all the cleaning agent was consumed. This had a bright blue color with a thick oily appearance.

The warning was to use it only in glass containers and pour it carefully back in the jug. This cleaned cases quickly and well. The other warning by the man at the table was to not get it on clothes or table top.

Having a chemistry major, my friend wanted me to test it and see what the ingredients were so he could make it at home. My suspicions were confirmed, Aqua Royal and copper sulfate to drive the reaction toward keeping the copper in the case and not leached into solution. Aqua Royal is a mixture of concentrated Sulfuric acid and concentrated Nitric acid. Not a mixture for someone outside of a laboratory to use. 

My report was to quit using it. There was no way to make this solution at home unless you had a laboratory setup with safety features. We then recommended to the people running the show to speak to this person and have him cease selling it. This was done. 

Today, I use tumblers with lizard litter (walnut shells) bought at pet stores on sale. And for black powder cases, the steel pins with Dawn detergent and Lemi-Shine additive.

Country boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

aqua regia ..really nasty stuff ... 

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

I'm back again,

Ever since I got the response about the denture cleaner, I have been playing with it. I have discovered that cases that are just normally corroded, it will clean very well. I'm experimenting at the moment with some, I mean really corroded. The first normally corrodes cases that I cleaned left little black streaks on the cases and would wipe off effortlessly with 4 ought still wool. The badly corroded cases would leave streaks and was not very easily buffed off. I've decided that it results from the cases touching each other. I took those streaky ones, just a few minutes ago and stood them up on their ends to see if the touching was causing the streaks.

I pulled up all I could find about the ingredients contained in Polident denture cleaner. The only ingredient that I could see that would cause any corrosion remover was bleach.

I'm not planning on using any of this stuff, I'm just experimenting. My next step is to research the type of bleach that is used and determine if it is harmful to brass.

Mashburn 

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 4 weeks ago

Hello Bud,

 I have had some bad experiences with liquid cleaners also. That is the main reason for starting this discussion.

Thanks for your input,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Elmer posted this 4 weeks ago

Friends,

I found a YT video several years ago where a rancher in OZ used a large flat cattle tank filled with water in which he added several hundred pounds molasses. He put old (1920's and up) rusted car panels to soak several weeks. Smells to high heaven after it ferments. Worked beautifully. Rust gone and metal not damaged. TSC has molasses in 5 gal containers. For smaller rusted iron/steel stuff, teat solution (7% iodine), available at feed stores will remove rust nicely and leave a gray patina that inhibits future rusting. Good luck. Any questions, please PM at jsmvmd@aol.com.

JSM

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Elmer posted this 4 weeks ago

Current issue of DGW, p.564 has a formula for Leibig's solution. You need to follow the directions exactly. Maybe our more experienced members have used this.

For me, I tumble my cases. FWIW, I tried dark glass sand blasting grit from TSC and left the cases in for a week. Too long, and it peened the brass. El cheapo me will stick with walnut hill media. Cheers!

JSM

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Bud Hyett posted this 4 weeks ago

 The other "trick" is tossing in pennies to rub against the cases. In theory, the copper in the penny should not harm the case and the extra edges hasten the cleaning. The problem is the newer pennies are not all copper alloy, but copper plate on a zinc alloy slug and the copper plate soon comes off.

Country boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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gemihur posted this 3 weeks ago

food grade citric acid in a quick bath

I shoot, therefore I am

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