Hello to all,
First of all, the reason that I started the thread on liquid brass cleaners is because I wanted to know what are all the cleaners that have been used and the safety of them all. I mention that in my more destitute days that I had used the old Herter's cleaner and wondered why it turned the cases the strange color and seemed to etch the cases. I used some of these cleaned cases and never did have any case rupturing or separation problems. Matter of fact I still have them stashed away out in the shop. They always felt lighter after they were cleaned in that stuff. I don't know why that I never did weigh the cases before and after cleaning to see if there was any detectable weight loss.
I once purchased a tapered 12 inch octogen contender barrel, either from the Thompson Center Custom Shop or from Bulberry, I can't remember which, it was in .221 Fireball caliber. I also got about 200 or so freshly de-primed and cleaned cases with the barrel. I loaded a few and when I fired the first one the case stuck. I tried another and it also stuck. I decided the chamber needed polishing, so I did that. Fired another and it also stuck. I went over to my brother-in-laws and borrowed a couple of cartridges from him. I fired one and it extracted fine and the following cartridge did the same .I called the guy who sold me these objects and asked him about the history of the brass. He said he had cleaned it in some liquid concoction, which evidently hardened the stuff so that it would expand on firing, but not contract. That is how I first developed my distrust of liquid brass cleaners and started the liquid cleaning solution discussion.
There was a lot of responses posted and we had some funny moments about the Sorghum molasses and water mixture and I have no doubt it will work. We decided that Brrr Rabbit brand would probably be the best to use. One responder told of a fellow who had an old round livestock tank and mixed sorghum molasses and water and submersed old antique car body parts to remove the rust. I wish I had know about that when I was building hot rods and restoring old muscle cars. He said it smelled to high Heaven when it fermented, I guess you could take this fermented liquid and distillate it and make rum as a by product. Another one that fascinated me was using denture cleaning tablets to clean brass. Since I have a 5 tooth partial, I had to try this one. I dropped a polident tablet in a cup of water and threw in a couple of unsuspecting cartridge cases and in a few minutes they were bright and shiny but had some mysterious streaks on them. When they were washed off they had the same etched appearance that the old Herter's cleaner left on cases. Even after you threw them in the tumbler for a few minutes they retained the weird color and etched appearance. The tablets had no list of ingredients listed so I went to the internet and did some searches. The only thing that I could find that would take the tarnish off had to be a certain bleach that was in the tablets. Evidently that particular bleach contained acid. And I can't forget Ken Campbells suggestion of using Catsup, which would not only removing tarnish but would remove rust from metal. I'm going to check the rust removal idea.
What I settled on was the warm water, lemon juice and a little squirt of dish soap I experimented with the amount of lemon juice required and still have no exact amount, I just squirt it in until it looks right and if it doesn't seem to be working as good as the last batch, just squirt a little more. I discovered that after the first use you can add a little more lemon juice and reuse your mixture but that is about the end of it's useful life cycle. When I remove the cases from the cleaning solution I wash in cold water and then stand them on the neck in styra foam and let drain and dry. When the water gets dark and begins to smell like brass, just pour it out and mix more. Works great and is very economical. Other products such as Lemi-Shine and the Citrus powder were suggested but I always have access to Lemon juice(my wife keeps it in abundance in the frig.) After I cleaned cases, they looked good, but I threw them in my tumbler full of worn out walnut hulls and in a few minutes they were perfect. I know that that solution is safe and it works. When you clean as many cases as I do it is faster and doesn't wear out your hull media near as fast. One last comment was to throw copper pennies in the tumbler along with the cleaning media and that would hasten the tarnish removal. Just make sure you throw in real copper pennies. I hope I didn't forget anyone who contributed.
Thanks to all who contributed, it was fun,
David a. Cogburn