Brass Cleaning (again!)

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Once upon a time I belonged to a car site. The dreaded thread there was brands of oil. A mere mention would be biblical....40 days and 40 nights of comments! Anyway, here's my brass cleaning hint and any comments would be helpful. I'm a real stickler for clean brass. My local range is insistent on the shooters picking up spent brass. It's usually swept up and left in buckets and I frequently come home with it 4 inches deep in my range bag. After years and multiple trials using different cleaners, I've found that after washing in the usual water/dish detergent to remove the surface crud, a soak in a very mild solution of Klean Strip Concrete and Metal Prep and water leaves the brass mirror-shiny! If I've deprimed first, the pockets, as well as the insides are also clean. I buy this solution from Home Depot for about $13 per gallon and one lasts over a year. The diluted solution is reusable multiple times. Klean Strip contains phosphoric acid so the usual cautions should be observed. Anyone have a better idea or found another cleaner?
 
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Once upon a time I belonged to a car site. The dreaded thread there was brands of oil. A mere mention would be biblical....40 days and 40 nights of comments! Anyway, here's my brass cleaning hint and any comments would be helpful. I'm a real stickler for clean brass. My local range is insistent on the shooters picking up spent brass. It's usually swept up and left in buckets and I frequently come home with it 4 inches deep in my range bag. After years and multiple trials using different cleaners, I've found that after washing in the usual water/dish detergent to remove the surface crud, a soak in a very mild solution of Klean Strip Concrete and Metal Prep and water leaves the brass mirror-shiny! If I've deprimed first, the pockets, as well as the insides are also clean. I buy this solution from Home Depot for about $13 per gallon and one lasts over a year. The diluted solution is reusable multiple times. Klean Strip contains phosphoric acid so the usual cautions should be observed. Anyone have a better idea or found another cleaner?
Welcome
I searched HD for the product you mentioned and found nothing with that name.
Can you supply a link??
Just as a heads up, hitting the enter key once and awhile will change your post from one long paragraph to something much more readable.
:s0145:
 
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I get why people like tumbling with stainless. Cost for the tumbler and media can be high is the main drawback IMO. $15 for the stripper and a 5gal bucket for a year of clean brass doesn't sound too bad...
Give it a try
Post back on your results
I'm a little leery of using acid, and getting shiny brass rather than a dull/etched looking finish.
It could work well, I've tried just about every cleaner/chemical common around the house to tumble without pins, looking for a product the will clean the case insides and primer pockets.
And to date have not found that unicorn, even tried some stuff sold as working without pins...not:s0118:
And there's no need for the scenters to post about not needing brass that's clean inside/outside, I've read your other posts already :s0013:
:D
 
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I like nice shinny brass. I shoot at a gravel pitn nice bright brass is easier to find.
Last time out I bought a tarp to lay down to catch the brass.
I have been putting a little lemishine in water, let the brass soak a couple of minutesn drain & rince. Let them dry a lityle then tumble in corncob.

I'll give this a shot.
 

gmerkt

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OP is right, many threads have cropped up about this subject. But I don't mind discussing it again.

I use different methods for cleaning cases, depending on what situation the work presents. Sooty or oily cases, I like to use chemical case cleaners. I've used Birchwood-Casey, which is a (too) mild solution of phosphoric acid. At present, I use Iosso. It cleans better than B-C but takes Hella-long rinsing to avoid water spots and streaks. Thanks for the recommendation, I'm gonna try the Klean Strip Concrete and Metal Prep recommended by OP.

Cases that are basically clean and not too coked up, those go in the tumbler. I use RCBS water soluble case lube, so after sizing, I rinse with water and dry. That way I'm not dumping lots of oil into the tumbler media and it lasts a lot longer.

I'm not a Nazi about shine. I guess "military shine" is good enough for me. Which as we know isn't sparkling like a new nail. But really shiny brass is pretty, that can't be disputed. A lot of the rifle brass that I fire in gas guns gets fairly dirty, and gets the chemical cleaning. After resizing, it gets water rinse, never gets a high shine but as observed previously in this thread, is functional. When I do tumble, I put a dab of Dillon (the only Dillon product I use) case polish into the media. So long as I'm tumbling, may as well get the benefit of a good shine.

It is possible to over-tumble brass cases. At times, I've bought odds lots of reloading junk from estates, etc. One time, I got some 7.62 NATO brass that had been reloaded. Which I pulled apart for components, never shoot someone else's reloads. But with this lot, there was a cigar box of cleaned cases that had been tumbled. The edges of the rim at the case head was worn way down on these, also the brass at the mouth of the case was razor thin. They weren't usable. I have no idea how long they'd been tumbled, but it was excessive.
 

gmerkt

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Okay, a bit more re. phosphoric acid. Some of you know what MSDS means. That's Material Safety Data Sheet. I actually read those. The MSDS for the Kleen Strip Concrete and Metal Prep indicates, as stated, that it contains phosphoric acid. They will not state what the concentration is, saying it's a trade secret. Further down, the SDS info states that the chemical is "incompatible" with aluminum, brass and bronze. But Birchwood-Casey is made specifically for cleaning cartridge brass and consists of phosphoric acid. The issue is the concentration. I'm not a chemist but I imagine that too high a concentration will degrade the metal.

Iosso, which I mentioned in my post above, has MSDS data that states it consists of a phosphorous compound and a detergent. They will not say anything beyond that, claiming it is "proprietary information." I think it must be the detergent component that causes water spots if Iosso isn't adequately rinsed.

I would say not to use the Kleenstrip on brass without dilution. If it's strong enough to etch concrete and rusted iron, it may be too strong for brass. You will need to experiment to see what works for brass. Too weak, it's of limited use. So like working up a hand load, work up the strength of phosphoric acid in cleaning cartridge brass.

Over the weekend, at a gun show I bought some once-fired .41 Mag brass that had been cleaned with steel pins and water. Very clean, even the primer pockets. Looked like new. I've bought a quantity of 5.56mm brass a while back that was this clean, they must've done it with the steel pins.
 
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I would say not to use the Kleenstrip on brass without dilution. If it's strong enough to etch concrete and rusted iron, it may be too strong for brass. You will need to experiment to see what works for brass. Too weak, it's of limited use. So like working up a hand load, work up the strength of phosphoric acid in cleaning cartridge brass.
Agree. Use the right "tool" for the job. It may work, but that doesn't mean it's correct.

I run my brass through the ultrasonic cleaner and then through the tumbler with tufnut media. Clean and shiny. While the latter isn't a necessity.. I prefer it.
 

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