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Author Topic: How can I prevent my brass cartridge casings from tarnishing?  (Read 20578 times)

Offline daddyseal

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I am not a Metallurist, Engineer, or scientist of any kind.
I am a target shooter and amateur ammo reloader, using spent brass cases to reload into bullets for my personal use at the range.
Corrosion is not my problem, but I'd like to prevent tarnishing.

I use stainless steel pin media to tumble clean my empty brass cases before reloading them. That process takes the brass down to bare metal. And I'm finding my brass tarnishes noticeably in only a couple of days...even in my climate controlled house. I am trying to be a competition shooter, and need to reload and use about a 1,000 rounds a month...between practicing and during the competition!

So, my question is: Is there a product (a liquid polymer?) available to the general public that I can coat my brass in, other than a wax, which cause problems when proceed thru my reloading equipment....that will coat my brass with a thin film to keep moist air from tarnishing them?

My thought has been a liquid car detailing spray, which does not contain wax.
My problem is finding anything that won't be deleterious or weaken the wall thickness of .0062
(such as Armor All type products, which I've heard can make brass brittle)
I'm wonder if this product will do what I need...
newbielink:http://www.detailedimage.com/Blackfire-M32/Deep-Gloss-Spray-with-Polycharger-P272/?landing_id=29&utm_source=Google-Product-Search-PLA&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CLjquJa3tLACFalgTAod8nbNwA [nonactive]

Your thoughts will be Greatly Appreciated ~!
« Last Edit: 05/06/2012 19:32:17 by daddyseal »


 

Offline RD

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« Last Edit: 05/06/2012 16:48:42 by RD »
 

Offline daddyseal

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Thank you for your interest,
Ballistal is a great firearm cleaner and lube.
but even a very small amount of oil on my cases will gum up my equipment.
And would get into the primers and gun powder, which is not good, friend.
The cases need to be dry when running them thru it.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2012 19:27:50 by daddyseal »
 

Offline CliffordK

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A little gun cleaning oil can't be any worse than the oil you are already putting inside of the gun.
You might look at brass polishes, but you might have the same complaint.

I might just allow the tarnishing.  Sandblasting of steel often makes it rust quickly.  Perhaps the same is true with brass. 
 

Offline daddyseal

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Brass polishes, in general, contain ammonia, which makes thin brass brittle, and unusable for my purpose.
Oil in my gun, is good...and I put it there to lessen friction on it's moving parts.
Brass polishes are not for ammo cases , except a slight amount in vibratory cleaners with corn cob, walnut shells, etc., media.
Mine is a rolling tumbler with stainless steel pins which take the case down to bare metal, as I mentioned. They then are "naked" to the elements, having the factory sealant stripped off...and tarnish very quickly.
Here is a video on the SS media brass cleaning process that I use:
(scroll down to watch them)
newbielink:http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/tutorials [nonactive]

Brass polish contains abrasives and not good for my close tolerance reloading press.
This is it, in this youtube video:
feature=related

Again, will this be the product that will give my the sealing film that I need? Or, anything similar, please?
newbielink:http://www.detailedimage.com/Blackfire-M32/Deep-Gloss-Spray-with-Polycharger-P272/?landing_id=29&utm_source=Google-Product-Search-PLA&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CLjquJa3tLACFalgTAod8nbNwA [nonactive]

So, I need a very light film to cover the brass...that will not harm my press, or brass, please.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2012 18:46:06 by daddyseal »
 

Offline Geezer

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The best thing might be to remove the oxygen. Have you considered vacuum packing them?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What evidence is there for this
"Brass polishes, in general, contain ammonia, which makes thin brass brittle,"?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Polishing brass is likely a two step process.  The first with a caustic, the second with a protector (which may be wax based).

Sometimes with welding, I'll clearcoat the brass.  You should be able to buy spray paints or brush on clear paints which should be fairly inert once it is dry.

To a large extent, a think layer of oxidation can be quite protecting.  So, personally I'd be less concerned with what is outside the shell than what is inside.
 

Offline daddyseal

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What evidence is there for this
"Brass polishes, in general, contain ammonia, which makes thin brass brittle,"?

Bored chemist
Please scroll down, and read the abstract shown here:
newbielink:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359646296003211 [nonactive]
 

Offline daddyseal

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Polishing brass is likely a two step process.  The first with a caustic, the second with a protector (which may be wax based).

Sometimes with welding, I'll clearcoat the brass.  You should be able to buy spray paints or brush on clear paints which should be fairly inert once it is dry.

To a large extent, a think layer of oxidation can be quite protecting.  So, personally I'd be less concerned with what is outside the shell than what is inside.


Thanks CliffordK,
I think that a clear coat paint would be thicker than what I want, and cause residue build up in the tight tolerance dies of my reloading press. I asked if this would work earlier:
newbielink:http://www.detailedimage.com/Blackfire-M32/Deep-Gloss-Spray-with-Polycharger-P272/?landing_id=29&utm_source=Google-Product-Search-PLA&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CLjquJa3tLACFalgTAod8nbNwA [nonactive]

What are your thoughts on this polymer product, please?

And although the ingredients of Rain-X don't seem to me to be anything that would work,
it does repel water, eg., moisture, from the glass surfaces....so, I'm wondering about that as a film to retard tarnishing of my brass too.
Your thoughts, friend?
« Last Edit: 07/06/2012 12:22:23 by daddyseal »
 

Offline CliffordK

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I think that a clear coat paint would be thicker than what I want, and cause residue build up in the tight tolerance dies of my reloading press. I asked if this would work earlier:
http://www.detailedimage.com/Blackfire-M32/Deep-Gloss-Spray-with-Polycharger-P272/?landing_id=29&utm_source=Google-Product-Search-PLA&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CLjquJa3tLACFalgTAod8nbNwA
The clearcoat paint will be thin enough that it should not affect the tolerances in your equipment.  Although, I probably would not use it at the shell/bullet interface, or on the firing pin.

Reading the description of the Blackfire coating:
Quote
The substantial protection is lasting not just a couple of days, but well over a month!
[...]
Misting water on the surface afterward reveals extremely tight and small beads, which allows moisture to roll off the surface.
This would indicate to me that it is not considered a permanent protection.  And, the beading of the water droplets indicate that it is likely wax based.

Many coatings are likely stable at normal temperatures.  So there would be little transfer in the clip.  The problem is transfer could be increased at high temperatures.

Could you test it by coating your shell, then see if it will rub off, perhaps onto paper, or with rubbing it with another piece of metal and look for transfer (such as the beading above).

Perhaps you could look at high temperature clearcoatings such as engine or brake coatings.
http://www.tcpglobal.com/SprayPaintDepot/ItemDetail.aspx?ItemNo=VHT+SP184&gclid=CPf1nJvbvLACFQQJRQodkEbMbg

 

Offline daddyseal

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Thanks, CliffordK
 

Offline CliffordK

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I meant to say, when you're testing a coating, perhaps heat it up and then see if it will rub off.
 

Offline Seaspriter

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As a gun collector, I nickel plate anything that will tarnish or corrode. Winchester chrome plates all their commemorative ammo. Try nickel plating your brass casings. The process is very simple -- I do it in the kitchen. All you need is a pure piece of nickel (some people use pre-1955 Canadian nickels bought on eBay), make up an electrolyte with nickel, vinegar, and a battery charger. Just follow the instructions here:

newbielink:http://www.instructables.com/id/High-Quality-and-safe-Nickel-Plating/ [nonactive]

It's actually quite easy to do. I nickel plate all my butt plates, barrel rings, hammers, triggers, trigger guards, etc. Looks good and prevents rust.

No maintenance is required for upkeep.

You will want to control the thickness to keep the plate thin, so use low voltage (1-2 VDC) and quick dip (no more than 15-20 seconds (then check and re-dip in the solution if it needs more). You should get a finish no thicker than 1-2 mils, which is well within the tolerances of a target rifle. 
 

Offline Seaspriter

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Just checked my Winchester Commemorative ammo -- correction: it is nickel plated. Winchester must be using a special nickel alloy or polishing method that give it a mirror finish as shiny as chrome -- that's why I thought it was chrome until I read the fine print on all the boxes. The Winchester nickel ammo from the late 60's is still mirror bright. My DIY nickel plating system produces a finish that looks more like pewter.
 

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