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Neat Vinegar for cleaning shell cases???

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Unread 08-28-2010, 02:44 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 165
Neat Vinegar for cleaning shell cases???

Is it safe to clean shell cases in neat vinegar.

I have just used some on a single case for 1 hour and it came up mint.

I cleaned it out thoroughly afterwards to clean off the residue but I am a little uncertain about the effects of the acid.

Anyone have any first hand experiences or professional knowledge?
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Unread 08-28-2010, 05:10 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 341
Re: Neat Vinegar for cleaning shell cases???

For a while I was cleaning cases with vinegar, salt, and some dawn mixed in. I would mix it with some hot water and let them sit for a few hours and they seemed to come out okay. I always rinsed them well after soaking them and I never had any issues with case weakness. The brass cases have an oxide layer that forms (gives them a dull color), and that is what the acid will react with. It doesn't (a weak acid) react with the brass itself.

I broke down and bought a Hornady tumbler with some corn cob media. Now my brass is really shiny, and I don't have to annoy my wife by drying the brass all over the place!
If you like your hunting rifle, you can keep your hunting rifle.
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Unread 08-28-2010, 05:21 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 35
Re: Neat Vinegar for cleaning shell cases???

I've used vinegar in my ultrasonic cleaner for the last year and have not noticed any weak brass. I don't know if it matters much, but after the cycle in vinegar I run a cycle with water and baking soda to neutralize any residue and ensure there is no long term exposure to the brass.

6mm benchrest.com has a great article on brass cleaning

try a search on this site and you'll get a variety of opinions as well
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Unread 08-29-2010, 10:23 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Oro Valley, Arizona
Posts: 127
Re: Neat Vinegar for cleaning shell cases???

I use vinegar or diluted CLR to clean really dirty cases-mostly handgun. I then rinse the cases with tap water very well and after drying, I tumble the cases in corn cob media to make sure any salt/minearl deposits are removed. The cases end-up looking as good as new.
Joaquin B. in AZ
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