Q: Cleaning and prepping brass

Dave King

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001

That little heating you did to less than 200 degrees didn't do anything to that brass IMHO. A similar discussion came up recently on Sniper Country and the temperatures finally decided upon as potentially harmful by an egg-head metalurgist manual reading type was much higher than 200(f).

But using a liguid chemical type brass cleaner on your brass???? I'd leave it dirty/tarnished before letting the butler clean it.
I've never used a liguid cleaner, I'm strickly a corncob media with the magic green stuff covering user. I've used the walnut hull and red stuff but it leaves residue inside the cases that I don't care for and I don't like shooting this same walnut & red stuff out of my barrel.

I don't tumble cases too much anymore, I'd rather clean up the necks with some fine steel wool if they're badly sooted up. I do this before I de-prime and clean the primer pocket then length and chamfer.

I view reloading as my mental health quiet time. I do things slow and methodical, never is a rush or hurried. Most important of all.... double check everything.
Have any of you ever used a product called ISSO clean to polish brass. It's the stuff that works like liquid silver cleaner. I tried it out recently as an alternative to tumbling brass in polishing media. The thing is, a shooting buddy of mine told me that getting the inside of the cases wet will reduce the life thereof by resulting in corrosion down by the flash hole. Of course, I promptly rinsed the brass in hot water following treatment with the ISSO clean compound and then threw it in the oven and baked it at low temperature (well < 200 degrees) a little to dry it out, thinking this would prevent the onset of any corrosion. But he came right back with the response that heating one's brass like this also weakens it, thereby further reducing the life thereof.

Enlighten me here, brothers!

Agree with David K. for liquid cleaner inside the case, I can't say as I've ever seen a clear-cut case of it happening but it does make some sense.

Myself like David K. I use #000 or #0000 steel wool to get the soot of the case necks, lube them up, and size. No it's not nice and shiny but it doesn't change the group size so I don't see a need. But I also use my brass almost continuously through the year so there not much time for corrosion to build. I do shine up the neck/shoulder/ and the top of the body a little with the steel wool looking for cracks and such.

Also a quick glance at the Machinery's handbook, which is the bible for machinest/engineers I believe 70/30 cartridge brass annealing temp is like 680F. Been many year so don't quote me. There is a transition period where the grain structure starts to change a little before that but can't remember. But it's no where near 200F. David H. I've "dried" many batches of cases just like yourself many many times and no harm. But 2 NOTES: #1 - turn on the oven and preheat, turn it off, then dry the brass. I got in a hurry one time, turned the oven way up and said I'll only leave them in there long enough to get hot. Then the phone rang..... I don't have to finish the story. #2 don't believe the temp on the dial of your oven if you crank up the heat. if you keep in in the 200F region then + or - 100F either direction isn't going to be a big deal. But put a temp gauge in your oven first sometime. I've seen them off by as much as 150F.

I clean case necks with a crazy cloth that I bought from Sinclair for this purpose (I assume this is commonly available in the US, but you can't buy it in Aus). I have also recently tried a Burchwood Casey (sp?) cloth for cleaning case necks. Either of these seem to work very well.

For tarnished cases, I give them an occasional tumble in corncob media. As Steve noted, tarnished cases aren't less accurate, so I don't get worked up about cleaning them too often.

What would I do without yas? Probably spend another ten years and ten of thousands of dollars figuring this stuff out!!!

Thanks a million!

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