Black residue on tumbled brass?

Black residue on tumbled brass?

This is a discussion on Black residue on tumbled brass? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I just tumbled a bunch of brass and it came out looking terrible. See the pic below. The black residue is very well stuck to ...

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Thread: Black residue on tumbled brass?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Black residue on tumbled brass?

    I just tumbled a bunch of brass and it came out looking terrible. See the pic below. The black residue is very well stuck to the brass. In some cases, it is caked on the spent primers, but none of it stuck to any nickel plated cases.

    I recently switched to Frankford Arsenal brass polish, and have run a number of tumbler batches that came out looking great. On the other hand, from the first batch of FA, there is a basically solid layer of black crud on the inside of the tumbler. That, however, is not sticky at all, and has been there even when the brass came out fine. I do shake the FA polish very thoroughly before adding.

    The media has been used a few of times, but I know I have gotten a lot more use out of media in the past. In fact, as I said, the previous batch of brass came out great, so the media was not really showing any sign of getting too dirty.

    I replaced the media anyway and ran for, oh, another hour, and none of the black stuff seems to be coming of yet.

    Any clues, folks?

    Sorry for the cruddy cell phone pics; it's what I have available. First pic shows a close up of the residue. Second shows a shiny nickel next to the ugly brass...
    Attached Images
    Last edited by kazzaerexys; May 15th, 2010 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Fat fingers.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.


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    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    That's why I just use pre-treated (DRY) corn husk media. It happened to me and it was the same gunk that built up on the walls of my tumbler. Put the tumbler in the sun for a few hours and it cracked off with a little help. The brass was a mess so I agitated it in a diluted Windex solution and it cleaned up pretty well.. I would not want that gunk to foul up my dies.UGH

    OMO

    bosco

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    Member Array Spike66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boscobeans View Post
    That's why I just use pre-treated (DRY) corn husk media. ...
    OMO

    bosco
    +1

    I've had great luck with the pre-treated media.

    - Spike

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    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    Looks like you used wet ground corn cob and left the cases sitting in the tumbler for quite a while after you turned it off. Unless you use a different media with a polishing agent, the stains are probably there for a long time. They won't have any effect upon anything.

    I quit using corn cob about 30 years ago and only use ground walnut shells. Dry ones leave a non-bright surface. Add a polishing compound and you'll get shiny cases. Absolutely the only difference is looks.

    The Nickel cases didn't discolor because you pretty much can't stain Nickel.
    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein

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    Ground walnut shells at places like "PetSmart." BIG bag for about $14. Used for lizard cages or something. Works great.

    Corn husks is okay but doesn't last as long.

    As for shiny polishing, it looks good and strokes the ego but doesn't make the cases any better. As long as you clean the dirt and grit off the cases to prevent scratching the dies, all is good. Unless you want to showcase your brass, there's no need for it.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Dry, ground walnut hulls with a capfull of Nu-Finish auto POLISH--(not wax). Drop in a dryer sheet to pick up the crud and you are good to go.

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Ground walnut shells at places like "PetSmart." BIG bag for about $14. Used for lizard cages or something. Works great.

    Corn husks is okay but doesn't last as long.

    As for shiny polishing, it looks good and strokes the ego but doesn't make the cases any better. As long as you clean the dirt and grit off the cases to prevent scratching the dies, all is good. Unless you want to showcase your brass, there's no need for it.
    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Just to clarify the original post, I am not talking about discolored brass; I am talking about a tar-like residue that can be somewhat painstakingly wiped from the shells or scraped off with a fingernail. The pictures were taken right after I turned off the tumbler and spilled the brass.

    As for media, I am using the same pet-store corn cob media that I have used to clean thousands of shells (not without changing it out every now and again ) without any such residue forming.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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    Have you always added the liquid polish? I never do. Dry media + liquid polish = paste that will eventually stick to something.
    I'd clean it all up and stick to dry media.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    NuFinish polish and mineral spirits. Let it mix into the media for 5-10 minutes before adding brass, so it has time to work its way into the media evenly.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Have you always added the liquid polish? I never do. Dry media + liquid polish = paste that will eventually stick to something.
    Yes, I have. It was Dillon Case Polish until I ran out, then the Frankford Arsenal. I mean, I have about 10k shiny casings in the past year and a half with no problems, and then one batch covered in tar.

    Oh, I changed the media, ran them again for several hours, and that just results in the gunk organizing---a few big spots instead of a bunch of small spots.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    i had that problem before. man that is nasty gunk. cleaned the messed up brass with some solution (like windex), changed out all my media, cleaned the tumbler, and stopped adding polisher. I dont know what exactly the problem was, most likely a bad mix of polish and media, but changing that worked out.
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Okay, gotta soak the brass... Got it.

    Soak in Windex and water? Can I use bleach? What concentration? How long should I let it sit? Should I wrap it in cheesecloth and run it through the dishwasher?
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Ragin Cajun's Avatar
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    White vinegar works well for cleaning and brightening up brass.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    a quick history: about a year and a half ago i was reloading quite a bit, i then lost all my reloading stuff (and by lost, i mean my ex took it). i recently bought all new reloading stuff and am back at it...

    so i had a bunch of brass, much of which had that black gunk on it from my last reloading time period. now i have new media, new tumbler, and no polish.
    this time, at least the large majority of the black gunk came off.
    after looking at it further, i decided that the black gunk was most certainly powder + moisture. most likely moisture from the media.
    i am not using polisher now, and was before, so it could be that... but from a purely scientific standpoint, i have decided that it is much more likely that gunk was caused by bad media, not by the polish.
    either way, i now have new media (and still probably wont bother using polish, no reason to) and all is well. hurray
    Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
    (Murder begins where self-defense ends)
    Georg Büchner

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