My brass turned gray while trying to clean it????

My brass turned gray while trying to clean it????

This is a discussion on My brass turned gray while trying to clean it???? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I placed a few hundred 9mm pieces of brass into my Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler with the stainless steel pins yesterday right before I left ...

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Thread: My brass turned gray while trying to clean it????

  1. #1
    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    My brass turned gray while trying to clean it????

    I placed a few hundred 9mm pieces of brass into my Frankford Arsenal wet tumbler with the stainless steel pins yesterday right before I left for work. I turned it on for the max time which is 3 hrs. After returning home from work I went back out to the shed where it was and decided to turn it on for another 3 hrs, what the heck it was late and I was going to go to bed and not empty it at this tie anyway and figure 6 hrs would make it shine like gold!!!
    Today which is the next morning after the 6 hrs of tumble I went out to look at the gold!!! Yeah right far from it, it was all gray. It all had a gray film all over and it now looked like cheap steel cases. I took a piece and had to rub it very hard to get the gray stuff off and see the brass. However the brass is so smooth and clean underneath the gray film.
    Ok this is where I need your tips, advice, experience ect. Why did this happen? how do I clean it off?
    I now have it running again with clean water and some of my dog shampoo as it was the most gental soap I could find at my house. Yesterday when I initial ran it I used a combination of Lestoil and Gain ultra I found under my sink figuring it would be fine as they are just household cleaners. Do you think the Lestoil was too potent of a chemical and sort of ate away at the inner side of the tumbler that is black rubber and thats whats on the cases? Thats my guess anyways. What a mess hopefully I can clean them up and check this off as a lesson learned and someone can learn from my mistakes.
    My brass turned gray while trying to clean it????-20190901_081950.jpg
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    My guess is it's a combination of the cleaning "cocktail" you used and soaking. When I let my wet tumbled brass sit for any length of time, it turns dull.

    I use Lemi-shine and Armor All car wash, don't let it sit for more than 60 minutes after tumbling, and haven't had that experience. Hopefully the additional time will cure it, but I suspect there's something in the "cocktail".
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    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck R. View Post
    My guess is it's a combination of the cleaning "cocktail" you used and soaking. When I let my wet tumbled brass sit for any length of time, it turns dull.

    I use Lemi-shine and Armor All car wash, don't let it sit for more than 60 minutes after tumbling, and haven't had that experience. Hopefully the additional time will cure it, but I suspect there's something in the "cocktail".
    Yeah after the initial tumbling it sat for 9 hrs then turned back on then sat for another 10 hrs until I drained it, that plus the "cocktail" lol I made up could have caused it. I am now running it with fresh clean water to try to clean it off. I did look for the lemi-shine at he store but didn't find any.
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    VIP Member Array Sister's Avatar
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    Try Vinegar. Was thinking outside the box, it will work for antique brass that has turned white so it may work?!

    The better half said try “Dry Media”.

    Hope you can fix it, the link says that the water will get into the brass when left for a while.

    [DO NOT put baking soda in with vinegar, will splode! 😮}

    https://www.finishing.com/294/50.shtml
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    I guess wet tumbling is all the rage these days...... Dry tumbling never does that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Bob View Post
    I guess wet tumbling is all the rage these days...... Dry tumbling never does that.
    Yep. My thought too.
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    Always had good luck with dry media, walnut shells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Bob View Post
    I guess wet tumbling is all the rage these days...... Dry tumbling never does that.
    Quote Originally Posted by CWOUSCG View Post
    Yep. My thought too.
    Quote Originally Posted by CG11 View Post
    Always had good luck with dry media, walnut shells.
    We have a quorum.

    Check the ingredients of your cocktail and see if ammonia is listed.
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    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Bob View Post
    I guess wet tumbling is all the rage these days...... Dry tumbling never does that.
    Quote Originally Posted by CWOUSCG View Post
    Yep. My thought too.
    Quote Originally Posted by CG11 View Post
    Always had good luck with dry media, walnut shells.

    We have a quorum.

    Check the ingredients of your cocktail and see if ammonia is listed.
    It didn't turn the brass a different color it just coated it with a waxy gray film making it gray. It can be rubbed off one by one but that would take forever. I tried using acatone and mineral spirits to get it off. It kinda worked but not completely. Now i have the crap all over my hands and the outside of the tumbler. I think I'm going to try the dry media in it to hopefully absorb the waxy residue. I think it's from the chemicals wearing away the inner black rubber coating on the inside of the tumbler.
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    Senior Member Array DownInTheDark's Avatar
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    Maybe you can run your hands through the dry tumbler as a test batch?

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    VIP Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc0811 View Post
    It didn't turn the brass a different color it just coated it with a waxy gray film making it gray. It can be rubbed off one by one but that would take forever. I tried using acatone and mineral spirits to get it off. It kinda worked but not completely. Now i have the crap all over my hands and the outside of the tumbler. I think I'm going to try the dry media in it to hopefully absorb the waxy residue. I think it's from the chemicals wearing away the inner black rubber coating on the inside of the tumbler.
    I'd just run the batch again with common dish soap. You should get a two-fer, it will get the crud off the brass and clean your tumbler bowl. The most common cleaning mix I've found for wet tumbling is:

    3 tbsp Armor All Wash and Wax (a lot of guys use Dawn or similar)
    1/4 tsp Lemishine
    1 gal water
    2 hrs in the tumbler

    It literally comes out as if it was vibrated with dry media for 12+hrs with the added benefit of clean primer pockets (for the brass I decap 1st). The only time I use dry media now and a vibratory cleaner is to get case lube off after sizing.
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    Senior Member Array KevinRohrer's Avatar
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    Lemishine is expensive.

    Citric Acid is inexpensive and the same thing. You can get it on Amazon or any women's hobby store like Hobby Lobby.
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  14. #13
    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck R. View Post
    I'd just run the batch again with common dish soap. You should get a two-fer, it will get the crud off the brass and clean your tumbler bowl. The most common cleaning mix I've found for wet tumbling is:

    3 tbsp Armor All Wash and Wax (a lot of guys use Dawn or similar)
    1/4 tsp Lemishine
    1 gal water
    2 hrs in the tumbler

    It literally comes out as if it was vibrated with dry media for 12+hrs with the added benefit of clean primer pockets (for the brass I decap 1st). The only time I use dry media now and a vibratory cleaner is to get case lube off after sizing.
    thats exactly what I have been doing. I ran i a few times an hr each time with some gentle dish soap, rinsed each time and repeat. now running it with clean water no soap and it is finally looking good. Man what a mess it has been. So lesson learned to stay away from harsh cleaners and stick with what has already been tried and tested by others. If it aint broke dont fix it right?
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