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Cartridge case corrosion

Big Cedar IdahoBig Cedar Idaho Member Posts: 54 ✭✭
edited March 2011 in Ask the Experts
I have just acquired two boxes of .35 Remington Kleanbore ammo which was manufactured in 1942.The cartridge cases have varying amounts of corrosion on them. I believe that this was caused by acid contained in the paper separators or by galvanic action. There is no corrosion on the copper bullets.
Does anyone know of a method of removing the corrosion without damaging the cases besides buffing or a steel wool rub?
I don't think that the cartridges can be fired satisfactorily due to the age of the propellant.
Any help will be appreciated.

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    wpagewpage Member Posts: 10,204 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A brass wire brush.
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    RCrosbyRCrosby Member Posts: 3,808 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Easy answer is do whatever you want to make it look pretty and don't attempt to fire it.
    More interesting question is whether the brass is just discolored or structurally compromised. If the brass is brittle and/or eaten through, shooting it could be dangerous.
    If it's just old and discolored, it may be fine.
    Some close-up pictures would help.
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    jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    I REGULARLY shoot ammo that old and older- if properly stored, gunpowder and primers are very stable. The discoloration is probably just that; try buffing one and see if it is just that or if it is pitted.

    If no penetration of the brass other than a stain is evident, you're probably good to go.

    Edit for tsr's reply. This is a hotly debated topic. Just look at the 'tumbling live rounds' posts on the reloading forum. While I didn't specifically recommend it, it is regularly done by many reloaders with no issue, and by most ammo manufacturers. It actually is less dangerous than it sounds (basically not at all for vibrator tumblers), but that said, i don't go out of my way to do it either. There's no need. It is a standard for many bullseye pistol shooters and ammo manufacturers. However to remove any serious corrosion it would have to tumble quite a while, so would be impractical here.

    http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=364467&SearchTerms=live Similar topic.
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    navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,211 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There is no easy way to clean off corrosion. Steel wool and a scraper for heavy corrosion. They may well still fire OK. Or, the primer may not fire; the powder may not ignite; weak ignition may lodge the bullet in the bore. There is no danger of a over-pressure condition. Deteriorated powder results in less pressure.
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    yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 21,209 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What no corn cob or walnut in a tumber for few minuets?
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    tsr1965tsr1965 Member Posts: 8,682 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by yoshmyster
    What no corn cob or walnut in a tumber for few minuets?


    You have to be kidding right? This is LIVE AMMO. This is supposed to be an EXPERTS forum. As such, you should possibly read, and UNDERSTAND the original poster's question, before dumping something out like that.

    Big Cedar Idaho,

    Hello, and welcome to the forums here on Gunbroker.com.

    I would use a white Scotchbrite pad. They are less aggressive than the green or red, and should do what you want to. they will never look like new, sparkly brass, unless you polish them with steel wool.

    Best
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    RCrosbyRCrosby Member Posts: 3,808 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There is no danger of a over-pressure condition. Deteriorated powder results in less pressure.[?][?][?][?][?]

    There may be no danger from excess pressure, but if the brass is sufficiently weakened a ruptured case can do some nasty damage depending on the action involved.
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    mrbrucemrbruce Member Posts: 3,374
    edited November -1
    teasing again huhh yoshmyster................
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A few comments on issues from this thread:

    -If you're just interesting in cleaning up the rounds COSMETICALLY for display purposes, generic brass cleaner (eg "Brasso") can work, as can many other things already mentioned (fine steel wool, etc).

    -Mere age does NOT by itself make cases unsafe to fire. In fact, if they were stored properly there is no reason why 60 year old rounds should work just fine.

    However, if the cases are badly pitted or corroded, then they could rupture on firing, and that's NOT good! If they are that badly pitted, it should be evident on close inspection after cleaning. Superficial tarnish (mere brown color) shouldn't make the rounds unsafe, though.

    -Yes, deteriorated powder should lower (not raise) operating pressures. However rounds like this are still potentially unsafe for two reasons:

    a. They can squib. . . Lodging a bullet in your barrel by itself isn't unsafe. . .until not realizing what has happened, you fire another live bullet AFTER the jammed one. Kaboom. . .not good.

    b. Hangfires can happen with deteriorated powder or primers. That's where the primer goes off, but it takes a few seconds (or more) for the round to go off. These can be HIGHLY dangerous, if the round goes off when you don't expect it, or worse, you try to eject a round you think is a "dud" and it goes off right as the action of your gun is opened. Again, "Boom".

    "Solution" is taught to every novice shooter, though many don't follow it. ALWAYS keep your muzzle in a safe direction, and if you pull the trigger on a round and hear a "click" wait TEN SECONDS before ejecting the bad round.

    -Lots of people tumble live rounds all the time and get away with it. That doesn't make it a good idea, but its not nearly as dangerous as you might think.

    The biggest problem with tumbling live rounds is **NOT** that they're going to go off in your tumbler. That's pretty improbable. Think about it. . .if rounds could go off just by shaking or being tossed around, they wouldn't be safe to carry around with you, in the trunk of your car, etc. Even if it did happen, without the round being in a gun, probably the worst thing that would happen is the lid of the tumbler would blow off.

    One reason you don't tumble live rounds is because in theory tumbling can fragment the POWDER GRAINS inside, and that can increase their surface areas, potentially increasing burn rates and increasing operating pressures. The problem would be more pronounced with certain powder types.
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