HELP! Discolored Brass Cartridges

I have 5 Boxes of : Hornady Factory "Frontier" Cartridges . 22-250 53 GR HP that were stored for 5 years.

Many of the cartridges have become Discolored with a (Robins Egg Blue)

The Plastic boxes they came in have moisture in them.

Question 1: I can polish the brass and remove the discoloration BUT where did this Start??

Some of the Scale is in the Primer area

Before wasting a lot of time cleaning them up, Can these cartridges be Saved ???

If they can't be salvaged, Can I remove the Bullet, Dump the Powder ??

What do I do with the corroded Primed Brass??

Any Help with this will be appreciated.

Thanks, Dairyland man


  • 62fuelie62fuelie Member Posts: 1,044 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The blue to green colored discoloration on metals containing copper - brass, bronze, etc is called verdigris. It can be caused by a variety of chemical interactions. With ammunition one of the most common is with the chemicals used in tanning leather. The reaction can, USUALLY, be polished off with something like Brasso or SimiChrome. Once you do one or two, drag a fingernail across the border between where the discoloration was and the untarnished brass, if there is a significant notching I would be hesitant about putting 50K+ psi against them next to my personal head. The bullets should be salvageable, but I would discard the powder - your don't know what it is, what conditions it has been stored under(water in the storage boxes might be a clue that it wasn't ideal) and it's just not worth the risk. If you break them down the powder contains a good deal of nitrate so it is good flower fertilizer, the brass can be trashed or sold to a scrap dealer , he will probably want them deprimed.
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Metal can sweat. Cold cases can condense water right out of warm air. Fumes from near by containers of cleaning chemicals can tarnish the brass.

    You should have a hands on inspection of the ammo in question. It could be OK to use, or it's trash, perhaps somewhere in between.
  • yonsonyonson Member Posts: 577 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Some metal polishes such as Brasso and Flitz contain ammonia which can be harmful to brass. Ammo manufacturers advise NEVER to polish live ammo in tumblers as the powder can change causing a hot load. I suggest using a buffing wheel, the ammo would be much too warm to hold on to, well before it could explode as someone once suggested on this site. Use caution around the primer, though.
  • noyljnoylj Member Posts: 172 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Best is to fire the ammo, clean and inspect the cases. If you can see actual eroded areas, scrap the brass.
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