One for the swagers out there.

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One for the swagers out there.

Post by Sasquatch-1 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:55 pm

I made up some slugs out of forty brass today. Decided to pickle 'em in the crock pot in citric acid. Let 'em go for about an hour pulled them out and into the vibratory tumbler they went. When I took them out a couple hours later they look like they are made of copper. Now is this caused by something that came out of the brass that reduced it back to a copper state or did they just plate themselves somehow? If plated, I always thought you needed electrical current for that. I have used the solution several times. Question
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Re: One for the swagers out there.

Post by Reload3006 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:04 pm

that is common for brass to appear copper washed when they come out of the citric acid bath. .... My degree is not in chemistry. Not entirely sure why but I know its common and doesn't hurt anything.
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Re: One for the swagers out there.

Post by Reload3006 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:06 pm

Dont know if this is correct or not but looks reasonable.

The pink color is due to dezincification of the surface brass during the corrosion process. The
zinc (30% of cartridge brass) is more easily converted to oxide and removed during corrosion,
especially out of doors when wet. When you reverse the oxidation process with citric acid,
the copper oxide (the dark brown extreme brass tarnish is pretty much straight copper oxide)
reverts to pure copper, which is pinkish since the zinc is gone. For low pressure brass like
9mm and moderate amounts of dezincification, especially if it is uniform, I would not worry
about it. Rifle ammo with small areas of intense local corrosion may be problematic due to
the local nature and much higher working pressures. But if no significant material is missing,
it is probably nothing to sweat. I have no doubt that the brass that is pinkish was the very
dark brown extreme tarnish.

I expect that the All Purpose Cleaner is just etching off the surface rather than reversing
the oxidation process, so no pink, but some material removal and possibly some short term
and maybe even long term damage. Unless I knew EXACTLY what is in some solution, there
is no way I would put my brass into it. For example, exposure to even low levels of ammonia
over time will cause serious stress corrosion cracking of brass. I have seen a batch of
older 7x57 brass made in WW2 by FN (guessing Belgium) that has 100% cracked necks. Probably
from ammonia contact. I always wondered if some heroic Belgian ammo plant worker was
sabotaging Nazi controlled ammo production by peeing on some of the packing material,
which would cause cracking long after passing the initial quality checks so the workers would
not be suspected of sabotage, but the ammo would be unreliable since the bullets were loose.
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Re: One for the swagers out there.

Post by Sasquatch-1 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:19 pm

Reload3006 wrote:that is common for brass to appear copper washed when they come out of the citric acid bath. .... My degree is not in chemistry. Not entirely sure why but I know its common and doesn't hurt anything.

All I know is that the entire case turned coppery color and it is sooooo pretty flower

Oh No, I'm slipping back to the sixties.
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