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View Full Version : Ammonia For Brass a Myth?


mattman
05-20-2009, 4:41 PM
Using ammonia to clean brass cases has become synonymous with weakening the case. Has anyone seen any evidence that this is true or just a myth. I know there are lots of arm chair scientist out there ready to put in their $.02. Ammonia is know of leaching the zinc out of the brass so wouldn't it only attack the surface or would it penetrate? How deep does it penetrate? Seems like many shooter out there already unknowingly have used Brasso (contains ammonia) for years without ill effect.

Maybe I should send this one to Myth Busters.:rolleyes:

Gunsrruss
05-20-2009, 4:49 PM
I'm a big brasso user. Haven't seen the first problem with the brass. My .223 loads are going on their 6th reload without a problem:thumbsup:

bohoki
05-20-2009, 5:13 PM
i left some really scurvy looking brass in a baggie with brasso instead of it geting yellower it got redder

Jonathan Doe
05-20-2009, 5:50 PM
Never used ammonia based polish or solvent. Never liked the smell of it anyways. I just use Dillon brass polish in my tumbler.

mvpatriot
05-20-2009, 5:52 PM
I heard Nufinish car polish works great and/or 3m polishing compound

dchang0
05-20-2009, 6:44 PM
You'd have to let the brass soak for a while in ammonia/Brasso for it to weaken it that much. More likely, your brass will be weakened to the point of failure by your actually shooting it than by leaching zinc out of it.

Still, I personally do not use ammonia-based cleaners on my cases--it doesn't matter to me what they look like as long as they're clean enough for the primer to burn through the hole. And I lose enough brass over time from being too lazy to pick it up that the reloaded ammo I have is always fairly new.

domokun
05-20-2009, 10:29 PM
I never use any polish or compounds that contain ammonia in it out of safety concerns and also that the brass life might be shortened from it.

Doheny
05-20-2009, 10:34 PM
So what you are saying is you would not recomend it?

I think he was saying how rude he could be.

WyoDuner
05-21-2009, 9:21 AM
Scrat is correct in what he is saying - granted not very tactful - but correct nonetheless.

Soaking brass in ammonia is a bad idea. Using a polishing that contains ammonia probably not so bad. There is PLENTY of ways to polish brass that it can easily be done without ammonia based products.

mif_slim
05-21-2009, 9:57 AM
:nuts::rant:

+1 I agree

CSACANNONEER
05-21-2009, 10:24 AM
Scrat is correct in what he is saying - granted not very tactful - but correct nonetheless.

Soaking brass in ammonia is a bad idea. Using a polishing that contains ammonia probably not so bad. There is PLENTY of ways to polish brass that it can easily be done without ammonia based products.

I agree with both of you.

To the OP,

I've done a little research and a lot of listening to people in the know, I mean metalurgists who are also shooters, and they do not recommend using any ammonia based products on brass. However, ammonia based products work well to break down and clean copper/brass fouling from your bore. So, if I were you, I'd find a few metalurgists and chemical engineers and get their opinions. Don't just blindly accept info you read on the internet.

Beelzy
05-21-2009, 11:36 AM
Oh boy......

What next, acid dipping case necks instead of neck turning?? :rolleyes:

CSACANNONEER
05-21-2009, 11:40 AM
Oh boy......

What next, acid dipping case necks instead of neck turning?? :rolleyes:

Does that work? What kind of acid should I use? Do you know where I can get acid during my trip to Berkley? If I use the acid, will my neck still be able to be turned?

WyoDuner
05-21-2009, 1:11 PM
Does that work? What kind of acid should I use? Do you know where I can get acid during my trip to Berkley? If I use the acid, will my neck still be able to be turned?

Sulfuric is best but hydrochloric is OK too. Use it full strength.

You can get both of these at your local Wal-Mart. The problem is that people have been buying it all up and re-selling it online for a huge profit so it is a little hard to come by these days.

Yes, you can turn your neck any time you wish. The necks on your brass may not be there to be turned.

I highly recommend the acid dip neck turning method.:thumbsup:

CSACANNONEER
05-21-2009, 1:24 PM
Dagmabit, what am I going to do with all the d-lysergic acid diethylamide that I bought for this?

J/K of course.

WyoDuner
05-21-2009, 4:41 PM
Dagmabit, what am I going to do with all the d-lysergic acid diethylamide that I bought for this?

J/K of course.

Oh.... I think you'll find a use for it. :) Just be sure not to use that acid when working with the other acid...

CSACANNONEER
05-21-2009, 4:45 PM
WOW!!!!!!!!!! I just found out that if you use the right acid your neck will turn around and around and around and.............hey, where'd the pink pocka-dotted sloth come from. Never mind, the elephant let him in..........I never though turning necks could be so much fun..............

mattman
05-21-2009, 5:19 PM
Well to my way of thinking a piece of brass is not like a piece of bread and shouldn't soak it all up like so much gravy. Why would it react with ammonia internally. Why not only on the surface. Rust and corrosion only attack the surface at first. And I'm not dumping it into a bucket of ammonia I am talking about metal polishes and things like Brasso the use ammonia effectively. I am just trying to recover some very tarnished brass.

Would sand or gravel work in the tumbler instead?

Ugly Dwarf
05-21-2009, 6:10 PM
I too have "heard" not to use ammonia on brass, and hadn't given it much thought.

HERE (http://www.rmtech.net/Anhydrous%20Ammonia.htm)is a link that says "Anhydrous ammonia is not compatible with copper, brass, bronze, zinc or mercury. Ammonia corrodes copper and brass into a blue-green salt."

HERE (http://www.hghouston.com/coppers/brass73.htm)is another link that discusses how ammonia will corrode brass and says "Even in very low concentrations of ammonia, brass that is stressed by either residual or applied tension will spontaneously crack by 'stress corrosion', a phenomenon first observed many years ago and at that time called 'season cracking'. "

I guess it's up to you if you want to try it, but I would probably use dirty brass, try sand or buy new brass.