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Thread: Cleaning black powder cartridges

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Question Cleaning black powder cartridges

    The guys at the range dump their cartridges in a container of water right after shooting it.
    I'm sure most people do this.
    I know they still get corrosion because of the splits they throw away after reloading.
    Inside is eaten away in places.
    Has anyone tried mixing baking soda in the water?????
    Baking soda neutralizes acid.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master quail4jake's Avatar
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    Try Ballistol 10:1 with distilled water. You can just leave 'em soak in it until you get a chance to decap and wash in hot soapy water.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master





    bruce drake's Avatar
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    I put my fired blackpowder cartridge brass into a jup of soapy water while at the range to help counter the salts and also help with cleaning the brass safely.
    I Cast my Boolits, Therefore I am Happy.
    Bona Fide member of the Jeff Brown Hunt Club

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


    rfd's Avatar
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    there is no need for baking soda. just a jug of water with a few drops of dish soap is all that's needed. shake every so often. what happens when you get back to the ranch and do yer real case cleaning is another matter ....

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    I dump mine in soapy water until I get them home and haven't had a split yet but they are light target loads (45 grains 3F, 500 grain boolit). They get rinsed with hot clean water and dried before tumbling.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  6. #6
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    Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
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    Dawn dishwashing soap has an alkali in it to aid cleaning. Put some in a jug of water and dump your casings in it after firing. Easy-peasy.
    Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, Varmint Hunter's Assn, ARTCA, American Legion, & the West Branch Gun Club.

    Caveat Emptor: Do not trust Cavery Grips from Clayton, NC. He will rip you off.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Baking soda isn't going to help. The main combustion products of black powder are not acidic, but basic, and are soluble in plain water.

    Chris.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Wow, I have never seen a case split because of corrosion. I wonder if they are shooting them a lot without annealing? That will do it. At any rate, I just put them back in the box, come home, decap, rinse, wet tumble with SS pins and Dawn, let 'em dry and they are good to go. Anneal every 3rd or 4th firing and they last forever.

    -Nobade

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    I take my cases home, deprime and rinse them, and wet tumble them in the Thumler with the Maurer ceramic chips and cleaner. Have only had one .45-70 case split in what must be 15 reloadings, at least. I full-length resize every reloading.

    My shooting partner uses a .40-70, and is using up his supply of stretched and reformed .30-40 Krag cases before switching over to Captech/Jameson brass. He's been through a satisfactory series of reloads, and doesn't size them, but they are going out; two or more splits out of the bunch every shooting session.

    Maybe your range friends are going through the same thing with violently reformed cases. They let you shoot the guns, but they are makeshifts, leave us face it, and can't be expected to have the same service life as properly made shells.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I have been using the lemi shine tabs and dawn dish soap for the soak bottle. I Tap to the gallon and a few drops of dawn dish soap to the 3/4 full gallon jug. I shake these several times art the range then when I get home I drain and agitate draining again. This removes a lot of black crud from the cases. I then rinse several times with hot tap water again agitating and draining several times between rinses. I then hand decap and polish in corn cob media. From here if needed I anneal ( I anneal every 3 loading when I can). I too agree with the above corrosion may not be the reason for the cracks but hardening of the cases from the salts and sizing. Even with smokeless and corrosive primers a lot would wet clean to neutralize the salts to keep them from hardening the cases. The primers alone were enough to cause this to happen. I have sectioned cases occasionally to check and with this regime they look very good inside at 14-15 loadings even

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I would expect that the cause of the cracks wouldn't be corrosion. I have some .32-40 cases that have been fired with BP more than 200 times now. They only get cleaned with hot water and a bottle cleaning brush.

    Chris.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master GARD72977's Avatar
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    Wow 200 loadings!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GARD72977 View Post
    Wow 200 loadings!
    This is not too uncommon with schuetzen style rifles where you bring a hand full of cases to the range, and a bunch of primers and powder. I'll usually shoot one or two targets with a single shell that gets reloaded at the bench. The case gets scraped out between shots, and at the end of the day I scrub it out with water and brush. My Ruger #1 only has 14 cases and the rifle has been shot a lot

    Chris.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


    rfd's Avatar
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    this thread is just another in a loooong line of reoccurring "bp cleaning" threads at this and many other forums. there are many good ways to clean the bp residue out after a day of shooting. getting the brass dropped into at least plain water asap is the first good step.

    back at the ranch, after rinsing and depriming 30 to 60 .45-70 cases, they get 30 minutes in a hornady ultra-sonic, a rinse in tap water, and either set out to dry off or spend 5 to 10 minutes in a corn cob vibratory tumbler with its cover off. done. and boy does that brass shine - inside and out. love my ultra-sonic, will never go back to tumbling.

    no, this is not new brass, all have been fired over 20 times ...






  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I use clear vinegar and water then when dry put the in a tumbler.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    what solution are you using in the ultrasonic?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GARD72977 View Post
    Wow 200 loadings!
    200 reloads is not unusual. I been using .30-40 stretched Krag cases in my .40-70 Shiloh since 99 I would bet some have been loaded more times then 200. The only brass I have ever has split down the middle is Bertram .40-70 cases. Some didn't last 4 loads and most split around 10 loads.
    I hate to guess how many times the 500 Bell .50-2.5 cases have been loaded. That rifle has better then 20,000 rounds through it.
    Brass will last a long time if you handle and work it right.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Kurt, I had some Bertram .45-110 brass that did that on the first firing. That was before I heard about the Norma stuff

    Chris.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    rfd,
    That was my process for a year now. I've recently purchased a wet tumbler (duel drum) off Ebay for $56 and bought some steel pins.

    My first test batch (Mixed BP and smokeless brass) is mixing as I type this.

    I set the timer for 3 hours.

    Follow up picture soon....
    Here is the before picture.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

    John Allen's Avatar
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    I do like alot of guys. I just use dawn dish soap and water. The container I use has a sealed cap so I just give it some shakes. Once I get home I wash them good.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check