Darken or stain brass

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by spudgun, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. spudgun

    spudgun

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    Starting to reload a new caliber.

    I have 6.5 mm CM and 6mm CM brass.

    I wish to be able at a glance to ID the brass so I don't get it mixed up while shooting or cleaning.

    I know i can use vinegar and salt to tarnish it but don't know if tumbling will get rid of the tarnish (I assume so).

    I wish to blacken it without effecting the brass metal.

    Any Ideas ?
     
  2. Rsadams

    Rsadams

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    I know water stains won't come out in Corncob media... Once they are brown the only way I know to return them to a shiny all brass color is wet tumbling....
     
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  3. T-shooter

    T-shooter

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    Gun bluing like Black Magic. Don't know if it would have any effects on the brass. If you color the necks with a permanent marker and then anneal, it will stay on and will last through walnut tumblings.
     
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  4. Uncle Ed

    Uncle Ed

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    Color code the cases with a felt tip marker and leave the salt and vinegar out of the equation.
     
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  5. Ned Ludd

    Ned Ludd Gold $$ Contributor

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    I'm with Ed on this. Marks made on brass with a Sharpie will remain visible through at least one round of cleaning with SS pins. I'd be a little leery about treating brass with oxidants/reductants, merely to stain it a different color.

    It would be far more useful to come up with a working system that allows you to keep different brass preps separate from one another. I currently have I don't even know how many different brass preps of identical brand/Lot# in use for several different rifles of the same caliber. I typically prep at least 200 to 300 pieces per rifle and store the brass in those rectangular plastic food containers. I label each of the containers with the date, rifle, Lot# of brass, # of firings on the brass, and at what stage of prep they happen to be in (i.e. cleaned, primer pockets uniformed, annealed, re-sized, etc.). That way I can always tell at a glance exactly what the brass is, and what has been done to it. Further, I do not mix loaded rounds for different rifles, or for the same rifle with different brass preps within a single ammo box. Separate ammo boxes for different brass preps. I find that a more useful approach than trying to permanently color code the brass.
     
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  6. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    A 100ct cartridge box with a piece of masking tape on it keeps all my different boxes of brass seperate. Dont intermix boxes while in the middle of a group and youll never mix them up
     
  7. cem

    cem

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    Ask at a model railroad store/hobbyist. It's been done to death in print and on the internet including a long ago article in Handloader Sept/Oct 1969 Handloader. Also try Machinery's Handbook. Black, red and green are the most popular colors. Probably better to use tried and true methods that have been found to work without weakening the brass.
     
  8. K22

    K22

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    You can use different colored cartridge boxes for the different calibers. I use "red" for my 308 and "gray" for the 243.
     
  9. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    What are those methods the rail enthusiasts use?
     
  10. shoobe01

    shoobe01

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  11. oley55

    oley55

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    To the OP. Call me a nervous Nelly or whatever you like, but being mostly ignorant of the components mentioned, there is like zero chance I'd risk weakening my brass trying any of that. Especially the last one calling for ammonia.

    I'm with the sharpie crowd if you must color code, and I do routinely write the powder weights on cases when working up loads that will be sharing space in the same box/case.

    I use the Sharpie, Industrial "Super Permanent Ink" for this purpose. Same pen as regular sharpies except the label writing is red vs black. Not sure that it's really more permanent than the normal, but it costs more so it must be better. ( as the saying goes, lures catch fishermen, not fish)
     
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  12. spclark

    spclark Gold $$ Contributor

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    I used to love Sharpies... but when I'd pick one up that had the cap on tight yet the ink inside had dried up I lost my motivation to buy more once I discovered the Inkzall line from Milwaukee Tools. They have 'em in different tip sizes for black ink and some colors also.

    They don't dry out when not used, I've worn the tips down many times before the ink runs out. Worth a look.
     
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  13. Mikemci

    Mikemci Gold $$ Contributor

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    spclark, which marker do you prefer?
    The jobsite fine marker seems like it would work best for our purposes?
    Also, does it wipe off with alcohol, like Sharpies do?
     
  14. dthomas

    dthomas Gold $$ Contributor

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    Use the correct headstamped brass. As others have said keep everything seperate.
     
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  15. spclark

    spclark Gold $$ Contributor

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    They have more markers than I've tried, honestly! The ones I favor are like the typical Sharpie (not the fine-point style) but the Milwaukee's tip is really pointy until you've used it for awhile. They will wear down but they don't get soft.

    I work in a TrueValue hardwares store that sells the black ones in medium and chisel-point then the set of medium-point in colors. I've never tried wiping the pigment off with alcohol but I will later this evening & report back! (It does run when the epoxy resin I'm using to build a canoe runs over it if that tells you anything worthwhile....)
     
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  16. Mikemci

    Mikemci Gold $$ Contributor

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    Like you, I mark my cases, when doing load developement. When prepping afterwards, I clean off my markings. Alcohol works great for Sharpie ink.
    Like T-Shooter said, I've learned to remove the ink before annealing, or it is very hard to get off.
     
  17. spudgun

    spudgun

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    Thanks for all your replies.

    I don't have issues with different ammo mix ups. Hell anyone can tell a 7mm Mag from a 223.

    However I have started a 6mm CM project and since I had 600 brass for 6.5CM.

    I have resizes and trimmed/turned the necks to 6mm CM. I also did a slight dremil on the .5 for the head stamp. So I can ID them by looking at the head stamp.

    But looking at them sitting on the bench in a box they kinda all look the same.

    I have used red and black felt pens to mark the cases with load data when working on a load.

    I was just looking for a quick way to ID them permently.

    Thanks for all you input.

    NUFF said on the topic..
     
  18. Twicepop

    Twicepop Silver $$ Contributor

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    Go to Brownell's web site, and look up BRASS BLACK.
     
  19. jonbearman

    jonbearman I live in new york state,how unfortunate ! Gold $$ Contributor

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    I wonder if interior spray dye they use on seats and headliners would work on brass without hurting it or excessive build up. I also wonder if analine dye would work as a temporary marking. Personally I went out and bought a sharpie set of like 12 different colors. It works and does come right off in wet tumbling. Markers are cheap, changing colors with weird chemicals could weaken the structure. Anyone know a metallurgist?
     
  20. Hoser

    Hoser

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    Liver of sulfur is what you seek.
     
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