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OK..what is with the salt?

This is a discussion on OK..what is with the salt? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; When searching for the formula to clean my brass with I have seen many similar recipes for a thorough cleaning...including what many call the "NRA ...


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Old March 27th, 2017, 04:40 PM   #1
 
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OK..what is with the salt?

When searching for the formula to clean my brass with I have seen many similar recipes for a thorough cleaning...including what many call the "NRA official" recipe. This is usually a certain amount of hot water, a teaspoon or so of Dishwashing liquid, some acid ( lemon juice, Lemi-shine ) and often a certain amount of SALT. Stir it occasionally and then rinse with water and baking soda...which I assume is to neutralize the acid. One question though....

What is the salt for? What does it do? I searched this forum for an answer first....so I apologize if this is a repeat question.



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Old March 27th, 2017, 06:24 PM   #2
 
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It's a water softener
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Old March 27th, 2017, 06:35 PM   #3
 
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Glad the question was asked and the answer given. I didn't know that.
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Old March 27th, 2017, 08:14 PM   #4
 
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Salt will soften water . . . if it is run through an ion-exchange unit. The sodium from the salt replaces the calcium and magnesium that make water hard.

Don't know what the chemistry is in your cleaning solution.

ETA: Further searching revealed claims that copper oxide is removed by a mixture of a weak acid and salt. A SWAG at why the salt is in the mix is to use the salt's chlorine.

Last edited by Twoboxer; March 27th, 2017 at 08:21 PM.
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Old March 27th, 2017, 08:40 PM   #5
 
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Several possible answers are on this page. The addition of sodium and chlorine atoms from the salt to the mix appears capable of doing a number of things in combination with acetic acid (vinegar) to remove copper oxide more quickly.
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Old March 27th, 2017, 08:50 PM   #6
 
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Holy Crap! I come here to talk guns and got a freakin' chemistry lesson!
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Old March 28th, 2017, 06:24 AM   #7
 
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Old days (what else) the sailors would rub a mixture of vinegar and salt on corroded and rusted marine hardware..let it soak...rub it with a brush and rinse it off...worked like a charm.
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Old April 19th, 2017, 04:19 PM   #8
 
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No offense, but I believe you're over thinking it a bit. I use just a basic vibratory tumbler and crushed walnut hulls (corncob works OK as well). No liquids, no drying time, just a bit of dust to wipe off. Takes 2 to 4 hours. I've heard of some who add a bit of Flitz polish to their corncob if they need the brass to be extra shiny.

Honest, your guns don't care if you can see your reflection in the cartridge.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 05:39 PM   #9
 
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Whenever a question comes up regarding case cleaning, one should always mention that anything beyond simply wiping off the case exterior is for the pleasure of the reloader.

Acetic acid will leach out zinc from brass, but vinegar has been used for decades.
Common cleaning solution has been hot water, salt, and aluminum foil.
Heck, some folks swear by Coca-Cola and aluminum foil.
Many simply recommend 000 steel wool.
As long as you are 100% you are NOT damaging the case in ANY way, go for it.
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Old April 21st, 2017, 07:59 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBumpkin View Post
No offense, but I believe you're over thinking it a bit. I use just a basic vibratory tumbler and crushed walnut hulls (corncob works OK as well). No liquids, no drying time, just a bit of dust to wipe off. Takes 2 to 4 hours. I've heard of some who add a bit of Flitz polish to their corncob if they need the brass to be extra shiny.

Honest, your guns don't care if you can see your reflection in the cartridge.
I do not use the vibrating kind because of dust, and I prefer to clean the primer pockets.

After Lee's Universal De-Capper, I either use the small Lyman Ultrasonic cleaner with a mix of Lemi-shine, hot water, vinegar or I have been playing with a rotary tumbler & a cup of sand blasting media, which gives a very clean matte finish to the brass.
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