storing used brass long term?

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Scott

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Dec 14, 2009
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I'm saving used brass (.380, 9mm, and especially .45Colt). I'm keeping them for if/when I get set up to reload. How much should they be cleaned up before storage? Can I just throw them in a clean bucket and keep 'em dry? Or should they be cleaned now to prevent corrosion? It may be as long as a year before I decide to take the plunge & start reloading, if that makes a difference.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Sep 18, 2002
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Kept in a good clean normal temp enviroment,, they should be fine. Make sure they are clean & dry before you store them. Then,, before reloading,, a trip through a tumbler will get them nice for loading!
 

Sharp Shooter

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Nov 24, 2005
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The only cases I worry about cleaning before storing are black powder cartridge cases. Unless they landed in the mud or something, my smokeless powder cases just get tossed into storage and cleaned later on, just before I reload them. The fact is, even later on my smokeless powder cases might not get a trip to the tumbler before I reload and fire them again. I'm not all that particular about having bright, shiny, new-looking cases. Most of the time my cases just get wiped off with a relatively clean rag. Of course their primer pockets get inspected, and sometimes cleaned, before I put new primers in them.
I think there's probably a lot of handloaders who use the same storage containers as I - old coffee cans with masking tape labels on them. Those gift tins that you can buy at the Dollar Store for a buck apiece around Christmas work well too.
One thing though - don't store your cases in a damp basement in the original cardboard boxes they came in. They'll get some kind of green gunk all over them. Ask me how I know. :oops:
 

Ruger Packer

Buckeye
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Aug 30, 2004
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1,558
I use sandwich size and quart size FREEZER bags for my brass.

I store the larger quantities in the quart size and smaller quantities in the sandwich size.

Use the FREEZER bags, they're thicker and hold up better than the others. Squeeze the air out of them and then zip 'em closed!
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
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Dec 25, 2007
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Freezer bags work well. If you want them to stack, find some boxes about the right size and pack them in. I have used pickle buckets but if they're not completely rinsed the vinegar will ruin brass over a long term. Now I use icecream or pie filling buckets- 1 or 2 gallon.
 

sourdough44

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Mar 8, 2010
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466
To go longer term I like zip lock bags too. I clean them 1st, bag them & get the air out. I have plenty that are just in cardboard boxes though, at least they were cleaned 1st.
 

Dale53

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
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925
GI .50 caliber machine gun ammo cans store brass near perfectly.

I DO have one caveat - do NOT sit them directly on a concrete floor. Just elevate them a couple of inches on a board or two. Condensation can seriously damage the bottom layer of brass (yes, it happened to me in a climate controlled basement). I have seen the same thing happen in a NON climate controlled garage. Just put a couple of 2x4's on the floor and sit the cans on them if you don't have shelves for storage.

FWIW
Dale53
 

Cherokee

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May 21, 2003
Messages
472
Freezer bags and GI ammo cans are great for brass storage. Got some I stored over 40 years ago in ammo cans. Like Dale said, don't set on floor.
 

hornady

Bearcat
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Feb 12, 2010
Messages
52
One thing I will add too this. A few years back , I had a bunch of 9MM. Range brass. I lived in Delaware at the Time, Pretty humid. When I got around to loading it. I had a bunch of primers I had a hard time getting out. Most popped a hole in the primer. And I had to dig them out. So now I always remove all the primers on the stuff that’s going to be stored a while.
 

WESHOOT2

Hunter
Joined
Mar 19, 2005
Messages
2,124
I have both cleaned and dirty fired cases (and new, too) stored in my shop, some now for over 14 years.
Some for over 34 years.....

I store some in its original packaging (like sealed bags of military, or boxed), and any I've cleaned I prefer keeping in plastic coffee jugs.

Yes, I gotta lotta brass.
 

edlmann

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Apr 6, 2009
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785
Scott":2cgzivh2 said:
I'm saving used brass (.380, 9mm, and especially .45Colt). I'm keeping them for if/when I get set up to reload. How much should they be cleaned up before storage? Can I just throw them in a clean bucket and keep 'em dry? Or should they be cleaned now to prevent corrosion? It may be as long as a year before I decide to take the plunge & start reloading, if that makes a difference.

I'd decap if possible and clean.

If you use a liquid cleaner, anything to be stored in plastic has to be dry, dry, dry.

I used to use metal coffee cans with a plastic bag liner to prevent metal-to-dissimilar-metal corrosion.
 

sarge

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 28, 2000
Messages
28
Not sure how much brass you have, but I keep mine stored in 5 gallon plastic buckets.
 

Driftwood Johnson

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
699
Howdy

Ya don't have to do a thing to them before storing them.

I started saving 38 Special brass about 30 years ago. I knew someday I would be reloading them, but did not get around to buying dies for 38 Sp until just a few years ago. By that time I had several buckets full of once fired 38 Sp brass. I did not do a thing to any of that brass. No tumbling, no depriming, nothing. I just threw them into a bucket and they sat in various basements over the years. When I finally started loading 38 Sp a few years ago I threw big handfuls of brass into my tumbler and tumbled them until they were nice and shiny. Didn't take any longer than tumbling recently fired brass. Then I just started reloading them like any other brass. By now some of that brass has been fired a bunch of times. No problems.

You can go ahead and shine them up if you want, you can even deprime them if you want, but my experience says it ain't necessary.
 

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