Gold Colored Brass?

Some time back, there were threads that discussed brass cases that had a light gold color to them. I cannot find the right words to bring them up with a search so I’m asking for help. Does anyone remember the threads and what the conclusions were?

Here’s a photo of the base of a Cal .30 case that is the odd yellow-gold color. The rest of the case, inside and out, is the same color. It appears to be some sort of coating because it can be sanded off and the original brass color is underneath. It’s been suggested that they were cleaned in some sort of acid solution that left them this color. I also have some 7.62mm NATO cases that are the same color. I can’t find them right now but I think they were Israeli?


Could be anodized.

Back in the 1980’s and/or early 1990’s there was a lot of Surplus ammuniton that came out of Israel. It was variously described as “battlefield pickup”, “floor sweepings”, or “sold as componants only”. I forget where, but I was told that the importer, probably Samco or Sarco, cleaned all of this ammunition in an industrial tumbler with a mild acid solution and some sort of abrasive media. The result was this unique dull color on the brass. I cannot imagine your casing being from this same group, but the color and dullness suggest an acid wash of some sort. One of the stages in the case manufacturing process is “pickeling” which is an acid wash to remove scale from the drawn case. Maybe this case came out of the process just after being pickeled?


30 or more years ago, there was a commercial case cleaning liquid sold to reloaders that was really a dilute solution of Nitric acid. It left brass cases with a frosted gold appearance. I used some of it. It worked but I didn’t particularly like the resulting appearance. I’ve long since switched to citric acid for case cleaning.

Thanks guys. I’m thinking, like you, that these are regular cases that have been cleaned or otherwise immersed in some solution that resulted in the frosted finish. The question remains, in my mind, why?? And, notice that there is no primer crimp so they must have been unfired cases that left FA for some reason and ended up in private hands.

Another of life’s mysteries.


Often surplus suppliers use cement mixers as tumblers and industrial acid and sand as media. Producing a characteristic finish.