Keeping bullets cases clean


Is there a method of keeping bullet cases and copper heads free from cleaning so. Is there any thing you can apply after polishing. The upkeep and maintenance is a pain especially if you have a big collection. Just wondered what you guys used other than the normal Brasso.


Uh, well, I don’t clean my specimens other than (1) to remove labels / writing if I can and (2) address corrosion. Bright and shiny on something which is usually at least 50 years old seems out of place - but to each their own.

That said, for “normal” issues (e.g., fingerprints) paste wax will provide a good protective barrier and can be removed / re-applied with little effort.



I had often wondered who was responsible for those bright and shiny 100 year old cartridges that had made their way into my collection, it was BMG.50.

I agree with Iconoclast. Clean off any accumulated crud, remove the corrosion as good as you can without further damage to the cases, wipe them down with a greasy rag, and then put them away. Attempting to get them back to ‘as new’ condition only causes unnecessary wear and results in a never-ending, labor intensive process trying to keep them that way. Cartridge collecting is supposed to be a source of relaxation and enjoyment, not another tedious task.

Regarding cleaning corrosion without damaging the cases, I keep a few 1964 pennies on my desk for this; the copper being softer than brass or steel, scraping with the edge of the penny removes most of the corrosion and does not damage the cases.


I agree with the others. I don’t do anything to any cartridge with a patina already. I do polish some rounds but the very few I do are modern and pretty easy to come by (as mine is a beginning collection).That being said toothpaste apparently has a mild abrasive that seems to work well.



When I was very young and collecting cartridges, I would polish mine with Brasso. Later I learned it was probably best not to do any polishing on the cases so as to preserve their historical value.

I will still on occasion polish a case if it needs to be rescued from excessive and/or deep corrosion which will eventually destroy the case. When I do polish I use a tool like a dremel with a rogue polishing compound with a felt wheel.



BMG.50–While I agree with the above comments that it is best not to polish a case, if you feel you must do so (after all, they are yours) a coating with automotive quality clear lacquer will keep them nice and bright indefinently. I have a 75mm Tank case I polished 45 years ago and coated with automotive quality lacquer (obtainable at any store that sells paint for refinishing cars after repair) tht is still nice and bright. It is easily removed with acetone if desired.


I agree with you all, the less cleaning the better. I had a look at some 1944 20mm empty cases today at a fair, that had the original ink markings on the cases these were complete with links, to clean them would pose a problem. I ask about cleaning because I thought there maybe something you all use to keep cases in good condition, something i may not been aware of.