Polishing Cartridges


#1

Sometimes I get this terrible urge to polish my cartridges…anyone else ?
Simon


#2

If they are modern sporting rounds that are too have inert primers and bullets re-fitted, they would be shiny when they came out of the box, so I do polish those. However, anything I think is valuable I do not. I am also sometimes left with no option on old military fired cases than to polish to remove sticky marks, corrosion, fingerprints and other grot that they seems to have on them. I also polish out scratch marks from anything where anyone has used sandpaper (shudder) to clean it.


#3

Simon

I don’t polish cartridges but I certainly see nothing wrong with the cleaning of most modern cartridges as well as wildcats, competition cartridges, re-loads etc. Collectors have a strange set of values when it comes to cleaning, re-furbishment, re-construction, etc. A classic auto or vintage aircraft collector would not hesitate to completely rebuild his prized possession while a firearms collector would shudder at the thought of restoring an 1873 Colt. Who’s to say what’s acceptable? Some will say that cleaning or polishing will lower the value but I don’t collect for value. And a cartridge cleaned today will have a 50 year old patina in 2057 won’t it? JMHO

Ray


#4

I think most collectors would say it is OK to clean cartridges, but I would refrain from POLISHING them. I use a nice dirty, oily gun cleaning rag to clean most acrtridges, or an old jeweler’s cloth that I washed all the rouge out of. For particularly nasty bits I have some oily brass wool.


#5

I try to avoid doing anything, but when there is tape, corrosion or similar disfigurements present, I have no reservations about doing so carefully. Especially the corrosion, because left alone it will eventually destroy the specimen’s utility. I do, however, attempt to conform to the principle advanced by Chris Punnett in his superb discussion of this topic on the IAA site - to do the minimum absolutely required with the least aggressive materials. For example alcohol, plastic scrubs, coarse fiber artificial fabric, very fine bronze wool, acetone (or acetone-based nail polish remover), dilute vinegar, wood or plastic toothpicks and such will do for the vast majority of blemishes without affecting the specimen’s appearance at all (or very little). I sure hate those people who painted identifications of various types on the specimens in years past or went at things with serious abrasives.

.


#6

My opinion counts the least but I do side with “minimal invasion” principle. I carry this attitude from collecting guns where I have seen people taking a $1000 gun, paying a gunsmith $500 for modifications (scope, new stock etc) and then having trouble selling this gun for $100. I don’t modify out of fear and lack of knowledge. I do have an urge to oil everything though. I also hope that oil closes those pesky hairline cracks in 30-06 and alike. Would oiling non-painted lead be detrimental?


#7

sks - Head over to the main IAA site and scroll down the list of linked topics in the left hand column on the home page. There is a superb article on the care and cleaning of specimens which I believe will address all your questions.

.


#8

The basic problem with polishing a cartridge is that, when done, it removes any and all manufacturing marks (other than the headstamp, although some factory dummies I’ve seen have had the headstamp nearly polished away). Anealing, and die marks are not again seen, and this leaves future collectors unsure if perhaps they are looking at a reload, or factory example with out those tale-tales.
Your bullets, polish if you want. but you are removing a good portion of the cartridges historical manufacturing evidence. On the other hand, careful cleaning can only help preserve your collection. After all we are only coustodians of our collections till it either becomes illegal, or we get tired of it, & need a change, or we kick the bucket!


#9

The basic problem with polishing a cartridge is that, when done, it removes any and all manufacturing marks (other than the headstamp, although some factory dummies I’ve seen have had the headstamp nearly polished away). Anealing, and die marks are not again seen, and this leaves future collectors unsure if perhaps they are looking at a reload, or factory example with out those tale-tales.
Your bullets, polish if you want. but you are removing a good portion of the cartridges historical manufacturing evidence. On the other hand, careful cleaning can only help preserve your collection. After all we are only coustodians of our collections till it either becomes illegal, or we get tired of it, & need a change, or we kick the bucket!


#10

I don’t and won’t polish any of my collection, it’s just I get this terrible urge now and again to pick a round up and brasso it…must be a hang over from my army days…if it was brass you polished it…nurse nurse my medication please ;-)
Simon


#11

Simon - I know what you mean - polishing the buckles on the Duty Belts is a regular chore in the ATC!!


#12

Simon

There is one area of collecting where polishing cases is perfectly acceptable, IMHO. That is, cartridges used in competition such as Benchrest. Benchrest shooters believe that cleanliness and super accuracy go hand in hand and, if you go to a Benchrest match, you will find all sorts of gadgets and gizmos made especially for cleaning and even polishing cartridges on the loading tables. Now, I’m not here to tell you that it makes a bit of difference in winning or losing but mental attitude and confidence in your equipment and ammo cannot be ignored. The same applies, to a lesser degree, to wildcats. And to NASCAR.

Ray


#13

I do not & will not polish my cartridges,but come on guys 'fess up.Didn’t we all when we started polish a cartridge within an inch of its life.Then spend years trying to find a replacement so
that we wouldn’t have to remember to hide it when a collecting buddy came over?? You mean I’m the only one??