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topic 35119

Ways to color brass cartridges


I work for a maker of ammunition. Recently there has been increased interest in having higher-end products be some other color than brass. Some colors are standardized for a purpose, so that color cannot be used--dull zinc for proof ammunition for higher than normal pressure testing and dull black for dummy rounds that contain no active ingredients (so zinc plating and black oxide are out as possible alternatives).

No - No - Yes

Also, colors must be very durable, since the process of loading and shooting is about as harsh a treatment as a part can see in one cycle (so in all likelihood paint and powder coat are out). What processes can be used to color brass (ANSI 260)? What colors do these processes offer? High-end ammunition is produced in the 200 million rounds per year rate in the US, about 5 rounds per hunter per year.

Todd Cook
Materials Engineer - Elizabethtown, Kentucky


According to Fishlock's book on coloring of metals (Teddington 1962., up to today one of best books on this subject, except German book by Buchner) there are five basic methods to colour copper and its alloys black:
1.copper nitrate +heat
3.copper carbonate/ammonia
Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

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