Can a Vacuum Cleaner Be Used to Pick Up Spent Brass?

Shooting in a range can be an enjoyable hobby. What’s not enjoyable is the part that comes after – collecting all the spent brass casings. This chore can be a back-breaking task considering that most enthusiasts shoot over a hundred rounds every session. You need a tool that can help you pick them up quickly, safely, and effortlessly. A vacuum cleaner is the first thing that came to your mind, right? But can a vacuum cleaner be used to pick up spent brass?

Yes, a vacuum cleaner can be used to pick up the spent brass casings. It is a convenient piece of equipment to use because it allows you to gather several casings per sweep and you don’t have to bend down too much to reach the metal pieces. However, you cannot use just any vacuum cleaner. You need to find one that has a sturdy container or vacuum cleaner bag and a HEPA filter.

Why a Regular Vacuum Cannot Be Used to Pick Up Spent Brass Casings?

One of the things that many regular vacuum cleaner owners do not know is that you are not supposed to vacuum hard objects with it. Hard objects like spent brass casings, can cause serious damage to the interior of your cleaning machine. The small casing can also become lodged in places where it can be difficult to remove.

Another reason why you shouldn’t pick up spent casings using a regular vacuum cleaner is that it can easily puncture a hole in the vacuum cleaner bag. Once this happens, the machine will lose its suction and you will either have to patch up the hole or replace the bag to be able to use the vacuum again.

Finally, most vacuums are equipped with regular filters. These are not designed to contain lead dust from the casing. When you use your vacuum to clean the floor of the range, the suction will stir up the lead powder. If the vacuum doesn’t filter this properly, it will spew the lead dust out of its exhaust port. If you inhale this or get it on your skin, you can get lead poisoning.

What Type of Vacuum Should You Use for Brass Casings?

So how can a vacuum cleaner be used to pick up spent brass?

Well, you need to buy an industrial dry vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter to safely pick up spent brass casings. These machines are intended for vacuuming metalworking debris. So, its container should be able to withstand the numerous pieces of metal hitting its surface.

These vacuum cleaners are much sturdier than any regular cleaning equipment that you can buy at janitorial catalogs or home improvement stores.

The other feature that you need to look for is the HEPA filter. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can trap dirt and dust that you cannot see including the lead dust from the brass casings. It can also prevent it from getting into your mouth, eyes, or skin.

You need to make sure that the vacuum you are using has an effective filtration system, otherwise, you are risking getting lead poisoning every time you clear the range’s floor.

Can You Buy an Industrial Vacuum with a HEPA Filter for Personal Use?

Yes, you can buy an industrial vacuum for personal use.

But as mentioned above, an industrial-type vacuum cannot be bought from any regular shop. You will need to source it from companies that sell equipment to production sites and other metalworking facilities.

And because this type of equipment may need to be specially ordered, it is not going to be cheap. If you add the HEPA filter requirement, the price of the vacuum cleaner may become too high for it to be bought for personal use.

Final Thought

Collecting spent brass casings in a shooting range can be very tedious and dangerous especially if you do it manually. So, can a vacuum cleaner be used to pick up spent brass? Yes, and using it will speed up the process for sure.

But unfortunately, regular vacuum cleaners are not suited for this purpose because these are meant to suck up dust and small debris, not metal casings with lead powder. Therefore, you will need to buy an expensive industrial vacuum cleaner that is equipped with a HEPA filter to collect all the spent casings safely and conveniently.

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