Pressure testing is among the services my business offers. This morning I received several samples of 9X19 ammunition from a major firearms manufacturer which had been
handloaded by an individual with a powder purchased at a gun show in Northern Ohio as
WC150. This "propellent" has destroyed the breech area of three arms.
While the powder, judging from its' appearance, was probably manufactured by St. Marks Powder (the division of Primex which produces the powders sold by Winchester), it is not a "smokeless powder" in the usual sense. It is orange in color, has a bulk density of approximately .246, and generates pressures high enough to cause case head and case web failures at the load level which the vendor recommended. Steve Faintich of St. Marks Powder states that the only orange colored product they make is called "Fluid Ball", and that this product is not intended for use in any kind of arms. It is sold only to Tek Ord for use in the manufacture of detonators, squibs etc.
I do not yet know how this material was obtained by the vendor.
The damage to the brass and the breech is as bad as I have ever seen from an arm which is
still somewhat intact.
I do not yet know why the individual who loaded the ammunition persisted in placing more cartridges in the gun after a single, let alone, repeated case failures.
I strongly urge anyone who has acquired any propellent matching the above description not
to use it in any arm under any circumstance.