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Old October 11, 2012, 04:05 PM   #29
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Join Date: May 27, 2007
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Does all this have more to do with older military ammo ? Or are we all just useing mil-surp cus that's were the reports originated ?
I put this out as a warning for all old ammunition. There is a lot of ignorance on this topic. Industry does not want you to know about powder shelf life because from a profits viewpoint, consumer knowledge is bad. You might get picky, you might not buy old stock. I am putting this out to inform that old ammunition has its risks. There will be the willful ignorant who dismiss the warning signs of hangfires, misfires, and high pressure, but for those who are wondering if those signs are indications of potentially unsafe ammunition, then hopefully this will validate their suspicions .

The only information in the public domain, for the time being, are the old military reports.

Are the newer powders of today just as likey to be compromized long term as the older powders .( all things being equal )
Yes. Nitrocellulose is the same now as when it was invented back in the 1846. The Wiki article shows the evolution of it as an smokeless propellant. You can look up single base, double base, and triple based powders, and I don’t have the slightest idea how triple based powders age.

I am certain there are differences to the “herbs and spices” of modern powders compared to older powders, but the base is the same “chicken”.

Do all manufacurers of NATO ammo use the same gun powder and are the powders used today the same as the powders in older NATO lots .
No they do not and I would not expect it to be so. When you disassemble foreign ammunition and inspect the powder, it can be flaked, ball, whatever. Sovereign nations preferentially use domestic manufacturers. Keeps the money in country and keeps their people employed.

Lake City is a Government owned and contractor operated facility. Whatever American contractor wins the bid uses whatever powder, primer, they want, be it from within their company, or from a foreign supplier, as along as the source is not forbidden. There are "buy American clauses", but what is "American" has been manipulated by Corporations. Military specifications are now performance specs, not the product specs used way back when. As long as the pressure curve, velocity, shelf life, etc, meet the performance requirements, it is up to the contractor to figure out which propellants and primers to use. This was not true back in the days when the Army ran their own Arsenals. There were a limited number of propellants used in US ammunition , all of domestic manufacture, and the product specification could require a specific propellant.

Briefings on NATO ammunition can be found on the web, basically the ammunition is to be interchangeable between countries. What powders NATO countries use is up to them.

Newly manufactured ammunition by commercial outfits, such as Federal, Winchester, Remington, powders they use is determined by what maximizes their profit. These companies will purchase out sourced powders if it is cheaper than buying from their powder division. These companies change powders and suppliers all the time.

But, military ammunition and commercial ammunition is the same basic chemistry of nitrocellulose (single base) or nitrocellulose with nitroglycerine (double base).

ALL things being the equal . If I had 60 year old mil-surp ammo and 60 year old commercial ammo . Would each one be just as likely as the other to be compromizied . Same question but looking in to the future . If I bought new production Federal lake city and Reminton UMC today ( I just picked some brands not sure If it matters ) . In 60 years would it be just as likely they both would be compromized the same .
Given the same storage conditions they will deteriorate at the same rate. There will be little differences between lots, based on manufacturing variances, based on stabilizer chemistry, and there will be differences in the rate of deterioration of single based powders and double based powders, because nitroglycerine increases the reduction-oxidation of nitrocellulose.

Can all of the above questions have one answer . ( Generally all gun powders are made up of the same properties there fore they are all subject to the same issues ) .
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.

Last edited by Slamfire; October 12, 2012 at 09:07 AM.
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