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Old November 14, 1999, 01:10 PM   #1
Gwinnydapooh
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I started out in shotguns where corrosive ammo is never mentioned as a concern. Now I'm looking at 9mm and 45 acp pistols and I keep hearing about dumb newbies who buy corrosive ammo. Well, I'm a dumb newbie so I figure it's just a matter of time.

First, what is corrosive ammo? What is non-corrosive? Why is it to be avoided, and does it serve any purpose?

Second, how do I avoid corrosive ammo? Are there certain brands to avoid, or dates of manufacture, or some kind of distinction on boxes or casings?

Thanks from a confoozled newbie. BTW, I'm finding the newbie reloader thread fascinating. Keep the advice coming!

------------------
Don

"Its not criminals that go into schools and shoot children"
--Ann Pearston, British Gun Control apologist and moron
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Old November 14, 1999, 03:40 PM   #2
John Lawson
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"Corrosive" primers contain either mercurial components (rare) or Potassium Chlorate as part of the chemical makeup. Many older surplus or commercial loads have this kind of priming. Modern primers contain lead styphnate, and will not cause immediate rusting or "corrosion."
If you stay away from "bargain" ammunition, you are off to a good start. U.S. government loaded ammo up to 1946 for service loads and several years later for match ammo was corrosive, except for carbine ammo, which was never loaded with corrosive primers.
Many of these older loads and some modern ones from Europe and other continents contain corrosive primers. Somebody could write a large book on all of the variations.
To be safe, either load your own with all new components, or buy U.S. brands or imported brands marked non-corrosive primed.
But, just to make certain, buy only premium bore cleaner and thoroughly clean your weapon as soon after firing as possible.
If you ever HAVE to fire corrosive ammo, you must clean you weapon immediately, then do it all over again for a total of three days after firing to be certain. Corrosive ammo is best cleaned up after with ammonia solvents like G.I. WW-II solvent or the old Ordnance Corps formula found in older gunsmithing books.

[This message has been edited by John Lawson (edited November 14, 1999).]
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Old November 14, 1999, 06:34 PM   #3
Gwinnydapooh
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WOW!! Ok, I think I can handle that. Just out of curiosity, did soldiers and other shooters really clean their guns daily for three days after each firing? Come to think of it, I guess soldiers are known for spending a lot of time on keeping weapons clean . . . .

------------------
Don

"Its not criminals that go into schools and shoot children"
--Ann Pearston, British Gun Control apologist and moron
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Old November 14, 1999, 08:01 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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Gwinny: A minor add-on point: The residue left in the barrel from the "corrosive" primers is very hygroscopic, which is a four-bit word for "attracts moisture".

Water + salt-type chemicals, on steel = YUCK!

(Watching "American Shooter". Munden is shooting 8" balloons at 200 yards with a snubby. Sheesh!)
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Old November 14, 1999, 08:53 PM   #5
Big Bunny
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Gwinny da Pooh, I have found problems with cheapie berdan corrosive ammo prior to 1955(especially .303 Br) and some current Russian target ammo for the TOZ 36/49 pistol. Even some .22 RF can give problems, but it can be very accurate indeed.

I have found SWEETS 7.62(ammonia based solvent) and Hoppes No9 good, but the best is hot soapy water funnelled down the barrel ! It is cheap/effective to get rid of the hygroscopic salts and dries easily -then you remove the metal fouling with the usual solvent. Brill !

Many WW2 abnd WW2 rifle barrels were ruined by lack of field cleaning with consequent loss of accuracy, feeding problems and heavy felt recoil.The mercuric priming also can weaken brass for reloading purposes too, so care is needed.

The wiser Russians and Chinese lined their barrels with hard chrome - resulting in less fouling and far less clearing, even with their corrosive ammo. The famous SKS S/A 7.62X39mm carbine and Moisant-Nagant B/A rifle 7.62X56mm [R =rimmed] are but two I have used with this feature.

Neat eh ?

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***Big Bunny***
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Old November 15, 1999, 04:30 AM   #6
John Lawson
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May I try you gentlemen's patience with a brief horror story?
Like Big Bunny, my partner and I had been trained to deal with corrosive primers using the soap and hot water method recounted in the Army field manual on pistols and revolvers between wars I and II.

I bit the bullet and purchased a new Gold Cup in 1955 (#896, to be exact.) I had never fired the pistol, but had protected the bore with a liberal coating of RIG. In my scrounging at gun shows I had obtained a large quantity of Frankford Arsenal loaded, corrosive primed (chlorate, not fulminate of mercury) .45 ACP ammo.
My partner asked to borrow the pistol, since he was going to the ocean for a few days and wanted to shoot up in the dunes (perfectly safe in those days.) I warned him to take the grease out of the bore before firing.
He removed the grease using patches saturated with the old formula Hoppe's #9 before shooting approximately 300 rounds of the surplus FA loads.
Late that evening he returned to his motel room, did the hot soapy water flush, dried the barrel and swabbed it with Hoppe's on patches, followed by dry patches. He did not have oil or gun grease with him. He repeated the operation on the next two nights, knowing how particular I was about my guns.
A week later, when I was preparing to go to the police range, I glanced through the bore, which looked clean and shiny, but had a coppery sheen. I decided to scrub out the copper using WW-II ammonia based G.I. bore cleaner.
Geez! That barrel had the pox under the copper plating and I had to wait over a month for a new matched set of barrel and bushing from the factory.
The moral to this is that nice new barrels have microscopic chatter marks from tooling, copper fouling adheres tightly, and if you have potassium chlorate in the steel's pores under the fouling you are in mud deeper than that of the Western Front.
And, Gwinny, I was in the Ordnance Corps during the Korean war. MANY times I put off eating my dinner (those disgusting C rations) until my pistol had been thoroughly cleaned. It saved my life once, so I had a very high regard for its well being. There is nothing so comforting as having a pistol with a lanyard around your wrist in a sleeping bag, if you have had buddies bayonetted in their sacks.
And, before you ask, no, I couldn't get those damned little burners to work properly either. I had a Lenk blowtorch that I used to warm my C rats and heat up my coffee and wash water.
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