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Old October 5, 2012, 09:08 AM   #26
Slamfire
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Some of the ingrediants used to forestall degradation of smokeless propellents have been found to last only 25 years under normal storage conditions. Storage in cool dry environments increase the useful life of propellents, but not in a consistent manner.

Cordite had an estimated shelf life of over thirty years, and some of this ammo has remained good for far longer. Cordite being extruded into sticks hard surfaced ans the surface moisture resistent may be the reason. The primers are the most common problem. The cordite requires a hot primer, the primer can degrade but still have enough flame to ignite as a momemtary hangfire.

Storage at temperatures over 125 degrees for any length of time causes the sticks to sweat nitroglycerin that pools in the case or soaks into the over the charge card disc if not well sealed.

Alternative cordite formulas were easier to produce in wartime, but were found to have a shelf life of around ten years. Most if not all ammo using these alternate propellents were either relegated to training or dumped in the sea after WW1.

Britain dumped hundreds of millions of degraded rounds in the North sea after each World War. Millions more rounds were sold to manufacturers of wood glues and furniture finishes the propellents broken down for their chemical components, the brass and bullets then sold as scrap, sometimes bought up by small firms who remanufactured the ammo using new primers and powders.

I don't trust surplus ammo, even that no more than 20 years old. I've found terribly degraded 7.62 NATO ammo with the headstamp of a often recommended manufacturer.

Only use I'd have for surplus ammo is to break it down for components.

Temperature accelerates the migration of nitrogylcerine (NG), but it is the action of the polar molecule H2O that wicks it to the surface of the grain.

When the nitroglycerine is wicked to the surface, it changes the burn rate. In double based powders the nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine are mixed as evenly as possible, but when the surface becomes NG rich, the pressure curve spikes.

Even though some of the "experts" served in the Army, maybe they did not have a need to know, or probably just did not care to find out, but the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all have stockpile surveillance programs, which covers all propellants, to weed out and get rid of the older stuff. It causes a major scandal when a facility goes up in flames and explosions, http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=13c_1205681217 and it creates paperwork when a soldier is injured with old ordnance.

Rocket motor propellant is usually a double based powder with more herbs and spices, and if you talk to the community, old motors have a history of going kaboom!. The shelf life is 20 years, then the things have to be re certified by X rays and visual inspection to determine if the propellant has collapsed, or if there is NG pooling on the surface. Recertification is expensive and is not 100% successful, because the motors are past their design life and many have to be scrapped anyway, and the frequency of inspection increases because propellant naturally breaks down. Any one remember which law of thermodynamics applies?

Still, I am waiting for the "experts" to tell me how single based propellants are not effected by age and storage conditions.
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Last edited by Slamfire; October 5, 2012 at 09:28 AM.
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:52 AM   #27
robertsig
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How about modern ammo? If Federal or Winchester ammo is stored safely for 20+ years, will it still perform just as good in 2032?
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:28 PM   #28
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How about modern ammo? If Federal or Winchester ammo is stored safely for 20+ years, will it still perform just as good in 2032?
The short answer is yes.

I have chronographed older LC Match and compared against new loads, the older stuff has greater velocity standard deviations and extreme spreads, but it went bang. I have done the same with old Eley Match, it is evident just from what I can see over the screens is that powder deterioration in the case is real and you can see it in older ammunition.

A longer answer is "depends primarily on storage conditions". The greatest factor is heat. Take a look at table 1 in that UN document, heat ages gunpowder, the more heat, the worse. If the ammunition is kept around 20 C to 30 C, not much change in shelf life, but elevated temperatures due to geography and exposure to sunlight, the ammunition shelf life is dramatically reduced.

The Insensitive Munitions expert I learned this from told me the best storage conditions are unchanging artic. A constant cold temperature and no water in the air.

So the general advice of "keep it cool and keep it dry" is good.

I am ignoring vibration. Per ammunition specialists, ammunition stored in tracked vehicles becomes unreliable if not dangerous. The vibration environment in a tank or personnel carrier is high amplitude and high frequency, simply horrible on everything. I believe it breaks the powder down. But unless you live in an Urban Assault Vehicle, I doubt this will be a concern.
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Last edited by Slamfire; October 5, 2012 at 02:36 PM.
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Old October 12, 2012, 08:32 PM   #29
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Either British .303, or some really cheap gunpowder. It must be impossible for Tula or other Russian producers to earn a decent profit on Berdan-primed .303, as they do with such 7.62x39.

What most shooters don't realize is that a Brit/Euro "arms control" organization has a website which describes tax money spent to persuade various nations to destroy stockpiles of both military rifles and ammo-not just AK-47s etc.
I forgot to bookmark the site.

An Aussie guy has a friend in South Africa. About two years ago the friend walked into a gun shop in South Africa.
He witnessed the staff-under govt. orders-destroying both L. Enfield bolt action rifles and Brens.

As to why the British and Euro socialist politicians are so fearful that war lords or criminals want obsolete, full-length, heavy rifles from WW2 baffles me....until I remember that those types of politicians don't use logic. They only prey on their subjects' ignorance by using inflammatory, vague, emotional rhetoric.
The Antonov 12 (NATO designation "Cub") turboprops flying around Africa crewed by Russians, Ukrainians etc must be carrying many crates of those clunky, obsolete bolt-action rifles....
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:30 AM   #30
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The hobby of Surplus Rifles is what got me into Hand Loading. Then into Cartridge Conversion, I love the Surplus Rifles even more for it.
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Old October 15, 2012, 09:32 PM   #31
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TX Hunter ... familiar story. The real answer to long time shooting of Milsurps is going to have to be reloading ... or folks like Privi for a limited number of calibers. I've gone both routes, but my major emphasis is reloading. While in the earliest days I had to resort to doing my own cartridge conversions exclusively, I've been a big fan and customer of Dave Gullo at Buffalo Arms from the time he was working out of his kitchen (and we both have a good laugh about those early days). Yes, custom brass can be pricey ... but if you are careful about picking up your fired brass and reasonable about pressures when reloading ... I've gone 10+ reloadings from the same cases. Since he came on the scene, shooting Milsurp rifles and pistols in long gone calibers has been made easy. That and having a die maker like Dave Davison and his son, Brian. If you want to shoot a wierd caliber ... CH4D is the place to go. Heck, with his help I can now even shoot my Troop Trials P-13 in .276 Enfield ... talk about RARE BIRD! I remember fondly the good old days of Paragon (and have a ton of 7.62X51 still), the days of cheap CMP .30-06 and .30 Carbine, good old HXP 303! Sadly, those days are gone forever and you gotta' believe that there are limited supplies of other calibers. Notice how rarely you see 7.62 X 45 Czech is today?

Sure, I don't expect 7.62 X 54R or 7.62 X 39 or 7.62 X 51 NATO or even 7.92 X 57 to do the vanishing act any time soon since the first three are currently in use and there seems to be good East European sources for the fourth ... but the days of .10/round have left the station.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:08 PM   #32
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Love to find the 1000 rounds of 5.56 surplus I got a Knob Creek several years ago for $125. More of the 8X56R Hungarian surplus Nazi stuff I bought for $1.95/ 10 rounds on stripper clips when I bought my 2 M95 Steyrs. More 303 Britt surplus would be good as well.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:49 PM   #33
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I never bought 8MM WWII ammo when there was plenty around. Most was loaded by slave labor and they were not exactly happy campers. Other stuff I shot plenty.
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Old October 17, 2012, 11:26 AM   #34
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Thanks Romeo 33 Delta

Sounds like you love to load for these old guns too. My next big plunge is going to cast bullets. Its ever bit as fun to make your own ammo as it is to shoot it.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:19 PM   #35
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Re: Cheap Ammo

Here is to the good old days...2nd quarter 2005 Catalog AIM Surplus Ohio

800 rd can 7.62 X 54R Czech 147 gr $59.95
380 rd can 8mm Romanian $32.95
1,224 rd can 7.62 X 25 Romanian Surplus $119.95
376 rd can 30.06 Korean on Garrand Clips $66.95
50 rd box 45 acp 230grn FMJ $6.95
500 rd case 45 acp 230grn FMJ $65.00
1000 rd case 9mm 145grn hollow point $100.00


Russian Nagant 91/30 $69.95 with accessories
Yugo SKS Shooter Grade $99.95
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:59 PM   #36
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Wordy

If you cant understand the love of a surplus Bolt Action, You wont be able to comprehend an explanation. Your right about the SKS its a fine Weapon indeed.
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Old October 17, 2012, 06:02 PM   #37
Romeo 33 Delta
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TX Hunter ... you hit that nail on the head! It was an Italian M-1891/38 TS carbine with bayonet and sling that my Dad sent back from Italy ... new, unfired that got me into Milsurps ... reloading ... wildcatting. Every reloader I've ever talked to can remember the first time he took HIS ammo out to the range and shot it. That FIRST round is ALWAYS priceless! Milsurps and old sporters (Savage 1920s and Newtons) and old target rifles (the 50s) have always been my weakness ... and my first love!
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Old October 17, 2012, 09:02 PM   #38
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Romeo Delta

Ive got two Rifles that I enjoy Shooting, one is a Remington 1903 A3, It gets the new factory cartridges, then I Convert the fired brass to 8x57 Mauser and fire it in my 24 47 Yugo. Got a pretty good stash for now, I load fairly light on the Yugo, but am able to hit a Milk Jug consistently at 200 yards with my hand loads, and 100 yard two liters are no problem at all.
Love the Rifles, and loading loading the ammo for them.
There are others I load for, but those are my favorite two.
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Old October 19, 2012, 12:54 AM   #39
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Gunplummer:
During WW2, some of the Czech or Slovakian ammo plant workers produced some randomly selected dud rounds, hoping to save the lives of some Allied troops and flight crews.

They were very careful to avoid any systematic sabotage of ammo.
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