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Old December 6, 2012, 07:44 PM   #1
TripHlx
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Strange Powder Residue

Hey guys! I recently picked up a Webley Revolver in .38 S&W, and took it out today to finally give it some range time. I functioned perfectly for the fifty rounds of Remington Factory ammo I had on hand, and was surprisingly accurate.

I had a great time with it, but while gathering brass and cleaning the gun I noticed something odd. Inside the fired cases and in the bore was a fair bit of unburned powder flakes. I said no big deal, just not a very clean burning load.

Then I noticed yellow crystals/lumps stuck to the inside of the brass. THIS is new to me, can't recall ever seeing it before. The material is granular and mostly opaque. You can see a little light through it. The yellow color makes me think it might be some kind of sulfur minerals from the gunpowder.

Anything you guys might now about this would be appreciated. I definitely don't want anything potentially corrosive fired through this gun on a regular basis, and I don't want to take any chances on dangerous ammo.

I have another box of this ammo which was bought at the same time as the fired box several years ago. This ammo was included in the sale of the gun.

P.S. If you guys have any info to put forward about the Webley Revolver or the .38 S&W, please feel free. I want as much education about this gun as I can get.
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Old December 6, 2012, 08:00 PM   #2
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That's unburned powder except that it got warm enough for the graphite coating to burn off and sometimes gets warm enough to melt in with other such lumps, distorting the shape. I'm not sure if the yellow is due to smoke staining or just the fact the nitrocellulose was made by nitrating wood pulp instead of pure, virgin cotton, but it's what you usually find in these situations.

The reason you got those is the same reason you have the unburned dark flakes. The cartridge is running at a pressure too low to burn thoroughly or efficiently. If you go to reload these yourself, using a faster burn rate powder will clear it up.
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Old December 6, 2012, 08:17 PM   #3
serf 'rett
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^Unburned powder. Can be yellow and semi translucent when coating is gone (if there was any coating at the start).
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Old December 7, 2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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Since you are worried about corrosive stuff in your Webley, it is probably worth considering how old your ammunition is, and what it was made with.

From the unburned powder discussion, at least we know that the ammo is made with smokeless powder. But, we don't know what the primers are made with.

Do you know how old the ammo is?

Are the cases "balloon head" or "solid head" construction?

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Old December 7, 2012, 09:45 AM   #5
TripHlx
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No real idea on the age of the ammunition. Remington packaging, solid head cases. It doesn't seem that old really, I just wasn't really sure what I was dealing with there.
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Old December 7, 2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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If it is solid head cases, then you are probably OK with respect to corrosive primers. Others with more knowledge than me might chime-in if I am wrong.

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Old December 8, 2012, 06:29 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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Remington stopped using corrosive primers in the late 1920s to early 1930s in its commercial ammo.

Its military ammo used corrosive primers through the early 1950s.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:32 AM   #8
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Mike,

Do you know when Remington started using solid head cases for .38 S&W cartridges? I am hoping that they made the corrosive to noncorosive primer switch BEFORE they did the case type switch, so that the case type would be a good marker for the primer type.

But, I still have some Remington .44-40 ballon head cased factory ammo from the 1950s that I wonder about, now.

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