If Corrosive Ammo is so bad, why are there so many "Good" rifles out there?


January 12, 2003, 01:32 PM
Ok..everyone mentions that corrosive ammo is pretty bad stuff if you don't clean you weapons. That I believe. What puzzles me is the number of weapons that were definitely used during wartime periods that still have very nice bores.

We all know that weapons maintainance was probably neglected until some time after a skirmish when the soldiers had some down time. Either that or when malfunctions forced them to clean their weapons. More than likely days, possibly weeks went by before a thorough cleaning was done using bore solvents.

Knowing the affects of Corrosive ammo I have to surmise one or more of the following.

1. The effects of Corrosive ammo are self limiting after a number of shots.

2. The Solvents in use during those time periods were very effective and offered some protection abililites after use of Corrosive ammo.

3. The weapons that have dark bores were more than likely actually used in battle.

4. The ones with good bores were more likely training weapons or non battle weapons.

I would guess #3 and #4 to be true.

Anyone ever fire Corrosive ammo extensively and neglected cleaning for some time? If so, what were the results and did your barrels clean up afterwards?

Good SHooting

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January 12, 2003, 02:28 PM
Once when I returned from the range, a family emergency came up and it was two days before I could clean my guns. One was a mauser I had shot corrosive ammo in. In those two days, a film of rust was already forming in the bore. Luckily it cleaned right up without damaging the bore, but I don't thing it would have taken much time to have done serious damage. Some ammo seems to be worse than others.

I have a WWII era book written by Ernie Pyle, the famous war correspondent. In one chapter he writes of time he spent with an ordnance company. He mentions how the small arms repair section of this particular company had rigged up a "swivel shaft on the end of an electric drill and attaching a cylindrical wire brush to the end" that allowed them to clean rust out of barrels in a few seconds, opposed to the twenty minutes it had previously taken.

Mike Irwin
January 12, 2003, 03:30 PM
Simple. People UNDERSTOOD that you had to clean very, very soon.

That's something that we've lost these days. We're used to being able to shoot and not clean if we don't want to.

Prior to smokeless powder, though, you had black powder AND corrosive primers. People knew you had to clean, clean quick, and clean thoroughly.

The solvents of the day weren't particularly good, except for the fact that they contained a lot of water, and water is what you need to cut both corrosive priming fouling and black powder fouling.

Laura Ingalls Wilder has a description of her father cleaning his black powder rifle using a bucket of hot water in one of his books.

GI Bore cleaner was something like 75% water by volumn.

As long as you clean thoroughly and quickly, you, too, can keep a gun barrel looking pretty much new.

I think you may be on to something by saying that guns with dark bores, at least military rifles, may have actually been used in combat conditions. It's tougher to clean your rifle quickly when you're dodging mortar fire.

January 12, 2003, 03:36 PM
As Mike alluded to, soldiers actually had the discipline to clean their weapons properly after firing corrosive ammo?

And, yes, sometimes they didn't do what they were supposed to. I've got a No5Mk1 Jungle Carbine and 1917 Amberg Gewehr 98 Mauser that illustrate that lack of cleaning discipline rather well.

We're somewhat spoiled in this day and age with our current non-corrosive ammo.

January 12, 2003, 05:22 PM
My first rifle was a M91 mosin nagant dated 1899.
I shot it all the time and cleaned it religiously.
I had no idea what corrosive ammo was or what it did.

Well one time I had a brain fart and put my rifle away before cleaning and it sat in the gun closet for close to 5 years.

When I looked at it again I could barely see down the bore
even with the bolt out. After about 3 hours of copper brush
shooters choice, hoppes about 200 patches I could see distinct rifling again, however the bore is dark and has some pits.

And now there is no possible way to get a clean patch out
of it no matter how many hours I spend scrubbing.

It still shoots fairly well but I still kick myself for messing up a
good bore like that.

January 12, 2003, 06:03 PM
I've read that Soviet regulations required the soldiers to inspect and clean their weapons every day, even under battlefield conditions. I don't know if it's true or not, but it seems plausible to me. Combat use may explain dark bores in some weapons, but what about the Yugo SKS rifles that have them?

January 12, 2003, 07:17 PM
but what about the Yugo SKS rifles that have them?

Conscript Army composed of troops who really didn't care? I'm not sure if the Yugo SKSs went through any wartime periods.

Any history buffs out there?

Good Shooting

January 12, 2003, 07:19 PM
But without the benefit of a chrome-lined bore in their SKS rifles. ;)

January 12, 2003, 09:47 PM
I do not know about you but if I was in active combat I would clean and maintain my rifle rather than eating if time was short! A jammed rifle would be the thing that would be in my nightmares during combat. I am sure that in basic the soldiers were drilled that a dirty guy can and will kill them. Remember the old saying about never going to bed with a dirty gun.


January 12, 2003, 10:10 PM
jbutenhoff ,

You would be surprised at just how little emphasis the Military, actually the Army kept on keeping your weapons cleaned in the field. Now perhaps things have changed since the last Saudi/Iraq escapade but back then we were scrambling for cleaning supplies. I was with the 24th ID at Ft Stewart GA. When we found out we were deploying to Iraq we went down to Kmart, Walmart and just about any place else that had weapons cleaning supplies and cleaned them out. Instead of an GI issue cleaning rod I had an Outers aluminum cleaning rod w/Hoppes #9 stashed in my pack. :D Now when I say we I mean the U.S. Army local purchasing supplies that we didn't have.

As cleaning a weapon clean or eating....ummm....I've found you can do both at the same time. You also don't have to be a horse to sleep standing up. :D

Good SHooting

Mike Irwin
January 12, 2003, 10:13 PM
"And, yes, sometimes they didn't do what they were supposed to. I've got a No5Mk1 Jungle Carbine..."

I've got a funny feeling that, given the ambient humidity of the locals where the Jungle Carbine was used, the bore was rusting BEFORE the bullet left the muzzle... :)

Mike Irwin
January 12, 2003, 10:16 PM
Hey Redleg,

You're stuttering...

January 12, 2003, 10:26 PM
I don't quite know where someone got the idea that the military dosen't care about cleaning weapons. I can assure you that in my outfit you will do so daily! Not negotiable. The Shirt has spoken, and it was that way before I got to be the shirt.


January 12, 2003, 10:40 PM
I know..my head hurts and I need a BC powder. Plus this crazy thing is tripple posting on me tonight! :D

Good SHooting

January 12, 2003, 10:42 PM
Corrosive ammo is okay. You just have to claean up after shooting. I use Windex to clean out the bore and neutralize the corrosive elements. I then proceed to clean as usual.

January 13, 2003, 08:32 AM
with a bore like pitted sandpaper. 1 1/2 - 2" groups at 100 yards.

Not as serious as we are led to believe.

Looks awful though.

January 13, 2003, 08:58 AM
If a unit is not maintaining it's weapons, that's a serious leadership problem and they have a lot more to worry about than fouled weapons. You pull security and improve your position, clean weapons, then eat.

January 13, 2003, 11:58 AM
"If Corrosive Ammo is so bad, why are there so many "Good" rifles out there?"

Sergeants! Big mean ugly Sergeants with bad breath that would make sure the squad members cleaned their piece thoroughly before cleaning themselves!

Jim Watson
January 13, 2003, 12:11 PM
The reason the Garand has a stainless steel gas cylinder and piston. You can't always clean your gun. You might hit something with a bullet from a rusty barrel - see js and top - but it wouldn't work at all with a rusted up gas system.

FLG got in a nonfunctional Remington 742 with the gas system rusted up under a bright barrel. Apparently the owner had shot it with corrosive ammo and cleaned the bore but didn't know or didn't bother with the disassembly to get at the gas handling.

January 13, 2003, 11:33 PM
It really tickles me whenever I hear someone say "I wouldn't risk ruining a good gun by using corrossive ammo."

As long as there are people out there that are that uninformed, or that lazy, there will always be a good supply of cheap, high qualiy corrossive out there for those of us that have enough sense to clean our weapons.

On TFL, someone had a sig line that went something like:

God gave you a soul
Your parents gave you a body
Your country gave you a rifle

It's your responsibility to keep all three clean!

I couldn't agree more.

January 13, 2003, 11:58 PM
I frequently see surplus British military funnels for sale that were used to pour boiling water down the bore of Enfield rifles. I think they might have taken rifle cleaning pretty seriously.
I read something today on AR15.com about rifle cleaning that hit home for me. It said something to the effect that the military is more interested in cleaning a rifle completely than they are about cleaning a rifle the right way. My limited military experience agrees with that.

January 14, 2003, 12:03 AM
Here is the quote:

"Some of the worst cleaning practices are found among those expected to know best how to maintain rifles: the military. Military procedures are too often focused not on cleaning properly, but on cleaning totally. It’s hard to make a judgement call that a rifle is cleaned and preserved well enough for dependable service. It’s easier to say that there isn’t a speck of dirt remaining on the rifle.

The fact is that Soldiers and Marines tend to vastly over-clean their rifles, despite official guidance that "white glove" clean isn’t proper. Armorers are held responsible for the improperly cleaned rifles found in their arms rooms. Under these conditions, they can be expected to demand extreme cleanliness. The power to reject the efforts of his superiors appeals to the tyrant residing in the heart of most armorers.

The Soldier or Marine who is held to impeccable parade ground standards invents shortcuts than damage rifles: cleaning rifles in the shower, using improper cleaning agents like Lime Away, using a horrible variety of homemade scrapers, or disassembling the rifles farther than authorized or needed."

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