I didn't know this about surplus ammo


August 30, 2003, 06:52 PM

Is there any new ammo with the same performance as surplus or are they exaggerating?

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August 30, 2003, 08:07 PM
So what if it's old ammo?

At worst, you'll get a bad primer/dud round, usually. It's good to inspect each round as you insert it into your magazines, looking for cracks, dents, and other potential problems.

Ammo doesn't "go bad" with time (except for rimfire ammo). I mean, it does, but it takes a LONG time. People are still shooting World War II surplus .45 ammo, and 8mm Mauser.

What you have to watch out for with really old ammo (and even more recent eastern block surplus, like 7.62x54mmR) is corrosive primers.

As far as this applies to AKs. You don't see much "surplus" 7.62x39mm or 5.45x39mm. All the cheap stuff from Wolf, Barnaul, and Silver Bear is NEW manufacturered in arms plants in Russia.

August 30, 2003, 09:13 PM
I've got some 60 year old russian, have not had a misfire yet. Wish I could say the same for my "new" reloads.

Sir Galahad
August 30, 2003, 09:50 PM
You should have warned me to put on my hip waders before reading that article! The BS is so thick, you could slice it with a Soviet-issue bayonet (if it didn't "deteriorate" over time, even if it was in an airtight can.:rolleyes: ) Where to start. Ok:

1.) Author says most milsurp ammo is not dated. Survey says! BUZZZZZZ!!!! Wrong! Most of it IS. In fact, ALL milsurp ammo I have seen IS dated. It's called a "headstamp". The author could use a headflush to clear his head of bearing false witness to sell his product. If he has to LIE to sell his wares, what kind of scruples does HE have? I have never sen any Soviet or Warsaw Pact military ammo that did not have a date stamp. I am sitting here looking at a crate of Hungarian 7.62x54 milsurp and the crate has the date, the two spam cans inside have the date, and the headstamps have the date. And, gee, what do ya know? They all match! I have seen U.S. milsurp. Dated. I have seen Albanian milsurp. Dated. Gee, here's a box of Czech milsurp 7.62x25. Box is dated and headstamp shows date. The new, commercial ammo this guy is talking about is NOT dated. New Wolf ammo is not dated. Almost no commercial ammo is dated. And the milsurp he probably sells for much more than AIM has the same stamps as the stuff everyone else is selling. Just no one needs to tell lies to sell their products. Gee, Sir Galahad, why is military ammo dated on the case? Well, son, that's because they need to know when the ammo was made and the identifying stamp of the arsenal tells them where so if it is too hot and blows up guns, they know where to start shooting saboteurs. The ID stamp is not in a "language" everyone can read. I nearly fell off my seat laughing when I read that. The date is the last two digits of the year. But the arsenal ID maybe numbers, as in the case of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. In fact, one of the Mosin Nagant sites has a page that tells you what numbers belong to what arsenal. So much for THAT mystery! Of course Russians can't "read" the arsenal code---it's none of their frickin' business! It's military business and the business of people smart enough to know where to find the information. Now, U.S. arsenal codes are usually initials, such as "FA", which would stand for "Frankford Arsenal". The author would say, "See! No American knows what "fa" means! There is no word "fa" except in a certain Christmas carol about decking the halls with boughs of holly!" Well, the author is either lying or he has been decking his mind with buds of marijuana.

2.) Ammo in sealed cans generally does not deteriorate as the author claims. I just opened a sealed can of Hungarian 7.62x54 milsurp and it "whooshes" just like a can of coffee being opened. Oxygen and moisture are the two biggest enemies of ammo long term storage. How does water and air get into an airtight, sealed container? Good question. Well, to be honest, it doesn't. Ammo so sealed will be good for many, many years. Decades, in fact. An interesting thing about true black powder, by the way, is that in an airtight container, it will be just as potent in 100 years as it was the day it was made. This is why Civil War muskets left loaded in an attic back in 1865 are just as deadly as the day they were loaded if the the cap was well-sealed over the nipple. In some cases, primers can begin to deteriorate. But you will be long beyond caring when that begins to happen with ammo in a sealed, airtight container. I have fired Third Reich-made 8mm Mauser, British milsurp .303, and probably at least a few hundred pounds, not rounds, POUNDS of 7.62x54 milsurp from Soviet-made to Albanian to Hungarian and never had a problem. I have fired South African milsurp and it is great. Gee, here's a dated headstamp on that South African---go figure!

3.) The author claims dubious quality for Russian made ammo. Well, I guess all those AKs fired all over the world are just firing squibs that never kill anyone. Will someone please tell all those dead people to get up and quit decomposing, because they're not really dead! :rolleyes: Having fired a few thousand rounds of Russian out of my AK with never a problem with quality or consistancy (or accuracy, for that matter), I dub the author Sir Lies-A-Lot. Notice how he says HIS ammo isn't poor quality. No! Really? I mean, he wouldn't LIE to sell his product to MAKE MONEY now, would he? People don't ever LIE to make money, do they? Back when you could get Chinese made 7.62x39, it was some of the best ammo in that caliber you could find. The brown-laquered case steel core was primo. The current Russian made Silver Bear is nice stuff. The Russian made stuff is made in the same plants that made ammo for the former Soviet Army and still make ammo for the Russian Army. They know how to crank this stuff out because they've been on a war footing since 1941. They were only able to stop pumping it out so fast after the collapse of the Soviet Union made that unnecessary. But then the U.S. plinker market makes them able to ramp up a bit to make as much as they can sell. And U.S. shooters enjoy cheap but reliable ammo and buy it by the case. So, the Russians make as much as they can to never run out of product to sell. Used to be, you bought a couple boxes of 20 if you didn't reload. Now, you buy a couple cases of 500. If it was poor, people wouldn't buy it. The author is probably steamed because he can't get a sweet deal from his distributor. So, instead, he makes up BS to scare ou into buying his product.

In closing, be very wary of geeks bearing grift...

Sir Galahad
August 30, 2003, 10:04 PM
Oh, and whaddya know! Go to Hitachs home page on that site and they say they are "vehemantly opposed" to "Saturday Night Specials", "Cheap machine pistols", and "wholeheartedly support" FBI background checks prior to buying a firearm and also they do not think anyone should be able to buy or sell a firearm over the internet (besides them, of course). They also state that they think only an FFL should be allowed to sell a firearm. Would YOU buy a product from these folks? Do YOU trust what these folks say?

August 30, 2003, 10:49 PM
I looked around that site a little more and discovered they've sold out to Cheaper Than Dirt.

They're apparently peddling only disinformation and blather now.

August 30, 2003, 11:35 PM
I quit reading when I got to the term "assault rifle ammunition". :rolleyes:

I assume it just got worse after that.

August 31, 2003, 12:58 AM
If surplus ammo is so weak after those years of storage, then I'd hate to see what color Marko's 8x56R Steyr-Mannlicher would turn my shoulder using new ammo instead of pansy old deteriorated '37-vintage stuff. :uhoh:

Mike Irwin
August 31, 2003, 03:48 AM
Well, once you get past all the spelling and grammar errors, you have to wade through all of the bull:cuss:, most of which is just as bad as the spelling and grammar.

My take?

Essentially they're trying to scare people away from perfectly viable surplus in order to line their own pockets.

Then there's this...

"When that country decides to dump its surplus it sends it to the U.S. This is why people who speak Russian can not read the dating."

Uh... Excuse me, but if I can read Russian, I CAN read the dating information on the crate/can.

In their "information," notice the one thing that is missing that SHOULD be there?

Information on how some surplus ammo can be primed with corrosive primers, which is a viable problem for people who don't know better.

Yet, that information is missing.


August 31, 2003, 04:46 AM
Pure and simple crap.

The stuff from Russia is new stuff and considerably higher quality than the junk they made and distributed for the wars in Asia, Africa, Middle East and internally.

The military issue 7.62x39 ammo I've handled in SE Asia is in far worse shape & quality than anything you'll see imported for here to the USA.

August 31, 2003, 07:09 AM
I had a problem with some 1955 .45acp with mecuric primers. They were purchased in a plastic bag and sold as collectors ammo.

Every other bit of surplus ammo I have fired has worked perfectly.

1923 commecial box of .45acp

1943 steel cased .45acp

1937 7.62x54

1950's 7.62x39
and many thousands more that have slipped into history and are in a berm somewhere.

It really disgusts me when disinformation like this hitach crap is used to sell a product.

August 31, 2003, 12:23 PM
The guy ain't too bright.
I shoot Portugese 7.62x51mm surplus through my .308 Savage all the time.
The stuff is nearly as accurate as my handloads!
I have never had a problem with the Wolf or Barnaul russian stuff either. The only caution I will give with those is to not use the handgun ammo. I have never tried it, but I saw a guy the other day work for nearly an hour to get a round of Wolf .40 S&W out of his new gun.
Just spend the extra dollar and get a box of UMC or Winchester white box stuff.

John Ross
August 31, 2003, 12:42 PM
Quote: "The guy ain't too bright."

No, he's a bald-faced LIAR. Look at his "test" of nine different years of surplus rounds. His ammo loses velocity very uniformly as it ages. EVERY older batch is slower than the next newer one. The oldest (1958) is barely HALF the velocity of new ammo, but still just as uniform.

Complete fabrication.


August 31, 2003, 12:47 PM
I scooped better stuff out of my cats litter box this morning.

August 31, 2003, 12:54 PM
Well... brass oxidizes readily, so if the exterior of the case (or bullet itself, with steel caed ammo) looked nasty, you'd know it had been stored unsealed and you might have reason to suspect the powder/primer was also deteriorated.

Bad ammo LOOKS bad.


August 31, 2003, 12:54 PM
I thought that deterioration rate chart would be nice to use.

But the perforations in my terlet paper go the wrong way for my tractor feed printers.:D

And getin the stuff out of an inkjet is a nightmare. (nuther project)


Sir Galahad
August 31, 2003, 02:42 PM
Sam, LOL!:D

I guess all that Lake City 5.56 ammo everyone thought was so good? Nope. Wrong. It's "deteriorated"....:rolleyes: What a shame, eh? But Hicrap will save us! :barf: Wow, wasn't it nice of them to post a completely unscientific "test" to warn us of the dangers of not buying their overpriced products? Wow, my AK is crying in the locker as we speak from shooting so much "deteriorated" ammo. My Ruger M77 International won't even speak to me because of all that "deteriorated" .308 South African I ran through it. I guess shiny brass isn't an indicator or good ammo when it comes out of an airtight rubber package. Silly me. My Mosins are staging their own October Revolution because of that Hungarian 7.62x54 out of sealed spam cans that is so "deteriorated". Golly, I better buy HiCrap's ammo! I'm scared! :rolleyes: Isn't it scary to think of all the shooting you did before you saw that HiCrap article? What did we do before they came along? :rolleyes:

Mike Irwin
August 31, 2003, 04:16 PM
Paragon out of Illinois (IIRC that's where they were, are they still in business?) used to be the MASTER of selling absolute CRAP as good quality ammunition.

Stuff that was advertised as being almost as new would, when it showed up, be obviously badly water damaged with lots of corrosion.

September 1, 2003, 08:13 PM

September 2, 2003, 08:08 PM
Though I agree that the HiTac page is far beyond sales "puffery", y'allz is forgetting about one deterioration factor that is hardly ever revealed by how shiny the brass is or whether the can remains airtight:


If the stabilizers have been consumed in their little chemical dance, the powder will start to deteriorate at anything close to room temperature, and can deflagrate in masses as small as 10mm diameter.

But I've never heard any stories of old ammo going off when you start to load it. Nitroglycerine separation problems with double-base powder???

Ick. Use your surplus with confidence.:scrutiny:

Mike Irwin
September 2, 2003, 09:31 PM
"Ick. Use your surplus with confidence."

No problem. I certainly shall.

I've got probably 10,000 to 12,000 rounds of surplus under my belt, ranging from 120 year old rounds for a Spencer .56-56 to relatively modern ammo. Never had a problem other than a few dud primers.

Some of the surplus 8x56R I fired across a chronograph in the early 1990s while working at American Rifleman magazine (headstamped 1937), showed no appreciable velocity loss for 60 year old ammo.

Nitro sweating, to the best of my knowledge, has never been a problem in small arms powders. It was a problem with earlier cordite powders used in British artillery and shipboard ammunition. In fact, it's believed that nitro sweating may have caused the loss of at least one British ship.

Sir Galahad
September 2, 2003, 09:42 PM
When Mike Irwin talks, I listen. Make mine milsurp.

September 3, 2003, 09:09 PM
What about the Korean 30'06?

Mike Irwin
September 3, 2003, 09:34 PM
"What about the Korean .30-06"?

I've never heard any abject complaints about it.

September 4, 2003, 12:43 AM
WOW! if the Turk 1939 has went down in volocity I do not want to try any new stuff 2950 fps + over a crono.

cracked butt
September 4, 2003, 02:50 AM
WOW! if the Turk 1939 has went down in volocity I do not want to try any new stuff 2950 fps + over a crono.

I agree. I shot 2 bandoleers of the stuff through a K98 one day and ended up with a black eye the next from all of the pounding recoil. The newly loaded 8x57 must be about equal to an 8mm magnum taking into account the deterioration of the Turk ammo over the years.:what:

Dave Markowitz
September 5, 2003, 12:10 PM
That guy is full of bovine excrement.

The only milsurp ammo I've seen that's bad is Pakistani surplus .303, which had obviously been stored improperly. I.e., the cases had a lot of verdigris on them and judging by the recoil in my No.4, the Cordite had deteriorated to the point where MV must've been under 2000 fps.

But every other milsurp ammo I've shot in 7.9x57, .303, 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, 7.62 NATO, and 5.56 NATO has performed well.

If ammo is stored correctly, in a sealed container, it will last indefinitely.

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