Question on corrosive ammo and an AK74


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Carter
January 4, 2011, 04:32 PM
This is more of an academic question since I don't have an AK74 (but I'd like to). Every time I read about the surplus ammo for it people talk about having to heavily clean the rifle afterwards, which I understand. My question comes from use of such ammo in the field. After firing corrosive ammo I doubt that soldiers would have the time or ability to use boiling water and thoroughly clean their rifle (although I am aware that the Russians did try to take care of their rifles from what I've read in a few magazines). How long would it take for the corrosive primers to start doing any damage to the rifle if moderately to heavily lubed up with something like CLP? What kind of damage would happen after a few hours, a day, a few days, and is it permanent or fixable?

I don't plan on neglecting a future rifle, but I'm curious as to how this ammo was used and how often the rifle was cleaned. After all, AK's were built to be able to take a lot of abuse, so it should be able to survive corrosive primers for a little while right? I guess this question stems from people saying use boiling water IMMEDIATELY after shooting it, which I find ironic for ammo that was meant for war.

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ryanrichmond
January 4, 2011, 04:42 PM
CLP is a good cleaner as well and would do a decent job of neutralizing the salts that are present in corrosive ammo.
I use Windex because it has ammonia in it. Spritz a few times down the barrel and in the action and you SHOULD BE good to go for a couple of days before really having to clean it. (but don't take my word for it since I clean mine after every trip to the range)

Some say that spit also neutralizes the salt in corrosive ammo...or even urine. (of course I'm not suggesting giving your rifle a golden shower but I have heard of people doing it)

I don't know for sure how long a rifle can go without being cleaned when corrosive ammo has been used. As you said, soldiers didn't always have a chance to clean their rifles but I would imagine that when they did have time, they would clean them thoroughly. After all, your gun is your life line in war.

Are you just curious or do you plan to go into battle without having the proper provisions to clean your weapon?

By the way I have had AK's, Mosin's and SKS' (all of which shoot corrosive ammo) and I never went longer than an hour after shooting to clean my weapons so I can't say for sure how long you can expect your gun to hold up to corrosive salts.

32 Magnum
January 4, 2011, 04:45 PM
Corrosive salts will begin corroding steel as soon as it comes into contact or absorbs any kind of moisture, the more moisture the quicker and deeper the corrosion. AK-74s usually have chrome lined bores to prevent corrosion from this source. They must still be cleaned.
Urine contains Ureic acid which will also corrode most metals including steel, copper, brass, etc.
Soapy water dissolves the sulphur salts and washes them out - this is the ultimate cleaning for corrosive powders and/or primers.
Ammonia in products such as Windex 'D' or equivalents are good field expediency tools.
Most gun oils including BreakFree CLP will not stop corrosion due to corrosive salts. I cleaned up my CZ-52 using nothing but BreakFree after a range session with corrosive milsurp ammo. Within days, the barrel, the bore, the inside of the slide and the inside of the frame were coated with red rust. Happily, I caught it before anything more than mild surface rust had formed. I washed everything off with Dawn at the kitchen sink, dried it, lubed it with BreakFree and it has not rusted since. Not all AKs have chrome lined barrels - check yours before allowing it to get screwed up.

Carter
January 4, 2011, 04:51 PM
It was a curiosity question.

nalioth
January 4, 2011, 05:10 PM
I use Windex because it has ammonia in it.Good for you, but why?

Ammonia has nothing to do with neutralizing corrosive salts, but it will dissolve copper.

It is the 99% water content of windex that is responsible for the salt neutralization. A spray bottle from the dollar store and your water faucet can provide this a lot cheaper than buying window cleaner.

32 Magnum
January 4, 2011, 05:38 PM
Ammonia combines with sulfur oxides (NH3 + SO2 + H2O → (NH4)2SO3)
This is a standard method of reducing sulfur compounds from stack emission. And yes, ammonia will dissolve copper - very useful when doing gravimetric analysis of Brass alloys - to determine Zinc content or to clean copper deposits from a barrel bore.

ryanrichmond
January 4, 2011, 05:39 PM
I guess I just like my chrome barrel nice and shiny :D

Old Time Hunter
January 4, 2011, 05:54 PM
Ammonia combines with sulfur oxides (NH3 + SO2 + H2O → (NH4)2SO3)
This is a standard method of reducing sulfur compounds from stack emission. And yes, ammonia will dissolve copper - very useful when doing gravimetric analysis of Brass alloys - to determine Zinc content or to clean copper deposits from a barrel bore.
This why Windex is a great "corrosive salt" cleaner...works well on BP too!

dfariswheel
January 4, 2011, 07:19 PM
The Russians used an "alkali solution".
The formula is somewhere on the internet.
This was made up every few days, since it apparently had a shelf life.

The large "oiler" bottle was filled for each soldier and he'd use it to clean his rifle.

ball3006
January 4, 2011, 09:15 PM
I shoot surplus ammo on a regular basis because I am a C&R junkie. I clean after every shooting session. An AK74 takes a bit more attention due to the gas system. I squire windex down the bore, bolt face, and gas system and clean as normal. No biggie.....chris3

IdahoLT1
January 5, 2011, 02:26 AM
About 3 months. I shot 200 rounds of corrosive ammo through an SKS (i didn't know it was corrosive) and didnt clean it till my next trip to the desert. During that trip, my SKS was constantly jamming. Took it home and the gas port/piston was pretty corroded.

mshootnit
January 5, 2011, 02:37 PM
Carter,
I have personally run corrosive ammo through a Romanian CUR 5.45 rifle and not cleaned it for about a month. There was a Thin layer of brown rust in the front of the receiver, and in the gas tube. It was a thin coat that was easily cleaned out. I think an AK74 could run for several weeks on corrosive ammo with no cleaning or very minimal cleaning. Its not like there's enough rust to jam anything up. The piston is chrome, the bore and chamber are chrome. Not much rust there.

Sam1911
January 5, 2011, 03:23 PM
The piston is chrome, the bore and chamber are chrome. Not much rust there.
The one place I have seen rust really appear strongly was inside the gas tube (notably NOT chrome-lined).

However, the star-crimped design and rather loose fit around the piston would seem to make that pretty forgiving of a little corrosion.

Carter
January 5, 2011, 04:04 PM
Okay. Thanks for feeding my curiosity.

wally
January 5, 2011, 10:37 PM
Plain water from a garden hose, let dry in the sun, followed by a normal clean and lube has worked well for me. I generally run 300 rounds through mine in an outing. Its two or three hours minimum between shooting it and getting home to clean it on these occasions, I doubt anywhere has more humidity problems than here.

The ammo is corrosive in that the salts produced by the primer eventually promotes corrosion -- its not corrosive like the blood of Alien :)

Carter
January 6, 2011, 03:54 PM
its not corrosive like the blood of Alien

haha. Everyone acts like it is.

Average Joe
January 6, 2011, 05:18 PM
If I was a soldier, a corroded barrel would be the least of my worries.

gun addict
January 6, 2011, 06:04 PM
it's not like soldiers gets in firefights every day, plus good luck explaining to your platoon Sergeant why your barrel is all jacked up, i'd think in the soviet army that would not be a pleasant experience

Carter
January 6, 2011, 06:42 PM
it's not like soldiers gets in firefights every day, plus good luck explaining to your platoon Sergeant why your barrel is all jacked up, i'd think in the soviet army that would not be a pleasant experience

You act like the Soviet Union was totalitarian and oppressive...hah.

I guess my question was more geared towards a patrol behind enemy lines where access to large amounts of water or other cleaning supplies would be limited.

Averageman
January 6, 2011, 07:33 PM
Hot Soapy water after firing. Blow it out with compressed air then clean it like you would any other rifle with any other ammo.
It's really not that big a deal.

lucky-gunner
January 6, 2011, 08:06 PM
Corrosive ammunition isn't as bad as people make it out to be. It hasn't been that long since all primers were corrosive.

The only issue is making sure that you clean your rifle properly. In a military circumstance I don't think it would be much of an issue. You would either be engaged in active combat or digging in/firearms maintenance.

For 5.45 ammo I prefer the corrosive copper casing ammunition. Little better accuracy and reloadable.

IncredibleGord
January 14, 2011, 06:20 AM
Is corrosive ammo dangerous to humans though? Mercury?

Jeremy2171
January 14, 2011, 12:04 PM
Mercuric primed ammo was phased out in the US in 1898....other countries much later. There might be some out there but it will likely be 1940s and older to have mercury in it.

Carter
January 14, 2011, 03:25 PM
I actually just read an article in a gun magazine about corrosive ammo. They tested it in 5.56, 5.45, and 7.62x39 with 6 different shooters then compared it to other commercial ammo that wasn't corrosive. They found that the 5.56 was the most accurate (go figure), and that corrosive ammo was very accurate, but not match grade.
The article stated that modern firearms wouldn't be harmed by corrosive ammo with proper cleaning, but I've read people who have damaged bores or chambers after so many rounds of corrosive even with cleaning.

Despite what I've read on here about window cleaner not being needed, they said it was a necessity. Some of their ammo was corrosive brassed cased ammo so maybe the amonia in it helped a little more, idk.

ironhead7544
January 14, 2011, 11:10 PM
Any of the black powder cleaners will work just fine. They have water in them. You could carry a small bottle in the field. Clean then preserve with CLP.

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