Corroded cartridge is it safe to use ?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Odessit86, Sep 28, 2022.

  1. Odessit86

    Odessit86 Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    NY State
    Hi ..i have no expirience In ammo and rifles..
    I bought a ammo from the auction .. couple of them are corroded ..
    Is it safe to use in rifle ? Can it explode?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2022
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    18,547
    Location:
    DFW Area
    If the ammunition is corroded or appears to be damaged, it's generally recommended that you not fire it. It could potentially damage the firearm and maybe even cause injury, but it's probably more likely that it would jam in the chamber, or perhaps fire as a squib and leave the bullet lodged in the barrel.

    You can upload files using the "Upload a File" button and then once it is uploaded, select whether you want a Thumbnail or Full Image to appear in the post.
     
    Odessit86 likes this.
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    18,547
    Location:
    DFW Area
    Those rounds don't look bad. Clean them up with steel wool and if the pitting doesn't look significant they're probably ok.
     
  4. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Messages:
    1,335
    If you have the ability to pull the round apart, I would pull one down to check it.

    It mostly looks like freckling of the brass from age. Where did you get the ammo from?
     
    Englishmn, NIGHTLORD40K and Swampman like this.
  5. Odessit86

    Odessit86 Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    NY State
    From the auction.. it was selling as few boxes ..
     
  6. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Messages:
    1,335
    What did the seller say about the ammo? How was it stored....

    Is there any corrosion in the brass that could weaken it?
     
  7. Odessit86

    Odessit86 Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    NY State
    No ..it was sold As Is no description .. typical gun and ammo auction on the Proxibid
     
  8. Odessit86

    Odessit86 Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    NY State
    Btw I am storing other ammo in very good condition in my basement..
    I have dehumidifier..average humidity is 45% ..is it good for ammo storage ?
     
  9. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Messages:
    1,335
    I would buy a bullet puller if you don't have one and pull down a couple rounds. Maybe 1 per box and check them out.

    If there's no corrosion inside the case and the powder looks good, shoot a couple and see how they do.
     
    Beck, Slamfire and Odessit86 like this.
  10. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2015
    Messages:
    9,945
    Location:
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    I agree, pull down one or two from each box, it could be cosmetic only- but if the INSIDE of the cases are green and crusty, the powder has a funky smell/gas or has turned brownish/yellow- then its a hard pass and should be disposed of.

    Its not that its an "explosion" hazard per se, but decomposed powder can have unpredictable burn rates and cause either overpressure spikes or have incomplete combustion, resulting in squibs (bullet stuck in the bore) when fired.

    For .30-06 you dont really need a puller unless you are obsessive about saving the cases. Just put the bullet itself (the actual projectile- not the case) in a vice and pull the case sideways and down- it should pop right off.
     
    Beck and Mk-211 like this.
  11. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    7,562
    Case doesn't look too bad. You could polish that off and it would chamber just fine. An extra safety step would be to pull the bullet and make sure the powder doesn't look a different color or smell funny. Cardboard will show signs if the entire ammo box has been wet for a prolonged period of time, even if it is dry now. If the box doesn't show signs of water damage then the rounds probably aren't damaged enough to matter either.
     
    Beck likes this.
  12. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2022
    Messages:
    1,021
    IF you don't have the ability to pull down a round, and IF you have a good many of these, here is my two bits.

    Give it a shake test, if it "sounds" and "feels" normal send it. If not, if the inside feels "clumpy" or just not right listen to that little voice in your head.

    In general most people that don't reload have no ability to pull down rounds, yea an impact puller is cheap, but if you don't care one bit about that end of the hobby fine.

    I would also say in general most people that reload would not buy a lot of ammo like that unless they wanted the brass or something along those lines, or if they are collectors and there is some jewel in that lot to them.

    Bottom line if you can pull it down do it, give the powder the sniff test, and if all "looks" normal put it back together and go for it.....

    If you can't pull them down, give it a little shake, and go for it.
     
    Beck likes this.
  13. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2019
    Messages:
    501
    Location:
    99 New York Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20226
    As a recommendation, don't shoot it.

    Personally, I've shot stuff that looks ten times as bad as that and never thought twice. I've seen brand new factory ammo that looks like what you've got. I wouldn't sweat it at all.

    I'd do as others have said and pull a couple bullets to check the powder's integrity if you suspect that the ammo is old.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2022
  14. thirty-eight

    thirty-eight Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2022
    Messages:
    40
    I expect lots of ammo gets stored in basements, but in the end, a basement is still a hole in the ground. No matter how nicely finished and dehumidified. I don't risk storing anything in my basement.
     
  15. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,539
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The real reason it is recommended that you do not shoot ammunition that shows corrosion is NOT because the brass becomes weak.

    The reason is that storage conditions that promote brass corrosion will also promote propellant degradation. The propellant needs to be inspected.
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    12,349
    Location:
    Alabama
    I don't think your rounds look bad at all. Cartridge manufacturers polish up those cases, because buyers want shiny, and I think the things are coated either with a wax, or clear teflon, to keep them shiny in the box. It looks to me as though the surface coating is coming off and you see corrosion.

    It is very bad to expose brass to ammonia or copper solvents. You can look up season cracking. These are typical on the topic

    Season cracking

    Tech Tip: Don’t Store Brass and Ammo Near Ammonia Solvents

    Something to look for is corrosion due to deterioration of gunpowder. Gunpowder is a high energy compound that is breaking down the day it leaves the factory. As it breaks down, it releases NOx, which is a spectrum of chemicals. A primary chemical of interest is NO2, or nitrogen dioxide, a horrible oxider. Nitrogen dioxide converts to nitric acid gas when it runs into a water molecule. There is one heck of a lot of water in the air.

    Gunpowder has stabilizers to sop up the NOx as it comes out of the gunpowder, but in time, the stabilizers are eaten up and the protection is gone. When that happens is totally unpredictable. Manufacturer's only guarantee their ammunition for ten years, the typical military lifetime specification is 20 years, but not everything makes 20 years. Some batches are around further.

    An absolute positive indication powder has gone bad is corrosion. Lots of pictures follow



    x87GugF.jpg




    qmx3vQL.jpg



    L8kgoDc.jpg


    2N8Q2sy.jpg


    jcVJHTu.jpg



    cQNEBa1.jpg


    Uv5MGSv.jpg


    cFSGfXA.jpg



    aez1i91.jpg



    JJsh6Tk.jpg


    gunpowder that is as deteriorated as in the above pictures is dangerous to shoot. The burn rate is messed up and stuff like that will blow up firearms.


    Heat exponentially ages gunpowder, gunpowder and ammunition should not be stored in the attic or automobile. Ammunition stored in a car should be shot up within a couple of years, if not sooner.

    rPNzqCj.jpg


    I do think it a good idea to write on ammunition boxes, or reloads, the date of purchase or of loading. And shoot the stuff up before it is ten years old. Let it sit around, such as my ammunition, and gunpowder deterioration ruined the cases and so I lost the use of them.


    4mhdPOz.jpg

    vPmf99m.jpg
     
    alsaqr, 243winxb, .38 Special and 5 others like this.
  17. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Messages:
    1,219
    Corrosion is interesting, once it begins, unless completely removed, will start again more rapidly if traces of oxidation are present.
    I'm going to say that MOST of our polishing/tumbling practices remove most of (but not all) the oxidation present. This makes the statement mostly true that handloads generally do not last as long as factory loaded ammunition.
    I think properly stored factory ammo can last 40-50 years or more from personal experience, however handloads more like 15 years. I try to only load up what I plan to use in the next 5 years and try to keep components on hand long term rather than loaded cartridges.
    All this said, there is really no "rule of thumb" with all this, it all varies greatly from case to case, no pun intended. Chemistry and metallurgy is a complex science, and with all the variations and differences between combos, the end results vary greatly.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  18. Beck

    Beck Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    260
    Location:
    Suddenly
    I wouldn't call that corroded. But I would take the advice given to pull a couple bullets and have a looksee inside. If it looks like that on the inside you may have a problem. When you pull a bullet, dump the powder onto a paper plate or something like that to examine it. The powder should come out smoothly like sand, or salt, or pepper... depending on what type of powder it is. It shouldn't clump together or be stuck to the bottom or sides inside the case.

    The brass case should be shiny on the inside. The bullet itself should be shiny copper on the part that was inside the case. Once you determine everything looks ok, knock off the spots on the outside of your remaining rounds to make them pretty again with some fine steel wool, as JohnKSa stated above.

    SAFETY TIP: No Smoking cigars while pulling bullets and dumping powder! I don't smoke cigars at all, but especially not while anywhere near powder and primers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2022
  19. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2022
    Messages:
    1,021
    It is called car cancer for a reason, and yes you need to get it all.
     
  20. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2022
    Messages:
    1,021
    It is not just metallic cartridges this happens to, but shot gun as well. My father in law brought out a brief case full of old shotgun rounds, many loose, some in boxes with a price tag of $4.99, to give you a hint on the age.

    I am going to dispose (in a fun way) of all of them. They are splitting and have on the brass with issues like the above posters photos.

    With these I am going to use them as "noise makers" I have not done this with anything yet, but plan is to make a target with some 12G holes and shoot the primers with a pellet gun. This is a "fairly" common practice and makes for a fun target. And before anyone starts if you can shoot clays in your back yard this target is just fine. I need to source the metal.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  21. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2020
    Messages:
    1,249
    Location:
    Mid-West
    It's not so much that the case won't hold up to the firing it's that the powder & primer may be compromised, resulting in a squib round stuck in your barrel. For safety's sake pull all of them that look that way & check them out first.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  22. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Messages:
    1,219
    Every bit of oxidation "eats" part of the metal alloy in order to oxidize. In doing so, small cavities or "pits" are left behind. Regardless of how shiny or aggressive the tumbling, these sometimes microscopic pits are present containing the recipe to speed up the corrosion again. Other than light tarnishing where I do believe wet tumbling with the rods is best will remove, the brass clock begins ticking, and is the reason again why most reloads cannot last nearly as long as factory ammunition in original packaging.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  23. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    12,349
    Location:
    Alabama
    This stuff deteriorated around 45 years old, and George Burns smoked cigars and drink liquor and lived to 100 years old. But that does not prove every hard drinking smoker will live to 100.

    SONQaMa.jpg


    And no body seems to recall these recalls, they were in all the Gun Magazines, and no body seems to understand this is not "bad" powder, it is deteriorated gunpowder. Read the text, fuming, acidic smell, auto combustion, etc.

    1TwgGSB.jpg

    zBWTrXO.jpg


    The thing is, gunpowder deterioration is so unpredictable that each service in the Department of Defense pays people to inspect the stockpile.

    These charts are from a 1969 and 1970 symposium. And here, they are discarding 30 year old ammunition.

    KBHrP77.jpg

    056KrAU.jpg

    The Department of Defense removes a staggering amount of old and deteriorated munitions from inventory and sends them to demilling facilities, such as Camp Minden Louisanna to demill before the stuff autocombusts in the case.

    qTKdEtd.jpg

    From what I read, the majority of this stockpile, by weight, is small arms munitions. But given 500,000 tons of the stuff, I am sure there are a lot of artillery shells, cannon ammunition, rocket motors, etc. I do know the early Army TACMS missiles were pulled from inventory at 20 years and stored at White Sands Missile Range for use as targets. If the TACMS rocket blows up in the air, in a test, sure Uncle Sam is out some millions for a wasted test, but, in terms of killing people, its a big nothing burger. As targets, old rockets are so much cheaper than making new. I don't know if those were shipped to Ukraine as free HIMARS munitions, would not surprise me a bit. I read of X ray techniques which were being used to X ray motors, to find cavities within the binders and stuff. Ninety nine percent of rockets use smokeless propellants, which are nitro cellulose based.

    Ez8dcKz.jpg

    This is more or less gives rules of thumb for the rate of deterioration of nitrocellulose based munitions

    Army Not Producing Enough Ammunition

    http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2003/May/Pages/Army_Not3866.aspx


    * I think what is meant, 7-8 percent per year after 20 years.

    My advice, break the seals on your cans of gunpowder and give a sniff. If it smells bad, get rid of it. Do this when you think about it. The lifetime of gunpowders is so unpredictable, you need to inspect your powders, and that is the bottom line.

    gYgK0S0.jpg

    Having lost thousands of good rifle cases, because I loaded them up and let them sit around for more than a decade, and then they cracked when fired, it is better to load ammunition that you know you will shoot in a couple of years.

    Old surplus ammunition is not to be trusted. The stuff was removed from inventory because some ammunition technician determined that it was too dangerous to store or issue. The US military wants to remove the stuff when it has five years of stability left, that gives DoD time to demill without it blowing up trains and trucks. However, since the stuff deteriorates unpredictably, they might catch it when it has a "year" or less of stability.


    Ammunition Surveillance Procedures SB 742-1


    Chapter 13 Propellant and Propelling Charges


    page 13-1


    WARNING


    Nitrocellulose-based propellant can become thermally unstable as the age. The normal aging process of the propellants involves deterioration of the nitrocellulose with an accompanying generation of heat. At some point, the propellant may reach a state where heat is generated faster than it can be dissipated. The accumulation of heat can lead to combustion (auto ignition). Chemical stabilizers are added to propellants to slow the aging process. In time, the stabilizer levels will drop to a point where the remaining effective stabilizer (RES) is not sufficient to prevent an accelerating rate of decomposition. When this point is reached, the propellant may auto ignite, with possible catastrophic results to property and life. Monitoring the stability level of each propellant lot is essential for continued safe storage.


    Page 13-5 , Table 13.2 Propellant Stability Codes.


    Stability Category A 0.30 or more Percent Effective Stabilizer

    Acceptable stabilizer loss: safe for continued storage


    C 0.29-0.20 Percent Effective Stabilizer

    Significant stabilizer loss. Lot does not represent an immediate hazard, but is approaching a potentially hazardous stability condition. Loss of stabilizer does adversely affect function in an uploaded configuration. Disposition instructions will be furnished by NAR. All stability category “C” assests on the installation must be reported in writing…


    One year after becoming stability category “C” a sample of the bulk propellant lot or the bulk-packed component lot will be retested. If the lot has not deteriorated to category “D”, it will be retested each year until it has been expended, or it has deteriorated to category “D”, at which point it will be demilitarized within 60 days.


    D Less than 0.20 Percent Effective Stabilizer

    Unacceptable stabilizer loss. Lots identified as stability category “D” present a potential safety hazard and are unsafe for continued storage as bulk, bulk-packed components , or as separate loading propellant chargers. Bulk propellant, bulk –packed components and separate loading propelling charges will be demilitarized within 60 days after notification of category “D” status.


    that old surplus can surprise you!


    Ammunition Evaluation: 1941 Turkish 8mm Mauser





    At ten minutes 44 seconds, you see that the stock cracked from firing this ammunition!


    Ian Rants About Dumb Ammo Purchasing Decisions



     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2022
  24. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Messages:
    1,219
    Slamfire- very impressive and informative write up sir.
     
    Odessit86 and Slamfire like this.
  25. Odessit86

    Odessit86 Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    NY State
    Thank you guys for such many advices..
    Really appreciate..
    yeah I won't use them and not gonna ruin my beautiful Sako.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice