Down side of using nail polish or laquer on primers?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Malamute, Dec 12, 2016.

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  1. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Edit: Thanks for ALL the comments about sharpies, that's NOT what Im looking for, as Ive mentioned several times through the thread..... :D

    Are there any known potential down sides or problems with using colored nail polish or lacquer paint on primers? (around the circumference, like .mil loads sometimes are) My primary reason is for identification of the loads. Ive usually used different headstamps for varying loads, but Ive come into a bunch of similar brass I want to use for several different loads and a couple bullet weights of otherwise identical factory loads (or nearly identical). First thought of using colored nail polish (which I already have), can it be thinned a little to make it easier to use without causing problems with primers? Im doubting it would be a problem, but I certainly don't know everything, so am asking.

    Just labeling boxes is great for range use. I tend to end up with piles of speedloaders and speed strips, ziplock bags, deerskin bags, cloth bags, ashtrays, consoles and cubby holes in vehicles, pockets, and who knows what all else with cartridges in them. Labels dont do much good once the shells are out of the box, if they ever even go in a box.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  2. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    IMHO the downside is that there is no upside. If identification is your concern, then look at Sharpie markers in their various colors. The marking will dry much faster and won't be leaving trash inside your firearm.
     
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  3. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Ive used sharpies, they rub off with much carrying. Ive re-done the sharpied loads several times. Pain in the behind, and if not kept up on you can lose track.

    Thanks though.
     
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  4. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I completely agree with this. Pretty much exactly what i was going to say word for word also.
     
  5. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    It's another chore that takes far too much time for far too little gain.

    For identifying my brass at the range I use a stamp pad.
     
  6. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    The only downside I see to sealing primers is that you could have spent that time just putting the ammo in labeled boxes and keeping it there! You could differentiate loads using different color primers as well as the headstamps. There are nickel, brass and copper colored primers

    The military seals their ammo for good reason- because sometimes it is submerged in water and expected to perform as if someone's life was on the line. Most of us dont get submerged in water while out at the range plinking on a saturday so I bet you'd be fine without the sealer. Not that sealing primers and bullets is harmful but it is very tedious and time consuming for the little extra insurance that it gives you.
     
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  7. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Nothing wrong with using nail polish for identification. I have used sharpies because it comes of in the tumbler. Another product to consider is paint pens. Available at welding suppliers, used for marking steel.
     
  8. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I have noticed flakes/shards of it build up in the action. I don't know how detrimental it is, but it definitely adds to the dirt in there.
     
  9. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    I have been using fingernail polish on cartridge primers for more than 30 years. I have never had any problem related to the fingernail polish. I have never had any flaking of the polish. I have noticed that sometimes there will be a colored ring on the face of the bolt, but Hoppe's #9 has always completely removed it during the cleaning. In my experience, the fingernail polish invariably pops out with the primer when the spent cartridge is decapped.

    The technique I have developed to apply the fingernail polish is to 1) shake the bottle between each application, 2) draw out a loaded brush, 3) dab it onto the cartridge head, and 4) promptly wipe the excess off with a paper towel. I do between 5 and 7 cartridges at a time because fingernail polish dries very quickly and if too many are done at a time, the polish may dry on the case head.
     
  10. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Just don't use any type of pink.....
     
  11. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Member

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    I agree that Sharpie's can wear off quickly, and some colors are worse than others! I have found that Orange seems to last the longest in my extremely extensive scientific testing!!! ;)
     
  12. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    From my experience this would be like curing a problem that never existed. I shot IPSC for years. The shooters would brand their brass with paint, nail polish etc. In the thousands of rounds expended I never heard of a problem.:thumbup:
     
  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    And I'm one of the people Dog Soldier is talking about. I put a band of colored marker (I like the cheap, fat permanent markers from Office Depot for this) around each bullet. When I change loads/recipes, I change colors. As long as you let the marker dry before you start fooling with it, you can load/unload a round many, many, many times before the marker is close to worn off. You may get spots of it worn off, but there will be enough for the band to be visible from many feet away.

    It comes off in the tumbler, which is nice for my purposes. If you're looking for a method that doesn't come off with tumbling, then paintfill (with Testor's enamel or fingernail polish) in the headstamp works well.
     
  14. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    In my case, it is purely cosmetic.

    If I stored my ammunition around penetrating oils and solvents so there was a possibility of infiltration into the primer leading to a mis-fire, then maybe there would be a functional reason for it. As it is, I carefully store my components and ammuniton in plastic boxes with individual compartments that are placed inside steel ammuniton cans so the infiltration that the sealant is designed to address is not a concern.

    I generally use black fingernail polish and I think having a bold black ring around the perimeter of the primer to contrast the silver of the CCI primers or the brass color of the Winchester primers enhances the overall appearance of a quality product.
     
  15. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    Is that because of the color's association with things feminine or is there something about the formulation of pink nail polish that makes it unsuitable for use in sealing primers?
     
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I use Sharpies to identify chronograph and target test loads. I color only the primer so the mark is gone at the next loading. A careful touch will let you get two colors on the primer to code a lot of combinations. I transport them in a MTM box or recycled ammo box with tray so I can row everything up and not rub off the marks. I make an index card with the color codes to go in the box with the test ammo.
    I have also marked the bullet for some occasions.
    I will mark marginal - gauge reject - ammo used for practice on the case so I don't pick it up.

    If you want to identify your brass for range recovery so you don't get stuck with somebody's bulged overloaded major cases, you can buy or make a rig that will twirl a round against a marker to put a stripe all the way around. Easier to spot than color on the casehead.
     
  17. Ghost In The Fog

    Ghost In The Fog Member

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    I always use Sharpies-
    I identify loads, once fired, chrono loads etc. All the colors seem to last until I tumble them. Even in my pocket and going through the washer. None of them have made it to the dryer yet, my wife finds them in the bottom of the washer.
    X's, lines, dots, circles all work.
    I store them in plastic bags with writing on the bags, masking tape on the outside and a post it inside so I almost never forget what load it is... :rofl:
     
  18. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    I've never had problems using sealer (Markron, not Maybelline) around the primer: in fact I've always thought that it might help cushion the primers around the flat edges for max loads. But sealing the necks can definitely lead to buildup of sealer in the barrel, I found that out.

    Colored fingernail polish would seem the easy answer to color coding, but I would check further before abandoning my Markron, that's just me. There may be lacquer-compatible powders or colorants available.
     
  19. H&R Glock

    H&R Glock Member

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    I've always used black fingernail stuff on my 50 BMG primers. There is no way it's gonna' stop the primer from backing into the bolt face, but it does seal the primer well. No problem with flaking into the action etc. More of an identification thing signifying "my loads."
     
  20. ants

    ants Member

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    Biggest down side is trying to look masculine at the Walgreens cosmetic counter trying to decide among your favorite colors.
     
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  21. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Just wear a "Hillary really won" T-shirt with color coordinated "man bag" and you'll be OK. :rofl:
    .
     
  22. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Good answers! Thanks guys.

    I started on some Remington factory load 357s. I have both 125s and 158s, they look pretty much identical. I'm putting some orange around the primers of the 158s. I did about half a box just tinkering around, it works out OK, but of course is slow. I'm not going to do vast quantities, just what Im using or having handy for carrying commonly, maybe a couple boxes worth at a time ready. Painting about 3 or 4, then wiping off with a paper towel seems OK, not real perfectionist pretty like if you used acetone to get them perfect, but fine for what I wanted. Going to try using a toothpick to put the paint on, see if gets messed around less than the brush or not. I have a new pile of the same brass that will end up with different types of loads. The colors will make it simple to tell at a glance, in a box, in the gun or in most of the speed loaders.

    Ive done the sharpie X over the primer on 348 loads that I wanted to keep segregated, they were my Barnes 250 gr loads. I keep a belt slide with 6 on them on my belt when carrying the rifle, and theres more mixed in the cloth bag of cartridges with a few grouse loads as well. I grab a few 200s and put them in my pocket when out also. The grouse loads aren't too tough to figure out, the difference between the Barnes 250s and the Hornday 200s isn't as simple at a glance. The sharpie has worn off until I almost couldn't see it several times. I'll pick a primer color for them.

    Bought some blue and green nail polish, and had orange, white and black. I think I'll use black for my black powder cartidges if they end up with similar bullets to any other loads. seems simple. Black paint,.....you know.

    Hadnt really thought about pink. Guess its an option if I run out of other colors.
     
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I mark my test loads in a similar fashion on the primer. I usually just use black Sharpies as I find the color from the other colors tends to change colors over time. I put a small number, series of dots, or series of lines to differentiate the different loads. Large primers are easier to mark than small ones.

    If the Sharpie mark gets on the case base, I find it usually polishes off when tumbled.

    Cases that I do not want to reload anymore, I place a big "X" on the base of the case. I mostly used this with shot shells when I was shooting competitive Skeet.
     
  24. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    Why all the negative vibes?
    If the OP wants to color the primers, let him/her.

    I personally don't use nail polish, but that's my choice.

    To the OP, I've never heard of nail polish damaging a primer.
     
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  25. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    To mark loads I bought a pack of the medium size sharpies from Wally World. About $8 and 6 or 7 colors.
    The marks come off when you polish the brass.
     
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