Powder Coated Bullets vs Nitro

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Keyfer 55, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. Keyfer 55

    Keyfer 55 Member

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    I've read nitro degrades the powder coating and shouldn't be stored for a long period of time. Has anyone experienced
    squibs from coated ammo?
     
  2. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    In short, no. You won't get squibs because your powder coat degrades - it's simply a coating on the bullet. Worst case scenario there is simply a mess of powder coat and *possibly* some leading because the coating is missing. Both are actually unlikely in reality. To get a squib from these two items reacting would require the gunpowder to degrade (which it does not) instead of the coating.

    What is potentially possible is that a powder such as Bullseye (higher nitro content) can soften the powder coat, but this typically takes over a year from all the testing I have seen and that assumes the gunpowder is in direct contact with the base of the coating.
     
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  3. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    I don’t recall where, but there was another forum/post where they stored for a long period then broke the cartridge down and noted coating decay. It didn’t affect function. Some store these in a powder back position, I don’t. So far I haven’t had a squib, but it’d be difficult to do failure analysis and point to the powder and coating reaction. Good luck.
     
  4. WeekendReloader

    WeekendReloader Member

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    No squibs. No notice of anything abnormal. They all go bang and feel the same to me.
     
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  5. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I would think ignition and deflagration would have a more destructive effect on the coating on the base of the bullet than exposure to nitro.

    Missing coating from the base won't result in leading, either. The base of the bullet isn't really all that much in contact with the lands or grooves of the bore.
     
  6. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    The base can cause leading but only if the lead isn't of a proper hardness to begin with, hence why I said leading was possible but not likely.

    The issue with the nitro content causing degradation of the coating is a real one and has been established to be true, particularly with gunpowders having a nitro content at or close to 40% (Bullseye is one such powder). If the bullets are stored tip down the gunpowder is in contact with the power coat. Over time there is a reaction. Several members here and elsewhere experimented with long term effects of various gunpowder and powder coat and have shared their results here. The coating absolutely softens over about a year. I'm unaware of longer experiments than that.
     
  7. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Interesting. Did the method of application - tumble, slurry, roll, etc - or brand and type of powder coat seem to make any difference? Also are we talking about nitrocellulose (single-base powders) or nitroglycerine (double- and triple-base powders)?

    I know the bullet's base obturates during firing (duh! that's what seals it) and that alone ought to disrupt the powder coating and might maybe possibly expose some of the base to the bore but I was thinking it wouldn't result in leading because it's such a confined area and such a small contact surface. Could be wrong. Interesting that some observations have been recorded on this. I hadn't heard about nitro exposure breaking down powder coating before. We use powder coated equipment in medicine quite a lot and I know there's at least some exposure to oxygen and nitrogen that takes place but not nitroglycerine or nitrocellulose. I think the sample freezers that handle liquid nitrogen are powder coated. Not sure, though.
     
  8. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy Member

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    Use single base powder like general dynamics CBI.
    I haven't tried it in 44 mag yet, but it's going to burn like universal. It should fill up the case around 3/4 of the way.
     
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  9. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    I don't have links to the threads in question offhand but they can certainly be researched. Bullseye is a double base powder IIRC; in any event it certainly is a fast powder, which tend to have higher nitro content.

    The powder coat does not get "disrupted" at any point during firing except for the parts that are contacted by the rifling (see my avatar for a perfect example of this). In fact, if you hit a coated projectile with a hammer, nothing should flake off if the coating is properly bonded to the lead.
     
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  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Well, this certainly changes my mind about switching my hard-cast/gas-checked lead or jacketed bullets to powder coated bullets. I use 2400, Blue Dot and Unique for .44 magnum mostly, and all are double-base powders. I did buy some powder-coated bullets from MCB for .357 Magnum but only 500 or so. I will burn them up and not replace them.

    Fascinating subject. Thanks for the info and if you come across those links, please post them.
     
  11. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    Again, unless the bullets are stored long-term there is no softening of the coating. Further, I have bullets which have been sitting nose down for several years now with no adverse issues during firing (I have not however pulled any to check for condition). It doesn't work like paint stripper where it removes the coating, it simply makes it softer than it normally would be.

    The faster powders seemed to have issues more so than the slower ones you mentioned (higher nitro percentages). Rifle powders have far fewer issues than pistol powders generally. So your magnum-type powders wouldn't be too bad even though they are double base.
     
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  12. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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  13. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Thanks. I noticed there was an examination of the application method. I will need to read the rest later. Not on an iPhone preferably. o_O
     
  14. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    This question popped up a few years ago when I was big into 45 caliber coated SWC's, so I was concerned.
    I put a Blue Bullets 45/200 and 2 SNS 'gold' into a pill bottle full of Bullseye.
    That was at least 2-1/2 years ago, might be 3-1/2.
    Just opened the 'time capsule' again, I still don't see any deterioration, coating seems tough and intact.
    No odd smells, no damage to the pill bottle.
    bullets2.jpg
     
  15. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    Just saw it in one of the old threads, I bottled those together in 2015.
    Not the best memory.
     
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  16. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    IIRC, the coating most affected by higher nitro content is and was the Harbor Freight variety. I (actually the guy who makes most of my bullets) graduated away from HF powder coat awhile ago for reasons unrelated to the current discussion.

    Not all bullet coatings are created equal - although most have a similar composition. Furthermore not all coatings are applied properly, even by the same person/company.
     
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