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Hangfires and Milsurp Ammo

1664 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Lone Yankee
Big Bill,

I received this e-mail last night and realized I need to pass it on to all you milsurp ammo collectors. Inspect those prmers BEFORE going to the range.........If you see some green grunge around the primer, BURY IT!

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The grunge you are talking about is actually the corrisve primer eating thru the bullet is garbage once this happens. But I have had some(very few) that I had to hit twice with no grunge. Maybe one or two in 1,000rds. which isn't bad but they did go off on the second hit. Now the question is what do you do when it doesn't go off the first time. Stay holding the gun for a few minutes then I reset the bolt(firing pin) and set it off again. I have heard about primers not being set far enough in on some of this military stuff too. There is a disadvantage and an advantage to using old military stuff and one must be careful. At my local range there is 55 gallon steel drums most likely thats what they are there for if a round goes off after its out of the gun the case goes and the bullet stays just like in a fire and in a 55 gallon steel drum its most likely to stay in the drum not much energy. I never used it yet but its there if needed. Remember safety first and have a plan for sure when things go wrong.
Be safe!!!!!!!! BigBill
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The primer cup in some Of the old Milsurp stuff also has a
high copper content in the material it is made of.
this will turn green also. I have seen entire lots
of .303 Brit., - .30 Cal U.S. Carbine and .30-06.
that were ruined due to copper primer cups being
corroded away.
Pull the Bullets for reloading and throw the rest away!
Thats about all they are good for!

I got one of those *&%^%$ lots of .303 Brit. this weekend!!
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I have some 303 surplus I just bought I'll have to check it out. I also just bought some 50cal ammo boxes for storing ammo in from it was 8 delievered to my door for $39 only $10 for delivery and at the last gun show here they were $7 each. Plus its a pain in the butt carrying around ammo boxes at a gun show too. I also read about in older ammo losing its power because the gun powder breaks down over time we do lose some fps. So I just make sure I rotate my ammo when I buy more by numbering the ammo boxes.
i know that berdan primed cases have a red or purple ring around the primer but ihave about a hundred rounds of .303 fmj of british manufacture. thy all have a purple ring around the primer but there are a few where the ring has turned black. does this mean they are no good?
Hey Kevin,
Are you talking about the laquer seal that's dabbed on the primer on milsurp ammo that is red or purple?

ya i guess thats what i'm talking about. i had a guy tell me that if it is black the ammo is no good
The different colored 'Rings" around primers
serve a combination of purposes. The color
codes indicate what type of projectile the round has,
Tracer, Incendiary, Armor piercing etc.
Plus, the colored laquer acts as a sealer. There is normally
a ring around the bullet at the case mouth also.
I have seen red, black, green, and a dark purple.
the dark purple seems to be the most common.
It should be easy to tell the difference between
corrosion damage and the primer Anulus (Laquer).

And yes, the powder does deteriorate with age.
but normally not enough to tell in shooting it.
A chronograph will see it though. I have fired
.303 Brit. rounds with headstamp dates of 1909
(In Arabic) and the primer was the fault of the misfires,
not the powder (Cordite). They still shot with authority when they
did go off!
The Exception to this rule is old blackpowder rounds
(Which do show up from time to time)
Black powder actually becomes more powerful
(and unstable) with age!!!
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I have an older box of 338 win mag ammo that has a grunge on the outside of the cases too like over half a box that sucks?? Like $15+ worth of ammo?? Thats no good and was new stuff?? BigBill

Its kept clean and dry too here I don't know why??
Hey Big Bill,
Where is the corrosion found on the shells? If the primers are clean, I'd say it's only brass corrosion and should be OK?????

I'll have to dig them out and see if the primers have any I know they were bad the last time i shot the 338. It was on the side of the cases.
As a rule I don not fire military ammo inmy surplus rifles. A long time ago (when I was 17) I bought a mint Carcano 1941 rifle and fired military ammo in it. One of the rounds wrecked the rifle. If I am going to shoot a military rifle, I reload for it. The only exceptions are US military ammo mfg after 1952 and swedish military 6.5mm ball.

Doug Bowser
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