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Case Corrosion Mystery #11502188 10/13/16
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nifty-two-fifty Offline OP
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I had an interesting discovery in a box of my old reloads recently. I posted this in another thread and didn't get any ideas so I will try it here.

This is a puzzle to me. I have a plastic storage container that has several boxes of 30-30 ammo, factory and reloads, that has always been stored indoors. I recently pulled out an old box of Federal ammo that had been once fired and reloaded back in 1999. I was going to shoot it up since it was one of the older boxes I had.

When I opened the box there was massive corrosion on many of the cases. As you can see, after I reloaded these cases I placed them back in the Federal factory plastic cartridge holders and put them back in the factory box.

[Linked Image],



Here is the load:
[Linked Image],



The slightest pressure on the side of the bullet snapped the case in two. There are fine cracks in the neck under those lines of corrosion. The powder appears normal.

[Linked Image],



The strange thing, also, is that when I dumped out the powder, the entire inside of the case was covered in corrosion, from the head to the neck. It appeared that the cases had corroded from the inside out.


[Linked Image],



This is what the base of the bullet looked like:

[Linked Image],


I checked all of the other ammo that was in the plastic storage box, including some other reloads of the same age. This corroded lot was the only box of Federal cases. There was no corrosion present on any of the other ammo. Not even a speck. Other brands of cases loaded with the same load looked fine. The plastic cartridge holders didn't seem to be the cause.

I still have some of the same lot of R-P 150 gr. Core-Lokt bullets on my shelf, and they look fine.

As far as I know, these cases were not treated any differently when I reloaded them back in 1999. I don't tumble my cases or use any liquid cleaners. I don't understand how the corrosion started from the inside, if that is what happened. That is how it seems. The powder that I dumped out of the broken case looks perfectly normal.

Has anyone else had this sort of thing happen? Does anybody know what happened here? Is it just a bad lot of cases? Could it be some kind of reaction between the bullet matel and the brass? The worst of the corrosion is all around the base of the neck. This is a first for me in 50 years of reloading. Comments and suggestions are welcome.



Nifty-250

"If you don't know where you're going, you may wind up somewhere else".
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Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11502546 10/13/16
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Prwlr Offline
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nifty-two-fifty

Posted a WAG on your other post.


Ed

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Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11502584 10/13/16
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Yondering Offline
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Any chance you had something salty on your fingers when reloading these or putting them in the ammo boxes? Eating chips or crackers, etc while working? Salt will corrode brass pretty badly.

Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11502617 10/13/16
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NVhntr Offline
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Seems like if it was salt on the fingers the corrosion would be working from the outside. This looks like it started on the inside.


Steve
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11502768 10/13/16
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nifty-two-fifty Offline OP
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Prwlr,

Thanks for your thoughts. I did not tumble the brass. I treated these cases the same as I treat all my rifle cases.
I use 0000 steel wool to clean the outside and clean the inside of the necks with the nylon brush and mica powder in the Midway case neck lube kit.


Yondering,

Salt? Possibly. But I normally never eat or drink in my loading room and I usually wash my hands before starting loading. And I always wash my hands when I am done loading, just as a precaution due to lead exposure. Cheap health insurance, even if it isn't needed.

If something like salt exposure could have done this, it seems like I would have seen it before sometime over the years. And it does seem like the corrosion started on the inside of the case.

Just supposing that I did do something weird with this lot of cases all those years ago, it seems like someone in the Campfire universe would have also seen this happen before.

It would be nice to solve this mystery.


Nifty-250

"If you don't know where you're going, you may wind up somewhere else".
Yogi Berra
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Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11504693 10/14/16
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My guess is that since you didn't tumble clean the cases, there was old powder and primer residue in there and over time it attacked the brass case. I'm not a chemist but I know that when the powder and primer combust, they create other compounds. Whatever came out of it must have been fairly corrosive. Maybe they were trying a new priming compound or found some old corrosive primers in the warehouse and wanted to use them up. ;-)

Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11504782 10/14/16
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The color of the corrosion and the extreme brittleness of the brass looks like ammonia damage to me.
That's what propane tank valves look like that have been re-purposed to hold anhydrous ammonia for meth cooks after they steal it from a farmers ammonia pigs.

Why it is concentrated around the shoulder/neck is a puzzlement, for sure!

You have an enemies back then that had access to Brasso and your ammo? shocked grin

Ed

Last edited by APDDSN0864; 10/14/16. Reason: kaint typ ner spel

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Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11504866 10/14/16
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nifty-two-fifty Offline OP
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No Brasso or any other ammonia compounds that I know of.
And the cases seem to have been eaten from the inside out.


Nifty-250

"If you don't know where you're going, you may wind up somewhere else".
Yogi Berra
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11506311 10/15/16
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1minute Offline
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If one had access to a chemists, they could do an analysis and determine the composition of the residue. Don't have any sitting around our neighborhood though.


1Minute
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: 1minute] #11506500 10/15/16
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denton Offline
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Not too mysterious....

Here's the link.

[Linked Image]

Apparently your powder has deteriorated. That yields corrosive compounds that destroy the brass.

Last edited by denton; 10/15/16.

I don't associate with snobby people. I'm much too good for that.
Bravo

Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11506629 10/15/16
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NVhntr Offline
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Good info in that link, thanks Denton.


Steve
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11507280 10/16/16
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nifty-two-fifty Offline OP
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Denton,

Thank you for that LINK. It is extremely educational and I recommend it to all shooters and reloaders.

The idea that powder and ammunition will last indefinitely in a good storage environment is absolutely false.

Deterioration of powder, no matter how slow begins on day one. A takeaway from that link is that the experts consider all powder over about 20 years old to be suspect. Federal declares a safe shelf life of ten years for their ammunition. If one assumes that Federal is being very conservative and you double their shelf life figure you still wind up at 20 years.

According to the link the military keeps samples of the powder used in all their ammo and artillery shells and monitors it for years as to the rate of deterioration. When they estimate a lot of powder has three years of safe life left they put out a notice that the ammo with that powder has to be used up or destroyed by the three-year end date.

Extreme heat is shown to deteriorate powder very quickly. I wonder if this has been a problem for our military in the extreme heat of the Middle East?

I had heard that when the Marines or Army puts on a "mad minute" demonstration that much of the ammo used is old and needs be used up. I have heard this explanation when someone questioned whether the "mad minute" exercise was a big waste of taxpayer money.

Here is a civilian "mad minute" video. Multiply this effect several times over for some of the military demonstrations. These are used as morale boosters for the troops.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuSbT4T3o4g,

I am sure that I have some powder in my inventory that is at or over the 20-year point. I also have factory and reloaded cartridges that are that old or older. I will now make it a point to inspect and use up that old ammo and powder instead of thinking it will last forever.

Denton, thank you again for that educational link. I now know that it was nitric acid caused by deterioration of the powder that ruined my cases, even though the powder still looked normal. Given more time there would have been visible changes to the powder. As explained in the link, the problem is made worse by moisture or heat.

All the more reason to store ammo and powder in cool, dry conditions.



Nifty-250

"If you don't know where you're going, you may wind up somewhere else".
Yogi Berra
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: denton] #11507336 10/16/16
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Thanks for clearing that up denton.

Had two boxes of Winchester .220 Swift ammo in yellow boxes that developed the same symptoms. Got them when Old Western Scrounger had a yard sale of old stock items. Looked fine when I bought them but a couple of years later the cases were full of holes. They had been stored in a metal building and had undoubtedly been subjected to excessive heat. Glad I didn't shoot any.


One unerring mark of the love of the truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant. John Locke, 1690
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: wswolf] #11507768 10/16/16
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Great posts here. Thanks to all,


1Minute
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: 1minute] #11508012 10/16/16
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Just a guess:

The deterioration probably begins when a granule of powder comes in contact with a droplet of liquid water, particularly in a confined space like a cartridge case. (If you use your breath to blow crud out of a case, you will deposit droplets of saliva.) The granule then begins to decompose into various compounds which probably include more water. That makes the process self-propagating.

I have powder that dates back to about 1950 that seems to be good and still shoots well. It has been kept indoors, and the air here in Utah is usually pretty dry.


I don't associate with snobby people. I'm much too good for that.
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11508375 10/16/16
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Thanks Denton.


Ed

A person who asks a question is a fool for 5 minutes the person who never asks is a fool forever.
Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: Prwlr] #11508811 10/16/16
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Thanks Denton...good information !

Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: denton] #11509002 10/16/16
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denton;
Good evening sir and thanks for the educational link - as usual your post was helpful for me.

In the post in the other area of the forum I related how something similar had happened to me with a bulk canister powder marketed as H4350 equivalent but marked VV N160.

Until nifty's thread I'd never heard of it happening to anyone else and as you can imagine always wondered if it was something I'd done wrong or what exactly had transpired.

Thanks again sir and all the best to you folks this fall.

Dwayne


The most important stuff in life isn't "stuff"

Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11511686 10/17/16
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I have seen several of these corroded case events here on the fire and on other forums. Each time it was with VV powder. Now I'm starting to wonder if they are not taking the time to remove the residual nitric acid from manufacturing. The link above shows a jug of VV gassing off.

I use a lot of VV140 in my M1 and M14 loads, so now I will keep a close tabs on these loads. Luckily they are shot up within a month or two of being loaded.

Re: Case Corrosion Mystery [Re: nifty-two-fifty] #11543241 10/30/16
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Originally Posted by nifty-two-fifty
...
This is a puzzle to me. I have a plastic storage container that has several boxes of 30-30 ammo, factory and reloads, that has always been stored indoors. I recently pulled out an old box of Federal ammo that had been once fired and reloaded back in 1999. I was going to shoot it up since it was one of the older boxes I had.

...

I checked all of the other ammo that was in the plastic storage box, including some other reloads of the same age. This corroded lot was the only box of Federal cases. There was no corrosion present on any of the other ammo. Not even a speck. Other brands of cases loaded with the same load looked fine. The plastic cartridge holders didn't seem to be the cause.

I still have some of the same lot of R-P 150 gr. Core-Lokt bullets on my shelf, and they look fine.

As far as I know, these cases were not treated any differently when I reloaded them back in 1999. I don't tumble my cases or use any liquid cleaners. I don't understand how the corrosion started from the inside, if that is what happened. That is how it seems. The powder that I dumped out of the broken case looks perfectly normal.

Has anyone else had this sort of thing happen? Does anybody know what happened here? Is it just a bad lot of cases? Could it be some kind of reaction between the bullet matel and the brass? The worst of the corrosion is all around the base of the neck. This is a first for me in 50 years of reloading. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

nifty-
Based on the replies to date, have you (or others) any thoughts on why only the Federal cases corroded?

Were any of your reloading procedures different for the Federal cases than for the other brass reloaded at the same time with procedures that were at least similar?

Thanks.
--Bob





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