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Old November 17, 2013, 22:27   #1
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Has anyone else had Vihtavuori N140 corrode in loaded ammo?

I pulled two boxes (100 rounds total) of .308 ammo out of the safe I loaded about ten years ago and found some of them had blue powdery stuff coming out of the necks. I pulled a few rounds down and the inside case walls were powdery blue. The base of the bullets were corroded and blue. None of the other .308 ammo in the safe loaded with Varget has this problem. None of my pistol ammo looks to have anything wrong, but I haven't unloaded any of them. None of my blued guns have any rust. It's not a moist environment issue.

I've never had this happen before. Spent a lot of money loading this ammo for my AR-10 and used new brass, CCI BR2 primers, and N140 powder. It's all junk now.

What made me check it was I shot my AR-10 that's been sitting idle for about 8 years. Same ammo as what's in the boxes I checked. Out of the first ten rounds from the mag that was in the gun three blew primer pockets. I unloaded the rest of the cartridges and they were corroded.

I googled it and found one instance where someone else had the same thing happen.

I'll post pics tomorrow.
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Old November 17, 2013, 23:03   #2
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Just out of curiosity, Greg, was it VV N140 or N540?

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Old November 17, 2013, 23:07   #3
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VV N140.
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Old November 17, 2013, 23:32   #4
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Although not even close to the same time frame I've used a good bit of VV N-140 this year and had no issues at all..

Blue powdery stuff is puzzling indeed??
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Old November 17, 2013, 23:33   #5
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I found the N140 container with some left in it that I used, and it looks and smells good.

It looks like the Winchester brass and the N140 reacted to one another? Does powder ever do that?
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Old November 18, 2013, 00:05   #6
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I found the N140 container with some left in it that I used, and it looks and smells good.

It looks like the Winchester brass and the N140 reacted to one another? Does powder ever do that?
Had some 223 ammo I loaded do that as well, think it was loaded with 4198...not home at the moment to check...stored in a ammo can on stripper clips in the cardboard sleeves. I had loaded the ammo in the early 80s. Also had some Federal factory loaded ammo do the same thing....it had been stored in factory cardboard cartons and was less then 5 years old.

Could cardboard be the common thread, here?
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Old November 18, 2013, 00:11   #7
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Mine were stored in new at the time MTM Case-Guard plastic cartridge boxes. I never trusted cardboard because it can absorb humidity.
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Old November 18, 2013, 00:19   #8
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Blue powder... Copper sulphate?
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Old November 18, 2013, 06:23   #9
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Blue powder... Copper sulphate?
That would be my guess.
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Old November 18, 2013, 07:00   #10
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Tag. This is worth watching.
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Old November 18, 2013, 10:44   #11
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Is the inside of the case effected only on the neck, where the bullet was in direct contact with it ?

You did'nt say what brand/type of bullets you used ?
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Old November 18, 2013, 12:23   #12
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The inside of the case is where the problem started, the corrosion then bled out past the neck.

It happened with two types of bullets. 168 HPBT and some Speer 125's.

I have ammo in that safe that I loaded 20 years ago and has been to Wyoming several times (rainy sometimes) with no problems whatsoever. Just the N140 loaded ammo.
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Old November 18, 2013, 12:56   #13
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I just used some N540 powder I must have bought at least 13 years ago, still came in 2 pound cans for $38 (expensive back then). But this stuff makes an AR15 with an 80 AMax hum at 1000 yards, it shoots 8 feet higher with no pressure signs than loads with Accurate N2520 that is at the verge of max. I'll check it out to see if it smells funky.
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Old November 18, 2013, 15:07   #14
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According to some people who shoot competition, the VV N540 (and 500 series powders in general) has a relatively short lifespan (because of it's different chemical composition) once opened compared to other powders. It offers enough advantages (like those hagar mentions) that many competitors use it in 5.56x45mm ammunition, but they are shooting up the ammo relatively quickly and not storing it for any great length of time.

(I'm just reporting on what I've heard here since I've never used any N540 or other 500 series powder).

Most of the cases of green (or blue-green) colored oxidation (or whatever) that I have seen in cartridges have been with cordite loaded ammunition, especially British .303BRIT loaded in the early 1900s (1910-1925).

I am still shooting some of my reloads in a number of different cartridges that I loaded back in the early 1970s, using IMR3031, IMR4320, H335, Herters101, Herters102, and some other powders. Cases, in different cartridges, have included mostly Norma, Rem, Win, and US Military. Bullets have run the spectrum from the steel-jacketed (and silver colored) Norma 139gr 6.5mm SPBT through several different brands of gilding-metal jacketed bullets from several manufacturers. Primers have including Norma N990, non-magnum CCI primers of all types but BR, Winchester primers of all types and Remington primers (although I haven't used them for a long time now).

My point is only that I have never seen what Greg is describing here in any of these loads.

For what it's all worth...

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Old November 18, 2013, 17:19   #15
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Was there any wet media used cleaning the cases before they were reloaded?

Chantite and Posnjakite are also forms of copper reduction that appear blue. You may have some seriously interesting shit going on here.

Was the donor brass corrosive primed originally?

Then again, can you account for all your kid's blue playdoh?
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Old November 18, 2013, 18:28   #16
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It was brand spanking new out of the box Winchester brass.
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Old November 18, 2013, 18:42   #17
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Old November 18, 2013, 19:23   #18
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It's especially interesting that, whatever the chemical process involved, it's made the brass brittle enough to have cracked at the neck (seen in one of the cases here).

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Old November 25, 2013, 03:03   #19
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I was greeted to this earlier this year after opening an plastic box of 7.62x54R ammo that I loaded back in the mid-late 90's.

Being Lapua brass I was a little miffed, it was costly back then, now it is even more ridiculou$. I checked all my other reloaded ammo and found several other boxes that were similarly affected, thankfully a small share. I segregated the bad stuff to deal with another day.

Cleaning up the reloading room today I came across the exiled ammo and noticed that it was all loaded with VihtaVuori! Either N-135, N-140, or N-150. Thinking, 'huh, this has to be well known problem', I googled 'VihtaVouri Corrosive?' (yes I spelt it wrong) which brought me here, this thread was the number one hit and crazy recent.

All the ammo in the photos below were loaded between '95-'99. Click the image for larger photo, opens in new tab.

This 8x57 pic is quite telling. Ammo stored in the same box, same lot of brass, same bullet, different powders.


6.5x55 Swedish Mauser, PMC Brass. Reloader 15 and IMR 4064 no issues, VV N150 not so much.


7.62x54R, this one hurts, that beautiful Lapua brass turned necrotic. These were in the box bullet down. VihtaVuori N-140.


.303 British. VV N-150. Brass is .30-40 Krag, trimmed and fire formed. Military .303 chambers are quite generous and the .30-40 Krag brass fits much better in my rifles than .303 British brass, you don't get the bulge above the case web.


.30-06 VihtaVuori N-140. Not as dramatic as the others. Cases are Lake City 68. Necks on most of the cases and some of the shoulder have cracks.


.243 Winchester. VV N-140. Does not discriminate against Moly bullets.
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Old November 25, 2013, 03:29   #20
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Bummer...

That's about all that I can think to say at the moment.

Have you tried contacting the manufacturer yet?

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Old November 25, 2013, 03:40   #21
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Wow, that is heart-breaking. A lot of work down the tubes.

I loaded up 60 rounds of .308 tonight for a new rifle I built. I used something that has never given me any storage problems. I probably will use the remaining VV powders I have for short term use, and load a different brand for loads that I store.

A shame too, because I always got good performance at the range from Vihtavuori.
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:46   #22
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Quote:
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I just used some N540 powder I must have bought at least 13 years ago, still came in 2 pound cans for $38 (expensive back then). But this stuff makes an AR15 with an 80 AMax hum at 1000 yards, it shoots 8 feet higher with no pressure signs than loads with Accurate N2520 that is at the verge of max. I'll check it out to see if it smells funky.
I've burned up a whole lot of N540 at 600 yards over the years. My results are the same as yours, although my long range ammo habitually doesn't sit around for long. Still based on this thread I think I'm going to go through my reloads and start shooting up anything loaded with VV.
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Old November 25, 2013, 12:45   #23
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I've burned up a whole lot of N540 at 600 yards over the years. My results are the same as yours, although my long range ammo habitually doesn't sit around for long. Still based on this thread I think I'm going to go through my reloads and start shooting up anything loaded with VV.
No shit...!!

Luckily (for me), I've never used any VV powders in stored rounds (although I was thinking of starting). That's pretty much of a non-starter for me now...

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Old November 25, 2013, 13:03   #24
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Well, that just stinks!! Lapua brass too!

What Forrest said, +1, contact the company. My VihtaVuori is still on the shelf, looks like it might stay there.
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Old November 25, 2013, 13:40   #25
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...contact the company.

.......
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Old November 25, 2013, 13:50   #26
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I checked the rest of my stock for VV loads and only came up with two different .223 loads of 100 round each. This is more recently loaded ammo. 2005 was the last year I shot HighPower...got married, got a house...no more fun...

2005 - .223 VV-N135 60gr Sierra HP. 24.7gr N135 with a 60gr Sierra HP is an excellent shooter outta my service rifle, I use this load for 100yd and 200yd reduced course XTC matches. No outward signs of corrosion, small spot on inside could be an anomaly, the other sectioned case was clean. This is a different lot than the N135 in the post above. Previous post was 8.5.1993 this is 11.4.2003.


2003 - .223 VV-N140 75gr Hornady. No outward oddities, inside starting to get rough. This was a surprise, all my match ammo used Reloader 15 and Sierras or Noslers.
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Old November 25, 2013, 14:30   #27
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I have reloaded using N150 since probably the 80's. I have 308 ammo loaded from back then that I use periodically and have never had problems anything like what you are describing. If you have the original package with powder still in it, I would send it to VV and ask them to examine it.
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Old November 26, 2013, 13:34   #28
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People seem to have success with the Vihtavuori high energy N5xx powders in AR15's but Vihtavuori told me that they recommend against using any of their high energy 5xx powders in gas operated firearms as they aren't meant for gas operated firearms and recommended using their single base N1xx for gas operated firearms.
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Old November 26, 2013, 19:46   #29
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Interesting - I have some N350 I've used in the .45ACP since 2010, and have seen no signs of this so far. I'll definitely keep an eye on it though -
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Old November 26, 2013, 19:54   #30
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People seem to have success with the Vihtavuori high energy N5xx powders in AR15's but Vihtavuori told me that they recommend against using any of their high energy 5xx powders in gas operated firearms as they aren't meant for gas operated firearms and recommended using their single base N1xx for gas operated firearms.
Damn.

I wish somebody had told me that 28 pounds of N540 ago.

Oh well. Only 6 more pounds to go.

I've switched away from VV powders because their prices shot up, and supply became unreliable. Now this corrosion thing and they act like they don't know shit about it? I wonder if they have any dimly-lit 50.63's for sale?
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Old November 26, 2013, 21:09   #31
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I use only American made powders in my American made ammo and I never have cancer growing in my American made ammo. Made with American made powder. In America. By an American. With light bulbs made in China.

BTW: I am thankful to RSU for posting this. I was entertaining the thought of purchasing some VV powder for when I run out of my American made powder.
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Old November 26, 2013, 21:19   #32
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Damn.

I wish somebody had told me that 28 pounds of N540 ago.

Oh well. Only 6 more pounds to go.

I've switched away from VV powders because their prices shot up, and supply became unreliable. Now this corrosion thing and they act like they don't know shit about it? I wonder if they have any dimly-lit 50.63's for sale?
I've never seen the VV stuff on any store shelf, ever. And I've looked for it, wanted to try it.
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Old November 26, 2013, 21:35   #33
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I need to learn more about the chemistry of gunpowder. I know a little, but not enough. I was working under the assumption that the N140 was a regular old single base powder, but very high quality.

Anyone know where to get some good info?

HBR: be careful, some of the American powders are imported.
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Old November 26, 2013, 21:37   #34
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BTW: I am thankful to RSU for posting this. I was entertaining the thought of purchasing some VV powder for when I run out of my American made powder.
By the way, I agree with HBR here.

I also thank Greg for pointing out his problems with VV N140. None of the rest of this would have come to light here without that...

I'm not sure what the exact cause is, but it has changed my thinking about using VV powders in the future.

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Old December 01, 2013, 10:27   #35
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I just saw this thread and this is the first I have ever heard of this.

I use a lot of various VV powders in my hunting loads with great success. I really like their powders and how they perform. Granted I don't store much of it loaded up for years and years but some of my 45-70 loads have been loaded for several years with VV N133. I just checked and I don't have any corrosion on any of my loads using VV powders. I will check some of my rounds I loaded back in the 70's using IMR powders and see about them. I will also pull down some rounds to see what's going on inside.

A good friend and I have been chatting about this and he brought up a theory that it "MIGHT" possibly be due to heat and/or humidity.

@RSU and onlyinajeep, being both of you come from hotter areas of the country I would be curious as to the conditions at time of loading. Example, was it humid or very hot when you where loading?

How about storage conditions. RSU I know you stated you stored the ammo in plastic containers but were they in a cool dry building or exposed to high temps?

Sig, you stated you have had this happen with a IMR powder and factory loaded rounds. You are also in a hot area of the country. Were your rounds exposed to high temps or humidity?

I am just trying to figure out what is happening here and what the common link is to this corrosion. I want to know if it's going to be a problem for me and if I can avoid it.

I live in an area that get's huge amounts of rain most every spring, (mud season). I frequently reload during this time so I would say I have plenty of moisture in the air when some of my ammo is loaded. However, our temps never get much past 80 degrees. So I don't have a lot of heat. My rounds are frequently exposed to wild temp extremes during the winter. They can go from 70 degrees in the house or camp to -40 and back several times a day. Not to mention the ammo I keep in my trucks throughout the winter. I can wipe condensation off it or scrape ice off it. Other than some velocity changes I get no other effects on my ammo.

Just trying to figure out what might be going on here with the corrosion.
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Old December 01, 2013, 11:30   #36
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I just saw this thread and this is the first I have ever heard of this.


Sig, you stated you have had this happen with a IMR powder and factory loaded rounds. You are also in a hot area of the country. Were your rounds exposed to high temps or humidity?

Skeeter, that is a correct assumption!! I live on the Texas coast where it gets dripping hot and some days the humidity can be parted with a knife. So yes, the rounds were exposed to both. As for as temps, probably approaching 90 degrees air and humidity that can reach 100% and not rain.

I don't keep as many loaded rounds on hand now days, just the components, cases in plastic bags etc and have not had a problem since.

But you have to know those handloads were 33 to 35 years old and had made several moves with me with a range of conditions over the years. The loaded rounds were all Federal and had the worse of storage conditions...from weather.

I got flooded in 08, and in that incident had a bunch of .22 that got wet. I am still shooting that ammo up and depending on brand and how it was packed it still fires between 50 and 80%. Some are starting to show the same type of corrosion and recently had a case stick in a chamber that had split....probably due to corrosion. Guess I should shoot more/faster!!
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Old December 01, 2013, 11:51   #37
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Sig, Thanks for the info!
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Old December 01, 2013, 13:56   #38
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skeeterbay, good to see you back! I thought you might have an interest in this thread, was about to drop you an email about it.

At $36 a pound in the LGS, I don't think I'll be using much of this stuff anyway.
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Old December 01, 2013, 18:21   #39
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Hey Mainer hope you are staying warm down there.

Crow99 turned me on to VV powder a number of years ago. While I still use a lot of IMR powders. There are a couple of calibers where VV is all I use now.

It is a bit more expensive than some of the other brands but most of mine I bought several years ago.
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Old December 02, 2013, 08:02   #40
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RSU, I wonder if that powder that you used was stored improperly at some point before you got it; in the sun, heat or humidity too long so that it started to degrade.
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Old December 02, 2013, 11:57   #41
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Old December 02, 2013, 12:03   #42
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Mebs- Bought it new from a local dealer and started using it.

Brunop - All new brass. No lube.
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Old December 02, 2013, 12:06   #43
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skeeterbay - I loaded this ammo inside the house, and was stored there. It hasn't sat on a dashboard or been inside a hot car.

I'm at a loss to what happened.
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Old December 07, 2013, 19:50   #44
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What you're seeing is copper sulfate. That reaction typically occurs with some degree of moisture present. Did you load that ammo when it was, perhaps, a very humid summer day? Store it at some point where it was exposed to wide temperature fluctuations?
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Old December 07, 2013, 22:12   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Right Side Up View Post

HBR: be careful, some of the American powders are imported.
All of my kegs contain military surplus powder. That is, AMERICAN military surplus powder.
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Old December 08, 2013, 01:21   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronpaulFAL View Post
What you're seeing is copper sulfate. That reaction typically occurs with some degree of moisture present. Did you load that ammo when it was, perhaps, a very humid summer day? Store it at some point where it was exposed to wide temperature fluctuations?
I don't remember what time of year it was when that ammo was loaded. I do know that it was done inside my home, which has central A/C and heat.

I could understand if any of my other ammo had this problem, but none that I have found so far does. I pulled a few bullets and checked for corrosion on some .270 ammo that I loaded in the early 1990's with H4831, IMR7828, and H450. Perfect. Stored in the same safe. Some of those boxes have been on hunts out in some nasty Rocky Mountain weather.

I'm not bitching at VV. This isn't factory ammo. This is like racing. There's no warranty on hot-rod stuff.
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Old December 08, 2013, 10:41   #47
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RSU,

Thank you for the added info.

I don't know what to say about this corrosion. I wish we had a chemist that could chime in. I was kind of figuring it might have something to do with heat and moisture either at the time of loading or during storage, but your added info doesn't seem to support that.

I know a guy near me that has some rounds loaded up with VV for about 20 years, IIRC. He also has seen no signs of corrosion in any of his ammo.

I plan to keep using VV but I will keep an eye on my ammo. For that matter I will keep an eye on all my ammo no matter what the powder.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
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Old April 11, 2018, 23:31   #48
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I was justa walking without a care through the grocery store tonight and stopped for a gander at the various gun rags. Handloader magazine stuck out like a ripe strawberry. Open the cover and browse about 7 pages into it, and all of a sudden there's a Q and A section and the subject is about powder causing corroding cases. The powder in question was Vihtavouri.

Been there, Done that.
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Old April 12, 2018, 09:04   #49
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I avoid it and use the traditional stuff.
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Old April 12, 2018, 11:23   #50
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I have had a lot of 1950s German, Portugese and other European 7.62x51 Ammo. Also some nice 1960s Swedish stuff. No such issue.

They know which powder, what conditions to avoid. I am sticking with IMR 4064.
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