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Checking weapons for functionality - don't take it as a given it's same as when put away

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posted on Dec, 10 2018 @ 06:08 PM
I'm not trying to insult your intelligence as I'm sure you know to clean your gun after every time you shoot, and it seems to me that you cleaned it before you stored it. Did you by any chance clean the magazine as well or leave any cleaner in the firearm when you stored it?

I'm trying to logically deduce how this could have happened, and I'm going to start with the ammunition itself since pistols and rifles are commonly purely mechanical devices. Therefore, excluding the chance of tampering from outside forces, that leaves the ammunition as the most probable cause of this occurrence.

Inside ammunition there is gunpowder. It's composed of charcoal, potassium nitrate, and sulfur. If any cleaning solution came in contact with the rounds for an extended period of time there is a chance that it will cause corrosion and work it's way in probably where the projectile mates with the casing.

Here is a link to MSDS sheet for Hoppes #9 gun bore cleaner:

In Section 3 - Composition it lists:

Ethyl Alcohol
Oleic Acid
Amyl Acetate
Ammonium Hydroxide

The main agent in most gun cleaners is kerosene and ethyl alcohol. Kerosene is yellowish or clear. It can be extracted for coal tar or petroleum. Ethyl alcohol is also clear.

Charcoal is the main fuel source of gunpowder. There are some characteristic similarities between charcoal and coal, but coal is a natural occurrence of the long term breakdown of organic breakdown under high pressures while coal is a rather man made process of slowly burning organic matter in the absence of oxygen.

Sulfur is used as an additional fuel source in gunpowder. It reacts to reduce the ignition temperature of the charcoal. It is also a pale yellow color.

The potassium nitrate is the oxydizer providing oxygen for the combustion process. In it's liquid form it is clear.

Kerosene, one of the main cleaning agent in gun cleaners, has sulfur in it. Ethyl alcohol is an additive in gasoline, and is also another term for ethanol. Ethanol is made from starches, and in the US that consists of mostly corn. It can also be made from things such as sugar cane, beets, sorghum, potatoes, and barley.

Oleic acid is an unsaturated fatty asid found in soap and fat. It is odorless, colorless, but sometimes yellowish.
It is a product of acetic acid and 1-pentanol. It can also be produced by yeast much like ethanol.

Ammonium hydroxide. also known simply as ammonium is colorless. It is ammonia gas in water.

With all of this in mind and without going too far in depth. I believe what may have happened is that the cleaning solution worked its way into the ammunition and through some chemical reaction caused the production of some kind of glycerol.

Therefore I would recommend disposing of said ammunition, and purchasing some new ammunition.
It's good practice not to keep ammunition for over a year. If you don't use it, dispose of it. You don't want to risk being in a situation where you need to use your firearm, and your ammunition doesn't operate properly.

posted on Dec, 10 2018 @ 06:58 PM

originally posted by: RealityIsAbsurd
My first thought was like what Archivalist said. Two different types of metals in contact can corrode in the presence of an electrolyte. Electrolytes aren't just in sports drink or water. Depending on what the air is like where you live and how you stored your firearm could have contributed to the condition that you found it in. I want to say that some sort of chemical reaction occurred with the corrosion and the gun powder inside of the rounds, but from what you've stated it sounds like all of the round appeared to be visually fine.

Furthermore, I would like to place emphasis on what Skunkape typed. It's not a good practice to store a firearm for an extended period of time while loaded. This is for multiple reasons. One it could weaken the spring in your magaazine. Two rounds can go bad over time. Especially when you find the whole set in the condition you have. I wouldn't trust those rounds. They may seem fine from a simple visual inspection, but you have no idea of the condition of the gunpowder, primer, or inside wall of the casing. Go ahead and dispose of them and buy a new box of ammo.

a reply to: JBurns
I keep a few "ready to go" guns.
They get used and cleaned regularly.
I keep a few loaded handy, but I dust them out on a fairly regularly basis.
There is nothing worse than a gun that doesn't work when you need it.

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