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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Digital Edition - Page 54
Another adverse effect of water on ammunition is the cases and bullet will likely tarnish. these rounds had been under tap water for 46 hours. tumbling in appropriate media can salvage cases and bullets. ? d e d o o Fl your T . . . e s o l o t G n i o G dAve emAry s i o m Am his past summer saw unprecedented flooding over large regions of the country. This flooding caused untold property damage and grief to hundreds of thousands of people. Those affected probably lost substantial investments in ammunition and components. Ammunition has some resistance to water for very short periods of time if it’s not in very deep water. The good news is there are ways to store ammunition and components that will protect them if you live in a flood risk area. Primers The explosive mix in primers starts as several dry powder components. These components are mixed together as water is added and you wind up with something literally looking like a ball of cookie dough. This stuff is all mixed together in a blender that for all practical purposes is a heavy duty Kitchenaid mixer with a bread hook on it. The ball of primer dough is then measured out volumetrically into each individual primer explosive pellet, placed in the primer cup and finally the anvil is inserted. As long as the primer mix is kept wet it’s virtually impossible to get it to do anything. At this point in the process you have the exact same assembled primer you purchase, except the explosive mix is wet and won’t go off. The primers are then placed in tightly controlled temperature and humidity cabinets to dry. The drier the mix becomes the more sensitive and energetic it becomes. Primers are tightly controlled for the amount of residual moisture left in the explosive mix. Once the primer mix is completely dried, it’s now sensitive the setup for testing the effects on ammunition being submerged in water for varying lengths of time was very simple: a 5-gallon plastic bucket with 13" depth of water. to impact and heat and you have your live primer for your cartridge. However, get the primer mix wet again and it becomes virtually impossible to get it to do anything. If primers are exposed to any water at all, even for a short period of time, they will absorb water and go back to their insensitive state. They can be dried out again and will once again become sensitive and explosive. But without some very expensive equipment it will 54 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2012