7.9 german gone bad


#1

I own hundreds of the German 15 round boxes and have seen thousands but have never seen this before.

I bought this from a dealer who wraps all of his boxes in heavy plastic to keep them from damages in transport and display. This box was so done but had a few grains of powder in the bottom. I asked about it and he had no idea. There is no external damage nor water marks. Only the few dark spots were unusual. The contents was unusual.

One shell had come apart. One was cracked at the neck and had a bad primer. One had a hairline crack which is barely visible. A couple other had what appeared to be exterior corrosion.

Most of the shells look fine.

The case lots are 33 , 34 , 35

WHAT HAPPENED HERE ?


#2

Nitric acid from decomposing powder. German powder from this era is famous for this type of damage in steel cases, but it also effects any steel is can find such as a bullet jacket, primer cup, etc. in brass cased cartridges as well. Since the brass cased German 8mm is less common in mid to late war, this is damage is seen less in brass cases than steel. JH


#3

Which shell started this ? I bought the exact box at the same time and no problem. You think that the powder,not the primer has gone bad? The powder looks OK. One primer really looks bad.


#4

These 2 came from the other identical box.

Are they going the same way? Does the plastic wrap encourage the deterioration ?

If I am reading the label correctly this is rifle powder. These late war brass cases are often advertised as LUFTWAFFE aircraft ammo. The Luftwaffe had more ground troops than aircraft.

Are these for aircraft use ?


#5

Doc IMO, your 8mm cartridges are all going bad, but a varying rates. Some appear to be farther along than others, but will probably soon suffer the fate of the worst shown. I do not believe that plastic hurts the situation since the damage is coming from inside the cartridge. These appear to be standard Sme loadings, not for aircraft use. Large numbers of brass cased 8mm cartridges were ordered for the 1944 offensive because of negative results seen in the Russian campaign of 1941 with steel cases. I suspect this loading was done with that purpose in mind. JH


#6

The “auy” is on of the worst. Never ever shoot a round of the 43/44 manufacturing.
I also mention the edq S* 1 44. If you have it in your collection, remove the powder.

As JH told you, it is the acid of the powder together with the recycled brass “auy” normally took for sS/SmE production.

It is not a German WW2 problem. Here is a picture of other brass cased rounds.


3th of the left is a US 30.06

Rgds
Dutch


#7

[quote=“DrSchmittCSAEOD”]These 2 came from the other identical box.

Are they going the same way? Does the plastic wrap encourage the deterioration ?

If I am reading the label correctly this is rifle powder. These late war brass cases are often advertised as LUFTWAFFE aircraft ammo. The Luftwaffe had more ground troops than aircraft.

Are these for aircraft use ?[/quote]

No


#8

“As JH told you, it is the acid of the powder together with the recycled brass “auy” normally took for sS/SmE production”.

Is this RECYCLED brass ? From what prior use ?

I have never seen a German WW2 box with these contents without evidence of poor storage; water stains , abuse , dried out paper.

Usually shells with this type of powder decompostion dump out clumps of powder which is off color.

This powder look just right.


#9

Would anyone have an example of such a deterioration in Soviet WWII calibres?


#10

A few years ago I was given about 50 rounds of 1945 dated Soviet 7.62x54r “L” ball that were splitting the cases right up the side when fired. I broke the cartridges down for the bullets and discovered that all of the steel cases were beginning to corrode on the inside. The powder looked fine and the bullets were not stuck in the neck but the cases were uniformly corroding inside, mostly where the powder was touching. There was no evidence externally that the cartridges were corroding on the inside. I’d seen the same kind of side splits on WWII German steel cased ammo we used to shoot back when I was just a teenager and knew nothing about why it was happening.

AKMS


#11

This is not terribly unusual. Just several years ago, I ran across some .30-'06 reloads I had made up back in the late 1960s using the military surplus IMR 4831 propellant (probably from WWII) that was commonly available very cheaply at the time. Those cartridges had been stored in a plastic two-piece 20 round box since reloading, and the brass cases were all nearly eaten up (worse than shown in the preceeding pictures), with heavy corrosion also on the bases of the bullets. I’ve also had some of that same powder deterioriate in one pound steel cans, leaving the can interior completely rusted. When the can was opened brown fumes and dust came out. I dumped the contents on the ground and lit it with a match, but it burned very slowly, leaving a lot of residue behind - nothing like what I expected.

I also had some military 6.5X55 Swedish military ammunition from pre-WWII go about the same way as my reloads previously described.


#12

[quote]I also mention the edq S* 1 44. If you have it in your collection, remove the powder.
[/quote]

I have this loaded as SmK Gl’spur and I hear no powder shaking…
(total weight 23,98g)

greetz


#13

[quote=“Kurt”][quote]I also mention the edq S* 1 44. If you have it in your collection, remove the powder.
[/quote]I have this loaded as SmK Gl’spur and I hear no powder shaking…
(total weight 23,98g)
greetz[/quote]That missing sound of powder inside is a sign. Do as Dutch suggests and remove the powder, you may save a somewhat rare cartridge.
Danish 8 mm M.1908 (1908-43) are also notorious for this. Not properly ‘washing’ the nitrated cellulose for acid were sadly rather common back then.
Soren


#14

Kurt, I am only taken a reverence on the SmE of „edq“
It could be, they used by the Glimspur a different powder lot. I know the SmE had
“1943 mog 70”. The first lot Glimspur “edq” “1944 mog 13” just as the “dou.” cases loaded by “edq”

The problem is, we can only identify it by the case label.
It took a wile to find the same powder lot number as DrSchmittCSAEOD his box.
The production lot is also the same but loaded with steel cases. The bullet was not made by “auy” but by “eom” The cartridges looks new from the outside. Inside a different story, but not as bad as the showed cartridges with brass cases.

Sometimes I have the impression it is a chemical reaction between the iron of the bullet and the powder. Unfortunately it also happens with steel cases loaded with tracer bullets.
Still a lot of resurge to do.

Rgds
Dutch



#15

That is iron oxide in your steel cases. It looks like a copper compound in the brass cases. Any chemists out there want to explain how the acid in the powder is doing this ?


#16

Here is a cut and paste post from another forum I frequent, just saw this, sounds plausible…NOx has an orange color…

"Who knows what caused either fire, but powder as it ages will auto ignite. The general public is totally unware of this, but the military has had lots of auto ignition events.

You won’t find out about the US events, an Insensitive Munitions expert I know, we conducted a Google search on one which he wrote the after action report. Nothing to be found on the web. These things just don’t make it out to the public.

World wide, there is an ammunition dump going off at least quartely, if not monthly.

This one went kaboom in the Congo this month. Big kaboom.

articles.cnn.com/2012-03-05/a…r?_s=PM:AFRICA

You really should use up double based powders by 20 years and single based by 45 years.

Section from the Propellant Management Guide:

Stabilizers are chemical ingredients added to propellant at time of manufacture to
decrease the rate of propellant degradation and reduce the probability of auto ignition during its expected useful life.

As nitrocellulose-based propellants decompose, they release nitrogen oxides. If the nitrogen oxides are left free to react in the propellant, they can react with the nitrate ester, causing further decomposition and additional release of nitrogen oxides. The reaction between the nitrate ester and the nitrogen oxides is exothermic (i.e., the reaction produces heat). Heat increases the rate of propellant decomposition. More importantly, the exothermic nature of the reaction creates a problem if sufficient heat is generated to initiate combustion. Chemical additives, referred to as stabilizers, are added to propellant formulations to react with free nitrogen oxides to prevent their attack on the nitrate esters in the propellant. The stabilizers are scavengers that act rather like sponges, and once they become “saturated” they are no longer able to remove nitrogen oxides from the propellant. Self-heating of the propellant can occur unabated at the “saturation” point without the ameliorating effect of the stabilizer. Once begun, the self-heating may become sufficient to cause auto ignition. "


#17

There was Russian war time production of mortar propellant which was infamous for this kind of incidents.


#18

True story - when I worked at Hercules in the late 1960s, we maintained a sample of Bullseye (it may have been called something different, but it was Bullseye) from the first production lot of the early 1900s It had been sampled and tested annually for ballistic performance and deterioration. In all those 60-odd years, it had not changed, but it had been stored in a temperature=controlled magazine. Maybe it’s still there and still being tested - I couldn’t say. I recently test-fired 5 rounds of Winchester.38 Special ammunition which was no younger than 1934. Not only did every round fire, but the MV was still right on the button. One of my contacts at NSWC-Crane related a story to me of their testing (this was in maybe 2004) a lot of WWII .50 BMG ammunition in storage there which showed no evidence of propellant degradation and had maintained in-spec ballistics.

Goes to show that if propellant is properly manufactured, it will last a long, long time. But you can’t count on that always being the case (especially if it was made on a Monday).


#19

I have touched off black powder loaded in ammunition made at Crittenden and Tibbals in the 1860s. It still exploded in 2010.


#20

That is iron oxide you see, Dr. Schmitt.
The explosive component in smokeless powder is nitrocellulose, mostly made from either lint or wood fibers. Nitration is done with a mixture of sulphuric acid and nitric acid + some water. This mixture makes the fiber swell up and at the centrifugation afterwards the acid tends to become locked inside the fibers. To get the residual acid out (Testing is done for sulphur, from 0.6% down to finished product 0.02%) boiling under pressure is done together with a crushing/grinding to get the fiber lenght down and opening up the fibers to release the acid and ester residuals. And to control viscosity.
In Germany, with Albert Speer breathing down your neck, you did all you could to bring down production time and one factor was the boiling which could take up to 72 hours. German rifle powder was relativle simple to make and viscosity were not very important since the finished flakes did not go through a extrusion process. The lack of extrusion also meant that adding calcium carbonate was not needed. Calcium carbonate neutralizes part of the acid.
Since the powder were to be used within a limited timeframe (months rather than years) the residual acid were not an issue, it is today though, where collectors try to preserve a cartridge that was never meant to last 65 years.
Soren