Degradation, US .223 caseless rounds




Have you seen any indication of negative interactions between the plastic material and caseless rounds? I had several nice US military caseless rounds with which the powder / binder broke down and the bullet jackets corroded when stored in plastic tubes.



That’s a great storage idea!
I found their site:Akor-Mills.
I think their most comprable items made today are in the Plastic Storage Cabinets section.

I keep my little collection if .22 and .17 boxes in KASSETT boxes sold at Ikea. They aren’t the ideal solution, but for my little collection, they work for now. I was at the Container Store today and there are a lot of possibilities out there! If you have an idea for collection storage, post it!!!

Ikea Kassett


Have kept my caseless rounds in coin tubes since being clued in by a coin collector friend. Local coin shop charges 10 cents for dime, penny tubes and 15 cents for nickel and quarter tubes. These all have screw on tops. Only had them for just over a year but no break down has been observed. Also great for skin, paper and other fragile cartridges. Have test stored about 10 rim and centerfire cartridges and 1 each 50 Maynard, Burnside, Smith, Gallager all brass and Gallager Poultney to see what will happen. So far so good. How long were the caseless rounds stored in your tubes before damage was seen?


There seems to be no hope for the .223 US combustibles. Any way they are stored the binder goes bad. I have 50+ of them falling apart. A friend who also got a few boxes out of Edgewood Arsenal has tried numerous cleaning and coating methods. None work. I have trashed many and will do more. Later cases seem ok but the early ones with red,white,black or no base cap look like a total loss. My drawers are good up to and including the straight case 30mms. None of the other combustibles, German or later US are affected by the plastic (yet).


That’s the reason all early caseless testers were issued a tube of Gorilla glue.


Right, but the motto just doesn’t flow as well with those words.


These drawers are just great for .22 boxes as well. These work well for me because this is a working collection and they are easy to carry to my desk and thus examine and compare types of ammo , headstamps,crimps etc… If you want a DISPLAY collection with big drawers designed to impress the viewer-not for you. I have drawers out every day and sometimes hourly. When I moved my office several years ago I taped up the stacks with straping tape and moved about 15,000 specimens with no problems, no packing or unpacking. I use the corrugrated paper cut to fit in some drawers. Acid free is best,of course,but I have never found that and so am still using a roll which I got at a department store wrapping center many years ago. I have seen no adverse affect with it in 30 years.


I am not sure that the disintegration of the .223 US caseless ammo did not begin with the acids in the paper of the boxes rather than any reaction to or with plastic.


I have boxes of original US caseless ammunition purchased roughly 30 - 35 years ago when they first began to slip out into civilian hands. The rounds in the original boxes are gem mint fresh. Specimens I stored in glass are also fine.

The tubes I used were FDA approved for food samples. Theoretically chemically inert.

gm - it takes a while, a matter of years. I can’t say with precision how many. They were fine at first. Then I was away from the hobby for many years to raise my kids . . . built two houses myself, worked two jobs, the usual stuff one does in late twenties through middle age. I must not have looked at my collection for at least ten years there. When I did, I about fainted.

However, I’d have no qualms about using plastic tubes to store them short term.

I’ve had some paper and early transitional items in plastic for comparable periods and there’s been no environmental damage. This is something unique to the caseless + plastic. It may be as CSAEOD noted, that the binder used with the earliest designs is the cause; I can’t speak to this. But once burned (severely; I can’t replace the ones I lost), several times wary.



A couple of decades ago inert plastic storage cases were introduced for the safe storage of coins. Long story short- folks who bought these and put their coins in them and stored them in safe deposit boxes were really shocked to see them years later with green goo all over them. many really valuable coins were ruined by the migration of the plasticiser onto the contents. Newer plastics are also supposed to be inert but time will tell. All of my combustible US .223s stored in their boxes in ammo cans or in plastic drawers all fell apart. same with the lot of a local friend. All of mine and his came from the same source at Edgewood and that complicates the analysis. GOOD LUCK. I have lots of bright green US .223 combustibles looking for good homes CHEAP !


Inert (inorganic) containers + some provision for air circulation will do the trick, without question. The few glass tubes (small old pill bottles) I had into which I stuffed caseless rounds before the lack of additional glass items required acquisition of plastic containers, have survived nicely. This was entirely by accident. My father was one of those frugal Yankees who saved everything which might ever be of use, and I filched the few he had of the proper size before spending good money on something else (his son is a Yankee, also).

I added some holes to the covers after discovering the disaster with the plastic vials. This may not have been necessary, but it hasn’t caused any problems, either.



All of my .223 cobustibles are PL-6 ( pilot lot 6 ) from vulnerability testing at Edgewood. They are both round and square bodies. Are your boxes marked ?


These are marked “Vulnerability” Test or Study (forget the exact verbiage at the moment and they are packed away). This was done in one of those hand-assembled rubber stampers where the letters are not especially even. There was no lot number on any of the boxes.



I struggled for a while with the trade off of various materials and possible interactions (Plastic, wood, paper, etc)

Never have had a bad interaction, but also haven’t stored cartridges for more than a decade since I am relatively new to the pursuit.

Finally settled on using metal drafting cabinets that are stackable and have enough depth in the drawers to accomodate boxes. I bought some aluminum angle iron and cut it to length for the drawers then covered each length with felt and built a bracket for them that holds them together in a washboard. I can either display loose or put them into a container should I decide to.

I’ll try to post pictures if I get a chance.