Does Anyone Use Protection?

Hello once again to Everyone,

As the subject title asks, I was wondering if anyone uses protection, for their hands when handling their cartridges for examination?

I for one do not handle or touch any of my cartridges without a pair of white cotton gloves on my hands. Only due to the fact that we all have oils in our skin, which transfers very easily to any copper or brass cartridge. Thus eventually causing corrosion and/or deterioration.

While I do wash & dry my hands before before I insert them into the white cotton gloves, I was curious to know if there was a better material or tool to use, other than the white cotton?


I use disposable nitrile gloves when handling cartridges, reloading, painting etc… My body oils are more acidic then most people’s I think…


I have a friend who is leaving “rusty” fingerprints on stainless steel guns!

Besides this all above is correct. I think most cartrdiges got their genuine appearance ruined by people fondling cartridges and leaving their skin excretions on them.

I never have, and have never had a problem with generating fingerprints.

However as AKMS & EOD note some folk have more acid in their body oil than others. Some guns are fingerprinted within a few minutes of handling by some people if not carefully wiped immediately after handling.

I would suggest doing a test to see if your ‘safe’ or not by holding a clean, cheap duplicate cartridge that you’ll eventually shoot, & let it sit for some tome then closely examine it for fingerprints. If you see-em you have this problem.

My wife tells the story of her then husband Jim Tillinghast visiting Herr Erlmeier (the Pistol & Revolver book author) in Germany. He apparently always insisted in white gloves & also highly polished his cartridges, with Jim just walking in and starting to pick things up. Apparently Herr Erlmeier was quite shocked.

Slightly afraid to add to the discussion for the fear of sounding stupid, but isn’t most ammo (all least military) designed to survive rain and snow and tropics and winter/mud?

Vlad, the military cares only for technical parameters and not for the genuine appearance. Also they are very carefull when it comes to storage of ammunition. Almost all of this becomes invalid once ammunition is issued and being carried around. And there you will find that when ammo has been carried for some time (depending on climate, type of ammo and even on the unit) it is being phased out and disposed of. For example aircraft which do return from a sortie with unfired aircraft gun ammunition will be unloaded and the cartridges be disposed of as they can not be reused.

Most people do not recognize it but brass is a highly corrosive metal.

[quote=“EOD”]I have a friend who is leaving “rusty” fingerprints on stainless steel guns!
Besides this all above is correct. I think most cartrdiges got their genuine appearance ruined by people fondling cartridges and leaving their skin excretions on them.[/quote]
Lol EOD! You are fully correct about the fondling of cartridges! I have a Gevelot & Gaupillat 6mm Longue Portée cartridge In my collection, which has someone’s oily blue fingerprint, on the brass and abit up the side of the copper case… (Maybe one day I should have a forensic team ID the fingerprint - could lead to someone famous perhaps? Lol!!)

Pete, I could only imagine the look of shock on Herr’s face! It would have been priceless! I almost felt the same when my dad was checking out my collection! Lol.

“Herr” simply means “Mister” in German. “Herr” Erlmeiers first name was Hans. A fine gentleman, by the way.

Alex, I appreciate your input on this subject, for the value of the information given, but to me more importantly, the opportunity to defend my career field… The USAF would appear very “wasteful” and inefficient if all “line returns” were immediately disposed of. Esp. since the late Korean War/early Vietnam War era when guns were not seen as an important part of an aircraft’s armament. But, in lots of cases, the ammunition is downloaded, inspected, reworked to the extent necessary and then reissued for future use. The disposal of ammo, especially “wartime” loads of HE/HEI/etc. is costly in terms of the ammunition cost, and the cost of demo material to detonate. In the case of the internal M-61 “Vulcan” guns, cycling through the gun can be “tortuous” for the ammo and results in some dented cases, which must be removed, separated and as you indicate destroyed. But for training ammunition (M-51 TP, and Cal. 50 Ball M-33 and API M-8, mostly) much of the ammunition is eventually fired. In wartime, and in “practice” wartime scenarios, the “topping off” of the gun ammunition is an important step in many aircraft “quick-turn” and/or “combat-turn” operations. Of course, service life must be tracked, and inspections are rigorous. Since in two A-7D units, two B-52G units, one F-4 unit, one F-16 unit and one F-15 unit, the munitions maintenance troops responsible for this process fell under my supervision, and throughout my career I was associated with either the procurement, loading, inspection or disposal of munitions, including gun ammunition “line returns” I felt that I had to comment…

Taber, sorry, I should have stated that this is the current procedure in the German airforce.

I do when I’m reloading. I also wash my hands each time before I go look at specimens but that’s it.

I was extremely impressed with the gentleman at the Prescott show who wore white cotton gloves and was very meticulous about what and how he touched everything on everyone’s table.


Some guys are born rich and some are born good-looking. Unfortunately I was born neither, but I was blessed with fingers and hands that are kind to any type of metal. I have handled guns and cartridges my entire adult life without ever having anything rust or discolor. Living in the dry AZ mountains does help a lot but even when I was a kid on the hot and humid farm in IL I never had a problem with fingerprints. My brother, OTOH, could pick up a rifle and 10 minutes later it would start rusting.

The most I do with my cartridges is rub them down with a course cloth like an old bath towel when I first get them. After that I handle them as much as I want.

And, I agree with Taber. I was a USN Gunners Mate and only artillery mis-fires were deep-sixed. We never threw away any other ammunition of any kind. Some of it got liberated, but none was tossed.


Michael, the guy at the Prescott show with the gloves, Norm H., just didn’t want to get his hands dirty.