Igman-Zavod .50 BMG, 12.7x99 (Bosnian/Yugo)


#1

Does anyone know why Igman used corrosive priming up to at least 1998?
Fifty Caliber Shooters Assn had some articles on this, but to my knowledge
did’nt explain why. Now, Igman is importing fresh 06 or 07 headstamped
.50 BMG and claims once again as “non corrosive” are they liars or am I
missing something?


#2

Some countries, for years after non-corrosive priming was available, considered the various corrosive mixtures to be more reliable under combat conditions. The United States, aside from M1 Carbine ammo which was always non-corrosive due to the difficulty of cleaning the captive piston in M1, M2 and M3 Carbines, used corrosive primers in most small arms ammo until 1952, even though U.S. commercial ammunition was primarily non-corrosive for a couple of decades and in some cases more, before the U.S. Military switched.

Why would Igman lie about their commercial offering being non-corrosive? There is zero reason to believe that. The manufacture of corrosive-primed and non-corrosive primed ammunition even during the same time-frame is not mutually exclusive. Many factories have made both, in the same calibers, simultaneously, depending on the contract specifications.

Years ago,manyy said the Chinese ammo marked non-corrosive was actually corrosive. Rubbish! What I found, selling tens of thousands of rounds of the stuff, was that much Chinese ammo sold to us as dealers as corrosive was actually NON-CORROSIVE, quite the opposite of rumors. This was especially true of 9 x 18 Makarov ammunition, which was so good that I personally bought almost 10,000 rounds of it. I still shoot it. More accurate than most highly touted brands and never a jam or a misfire. My boss at the store didn’t clean his Makarov after a store shoot we put on for our customers, and I noticed it dirty on his desk three weeks later. At that time, we thought our Mak ammo was corrosive because that’s how it was represented to us. I cleaned his gun in about 3 minutes - no rust of any kind, even in the San Francisco climate. A test we did later against mild steel plates subjected to moist conditions revealed it to be non-corrosive.

With liability matters what they are today, no sane ammunition factory or dealer would be likely to knowingly lie about important conditions of their product, such as corrosive or non-corrosive priming. My limited experience with Igman ammunition (primarily 8mm Mauser and 9mm Para) has been fine.


#3

John, I want to believe what’s stated on the packaging, but I will still clean
my bore with suitable corrosive ammo bore cleaner.

Thanks for your input.


#4

The article in question was mine. A key item left out of this discussion was that is was “mildly corrosive.”

Not every manufacturer uses the same priming mixture.

Yes, it did cause corrosion (rust), but not to the degree WW2 US surplus or ComBloc causes rust.

The test results showed WW2 vintage priming compound caused rust within 48 hours. The known, US non-corrosive, primer mixture didn’t have any rust left behind after 2 weeks of exposure to normal household humidity and temperature.

The control sample of steel, without exposure to ANY primer compounds, showed no rust after 2 weeks of sitting with the other samples.

Nearing the 2 week period, about day 10, the primer salts in the IK example began to rust the sample.

All the steel samples were the same for each primer sample tested, tested at the same time, under the same environmental conditions. The same test has been repeated, subsequently, and the results were identical.

I’m fully aware of the attitude that primers are either corrosive or not, but the fact remains there are different compounds and therefore degrees of corrosivity are possible. The difference being how aggressive the compound is at absorbing & retaining moisture.

Why is it important ? It makes a difference in how long you have to do your cleaning.

WW2 vintage or ComBloc primers you have to clean the night of shooting or risk rust formation the next day. The IK sample showed you needed to use proper cleanigng solutions, but didn’t have to drop what you were doing and start cleaning at the end of the day.

I’ve since done tests on IK 7.62x39 ammo, from the same time frame. The results there matched those of the .50 cal rounds.

At a gun show, I personally examined an SKS rifle that the owner wanted to know what was going on. No matter how much cleaning he did, he kept getting rust in the chamber. He knew, well, what he used for cleaninig, and, fortunately, brought a sample of the x39 ammo he’d been shooting, the only ammo he’d ever run through the rifle. It was IK headstamped 1980’s vintage. He was using CLP, which doesn’t neutralize primer salts.

Keith Pagel
FCSA/VHP Magazine


#5

I totally agree, and am aware that there are differences in the amount of corrosiveness of corrosive primers. Non-corrosive ammunition, however, is non-corrosive, and if it is not, it should not be called that. There is no degree to non-corrosive primers. They either are, or they are not. Both Prvi Partizan and Igman have made corrosive and non-corrosive-primed ammunition. The ammunition I fired in 9mm and 8mm Mauser, was sold under the Hotshot brand and manufactured since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, in Bosnia-Herzogovina, where the Igman factory has been for years. The boxes, which I still have in my collection, are clearly marked “non-corrosive” and the firing results substantiate that marking.

Ammunition of any certain caliber made by Igman in the 1980s doesn’t necessarily relate to ammunition made in “05” or “06” by Igman.

In 38 years of selling arms and ammunition, and 55 years of shooting, the only ammunition I have ever seen that was marked on the box as being Non-corrosive, non-mercuric, so on and so on, but turned out to be not only badly corrosive but also slightly mercuric, was .45 caliber pistol ammunition made in Taiwan and bearing the CCC headstamp. They sold a couple of other calibers with the same headstamp, 7.62 NATO and .30 Carbine, I believe, but I have no experience at all with them. We purchased a large quantity of the Taiwan ammunition, and immediately began receiving complaints accompanied by .45s with rusted-out barrels. We actually had the primers tested at a lab, rather than do it ourselves as we would normally do for our own information, and spectrographed as well. We were not sure if it would be necessary to sue the importer or not. It was not, as he refunded for all of the ammo, even that sold, and paid for total repairs on all damaged firearms.

Again, though, I have been sold ammunition as “corrosive,” which when testing proved to be non-corrosive. I am not crticizing those that sold it as corrosive. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.


#6

Whew! Thanks guys for the information.