Please help ID the powder type


#1

A local shop purchased a large quantity of .45 ACP ammo in boxes. While well stored,every single primer is dead. I pulled a primer and found the pellet to be very small for the cup more of a thick film rather than a pellet. I placed a piece of the primer material on a wooden match and found it would not burn. Dead as a door nail.
The brass is shiny in and out. Bullet is like new. Primer and bullet were sealed in a green sealant.
I found the powder to be a pale green cube/flake type. Very light and static sensitive. The charge was 4.8 grains average for 50 rounds.
I loaded up the components in a case a fired the round in my bullet trap. The round fired normally.What I noticed was no smoke and very little odor.
Does anyone know what this powder is?
A worker covered the boxes with tape ruining the collector quality.
Thank you for your reply.


#2

I have no answer to what contaminated the primers in your cartridges. I can’t identify the powder as to chemical composition, but it is Brazilian PV2P pistol powder, but it doesn’t look in the photo like it is breaking down, chemically speaking.

If the box photographed is the one covered in tape, since the box is only really good for the information it provides anyway, especially artless contract black and white boxes, I don’t see that box as ruined at all. JMHO. I have boxes that look like they were run over by a tank. They give me the same information as a mint box, and generally cost little or nothing to obtain.


#3

This is a single base powder for pistol cartridges designated PV 2P and was made by Fábrica Presidente Vargas. It is still produced under the IMBEL brand for .38 Special cartridges.


#4

Rapidrob,
as JohnMoss writes, there is nothing in the photo indicating deterioration of the propellant.

It looks yellow-greenish, because this is the original colour of nitrocellulose powder. Yours is not graphited. That is the reason it does not have the usual dark grey color. Most probably it has a porous surface to make it burn faster. For low-pressure handgun cartridges (.45 ACP and .38 Spl are typical examples) a very fast burning propellant is required to insure proper ignition and burning.

I am quite sure your ignition problems are caused by the primers themselves.


#5

.45 ammo made for the Brazilian Navy. Given the date of Manufacture, the Primers are Probably cactus.

This ammo has been surplus since the 1980s or so; and despite the “Marine” Varnish, could have suffered from Humidity damage.

I assume it is Berdan Primed??? Good for Components --Bullets, Powder, Cases if you reload Berdan ( Dia??).

Doc AV


#6

I knew the powder was still good as it is none dry. Not having the graphite explains why it is so static sensitive. Being an avid reloader, It was a surprise to not see any smoke when fired. No odor like Bullseye or Unique.
A very interesting propellent.


#7

I am not at all sure that these cartridges were made just for the Navy. It is possible, since they are designated specifically for the Thompson SMG. I don’t know if the Brazilian Army had any TSMGs or not. Brazil made a copy of the M3 “Grease Gun” and the Army may have used just those in .45 caliber.

The “Marine Varnish,” though, was not just a sealant, but was also used to identify this ammunition as military property. Commercial ammunition, generally found in calibers 6.35 mm and 7.65 mm Browning (known, but scarce, in other calibers) had red seals, including an all-red bullet. These were exported as well, but drew confusion as to whether or not they were Proof Loads, so eventually, the export ammunition had green seals also, or no seals.

Ammunition of .45 Auto, 7.63 mm Mauser auto, and 7.65 mm Browning calibers made specifically for the Brazilian Navy were headstamped M DAM M (Caliber). This stood for Director of Armaments for the Navy, Ministry of the Navy. Oddly, the .45 and 7.63 mm rounds have no visible seals at all. Bullets are CN FMJ RN. My 7.65 mm Browning “DAM” round has red seals, but it was found in a commercial box with the other rounds having the standard (non-Navy) headstamp.

The Air Force also had some specially headstamped .45s, marked -CBC-MAer-45 ACP-, and has the green primer seal and all green-lacquered bullet. The headstamp Stands for Aeronautical Ministry. There was a later one, very read, with “FAB” headstamp. which I do not have, but believe it stands for “Brazilian Air Force.”

The standard M4 is found in some variations, including dated headstamp, cartridges with no visible seals and a cartridge in a nickeled-brass case with just a standard green primer seal, but no neck seal or bullet coloration at all. There is also a HPT (Proof) round with pruple base and all-purple bullet. Mine came from the factory that produced the M3 SMG copy.

Hope this helps and is of some interest.


#8

Thank you for the detailed information.
I held my monthly match today and took the components reloaded ammo with me. The round was very accurate and spun the two pound targets at 50 yards like you’d expect a 45 to do. Still no smoke ,flash or any lingering odor. Very clean bore when I came home and PM’d the pistol.
What ever the powder is, I’d love to find a few pounds of it.
Thanks again.