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Old 15 February 2012, 22:17
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Exclamation German NATO Surplus .308 +++ CORROSION WARNING +++

ALCON,
I've been shooting the green vinyl-cased 200-round NATO battlepacks for quite some time. This German ammo is WONDERFUL stuff, and is made by either:
  • DAG (Dynamit Nobel A-G, Troisdorf, Germany, (previously Geco and DNG Gustav Genchow, Karlsruhe)
  • MEN (Metallwerk Elisenhütte G.m.b.H., Nassau, Lahn, Germany)
The problem is that the cardboard boxes that make up the individual 20-round packages within the vinyl battlepack have a very high acid content. Anybody who has seen very old newspapers or paperback books which have had the paper turned brown and brittle with "age" is familiar with the problem; age isn't the issue, it is the paper's internal acid content.

Paper manufacturing for most of the 20th century included the use of acid in the processing of the wood pulp. Not all of the acid was washed out, and as a result the paper is burned by itself over time.

In this case, the cardboard boxes has a high acid content, such that the brass cartridges within are adversely affected; they start to corrode.

The following link takes you to an posting where the problem is detailed. Both makes of German NATO ammo are affected, but notably DAG94 and MEN94.

I've got 800 rounds of MEN94 still unopened (600 rounds opened so far with only about 5% with corrosion - lucky). One day soon I've got to open them up and get handy with some steel wool, perhaps while watching some mindless movie.

If you have unopened NATO battlepacks in vinyl, you might want to open them up to be sure. I've been putting the clean / inspected rounds onto stripper clips for storage. Some went into green cotton bandoleers, much went into ammo cans on stripper clips. Hopefully this will help a few of you fine folks out a bit.

I recommend reading the short text on the linked site:

LINKEY TO THE M-14 FORUM POSTING





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Old 15 February 2012, 22:51
Stretch Stretch is offline
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Wow...

How did you cut open the casings and how did you decide to cut those particular three open?

Thanks,

asg
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Old 16 February 2012, 00:51
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shit

i have a bunch of this...will examine and report
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Old 16 February 2012, 06:56
tooslow tooslow is offline
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Whoa!
I've ne'er seen that much corrosion, before.
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Old 16 February 2012, 23:39
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I have about 1500 rounds of this ammo....opened it all up.... no corrosion...

but I am going to shoot it in the upcoming 3 gun season...so it wont be around long enough to go bad

but with this issue I will not reuse the brass
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Old 16 February 2012, 23:42
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How old do you reckon that batch shown is?
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Old 16 February 2012, 23:55
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yikes! I have a few of those packs. will check it out
thank you
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Old 17 February 2012, 00:08
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MEN94 was made in 1994

I opened an identical NATO 200 round battlepack yesterday that was Portuguese 83, the cardboard boxes inside was acid-free, and the ammo was completely blemish-free.

The important point here is that if you've got NATO surplus ammo, unpack it and check it out. If you're corrosion-free... bonus. Put yer stuff into stripper clips and throw it into an ammo can for when the zombies come, or for the 3-gun season coming up in a few months.

But if you DO have corrosion, be very careful as you assess the situation. The top photo shows some shells with external corrosion that doesn't look too terribly bad... maybe a bit of cleaning and you'll be good to go, right? But when the guy who took the shots actually opened up a few cases, finding to his horror that the corrosion actually went THROUGH the brass case, he decided differently.

Like I said earlier, the pink corrosion on DAG or MEN is pretty bad. A small spot can go completely through the case wall, negatively impacting your safety.

Ammo is expensive... but it isn't so high that its worth taking risks. NATO surplus is under 50 cents a round, unless you're getting gouged. What I've been hearing is that a bad batch might have 20 - 30% corrosion. That is STILL cheaper than top-shelf ammo, by a long shot.

So be careful out there, and use good judgement.
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Old 17 February 2012, 16:32
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A old problem and the reason why we never used "old" ammo. We had to sent them back to the Depot as soon as they´ve reached their Best before Date.
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Old 17 February 2012, 17:50
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Bebirsjager, can you post a picture of where that date is on a NATO battlepack?

I've never seen anything that even remotely resembles a date other than the MEN94, or DAG89 types of dates which show manufacturer and birthdate
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Old 18 February 2012, 10:00
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Regarding the ammo pack you have in your picture above is te LOS-Nr the one with the datas:
LOS MEN94H0008 means

MEN= Maker
94 =year of make
H = month (forgot about the code which month is the H, October has the code "K")
0008 = Number of the LOS ( Series of ammo)

Normally they said that the maximum storing time for ammo is 30 years, but we send ammo back as soon as they have reached 10 years of storage. And thats for the reason that we had sometimes problems with firing them. Over here it is known that the 7.62x51mm NATO ammo in the oliv green foil packs have a tendency to corrode. Better are the ones that are packed in 1000 rounds steel ammo boxes. You often get them for horrible cheap prices at here. Last time i had to pay $ 200 for one pack
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Last edited by Gebirgsjäger; 18 February 2012 at 10:11.
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Old 18 February 2012, 10:48
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I forgot to add that our Mun.-Fw. ( Ammo Sgt.) always had the rules for storaging the ammo and there have been different storage times for the same ammo. It must have had a reason.

Sometimes we have found corroded cases too and if so, we had to send back the whole LOS.
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