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Old 05-12-2005, 02:43 PM
Padeye Padeye is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Phoenix, AZ, US
Posts: 7,672
Even modern ammunition can be dangerous if it was stored under extremely hot conditions. Smokeless powder can acidify under hot conditions which can make pressures erratic and dramatically higher than they should be. Acidified powder has a vinegar like smell that is different from normal. I was on an adjacent bench when my cousin shot some .223 ammo that had been stored in the cab of his truck for some time in Arizona. The acid smoke was so bad that my eyes started watering and the muzzle blast was so loud I thought at first he was firing a much more powerful rifle.

Old ammunition doesn't automatically mean acidified but there may be increased odds it was stored poorly since it was made. The acidification problem is part of why the early M-16 had problems. The army knew that ammo would be stored in hot depots in southeast Asia so they switched to a powder that had a too-high percentage of calcium carbonate in the deterrent coating. This actually cause limestone deposits in the gas system.