Q. I recently purchased some pulled, military surplus bullets. They have quite a bit of black residue on them that I assume was the water sealant between the bullet and inside the case mouth. What is the sealant material made of?
A. The sealant used by ammunition manufacturers on bullets is usually an asphalt-based chemical. Very few handloaders think it to be necessary, and I personally don’t know of any who do try to duplicate the factory waterproofing. Handloads are typically used within a few years, and in that time, with the handloads stored in reasonably uniform conditions, there is very little possibility of moisture penetrating the physical seal between bullet and case mouth. The same goes for primer sealers. These two seals are primarily used on military ammunition, where storage and time considerations are more important.
This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the October 2004 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.
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