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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife gave me a new Smith & Wession M&P 15 rifle, and a case of ammo. Caliber is 5,45x39mm. Retailer told her that SW makes the ammo, but the packaging indicates otherwise. I'll call the seller next week, but would like to be more knowledgeable before we talk. Ammo is in 1080 count sealed metal OD case (needs a can-opener to view the shells). Case markings are: 5,45NCrc, 674-82-270 C ^ 033 ^n, 441/82. The obvious clue that it's European made is the 5,45 vice 5.45; so, I don't trust it. I had to use a caret symbol "^" for an a symbol that I couldn't reproduce; it looks like opposing batarangs (Batman's version of the boomarang).

<O:p</O:pOther research points out that current manufacture European exports are non-corrosive, but I don't trust words that aren't measurable over time as accurate.

<O:p</O:pCan anyone point me to a web destination that might be able to decypher the case markings? If not, does anyone have any first-hand experience in sorting this out?

<O:p</O:pEven if the indications come back as non-corrosive, because of the European markings, I still will not feel right until I know for sure, and thus do a home test, but I sure don't want to do that with each batch of ammo. Because of the caliber, I'd almost certainly not have bought it, but it's mine now, so I've got to know, because it's way too much work to do special cleaning after every firing.

<O:p</O:pGreatly appreciate any insights that others may have with this specific caliber.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Why not just treat as corrosive-primed and clean that way? The key is using some hot water to dissolve the corrosive salts. A little soap (emphasis on "little") will lower the surface tension of the water and get it into every nook and cranny. Hot will help it evaporate.

Then clean as normal with petroleum based products.....

Just a thought.
 

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S&W did not make the ammo, I believe all of it is imported. Much if not all of the bulk packed surplus 5.45X39 is indeed corrosive, clean it with water or windex and you won't ever have a problem. The newer Wolf is supposed to be non-corrosive but I would still treat it as corrosive. I have quite a few guns some in excess of a hundred years old that have shot nothing but corrosive ammo and the have survived fine so enjoy the rifle-you have a good wife there.
 

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I dont think any of the ham can ammo is non-corrosive. Just clean with a blackpowder cleaner then repeat with your normal routine. I have been using the T/C BP clearer with no problem. The 5.45x39 is the cheapest CF ammo available now. The ham can is about 150.00 and sometimes goes on sale for 120.00 or so. Well worth the effort. The Wolf is non corrosive and can be had for about 200.00 per thousand if you shop around. Still a good price for centerfire ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sometimes one just needs to hear all the right answers from someone else. The semi-auto functiionality has plenty of nooks and crannies to harbour stray residue, and I don't care to clean metal with water unless it's absolutely necessary. Looks like this is just one of those times when it's absolutely necessary. I appreciate all the good feedback.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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"Mildly" corrosive is like being "mildly" pregnant. The end result is the same! Don't be fooled by ammo vendors trying to draw a distinction.....
 

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Lion,

the markings you provided indicate that the ammo was manufactured and packaged in 1982. It is corrosive, I don't think the russians or bulgarians really started producing any non-corrosive 5.45 until after 1994. Although it is corrosive they have fired this ammo thru their AK74's for years. Corrosive priming and the moisture that is drawn to the salt residue has been the death of many a rifle bore. That being said it can be fired without issue but best practice will be to clean at the end of your range day.

Wolf makes non-corrosive 5.45 ammo

I've found hot hot water and lots of it to be the most effective cleaing tool, but don't do this unless you are ready to follow thru with a complete tear down and light lub.

good luck
GF
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
MikeG: Thanks for the clarification on mild. I was aware, but maybe others aren't.

GF: I had a notion that the 441/82 was related to the date, but didn't want to guess. Thanks for the confirmation of what I suspected. I really don't like the hot water solution, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I do have a small quantity of the Wolf that says non-corrosive with Berdan primers (yuck), but a little water pressure should deprime them, and the others are probably Berdan too. If I can find the bullets, I guess everything will reload into finally a decent non-corrosive cartridge for their second life.

Many thanks. Got exactly what I was seeking! Have a great new year.
 

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Hatcher says the old rule for corrosive priming is to clean immediately after shooting and again the next day. Get some of the old surplus military bore cleaner, which removes the salt. The dark brown stuff in a green can. Some of the newer water-based gun cleaners, like Boretech Eliminator will tend to remove salts, too, but not as well as hot water. None will remove it from the gas system by cleaning the bore alone. That's where the tear-down comes from for gas guns.
 

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There is a bore cleaner used to clean your rifles when using corrosive primed ammo. Don't know the name but it is an oily cleaner that has a funny odor to it. You can find it in Army Surplus Stores. Also the Black Powder cleaners work well too.
 

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Balistol and water is one of the best cleaners but you can get by fine with hot water. Now for the bad news, I don't think you can find reloading components for the 5.45X39-most of the cases are steel what is brass is berdan primed, the bullet is about 21 caliber. You can form cases from .222 cases(I think) and swage bullets but its alot of work. Most semi autos sling the cases into never never land. Yau can always put a .223 upper if you want to reload. The popularity of the 5.45X39 is because factory ammo is so cheap-you can shoot it fot about what it cost to reload.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You're right on target with everything. Did some checking before your post, and can't find any 5.45 mm bullets. I don't think it possible to fire-form brass from .223 because it is 49 mm long compared to 39 for the 5.45. It's NIB, so I don't think it very prudent to buy a new upper for it from S&W, but that is an option albeit an expensive one. I'm going to try and coerce the dealer into swapping out, and for one big reason -- he told my wife that the ammo was made by S&W but that won't be in writing, so he'll simply swear that isn't so, and the markings on the case are pretty clearly not U.S. made -- i.e., caveat emptor. Still, it will be a swap, and I have no doubt that folks will be wanting exactly what I have because of the cheap price of 5.45 ammo. But, it doesn't fit my idea of something that I want to own.
 

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Cases can be made out of 222 Rem. brass. 224 bullets can be swaged to 222. There are no currently available brass cases for the 5.45x39 as the ammo is so cheap. Hornaday is supposed to be coming out with ammo using imported primed steel cases and expanding bullets. I think brass cases will become available as a lot of us want to reload this round.
 

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Buffalo Arms lists brass cases for 5.45x39. Are you ready for this? $230. per 100!!! Talk about sticker shock. Maybe if this caliber gains in popularity the other manufacturers will start making brass for it.
 

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Cases can be made out of 222 Rem. brass. 224 bullets can be swaged to 222. There are no currently available brass cases for the 5.45x39 as the ammo is so cheap. Hornaday is supposed to be coming out with ammo using imported primed steel cases and expanding bullets. I think brass cases will become available as a lot of us want to reload this round.
Or he could neck down brass 7.62 X 39 m/m brass to .224". I am certain RCBS has form dies for this caliber.
 
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