Received some free samples during the SHOT shows back in the nineties. Never used any after the flood of '97 left fifteen cases of shotgun shells under water for two months along with rifle and pistol ammunition. I've been gradually shooting this ammo over the past years without many problems. It works okay for target and plinking but I wouldn't use it for hunting. Shot three cases of trap loads this year with about 75 duds. By the way these are the old cases of 500 shells not the new modern cases of 250 shells. Rifle cartridges have about 2% dud rate and the pistol loads are less.
Personally wouldn't waste my time with the sealer use on case neck and primer pocket with my experience related above.
Remember reading in either Handloader or Rifle magazine about somebody testing reloaded rounds using the sealants. If memory serves there conclusions were about the same i.e. not worth the time and trouble other than piece of mind.
The usefulness of these is variable. The military seals all theirs at both ends, lacquer on the primer and melted pitch in the case neck, but they probably have some specification that calls for withstanding submersion to greater depths than Hailstone experienced. Board member Humpy described having some unsealed primers killed just by rainwater dripping onto the case heads as they sat nose-down in a box at the range.
As the residue and scratches from prior reloadings accumulate, the chance of a leak or water wicking in will increase. Also, guys experimenting with intentionally killing primers by submersion of pull-down primed cases have found some brands of primers far easier to kill than others. Apparently that lacquer they put on them isn't the same formulation among different brands. I seem to recall Federal were easier to kill than CCI?
Had loaded around 250 rounds for a friend that was submerged for those two months back in '97. Since his intended use was hunting I pulled the bullets, dumped the powder and deprimed. Found around six shells that the primers leaked water. These were all once fired shells that were reloaded. Interesting observation was all were caked at the flash hole sealing the remainder of the powder from the primer. Later used the dumped powder and primers on practice rounds.
Wish I could remember where and when that article was published. It would answer your questions better than anything else I seen published. The author used the commerically available sealants then proceeded to replicate the type sealant used by the military on bullets. Testing was quite extensive with some results surprising. Believe the biggest cause of water intrusion was flucations in temperature. Stands to reason this would cause internal pressure variations at times negative to outside positive conditions.
Bottom line is if you need the sealing then go commerical ammo for the hunting trip or duty use. Put the liability onto someone else.
I have used clear fingernail polish to seal my primers from time to time. Specifically for my single shot rifles where the base of the round is vertically exposed in my stock-mounted ammo holders while hunting.
I've never had any problems with either sealed or non-sealed rounds. I don;t normally do it because it is a pain to clean up and I don't want it to gum up my guns or equipment.
I'm new to reloading so my opinion on this matter is so weighted but I'm sealing my hunting rounds... I spend far too much time in the rain here in the NW to let a shot at game fail due to a dud round.
I use Sally Hanson's Hard as Nail to seal my primers and where the case meets the bullet. Has works great for me for many years, if you put it on heavy, wipe the excess off with a rag. I use some colors to allow me to identify with round is what.
I've never had a weather related failure on a shotgun, or centerfire cartridge. I do know folks though that use the colored finger nail polish on there handloaded shotgun shell primers. But it is used mostly to color code the size of shot that was loaded into the shells. If I ever had a weather related cartridge failure I suppose I might try this stuff.
I was duck hunting this year when I dropped two good shells in the water about 2 feet deep. About a week later I went back to the same spot and the water had come down quite a bit. I saw these two shells sitting in the water now only about 6 inches deep. I picked them up and told my buddy that I had dropped them in the drink a week before. He said, "I wonder if they will still shoot"? So, I stuck one in my gun and kaboom, fired like a new one. He had a very surprised look on his face. I was on the fence in my own mind as to wether it would fire or not.
I have sealed primers and bulles when carrying loads for defense against bears in areas where the gun will get wet (and cold). For the primers, I just use fingernail polish. For the bullets, I used to use the sealant sold for coating tree branch stubs when pruning. But, that was kind of messy and I always wondered if I had scraped it off when seating the bullet. So, I went to the fingernail polish at the bullet, too. I applied it liberally with the brush into the exposed part of the cannelure after the bullet was seated and then wiped it off with a rag before it dried.
As a test, I dropped some of these sealed .357 mag rounds with CCI primers and 2400 powder into some ice water on a 75°F day and let them sit there for about an hour, then fired them. All 10 fired fine and accuracy was not apparently affected at 50 yards.
I then felt better about potentially dropping my limited supply of (.44 mag) sealed ammo into a glacier-fed stream while on extended walk-about in grizzly territory. Of course, I was already nervous about having only a .44 Mag in grizzly territory.
FWIW, Back in the 70's a sporting goods store in Johnstown Pa. got flooded. BAD! When clean up time came they sold trap loads cheap by the wheelbarrow load as the paper boxes were junk.Lots of guys bought them. Most cut them up salvaging the components as much as they can.The shot began to oxidize,that's how long they were wet. One guy hosed them off and layed some out in the sun for a while and dried them out. You could still see water droplets in the cushion section of the plastic wad on some of them. The crimps had a little mud in them too.Target loads were not sealed like hunting loads were back then.Well after a long time drying he proceded to shoot those "Flood" shells and broke many good scores at the trap line. Everybody else quit cutting them apart and dried them out. They shot those "Flood" shells for months with nary a misfire. I have friends that are still alive that shot them if you don't believe me. Also, did anybody see the ad in an old Hercules or Alliant manual where they said they have an old jar of Red Dot immersed in water to keep it fresh and take some out and dry it once in a while and it still performs pretty much as when new? I'm trying some enamel on my cannelures and primers on a certain rifle caliber for long term storage in aplastic dry box to maybe help keep out condensation and the primer and powder staying wet. I'll find out if it works in 20 or 30 yrs. Y'all will still be around won't you? LOL
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