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 primer pocket sealant
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Advanced Member

3974 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  2:25:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How does a ammo manufacturer apply primer pocket sealant? I would assume after the primer is in it something the average guy can do assuming you can get the sealant...any ideas where you can buy the sealant? Thanks.

Senior Member

2167 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  2:30:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think you can get it at Brownels but why ?

Up to my ass in brass and still shooting fast
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perry shooter
Advanced Member

17415 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  2:40:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
unless you are planning on storing ammo under water I don,t think you will have a need for sealant. I would not buy up a big bunch of reloading supplies TODAY or the near future I think price a year from now will be lower .
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10017 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  3:01:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Primer sealant is available through many sources labeled as such. In reality, you can use your wife's or daughter's finger nail polish at a greatly reduced cost. Besides, it becomes a method of color coding when testing if so desired.

Do you really need it?

In most cases, probably not. But you can test the need by making a few cartridges complete and submerging them under water for a few days to see if there is any adverse effect. Remember that there are two ways into a cartridge case:

The primer pocket/flash hole

The neck

If you feel the need to seal one, you should probably consider sealing the other. The military used a petroleum distillate product, in my opinion, very similar to tar, to seal the necks of ammunition.

Under normal and even some exceptionally adverse conditions including being submerged in a river for a bit, I've never needed to seal any ammunition.


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Costa Rica
512 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  3:02:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've used fingernail polish for years with no problem. It also helps me keep track of how many times a case has been loaded and to sort them. As a test I put some 45 ACP cartridges in water for a week the took them out and fired them still wet, no problem.

There is room for all of God's creatures, right next to the mashed potatoes.
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Advanced Member

9219 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  3:22:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by edharold

As a test I put some 45 ACP cartridges in water for a week the took them out and fired them still wet, no problem.

But did you do a control test with unsealed ones to see if they worked too? Without that there really was no test to prove if it was the polish that made it work.

Just a thought Why would you ask members of a gun forum if you should buy a gun. Kinda like an alcoholic going into a bar to hoping to have someone tell him not to drink.

Anyone who would sacrifice freedom for security deserves neither!!!

Gun control defined: The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, torture, kidnapping, theft, and murder will obey a law which prohibits them from owning a firearm.

What are MG's for?
Because if you are going to cry out, "Say Hello To My Little Fren" and you are holding a bolt action .22, you have no style.

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Senior Member

2386 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  5:13:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A long time ago we had a wringer washing machine (remember those?). When the washing was finished the water had to be emptied into a pail and then dumped outside so that became my job. Since it was my job, I put it off as long as possible. Once when I emptied the water, I found a .220 Swift cartridge in the bottom that had been in the pocket of my jeans and had laid in the origionally hot, soapy water for several days. The next time I was at the range, I fired that cartridge and it went right into the group with the others. No sealant.
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Advanced Member

13628 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  11:12:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My understanding is that this sealant is applied after the rounds are primed and loaded at the factory.

The quick answer to the question is that you can use ordinary nail-polish as a reasonably good sealant at home. Just brush on a thin layer around the primer pocket and case mouth and let dry.

Other lacquers could work as well, but the nail polish is used most frequently because its so inexpensive, readily available, and relatively fast drying.

Personally, I've never deliberately "kerplunked" a round into a bucket of water to test it, but I have shot a few rounds wet from rain and whatnot over the years, and never had an issue.

Having pretty tight neck and primer crimps, I bet lots of unsealed factory ammo *could* in fact, be entirely immersed in shallow water without being affected.

Rimfire ammo, obviously, has no primer pocket to let in water, plus lots of the .22s use wax-coated bullets, with the wax potentially acting as a seal.

Really deep water would be a different story, as the water pressure would be much higher.

And to be fair, reloaded ammo may use brass that has been reworked multiple times. Priming and depriming multiple times can stretch the primer pocket, making the primer fit less tight. Also, home reloaders may not use quite as uniform or tight a crimp on their rounds as the factory does with its professional machines and brand new cases. So reloads might be a little more susceptible to water damage.

I could see trying to waterproof reloads or even ordinary loads, *IF* they were for a critical application where you think there is some chance they could get wet (eg a hunt, for example).

But in general, if this is a real issue, its probably best to just store the ammo in a waterproof container until it needs to be used.
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Advanced Member

3974 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2009 :  9:29:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys, appreciate the help!
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Advanced Member

8599 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2009 :  9:13:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Let me add to this, Most primers today are somewhat waterproof even out of the case. Most priming compounds used are not water soluble. To you hand loaders, try this little test. Put five of your new primers in a glass of water for about 2 hours, then let then air dry for a short time, load them up in your shells....I bet they ALL fire fine, The only common solvent I found that kills primers is WD 40 or similar agents. bob
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