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FALAK
12-18-2011, 9:07 AM
At a gun show today I bought two unopened spam cans of 7.62x51 ammo. I was told they were Chinese. The cans were zinc-coated, stamped "7.62x51", "BALL", "520 rounds", and "12-96-01". If they are Chinese, I assume they have copper washed steel case. Are they corrosive? 147 gr? Are they good shooting ammo?

Thanks in advance

Rekrab
12-18-2011, 1:26 PM
I'd wager they're from Taiwan. Have you inspected the actual cartridges yet? Taiwanese ammo is actually brass cased and reloadable.

Richard Erichsen
12-18-2011, 1:47 PM
At a gun show today I bought two unopened spam cans of 7.62x51 ammo. I was told they were Chinese. The cans were zinc-coated, stamped "7.62x51", "BALL", "520 rounds", and "12-96-01". If they are Chinese, I assume they have copper washed steel case. Are they corrosive? 147 gr? Are they good shooting ammo?

Thanks in advance

It's not much to go by, but if '96 is the year it probably is not corrosive primed. Since "NATO" by itself doesn't mean ballistically interchangeable, you're going to have to step into this carefully. Inspect the packaging and the cartridges for signs of exposure to air and moisture. It may be lacquer sealed, but inspect the primer and case mouth. Do a lookup on the case stampings and look for any complaints or safety warnings. There are several very dangerous batches of ammo from India, Brazil and elswhere that you can find using this information and this Chinese ammo should be no different if it has been around that long. Someone else is bound to have used some of it.

Check case length and OAL to make sure it's within the dimensional requirements. If that checks out, disassemble a round. Weigh the charge, the case and projectile. If this is steel cased, you'll have to do a conversion for the specific gravity differences between brass and steel to determine if the mass corresponds to the thicker case generally found on 7.62 NATO ammunition. If the weights are close to the typical "interchangeable" ammo, you should be ready for test firing. There is a lot of variation within NATO ammo and special purpose sub-types, all bets are off for a non-NATO ammo in the same chambering. Assuming you didn't pull up a match for any issues with the case stamps you find on the ammo and all your other checks turned out, you should have more confidence to test fire.

I'd suggest rigging up the rifle with sand bags holding it down and a string to pull the trigger. A chronograph would be helpful because we know a typical NATO M80 ball will fire a 147 grain FMJ at about 2750 FPS from a 22" barrel at 70 F near sea level. If you can't borrow a chronograph, you'll have to read the cases for signs of problems and infer how consistent the loads are from one round to the next with later accuracy checks. Fire one round and look at the cartridge case. If there are any signs of overpressure, stop. If everything looks OK, repeat for a few more rounds, five should do. Steel doesn't read the same way brass cases do, but there should still be indications of pressure at the case neck, bulging or any signs of cracking or flow around the base or primer. There are folks who know how to read steel cases a lot better than I can, but my understanding is steel tends to conceal problems brass would show earlier. If you are confident the ammo isn't going to be blowing up on the next shot, it might be time to fire the rifle directly and see how it prints on paper.

Depending on what is typical for your rifle, firing a few 5 shot strings can reveal how well it groups. Best case scenario is you'll be pleasantly surprised, worst case it's fairly inconsistent and only suitable to casual plinking with groups that are well beyond what you usually obtain.

Some folks just jump behind the rifle with ammo they've never fired before and have at it. The chances of a round exploding on you are about the same as being hit by lightening, or perhaps bitten by a large shark. However, the added couple of hours to test something that has the potential to destroy your rifle, maim or kill you is good enough reason to take a more methodical approach. We all like cheap ammo, it helps keep up practice and allows you to stay longer at the range, but it shouldn't cost you your rifle, your fingers, hands, face or worse.

R

Mssr. Eleganté
12-18-2011, 1:49 PM
...The cans were zinc-coated, stamped "7.62x51", "BALL", "520 rounds", and "12-96-01".

Are you sure of the 12-96-01 marking? I only ask because those numbers don't fit the normal pattern. 12-92-61 would fit as would 16-92-61. If the numbers are as you say then it screws up my whole understanding of how to decode the markings.

MrPlink
12-18-2011, 3:33 PM
if you dont want em, PM me. My Scar eats all!

FLIGHT762
12-18-2011, 7:43 PM
I have 2 cans of loose Chinese 7.62X51 ammo. They have copper washed steel cases. The headstamp is a copy off of a 1963 "RG" (British Radway Green) 7.62 NATO cartridge. These rounds are corrosive. I believe they were imported in the late 80's.

Any Chi Com ammunition should be considered to have corrosive priming.

Check the head stamp on the ammo you bought.

I've also seen Chi Com made .30 carbine in steel, copper washed cases with a head stamp of "L C 43" a copy of US WWII .30 carbine Lake City ammo.

P08
12-18-2011, 11:33 PM
The loose pack ammo in the spam can from the eighties is all corrosive. Highly corrosive might be a better word, since if you dont clean up afterwards the rust will show up in a few days! Probably the most corrosive ive ever used! It is good ammo though, I have found it to be very consistent and better than most of the Russian stuff, it is loaded on the hot side! The only Chinese 762.51 ammo that is non corrosive is the twenty round boxed commercial "chinasports" ammo, it's in a white and black box.

NoHeavyHitter
12-18-2011, 11:39 PM
Yep, yep, yep, yep! Good stuff for sure. Nice and hot - so I ran mine thorough my 1919a4 and it never missed a beat.

I still cry a little when I recall the dime-a-pop .308 from China...

FALAK
12-19-2011, 6:46 AM
I will shot it in FN SPR which has chrome lined barrel, making cleaning corrosive ammo even easier. I have read some info about this ammo on other boards. The 1990's imports were supposedly non corrosive but the consensus is to still use caution and cleaning well. Supposedly very nice ammo

Mssr Elegante, you are right - it's 16-91-61. Could you elaborate on the coding system? Thanks

SVT-40
12-19-2011, 9:19 AM
I have 2 cans of loose Chinese 7.62X51 ammo. They have copper washed steel cases. The headstamp is a copy off of a 1963 "RG" (British Radway Green) 7.62 NATO cartridge. These rounds are corrosive. I believe they were imported in the late 80's.

Any Chi Com ammunition should be considered to have corrosive priming.

Check the head stamp on the ammo you bought.

I've also seen Chi Com made .30 carbine in steel, copper washed cases with a head stamp of "L C 43" a copy of US WWII .30 carbine Lake City ammo.

It is PRC made ammo and as said above corrosive. But it is good shooting ammo. I would not shoot it in a real high end .308 rifle, but for those 1919's it's great.

Tank 57
12-19-2011, 4:44 PM
Any Chi Com ammunition should be considered to have corrosive priming.

.

This is good advice.Split a case of Norinco .223 with a shooting buddy.Marked "non-corrosive" in big letters on the boxes.Stainless Mini-14 was rusty the next day.It cleaned up,but very corrosive.I would clean any gun extremely well after Chinese ammo.