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The lead styphnate primer, introduced in the 1920s in Germany, became the first commercially successful noncorrosive primer.

Though commercial manufacturers and military forces quickly adopted it, the exigencies of WWII required continued use of corrosive chlorate primers, as well.

US military cases headstamped 1950 and later were loaded with noncorrosive primers; for those headstamped prior to 1950, it’s best to consider them as having corrosive primers.

There is, as there always seems to be, an exception, in this case several lots of developmental test ammo loaded by Frankford Arsenal prior to 1950.

Though US commercial manufacturers generally did likewise, at least one company, Western, apparently still loaded mercuric primers in match grade .30-06 and 45 ACP ammunition, and in H&H Magnum and Newton cartridges until at least 1941 and possibly up to the 1950s, before completely switching over to potassium chlorate and then noncorrosive primers.

The most commonly understood meaning of “corrosive primers” among shooters and handloaders is in reference to a firearm’s bore, rather than to the brass case.

Anyone who has polished brass fittings on a ship knows that salt water will tarnish and dull brass.

These had zinc plated primers; the zinc intended to protect the primer cup from reacting with a component in the noncorrosive primer mixture.

Since these few FA lots were small and remain unidentified, the post-1950 cautionary rule still stands.

The potential for bore corrosion and accuracy reducing pitting and rifling erosion caused by chlorate primers is real, but it is readily mitigated by immediate and proper cleaning after a shooting session.

Upon firing, the potassium chlorate in the primer becomes potassium chloride, a salt, which deposits the length of the bore.

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But dry media doesn’t clean case interiors or primer pockets as well as liquid media, and so some chloride may remain behind inside the case and pocket, which then may deposit in the firearm’s bore upon firing even though we reload the case with a noncorrosive primer. Has reloading such cases and firing them with noncorrosive primers ever been proven to be the culprit in bore corrosion? But it’s your bore, and it’s hard to fault anyone for erring on the side of caution.

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