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Confusion over Mk VII Sealant partially solved

3278 Views 50 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  GunnerSam
The sealant used in the Mk VII cartridge is variously described as "Beeswax" or an "Asphaltum".
The confusion is apparently due to the fact that sealants of this sort are almost always combinations of several constitutients.

The Treatise on Ammunition Page says this about the Mk VII cartridge.
"A cannelure is formed around the base and this is filled with Beeswax"

The Mk VI is also described as using a Beeswax lubricant/sealant.

Further on the illustration of .45 cartridge for the Nordenfelt gun shows a thick Beeswax Disc placed over the waxed card wad.

It is common for Bitumenous sealants and paints to contain Resins added to increase resistence to heat. The most heat resistent of these seems to be CNSL derived from Cashew Nut Shells which contains a formaldehyde resin.

Resin and Beeswax mixtures used since the time of the Ancient Egyptians are commonly mis-identifed as Asphaltum, which they closely resemble.

Now if one of the resident experts on the sealants used by the British Military would take the time to look up the exact composition of the sealant as aproved at various stages of development of the cartridge we can figure out just why the sealants are described both as Beeswax and as asphaltum. We can also find out which resins we are dealing with in cleaning bores.
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Doc Av. Thanks for your input.

I know little about cordite, but even I could figure out that these arguments were on a merry go around because of terminology and older literature.

For whatever reason, some folks follow books to the letter, instead of using common sense and looking at the item in question for problems. Your mention of that will probably be ignored by some, but that is the REAL bottom line.

#5 and the comments below it sums it up well.

This is close to what my gunsmith told me about cordite from the git go.

His words from my first Enfield purchase was what I used as a guide when using cordite in Enfields in the many years after.

POF was trashed. It is still available in quantity here in the U.S. and catches a lot of unsuspecting buyers. We had so many problems with it, that we gave up on it.

Cordite is not that common in the U.S. anylonger IMO. I know of only one dealer that has the Brittish cordite, and they supply the other small dealers.

We still use it, as mentioned earlier, but never in rifles we like to preserve the like new bores on. Just not worth the risk of increasing bore wear, when other options are available.

Also, as mentioned earlier, but completely ignored, we heat the rounds by leaving the in the sun to reduce the "click, bang" It works.

One of the most popular options for relatively cheap .303. We have our expert hand loaders use the bullets and powder from Bulgarian or other surplus 7.62X54R on the market and load it into good .303 brass. Works great, and is accurate if done right.
Lots of surplus 54R on the market and we bought it at under a dime per round in quantity, years ago. It is still relatively cheap compared to .303.

I suspect the surplus Brit. cordite ammo from the large dealer will also dry up in the near future. Then the whole issue will be moot, unless some importer finds more.

I can't relate to folks that would want to shoot rifles with near shot out bores or any anomilies in the barrel.

There would be an accuracy issue.

As well as possible safety issues. All CIA rifles were tagged. with a warning that a qualified gunsmith should inspect the rifles before firing. A lot of people ignore that warning. So GunnerSams "angst" is not that far fetched.

It just doesn't make sense, when rifles with good bores are still available for just over $100. We used to get Enfields from CIA for under $100 by the pallet full, all with good bores if ordered in VG or better. This was years ago.

They are OK to "collect" if they have bore issues, but not shoot IMO.

This is a "from the trenches" type of view of cordite.

It will be interesting to see who actually reads and comprehends your post.

Thanks again, and have a Happy, Happy.

For the cut and paste crowd, that will undoubtily find fault with something that I posted.
Have a Merry, Merry, in your next lifetime.
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