Israeli 7.62 NATO Cartridges with TZ 80 Headstamp
Interior Case Corrosion Warning for Cartridges Stenciled with "308 WIN"
August 6, 2012 by Colin Riley
Sometimes failures are more interesting than successes.
A couple of days ago I was going through the dud box at the local range as I do periodically to scavenge bullets and to see what brands or types of ammunition people are having problems with.
This time around there were a couple of 7.62 NATO rounds headstamped TZ 80. They were misfires, the primers being well dented.
A couple of things caught my eye, first off each round has been stamped with "308 Win" on the side of the case with black ink. It was obvious to me that this particular marking did not originate from the factory but was put on later. There also was no primer sealant to be found on cartridge case.
Just about every round of military ammunition made during the twentieth century will have a ring of laquer around the primer to prevent moisture from entering the cartridge case. I consider the absence of this sealant on surplus ammo as a pretty good indication that something is amiss.
I took the rounds apart with a kinetic bullet puller and there was obviously something wrong with them. The base of the bullets were coated with vertigris and the powder charge would not pour out of the case. Probing with a thin screwdriver, I was able to remove some of the powder which was wet and caked.
The interior of both cases was badly corroded.
It is not unusual for military ammunition to be improperly stored or even abused but this was a little different. I can say with a fair degree of certainty that these cartridges had been submerged for some period of time. Since there was no visible corrosion on the outside of the cartridge and the printing on the side of the case was legible, I concluded that this was not a case of someone leaving some ammo in the bed of their pickup where it got soaked by the snow or rain.
Looking on the web I found many comments on web forums about this particular headstamp, TZ 80. It appears that 7 or 8 years ago, this batch of surplus Israeli 7.62 X 51 mm NATO cartridges appeared onto the U.S. Market.
By all accounts, many people have found to their dismay that they were suffering frequent misfires and hangfires with these cartridges. Some people had overpressure problems and a few guns have been damaged by this ammunition.
Evan Price pretty much mirrored my observations in his entry on the Fal Files forum
From what I have read on the online forums, some people have concluded that this batch of ammunition is the product of poor quality control at the Tel Aviv plant where it was manufactured but that does not explain how water came to be in some of the cartridges.
Whether this lot of ammunition was accidently dropped into the water or was purposefully dumped there, is anybody's guess. One thing is for certain, the ammunition stayed underwater for sometime until some enterprising individuals recovered it, polished off the exterior corrosion and sold it off. Unfortunately once water seeps into a loaded round, there is no practical way to get it out without taking the cartridge apart. So the moisture remains in the cartridge where it degrades the powder and primer while it corrodes the case from the inside out, until the round falls apart or is disassembled. Needless to say, there is a strong possiblity of a dangerous case head failure with any cartridge that suffers this type of internal corrosion.
Price, Evan "The FAL Files - TZ 80 Kabooms: Why? Answers! " April 13, 2009 Accessed (August 7, 2012) <http://www.falfiles.com/forums/printthread.php?s=4a7dc31ff48ae0c236f8e874601e6025&threadid=259957>