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 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)
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Will Wet Ammunition Shoot?

I wanted to know if ammunition that has been submerged underwater for a week would still shoot. So I took a some rounds of 22lr, 380 and 9mm Luger ammunition and placed them in a bowl of water for one week (actually 5 days). I then went to the range and fired each round. Here are the results.

Wet Bullets


At the range I fired the wetted (submerged) ammunition. I placed a white paper plate target at a distance of 5 feet so that I could be sure the the bullet hit the target and was not a squib. I started with the 22lr caliber rounds. The I shot the 380 rounds. Since one of the reloaded 380 rounds resulted in a squib in the barrel I decided not to proceed with firing the 9mm Luger rounds for fear of another squib.


Will A Wet Bullet (Ammunition) Shoot?
Before submersion In the water In the water Before submersion
  Ammo Accessories at
In the water


Will Ammo That Has Been Under Water For 5 Days Shoot?



Ammo Caliber Qty In Water Firing Results
Federal 22lr 2 5 days Neither Fired. No primer fire. Dead rounds.
Hydroshock 22lr 2 5 days Both Fired. One fired fine, the other was underpowered and wimpy (sound was like a cap gun or less).
Reloads 380 2 5 days Both underpowered. 1 resulted in a squib with lots of unburned gun powder in the chamber. The other bullet fired, but was "soft. Bullet shot out of the barrel but the sound it made was soft.
Winchester 380 2 5 days Both fired. One shot well, the other was "soft".
Reloads 9mm Luger 2 5 days Did no test fire. I did not want another squib.
Blazer Brass 9mm Luger 2 5 days Did no test fire. I did not want another squib.


Since I did not fire the "wet" 9mm rounds I decided to break them apart and examine the component parts for evidence of moisture. The two factory rounds showed no sign of moisture and most likely would have fired well. The two reloads showed no visible signs of water, but the gunpowder "stuck more" to my finger and a vertically held dish indicating the presence of moisture. It is likely firing them would have resulted in underpowered loads or squibs.


Wet ammo before test. Wet ammo before test. 9mm Luger reload powder sticks to finger 9mm Luger reload powder sticks to vertical positioned dish 9mm Luger
dry powder does not stick to vertical positioned dish


Will Wet (submerged) Ammunition Fire?

The Answer - It depends on the type and make of the ammunition. High quality ammunition will likely fire. Low quality ammunition and reloads may fire, but may result in weak loads or a squib. Play it safe and throw ammunition that been submerged in water away.



Authored By Mike Coviello (Tanner)


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