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Thread: smell of ammonia from moderator

  1. #1

    smell of ammonia from moderator

    When I was taking the moderator off my rifle this evening, for no particular reason I sniffed the threaded end of my moderator and to my surprise I picked up quite a sharp smell of ammonia. After a couple of sniffs the smell wore off or my nose packed up - not sure which. For the record I am using a T8 Reflex on a Mauser M03 6.5 x 55, firing Hornady ammo, and the thread on the barrel gets a light application of molybdenum grease. It reminded me that back in the autumn I helped a friend zero his rifle and we observed what appeared to be vapour and a very strong smell of ammonia from the moderator at each shot. The set up was a Sauer 6.5 x 55 fitted with a modular moderator, Atec I think, using a variety of ammunition. While his rifle grouped well without the moderator, it could not not manage a 6 inch group with the moderator. He bought it second hand with the original thread cut off ( ie barrel shortened) and had it rethreaded. It appears from shooting at paper that the moderated shot may be tumbling as the target seems to show slight signs of tearing from moderated shots.

    My friend said that he had stripped and cleaned his moderator using washing up liquid as per instructions, so the vapour may have been moisture, but can anybody explain the smell of ammonia in both cases? And was I imagining the tumbling from moderated shots?

    Thanks, Ion.

  2. #2
    It's normal. A by-product of the powder burning, produces nitrogen compounds amongst which is ammonia and water!

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info. Afraid I'm a failed arts student. Is this another good reason for removing the moderator promptly after use ?

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ion View Post
    Thanks for the info. Afraid I'm a failed arts student. Is this another good reason for removing the moderator promptly after use ?

  6. #6
    Yes, basically. Although ammonia salts are alkaline and don't attack steel quite like acids do they are hygroscopic and will keep drawing moisture from the air which will accelerate rusting.

    There have been a few posts on here in the past about moderators rusted on and pitted barrels etc. due to leaving moderators attached for long periods of time.

  7. #7
    Can anyone throw any light on bullet appearing to tumble when moderator is attached?

  8. #8
    Regarding the tumbling shots, that's not normal. He should probably get the threading checked to make sure it is true and concentric with the bore and that there is no contact between bullet and moderator. There are other potential reasons too, such as moderator weight causing barrel to touch stock on firing etc.

    There are plenty of people on here using Atecs to good effect, so something isn't right if it is causing the group to widen like that.

  9. #9
    i had to get my atec bored out slightly as it was slightly out

  10. #10
    +1 on what csl just said -
    It could be a bad thread on barrel and/or moderator leaving it out of line so that the bullet clips the mod on its way past. --- DONT shoot it with the mod till you have had this checked out.
    Depending on rifle, some have flexible fore ends that you can bend when using a bipod. This & the heavy moderator may be enough to allow contact which can result in keyholing & bad groups.
    Check barrel is still fully free floating when in the shooting position.


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