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Old 04-10-2004, 06:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Old ammo, throw away? Where?

I've got 50 rounds of S&W .38 +p that's about 30-40 years old. I don't think ammo that old is safe to fire. But, can one just throw shells in the trash? What about the lead? What about the possabilities of undesired explosions? I can't find a damn thing on the NRA's website about this, and the google searches I tried were useless.

Does anyone know what I should do with this stuff?

Thanks.
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Old 04-10-2004, 07:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Take it down to the local gun store and ask. They are the best place to ask about this kind of stuff.

If, for some reason, they don't have anything to say on the subject (I see no plausible scenario in which this would happen,) I would put the old ammo facing upward in a 1-lb coffee can, pour in concrete, and when that dries, encase that upside-down in a 3-lb coffee can, then take the whole thing down to the local dump and turn it in as hazardous waste.
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Old 04-10-2004, 07:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It might not be bad to fire, depending on how it was stored during the last 30-40 years. That's a call that you'd have to make though.

I'd probably just keep the rounds myself. Maybe you could use them in a display?
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Old 04-11-2004, 12:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There's no reason not to fire the old stuff.

The worst thing that could happen is that a round doesn't go off, which in that case, wait a few minutes and recycle the firearm.

Heck, people are still shooting mil-spec stuff from WW2.

But if you really really don't want to shoot it, throw it in a bucket of water for a few days and then toss it.

Or you can do what I did and throw it in a lake somewhere.
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Last edited by Lebell; 04-11-2004 at 12:53 AM..
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Old 04-11-2004, 01:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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From looking around on the internet I seen sites say call local police department.
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Old 04-12-2004, 05:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok. Wow. The comments here blow my mind. Yes, it's probably still safe, and possibly worth money. However there is the chance that it is not safe. You can find forums just on ammo, post a picture of the stuff and I'm sure people will give you the scoop on how that ammo ages. Some ammo is NOT safe to fire after a long time. Rounds can become hotter over time and have the potential to blow up your gun/hand. DO NOT poor concrete into a bucket with the stuff. Concrete heats up as it sets and thats bad. Concrete is not going to stop a bullet if exploded. It might make some nice derbies though. Do not soak it in water and toss it. It would make it safe for a while, but then the ammo would dry out again in a dump somewhere and become a problem again. If you really want to dispose of it, take it to the local gun shop or range. They have the ability to dispose of it properly.
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Old 04-12-2004, 06:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The gun shops around here collect old ammo then turn it over to the local police department bomb squad for then to get rid of it.

Hell, if it was me, I'd just pull the bullets (with a kinetic hammer) and reload them.
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Old 04-13-2004, 07:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by SatanLvsU2
Ok. Wow. The comments here blow my mind. Yes, it's probably still safe, and possibly worth money. However there is the chance that it is not safe. You can find forums just on ammo, post a picture of the stuff and I'm sure people will give you the scoop on how that ammo ages. Some ammo is NOT safe to fire after a long time. Rounds can become hotter over time and have the potential to blow up your gun/hand. DO NOT poor concrete into a bucket with the stuff. Concrete heats up as it sets and thats bad. Concrete is not going to stop a bullet if exploded. It might make some nice derbies though. Do not soak it in water and toss it. It would make it safe for a while, but then the ammo would dry out again in a dump somewhere and become a problem again. If you really want to dispose of it, take it to the local gun shop or range. They have the ability to dispose of it properly.
Always interesting in new info.

So far I've found nothing that says rounds get hotter with age.

Not to mention, the rounds he is talking about are only 30-40 years old.

Care to direct me to some sources?
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Old 04-13-2004, 11:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Always interesting in new info.

So far I've found nothing that says rounds get hotter with age.

Not to mention, the rounds he is talking about are only 30-40 years old.

Care to direct me to some sources?
http://www.google.com/search?q=nitrocellulose+ageing
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Old 04-14-2004, 03:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have taken old ammo to my local police station. They were more than happy to take it and dispose of it properly.
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There's no reason not to fire the old stuff.

The worst thing that could happen is that a round doesn't go off, which in that case, wait a few minutes and recycle the firearm.

Heck, people are still shooting mil-spec stuff from WW2.
That's correct
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by iamnormal
http://www.google.com/search?q=nitrocellulose+ageing
OK, first off, I am going to do some more checking so don't anyone go biting my head off and telling me I don't know what I'm talking about yet.

Last time I checked, gun powder was not an explosive, but an incendiary made from sulpher, charcoal and saltpeter. No maybe they add a little acitone for stabilizer but where do we get the nitrocellulose from?

Again, no head biting please. Off to check the ingredients now.
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Old 04-14-2004, 09:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I would try to fire it also.
If you wanted a good source on the internet to ask gun/ammo related questions you should try ar15.com or glocktalk.com.
Those board members will definetly know what to do.
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Old 04-14-2004, 05:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by hrdwareguy
OK, first off, I am going to do some more checking so don't anyone go biting my head off and telling me I don't know what I'm talking about yet.

Last time I checked, gun powder was not an explosive, but an incendiary made from sulpher, charcoal and saltpeter. No maybe they add a little acitone for stabilizer but where do we get the nitrocellulose from?

Again, no head biting please. Off to check the ingredients now.
You are thinking about black powder.
Moden guns use smokeless powder witch is made mostlly of nitrocellulose.
http://dictionary.reference.com/sear...okeless+powder
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=black+powder
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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After doing some more research myself, the consensus view is to turn it into a police or fire station if you REALLY want to get rid of it.

It also seems that most people will fire 30 year old stuff, but some won't fire over 10 yrs old if they don't know how it was stored. The really old stuff is 50 yrs or more and the danger increases with size and with poor storage conditions.

Also, while modern cartridges use smokeless gun powder (made from nitrocellulose), the amounts are so small that there is no real danger of spontaneous combustion, but that the burn rates may be off, most probably on the slower side, but not always.

Since a cartridge would rupture, the cement should work fine (bullets don't "shoot" when not in a gun).


Anyway, back to research.
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Putting them in cement is not a good idea. That could be a potential bomb.

Just take it to your local police department.
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Old 04-15-2004, 03:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone. I think I'll be firing it. The ammo was stored in it's original box, in granpa's closet. The shells show no signs of corrosion or other defect.

Peace out.
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Old 04-15-2004, 07:00 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by iamnormal
You are thinking about black powder.
Moden guns use smokeless powder witch is made mostlly of nitrocellulose.
http://dictionary.reference.com/sear...okeless+powder
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=black+powder
Thanks for digging that up for me.
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Old 04-16-2004, 07:47 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Since a cartridge would rupture, the cement should work fine (bullets don't "shoot" when not in a gun).


Anyway, back to research.

They seperate, the cassing that is lighter will shoot off. It's a BAD idea.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally posted by SatanLvsU2
They seperate, the cassing that is lighter will shoot off. It's a BAD idea.
Uh,

NO, it won't.

The casing will rupture like a mini grenade.

It is the chamber that keeps the brass from rupturing when a cartridge is fired, directing the force and bullet down the barrel.

But hey, believe what you want.

Or better yet, go post your theory over on AR15.com
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Old 04-17-2004, 03:31 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Uh,

NO, it won't.

The casing will rupture like a mini grenade.

It is the chamber that keeps the brass from rupturing when a cartridge is fired, directing the force and bullet down the barrel.

But hey, believe what you want.

Or better yet, go post your theory over on AR15.com
Ever thrown .22 into a fire? Do you really know what you are talking about? Not important anyway. The point is, disposing of bullets in concrete is stupid. You go ahead and do what you want. I'll be checking the darwin awards for you.
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Old 04-17-2004, 03:51 PM   #22 (permalink)
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But if you really really don't want to shoot it, throw it in a bucket of water for a few days and then toss it.

Or you can do what I did and throw it in a lake somewhere.
The more I read your ideas the more I know you have no idea what you are talking about. Where did you learn gun safety? Brochure in a crackerjack box? WTF makes you think throwing ammo away in a lake is a good idea? Ever heard of lead poisoning? Here's a link for you

http://www.epa.gov/grtlakes/seahome/...ouse/ammun.htm

I also spent some time thinking about your comment on exploding ammunition. When a round explodes outside of a chamber the casing is still being surrounded on ~70% of its area by the bolt, chamber, and frame. The explosion will rupture the casing where it is not touching something. The path of least resistance. In the case of a bullet in a fire, the two pieces will separate.
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Old 04-17-2004, 04:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by SatanLvsU2
The more I read your ideas the more I know you have no idea what you are talking about. Where did you learn gun safety? Brochure in a crackerjack box? WTF makes you think throwing ammo away in a lake is a good idea? Ever heard of lead poisoning? Here's a link for you

http://www.epa.gov/grtlakes/seahome/...ouse/ammun.htm

I also spent some time thinking about your comment on exploding ammunition. When a round explodes outside of a chamber the casing is still being surrounded on ~70% of its area by the bolt, chamber, and frame. The explosion will rupture the casing where it is not touching something. The path of least resistance. In the case of a bullet in a fire, the two pieces will separate.
Seriously,

I don't need to prove anything to you. Nor do I have to give you any credentials.

But chances are excellent I know a heck of a lot more about lead poisoning than you do. As well as safety in general.

I will say that throwing it in a lake isn't the best idea, but for a few rounds, the lead will be negligable, especially considering the amount of lead fishing weights that are probably already down there.

As to the path of least resistance, the speed of the deflagrating powder, combined with the friction of the bullet in the case, the thickness of the brass, etc. will determine exactly what happens.

And no, I've never thrown a .22 in a fire; I'm smarter than that.

But I think you need to find better ways to express you opinion than by insulting other board members or your time on TFP will be short indeed.
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:11 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I'm not here for petty arguments, but you asked for that one. I hope it's the last.
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:43 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I highly doubt that you are going to get enough heat out of a coffee can full of concrete to cook off a round, even you are using really stupid amounts of accelerant in it.

And I have seen the end result of ammo in a fire (several boxes of 7mm Rem Mag in a house fire). The cases rupture. The bullet is heavier than the case, it ain't going far if it goes anywhere.
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Old 04-17-2004, 08:55 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally posted by SatanLvsU2
I'm not here for petty arguments, but you asked for that one. I hope it's the last.
I did not start with personal insults, but we finally agree about one thing: it will be the last.
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Old 04-18-2004, 10:21 AM   #27 (permalink)
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It was petty of me to start name calling. I apologize. I do think you should seriously consider the safety of others when posting advice like that.

I'd be interested to know what rounds "shoot off" and what rounds rupture when heated. I've never thrown any ammo in a fire, although I know people that have. From what I hear, .22s fire off. The lighter of the two pieces, the casing goes flying.
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