Old bullets


January 5, 2013, 01:55 AM
Hello I have some ammo (44mag) I loaded over 20 years ago and never shot. I tried a few in my Redhawk but all misfired. I am going to disassemble it and save the brass and bullet. How can I safely de-prime the load? I donít think the primers are good anymore but donít want to take a chance. My guess would be put some oil down the case after the powder is removed? But never did it so I am asking.

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January 5, 2013, 02:04 AM
De-prime the cases the same way you would de-prime if the primers were spent. Use a slow constant force during the de-priming. Wear eye protection just as you always would. When de-capping live primers some save the primers for reuse, I discard them. There is no need for oil or other methods to try and render them totally dead, Just slow and constant force in the process.


January 5, 2013, 02:11 AM
oil wont do anything, there is a post floating around somewhere where someone soaked several different primers in 8+ different types of oils/solvents to "deactivate" the primers. none of them rendered the primers "safe". Just pull the bullets and decap the primers softly. just make sure the "live" primers dont make their way down into the internals of the press... could make a little boom later down the road.

how were these rounds stored? I thought primers made after 1970? were invincible like current primers are.

January 5, 2013, 02:34 AM
They were stored in a hot humid place Houston TX. After my divorce I moved around and worked all over the country. Kept most of my things in storage. I also have about 1000 CCI primers still in the case. How would I dispose of them safely if not drowning them in oil? I hate for the garbage man to go boom.

January 5, 2013, 02:37 AM
Put a couple of the primers in a case and drop the hamer on them and see if they pop. If they do then use em up.

January 5, 2013, 02:41 AM
send the thousand cci primers to me for proper safe disposal :)

January 5, 2013, 08:50 AM
I've deprimed a good number of live primers over the year, none went bang. Just go slow and steady, as in don't slam the press arm down fast and hard and you should be fine.

Seem strange that your loads are all mis-fires? I've shot a good deal of old loads, both metallic and shotshell that were at least 20 yrs. old and not stored very well either.


January 5, 2013, 09:29 AM
^^ Same here. I have had rounds go through the washer and I found some that had been rattling around on the floor of the truck for years and all corroded. Just applied some steel wool to the outside to remove the corrosion and they shot fine. Some boxes of reloads I recently found in my grandfathers unheated wood shop attic that were loaded 50+ years ago by him all went boom when I got my new 44-40 and wanted the brass.:) Wish I had that recipe still as they were some accurate.:( I betcha that the primers are still good that are in the brick. I also wonder what the problem is with the loaded ones? I would remove the bullets and propellant and put them into the revolver and see if they go pop myself then you would see if it was a primer problem or degraded propellant you had as a problem.

January 5, 2013, 09:55 AM
It's unusual for properly loaded shells to all be bad after 20 years unless oil did get on/in them.
Unlike the previous posts, I have encountered instances where oil got into primers and rendered them as semi-duds. They usually made some small pop or fizz but didn't always ignite the load.

January 5, 2013, 10:08 AM
Just take apart the shells, and de-prime you would as if you were due priming spent primer. Quick and painless.

January 5, 2013, 12:04 PM
I will try some more, I just took the first 6 out of a 100 rounds and loaded in my Redhawk all misfired. All were loaded from the same batch of primers. I will try some of the new primers as suggested in this post. It’s possible that I just had a bad batch of primers. I have loaded several thousand rounds using the same recipe and never had a misfire. I like the comment of sending the primers to Reefinmike for safe disposal. Made me laugh .
Thanks for the input,

January 5, 2013, 02:29 PM
It is really hard to kill a primer.

Does ANY ammo fire in that revolver?
What do the firing pin strikes look like?

Does the bad ammo have thin rims?

January 5, 2013, 03:24 PM
I have only fired reloaded ammo in it. The last time I shot it was in the 80's. It worked flawlessly then. The primers have a good firing pin indention. I completely striped the gun cleaned and replaced most springs and plungers with new ones. The gun looks new now, with the price of factory ammo and the fact I have several hundred rounds and casings. I am going to try a few more rounds along with the primers and go from there. I am 100 % sure the gun is fine.
The rims look good too. Thanks for the input.
Go Texans!

January 5, 2013, 03:35 PM
I would put some of those primers in some of your enpty brass to see if they are any good before I would load them. GOOD LUCK

January 5, 2013, 03:44 PM
Make sure you are wearing hearing protection in addition to eye protection. A primer in a confined space will be very loud.

January 5, 2013, 11:16 PM
IF they don't fire either I would invest in a single box of factory ammo and see if the revolver is actually100% reliable. There might be other issues. Or find someone that has a 44 pistol and see if they do fire reliably in that one. Just sayin----:scrutiny:

January 5, 2013, 11:44 PM
I had a bad experience with WD-40 rendering some primers bad. That was back in the 60's. I don't think they were new even then, however, I am careful with WD-40 around ammo ever since.

January 8, 2013, 11:14 PM
Use a slow stroking motion when decapping the primer. You should be okay. As someone else commented, ensure that you account for all of the decapped primers. I use a Bonanza Coax press and all spent/decapped primers are automatically caught in a small attached jar.

FYI...Most loaded ammo "powder" degrades overy time. If you were to chronograph your old loads, that is if they would fire, you would be disappointed because the velocity will be affected. Your normal bullet point of impact will print "low". I pull all my bullets that are 3-years or older. I'm sure some members here will disagree with me, but the chronograph does not lie. None of that Korean War, Viet Nam, or much less WWII era ammo for me. Just my two cents.:)

Jim Watson
January 8, 2013, 11:16 PM
What bullet?
I have heard of cast bullet lube melting and killing the load.

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