Do primers "keep"


February 23, 2013, 01:00 PM
A friend of mine passed on to me today primers that his great-uncle had left to him (along with an entire gun collection, reloading equipment, etc). There are approximately 5000 primers. I would guess theat these are at least 20 years old, and maybe more based on the look of the boxes.

My question is - do primers "keep"? Do these have value? I know that primers are really hard to find right now. But frankly I know little about reloading. I see some of these referred to as "large pistol" and "small pistol", and others as "No 1 1/2" and as "No 2 1/2".

Thanks in advance for your comments.

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February 23, 2013, 01:28 PM
Older than 20, maybe 30-40 years old. No collector value per se but probably still good and functional.

February 23, 2013, 01:32 PM
They will as long as you've kept them in cool, dry storage. I have a few hundred odds and ends primers from back in the sixties. I have loaded some up recently and they all worked fine. But I have had them in good sealed ammo cans.

February 23, 2013, 01:32 PM
If stored in a dry indoors area, I'd hazard a guess they are perfectly functional. The boxes look like they are in good condition. Good prize!

February 23, 2013, 01:33 PM
Primers "keep" almost indefinitely if stored in reasonably cool & dry conditions.

As far as those being collectible?

Choot'm Lizabeth! Choot'm!


Steve H
February 23, 2013, 01:40 PM
If they are not crusty shoot 'em

February 23, 2013, 01:41 PM
Thanks all for your input. They were stored in a cool, dry place. I guess it had not crossed my mind if they were collectible, I was curious if they were functional (and sellable), as neither he nor I do reloading.

Are the small pistol and size 2 1/2...and the large pistol and size 1 1/2 equivalent?

Any suggestions how best to sell these? Fair price? Thanks again.

(Be looking for other posts - there are a couple of hundred rounds of .41 Long brass, and even 50 rounds of unfired "empty primed shells" of .41 Long...along with sort of old reloading stuff.)

Smokey Joe
February 23, 2013, 01:41 PM
J Mace 57--Modern primers--(20-30-40 yo primers are still "modern")--are sealed with a lacquer, inside the little cup. They'll "keep" a durn sight better than you will! Especially true if the primers in question have not been subjected to extreme high temperatures, like for example being stored for years in an uninsulated attic, with the sun beating on the roof all summer. (Even then I'd expect most of 'em to be good, but I wouldn't use them for critical applications!)

Agree, only very small collector interest. In this time of reloading component shortages, USE 'EM!! Let your great-grandchildren collectors bemoan the fact that you didn't squirrel 'em away.

You cannot save EVERYTHING for the future. If you simply must save something, carefully save the empty boxes after using their contents. Collectors are almost as ga-ga about packaging materials as they are about the contents. But if it were me, I wouldn't. Those boxes are recent enough that they won't have real collector value for a long time. Now, if they were Civil War vintage, perhaps...

February 23, 2013, 02:06 PM
They will fire if stored properly. I'm still shooting primers that were made in the 40's with no FTF's.

February 23, 2013, 02:11 PM
Yes, Remington 2 1/2 are standard Large pistol primers and still being made.

Remington 1 1/2 are standard Small pistol primers and still being made.

You should have no problem selling them here on THR.
The problem will be shipping them somewhere as ORM-D haz-mat yourself.

Your best bet would be to run an add in your local paper and sell them FTF.


February 23, 2013, 02:15 PM
I'm still using most of what you have there I load one out of each pack and fire a blank cartridge just to check but otherwise shoot 'em... that is a great excuse to start reloading!

February 23, 2013, 02:52 PM
I was looking at the price tag and I think I see .99 cents. AH the good old days

February 23, 2013, 02:53 PM
SHOOT THEM! they will still go bang just fine. :)

February 23, 2013, 04:41 PM
I've used primers and powders that were considerably older than 20 yrs. and they all worked flawlessly. Primer compound is extremely stable and will last for decades.


Float Pilot
February 23, 2013, 04:51 PM
I am still using primers I bought in 1970.

February 23, 2013, 05:09 PM
When a local hardware store went out of business in 1976 I bought all the primers they had for pennies on the dollar. I'm still using them and they still go "bang"

Jesse Heywood
February 23, 2013, 05:31 PM
The way I see it you have close to two Franklins in the picture. Unless you want to load them.

Hondo 60
February 23, 2013, 05:50 PM
As long as they've been stored in a controlled environment they'll keep for decades.

Same with powders.

February 23, 2013, 06:34 PM
Short story. Packed up all my reloading stuff when we moved. Big box. Moved the box into the storage room where the hot water heater was. Getting the box off the dolly it tipped, I could hear everything falling in the box, thousand of sized and lubed lead bullets ,primers, power, dies sprayed with wd40, , you get the picture. I was tired and put the box up against the wall. Temps probably reach 110 in that room in the summer (Alabama) with that hot water heater.

Sixteen years later I retire, got a new reloading shop, start reloading.......Yep, every one of those late 70's early 80's primers went bang, as did the powder. Not saying that was the way to store them, just that they all went bang.

Side note, some of the primers still had the price on them, 85 cents for a box of a hundred :-)

February 23, 2013, 06:37 PM
No way they are with $200. I'd give you $75 if you can find someone to so them. Local $50 would be fair.

Magnum Shooter
February 23, 2013, 07:03 PM
5000 primers are well worth $100, even old ones these will bring $20/k.

February 23, 2013, 07:04 PM
I picked up a 1000 or so of those CCI's, mine had the wooden dividers.
They all worked fine.
Passed a few empty boxes to LGSs to add to their display.

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