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How long are primers good for use if stored correctly

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ACES&8S, Jul 30, 2021.

  1. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
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    Location:
    Virginia
    I have primers of all types from Federal, Rem, CCI, and a few other types.
    I think the oldest are from 2004 maybe 2002 which during testing for loads they
    perform flawlessly so I load them for 20 to 50 rounds of shoot em up type loads.
    I finally ran into a failure from 2009. WOLF primers, yea I know they aren't top
    quality or even close. But this one lot I bought during a primer drought by politics.
    I seldom ever used them anyway but the first lot# was all I used to load & shoot
    which worked well until the other day. This different lot were not brass colored like
    the other Wolf primers they were silver, they went off like an old black powder
    hammer rifle. So i have dumped the whole lot of 1,100 of them. No big deal considering
    they are Wolf.
    But this made me wonder, how long are primers really -loadable- if stored in a
    controlled environment????
    Mine are well taken care of but the Wolf are just defective from the date June 2009.
     
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  2. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
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    4,470
    I ended up with some Remington small rifle primers which were, at the time, 60 years old. They were packed in their original containers, but beyond that, I have no idea how they had been stored. They all functioned, and the rounds I chronographed were exactly in line with my expectations. I probably would not use such things for self defense or the hunt of a lifetime, but otherwise...
     
  3. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    May 26, 2006
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    Kentucky
    Only can say that 40 year old Large Pistol Magnum primers perform as new. I've used 60 year old small pistol primers that were given to me and they were fine. Anything in the 2000's and later are not old. They, like you mentioned,stored properly, have an indefinite life. I think primers can outlive a reloader??
     
  4. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
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    6,166
    Location:
    East Texas
    Decades.
    I've shot 38spl reloads from the late 40's. Now only half went off, but they had been stored in the garage in hot and humid east texas.
     
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  5. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    1,598
    Location:
    Oklahoma, out in the red dirt.
    Decades.

    I have only recently finished shooting up some SPP that I purchased during the Clinton Regime. The first Clinton Regime. (That would be early 90s for all y'all yoots out there.) Not a single misfire.

    I still have 1000s of LPP from the same time frame.

    BTW, I remember choking with rage in 1994, being limited to 5 trays of primers (who buys primers by the tray?), and having to pay $1.60/100.
    $16/K for primers ? Outrageous!

    I vowed then and there to never be caught short again. And I never have been.
     
  6. edwardware

    edwardware Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
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    70+ years at least.

    You don't have any old primers; yours are all new. I have some middle-aged primers from the '40s, and they're fine (and so are all the other millions that CMP sold).
     
  7. forrest r

    forrest r Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
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    1,041
    I'm still burning up a couple cases of cci lp mag primers from 1990. Finely down to the last brick.
     
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  8. SteveT_MSO492

    SteveT_MSO492 Member

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    Mar 5, 2021
    Messages:
    31
    I have used primers from the late 80’s still in the tray and loaded them up and shot them spring 2021….no missfires
     
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  9. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    I'm using some Winchester primers this week that are marked "1993". They were stored for 10 years in a rental storage area that was basically open to all temp and humidity changes during that time. The 1K packs were stacked into a corrugated cardboard box sitting on a damp concrete floor. I have not had a single misfire.
     
  10. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Piedmont/Triad, NC
    That is a pretty good testimony.
     
  11. BRatigan

    BRatigan Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
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    46
    I still shoot primers from the late eighties early nineties. Just now getting low. I bought them for 1.3 cents apiece. Only had a couple misfires and they were actually light primer strikes.
     
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  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
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    12,420
    Location:
    USA
    Very hard to kill primers. Soak in water for a week. Dry in hot summer sun for another week. Primers fire normal.

    Oil & WD 40 most times will not deaden them in a short period of time.

    These old ones, given to me, worked well in 357 mag back on the first shortage.
    full.jpg

    As a general rule, try to use components before they reach their 10th birthday. (From Federal)
     
  13. Bassfishing54

    Bassfishing54 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2021
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    Location:
    South Carolina
    I have some ammo my father reloaded in the 70s and some military ammo that is older, that all works fine. These are calibers I only shoot occasionally, which were my fathers and not ones I am intererested in reloading, so using the old ammo allows me to shoot them and clean them from time to time.

    As long as ammo, primers and powders are stored correctly, they should work as designed. I have heard stories of issues withh ammo, primers and powders, but usually it is because they were not kept dry and cool. If you shoot often, the older inventroy should be depleted and reloaded every few years, keeping things fresh
     
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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Alabama
    Primers from 2002 are mere babies, and in general Wolf makes excellent primers, 99.9% of primer failures are loader error. My oldest primers (Very few) are from the 60s or 70's.
     
  15. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Location:
    Virginia
    The reason there were 1,100 Wolf to set aside-not dump any more- is because I made 400 Wolf S/R
    for an AR 15 weekend along with lots of others in Wolf L/R for AR10. We never had a misfire or
    delay in the bunch, plus as far as accuracy the reloads outdid the factory by a mile.
    But when a single tray fails, it makes doubt set in about all the rest with the same lot #.
    So instead of destroying them I have set them aside with a doubt note attached + destroyed
    the tray that failed so badly.
     
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  16. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Another note is I bought a whole reload outfit from a family who had everything set aside for
    years in a closet.
    Today it would be a bounty of luck, with couple thousand brass 357 & same in 38 spl plus about
    500 = 44 mag & 44 spl.
    This part relates to the thread, there were over 300 LOADED 357 mag and another 200 38 spl.
    Even had all the notes about when loaded= 1984 to 1987 & with what, may have took pics
    not sure.
    Had to try of course, tried a few of the 357 & quit because they were just bouncing off the range
    dirt & rolling toward the target. Afraid one would stop in the barrel I just pulled the rest.
    The primers went off ok but the powder weakened, maybe due to some previous bad storage
    in some other place.
     
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  17. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Pretty much for a lifetime unless they are on Noah's Arc out in the ocean.:uhoh:

    Lifetime=your lifetime
     
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  18. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    May 25, 2011
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    Location:
    Piney Woods of East Texas
    Non-toxic primers have a shelf life of somewhere between 5-20 yrs depending on how they are stored. Our std primers will last decades with no issues.
     
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  19. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Were they lead free by any chance?
     
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  20. docbrown

    docbrown Member

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    Jul 10, 2017
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    Location:
    Brooksville, FL
    I have used primers that were 60+ years old and had them work just fine. So long as they have not been stored in the shed outside, they should be fine.
     
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  21. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    WW II? :)
     
  22. NC9mm

    NC9mm Member

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    Jan 22, 2019
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    The primers will be good when you are gone, maybe when your children are gone!
     
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  23. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    Jul 20, 2008
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    1,148
    I have primers I got from a buddy whose neighbor died - they were from the 60s and stored in an old wooden ammo box in the garage in GA. Been using them ever since without a single issue. Also got about 15 pounds of assorted powder at the same time from him (most still factory sealed). It all works great.
     
  24. unwashed

    unwashed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2021
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    151
    Have LRP from 1991 that was stored in basement ( now stored in controlled conditions) and working fine, only have about 250 left.
     
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  25. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2020
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    670
    Location:
    Mid-West
    I have recently used primers a friend's dad had from the early 60s they all shot fine.
    So if kept in the proper conditions they should last almost forever.
     
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