Old primers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by hdtramp, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. hdtramp

    hdtramp Member

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    With primers non-existent, I was wondering how long primers last. I have some primers I received from an estate closure and have no idea the age of them. Are they trustworthy? Do they lose power or just fail to work at all? Any info would be appreciated.
     
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  2. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    That's an impossible question based on not knowing any of the factors. Prime some cases and see if they go bang.
     
  3. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    These are ancient , I've tried them and they work just fine. Stored in a damp basement since at least the mid 50s (I believe ) 20210201_132804.jpg
     
  4. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Love the vintage boxes. I have some vintage 357 ammo in the yellow western boxes.
     
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  5. Wreck-n-Crew

    Wreck-n-Crew Member

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    These go bang...i have some old CCI in a white box, red lettering that goes bang.
     
  6. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    I have primers that are 40 some years old, and I'm sure they'd work okay, if not perfect. But I bought those 40 something year-old primers myself, new, and I know exactly where and how they've been stored over all those years. If I'd "received" them from an estate closure and had no idea of their age, I'd probably try them, but I wouldn't trust them for anything other than plinking/informal target practice.
    BTW, welcome to THR, hdtramp!:)
     
  7. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Member

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    Maybe think twice for an SD load but I agree with ajc1, no risk in trying them. Chances are if they’ve not been wet or oiled they will work fine. If they are super old (pre 1930) they may be corrosive-I have no experience there.
     
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  8. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Perhaps not for anything critical like hunting or competition but for plinking I’d load up a range session worth at a time. Misfires can be broken down and projectile and powder saved. If they proved reliable after a few hundred .................
     
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  9. hdtramp

    hdtramp Member

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    These don't look as old as mine, but close. The CCI boxes are from JC Penny's at 79 cents for 100. Didn't even know JC Penny's sold reloading supplies back in the day. Thanks for the reply.
     
  10. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy Member

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    As long as they are "non corrosive and non mercuric" they can be stored in a damp basement for 50 years and work fine.
    If they are corrosive or appear to be corroded don't use them.
    There's one kind of chemistry that may go bad over time but it's unlikely. I believe they would show some signs of leaching or corrosion and if you drop one on the floor it would go off.
    If you are an explosives nerd that would be your picric acid derivative primers. Ummm pretty rare as far as I can tell. The problem is over time, decades the lead picrate will react with the copper in the brass primer cup and form copper picrate which if furiously sensitive to shock.
     
  11. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    And, let’s face it, new primers can fail, too. Load ‘em up and enjoy.
     
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  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Still good.
    CCI-500 SP Primers - Old Pic 2.JPG
     
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  13. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    I have some Remington KleanBore rifle from the 1960's and CCI from the 80's that still shoot fine.
     
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  14. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Wish I knew in the early eighties what the twenties would be like. Never got primers at $0.79 a hundred but shot many at $1.00 a hundred. Just never stock piled any.....:(
     
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  15. 1976B.L.Johns.

    1976B.L.Johns. Member

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    All of the "above".

    I have used with success primers that were as old as I am, 60 + years , but only for plinkin'. All went bang!

    Would not use if one were hunting or in self-defense. Those situations one would want to be a lot more comfortable with primers that were recently manufactured.
     
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  16. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    I have some 223 ammo that I tore down because the powder went bad. Primers wouldn't decap, but they still work. Ammo was returns from the first gulf war, most was damaged from handling. Dates were all 72 & earlier, so it had likely been to Nam. The only primers I had that were bad had been wet from powder breakdown. Powder was so wet I had to scoop it out of the case.
     
  17. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy Member

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    Wow, weird I have never seen that.
     
  18. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Are you sure it wasn’t Cordite?
     
  19. Jeff62

    Jeff62 Member

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    I’m reloading with primers bought in the 80’s. They were stored in a shed, dry but not temp controlled, in Arkansas, for twenty years. They have been in my shop since 2005 and I put two deer and a swamp pig in my freezer with my handloads this past season using those primers. (One deer was with my .35 Whelen and the other deer and pig with my 45/70........I figured someone would want to know)
    The primers are in cardboard flats, then in the cartons of 1000 and inside that in the boxes and trays per 100. None show evidence of water or any liquid contamination. None of the thousands I’ve fired failed to ignite.
    If I believed a primer had been contaminated with oil I would not use it. I would expect it to fail.

    Now, this is not a scientific study but I did spill hot coffee on a tray containing twenty or so large pistol primers. I dumped them on a shop towel and patted them dryish and loaded six rounds of 45lc. They worked fine. FYI.
     
  20. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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  21. unwashed

    unwashed Member

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    I had win large primers from the 90s store in my basement for my 30-06. Loaded 30 rounds a few weeks ago and went to the range last week. They all fired and got 2500 fps on average for all 30 rounds. I did test a couple before loading.
     
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  22. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    223 ammo loaded with Cordite?

    It may have happened somewhere, but I've never heard of it, and certainly never seen any.
     
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  23. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I'm still using primers from the 1940s, and they work fine. I have encountered one box of CCI LRP from the 1980s that are dead about 1/10, but that's the first time I've ever had a primer fail, and I have used lot of old primers over the years.
     
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  24. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Dateline 8/8/2065: The High Road Forum Handloading. I came across 10000 LP primers my grand papa had stored in the basement ............. :(:evil:
     
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  25. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    ...and the bomb squad has been called in for disposal ...
     
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