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Will pressures stay the same or go up or down for shells I loaded over 20 years ago..Just want to stay safe and would like to get the cases emptied to load new load..been in dark container and dry..
 

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Will pressures stay the same or go up or down for shells I loaded over 20 years ago..Just want to stay safe and would like to get the cases emptied to load new load..been in dark container and dry..
Been there myself. Shoot them.
 

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20 years old are youngsters - shoot them up. I have shot 40 year old shells that my Father-in-law loaded, and factory loads approaching 60 years old, and they all went off. Some even broke clays.
 

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Just shot some 20 plus year old Winchester shells last week at the trap range, all went bang and most of the clay birds went poof!
 

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I have some older than that. They will be fine. If they are plastic hulls and plastic wads they will shoot just like they were reloaded yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your experiences and all replies...gonna shootem all up...I took a 20 some year lay off from trap and I'm still finding tubs of shells I had loaded..I did open some to see what was in them cause I shot more games back then so they might be anything from 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 once of shot.
 

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Ah just shoot them up , even the once with the " super load " if your shoulder can handle it . I have factory shells and use them from the 60s & 70s ,anything from #2 to #9 and up to 1 3/8 oz lead .They kill & break stuff ,then on the other hand I have reloads from somebody I reather burn
 

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I wouldn't go so far as to say ammo never goes bad.
I have seen many misfires, or squibs in old military surplus. I have seen embrittled brass - split cartridge necks and split bases on shotshells.
The point was that 20 years is young, relatively.
 

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Ammo doesn't go bad. Unless it gets wet.
Not true. If you dry them out, provided they're plastic, they will predominately fire.

I have been part of pallet buys of flood shells and that's my experience. However, that was American made ammo and have no experience with the foreign powders.
 

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Ammo doesn't go bad. Unless it gets wet.
If you go WAY BACK in time to when military ammo used mercury based primers, yes the mercury would go bad and not fire smokeless powder rounds. I am talking about things from back in the late 1800's era. That was one of the main reasons that military went to chlorate based primers. The mercury primers would not hold shelf life and had the disadvantage of making the brass not useable, because of amalgamation, for reloading. I would also imagine that the mercury fumes would not be good for shooter health but those kind of issues were not really even examined back then.

The late 1890's (circa 1895) saw the introduction of non-mercuric primers. These used a chlorate and lead salts based primer mix. They had much better shelf life and more reliable ignition of smokeless powders but with the disadvantage of leaving chlorate salts, which would absorb water from the air and thus contribute to corrosion of the firearm. Also, lead salts in the air were not in the best health interests of shooters. I have never heard of, but it is entirely possible, chlorate based primers being used in shotgun ammo but that would make it around a hundred year+ old ammo.

Next came the non-mercuric, non-corrosive primer mix which is still the basis of what is used today. It features a very long shelf life. If properly stored, shells loaded with smokeless powder from somewhere in the 1950's on for military use and 1940's for sporting use, would be fully useable. High thermal temperature storage and/or possible high humidity or water immersion would be detrimental to efficient use. Properly sealed rounds would not be affected given proper storage conditions.

I have several boxes of 12 Ga. loads using Alcan-7 powder, Alcan Maxi-Fire primers, Alcan wads and alcan shells loaded in the 1970's that still work just fine. These were 1 1/4 Oz. hunting loads. The Alcan components went out of manufacture sometime back in the 70's or so.
 

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If you go WAY BACK in time to when military ammo used mercury based primers, yes the mercury would go bad and not fire smokeless powder rounds. I am talking about things from back in the late 1800's era. That was one of the main reasons that military went to chlorate based primers. The mercury primers would not hold shelf life and had the disadvantage of making the brass not useable, because of amalgamation, for reloading. I would also imagine that the mercury fumes would not be good for shooter health but those kind of issues were not really even examined back then.

The late 1890's (circa 1895) saw the introduction of non-mercuric primers. These used a chlorate and lead salts based primer mix. They had much better shelf life and more reliable ignition of smokeless powders but with the disadvantage of leaving chlorate salts, which would absorb water from the air and thus contribute to corrosion of the firearm. Also, lead salts in the air were not in the best health interests of shooters. I have never heard of, but it is entirely possible, chlorate based primers being used in shotgun ammo but that would make it around a hundred year+ old ammo.

Next came the non-mercuric, non-corrosive primer mix which is still the basis of what is used today. It features a very long shelf life. If properly stored, shells loaded with smokeless powder from somewhere in the 1950's on for military use and 1940's for sporting use, would be fully useable. High thermal temperature storage and/or possible high humidity or water immersion would be detrimental to efficient use. Properly sealed rounds would not be affected given proper storage conditions.

I have several boxes of 12 Ga. loads using Alcan-7 powder, Alcan Maxi-Fire primers, Alcan wads and alcan shells loaded in the 1970's that still work just fine. These were 1 1/4 Oz. hunting loads. The Alcan components went out of manufacture sometime back in the 70's or so.
Hate to punch a hole in your bubble but potassium chlorate was an integral component of Mercury fulminate priming compound from the beginning.
 

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If you read carefully, you will note that I did not claim that there was no chlorate in the mercury based primer used in small arms. The very first use of fulminate was indeed totally fulminate with no additives. It was in a bottle carried along with the firearm. As such the shooter would put a drop of fulminate where it would be struck and then detonate the black powder. This was the Forsythe system. As you could imagine, carrying a bottle of pure fulminate that could self-detonate was not very popular.

A later mix, with much improved stability did indeed contain chlorate salts.

The military went to non-mercuric chlorate based primarily because of the loss of effective ignition of smokeless and the ruining of the brass for reloading caused with using mercuric primer. The black powder used in that earlier era mandated cleaning because of the nitrate salts from black powder causing corrosion if not cleaned and this cleaning also removed the chlorate salts. When smokeless powder was adopted, cleaning, for corrosion prevention, was based, among other things, on the chlorate salts left behind after detonation of the primer.

If you want more details, here is a link to a very informative article.
Priming Compounds and Primers Introduction - Ballistics
 

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It was in a bottle carried along with the firearm. As such the shooter would put a drop of fulminate where it would be struck and then detonate the black powder.
When you have to go to such extreme lengths to justify your screed that you stray COMPLETELY from the question asked perhaps you should edit your screed.

The mercury in priming compounds forms amalgams that weaken copper/brass and destroys aluminum.
 

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If you read carefully, you will note that I did not claim that there was no chlorate in the mercury based primer used in small arms. The very first use of fulminate was indeed totally fulminate with no additives. It was in a bottle carried along with the firearm. As such the shooter would put a drop of fulminate where it would be struck and then detonate the black powder. This was the Forsythe system. As you could imagine, carrying a bottle of pure fulminate that could self-detonate was not very popular.

A later mix, with much improved stability did indeed contain chlorate salts.

The military went to non-mercuric chlorate based primarily because of the loss of effective ignition of smokeless and the ruining of the brass for reloading caused with using mercuric primer. The black powder used in that earlier era mandated cleaning because of the nitrate salts from black powder causing corrosion if not cleaned and this cleaning also removed the chlorate salts. When smokeless powder was adopted, cleaning, for corrosion prevention, was based, among other things, on the chlorate salts left behind after detonation of the primer.

If you want more details, here is a link to a very informative article.
Priming Compounds and Primers Introduction - Ballistics

Thanks for great refresher on primers. I am still shooting 1970s military's ammo -- works great.
 

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If the cats peed on them, toss 'em. Otherwise shoot them up.

HM
This is true. I had some .300 H&H cartridges that the cat did just that. Corroded the heck out of them; had to get rid of them.
 

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This is true. I had some .300 H&H cartridges that the cat did just that. Corroded the heck out of them; had to get rid of them.
It’s the ammonia. Dissolves the copper.
 
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