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Old February 8, 2013, 08:52 AM   #1
TX Slim
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Old primers. Got a question

I have been watching this forum for a while now. This is my first post

I have been reloading now for about 4 months. I friend of mine gave me all his old reloading equipment. He also gave me some old Winchester and CCI primers. I didn't use the primers at first, because he kept them in his garage and they looked tarnished on the copper side. Now Im almost out of primers, due to the primer shortage. I was wondering if they are safe to use. They are still in the boxes, but they were stored in a non control climate for about 8 years. They didn't come in contact with any chemicals or water. Are they safe to use?
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:55 AM   #2
spacecoast
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About the worst thing that can happen is that they don't go "bang". I would load up a few and try them out. If you don't get any misfires (or an acceptable number of them, whatever that is for you) then go for it. You could even do this with unloaded cases so as not to require you to pull the bullets later if they don't work.
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:56 AM   #3
ScottRiqui
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They're certainly "safe" to use (self-defense purposes excepted); the worst that will happen is that they won't work.

I'd pick a few at random from different boxes and load them up. You can judge your confidence level in them after that. Primers have a pretty long shelf life, as long as the conditions aren't *too* bad.
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:00 AM   #4
ScottRiqui
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You could even do this with unloaded cases so as not to require you to pull the bullets later if they don't work.
Good suggestion. Remember that if you fire off a primer in a case with no bullet or powder, the primer may back out of the primer pocket. That's perfectly normal and doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your primers or cases.
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:02 AM   #5
TX Slim
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Will they cause a squib if they don't work or just not go bang?
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:04 AM   #6
Rottweiler
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About 15 years ago a friend gave me a box of 1000 primers he found while cleaning out his dad's unheated garage of stored treasures. They had WOODEN primer trays in them. He had no idea how long they were in there since dad gave up hunting and reloading when he was a small boy (30 or so years before). It's safe to assume those primers were probably 40+ years old.

I loaded them just like brand new primers....EVERY ONE of them fired. That ended any questions I had about old primers not being any good
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:04 AM   #7
WaywardSon
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I recently loaded several hundred rounds of .223 Remington using some old Alcan primers that were at least 30 years old. Storage conditions unknown for much of that time. They have worked fine.
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:05 AM   #8
ScottRiqui
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Will they cause a squib if they don't work or just not go bang?
I doubt it. If the primer ignites with enough force to push the bullet into the barrel, it's almost certainly going to ignite the powder.

Squib loads are usually powder-related (or "lack of powder"-related).
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:28 PM   #9
Slamfire
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Quote:
Will they cause a squib if they don't work or just not go bang?
Lead styphnate primers are unusually stable. The old corrosive chlorate primers would dud out in time, lead styphnate primers probably, but I have not seen it in primers that dated back to the 60’s. I bought over 700 primed cases of RA 54 30-06 in the eighties, every loaded round went bang.

I still have WSR primers that date to 1994, they have been stored in controlled environments, and they shoot fine.

Based on what little I found on primers, heat is bad for primers. Don’t get them 200 F or higher.
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Old February 9, 2013, 09:08 PM   #10
SL1
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One thing to watch for

is that the old primer cups may have become brittle and will crack when fired. That has happened to me and it let some powder gases create black rings around the primer. When that has happened to me, it did NOT cause pitting of the bolt face/recoil shield like a pierced primer can, but that was with relatively light loads.

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Old February 10, 2013, 12:38 AM   #11
Edward429451
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Awhile back I was given some old Winchester primers dating to the early 80s. Out of ~1000 of them exactly two when click instead of bang. Dunno how they were stored.
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