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Old October 11, 2010, 09:35 AM   #1
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Percussion cap self life

I know true black powder if kept under the right conditions has a long shelf life. Do percussion caps have a long shelf life if stored under ideal conditions?
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Old October 11, 2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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Mine did

I had some Remington Caps from about twenty five years ago when I got restarted. Worked like a champ.

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Old October 11, 2010, 10:49 AM   #3
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Pretty much the same experience and I have some really old primers. I trade the older tins to a freind of mine who collects them. I can honetly say that I have never had a hang-fire or mis-fire from an old #11 or musket. Again, storage is important.

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Old October 11, 2010, 11:25 AM   #4
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I've always heard they last indefinitely if stored with reasonable care.

I believe this includes old fulminate of mercury ones too, but someone told me that it is possible for the fulminate to eat through the brass over a very long period of time- I don't know how true that is, but I do have a tin of Eley caps with caps in it that must be over 100 years old and they look fine to me.

The next oldest in my collection is some Fiocchis which has been dated to the 1960's and they work fine, and were cheap!
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Old October 11, 2010, 11:39 AM   #5
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If the caps have been kept dry they should be fine. I'm using ALCAN primers in my 44-40 rifle cartridges now with no problems. They haven't been made for a while.
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Old October 11, 2010, 02:35 PM   #6
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I have some that work fine that were stored in less than Ideal condition, an ammo can in a tin shed in the Arizona heat. CCI magnums, Remmintons, and RWS. Caps were all bought in the 80's and 90's and stored in the heat since. It's a dry heat though. YMMV
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Old October 11, 2010, 05:08 PM   #7
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I had some Remington caps that I purchased in the mid 1960s that I had kept (in the tins of course) stored in a dry place and they worked fine. I also had some ALCAN musket caps from the same time period and they worked fine as well. Years ago, I had a partial tin of caps that belonged to my grandfather that he used with his rifle. He was born in 1867 so I'm sure that these dated to the late 1800s. For kicks, I tried a couple of them and they worked fine. Like anything else of that nature, if stored in a dry environment, they should last for many, many years.
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Old October 11, 2010, 05:37 PM   #8
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My brother has a can of CCI magnum number 11 caps that he bought in 1978.
They work fine, we fired 30 the other day with no problem.
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Old October 12, 2010, 09:35 AM   #9
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I have a friend that found a tin of caps in a trunk of civil war items. He foolishly tried a couple til he found out they were collectable and worth more unshot. The few he tried worked fine, he only placed the caps on an empty gun and fired them, but they were loud and probably would have ignited powder.
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Old October 12, 2010, 10:20 AM   #10
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I am still using some from my ml shop I had the 70's. Work just fine. Only problem some are now collectors items and guys want them for that.
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