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  • Age of primers

    I am working on case prep for a bunch of .223. I came across an MTM flip top ammo box. (The hard green ones not the clear plastic ones.) it has 35 primed cases in it. I did a work up on a load 4 years ago and the intention was to finish off these rounds after I determined which load ran best with my AR. Then life happened, I had to move and I have just recently set up the bench again and have the bug to load. These have been in a couple of storage facilities and also in a box in my basement for the 4 year period. The box had desiccant socks in it but I am thinking these primers are probably not good anymore. What do you guys say? If they are bad what do I do with the cases?

  • #2
    I have used 40 year old primers without problems. 4 is still fresh.
    I was raised in the 50\'s on jackrabbits and gunpowder.salt and pepper wooda made\'em taste better

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    • #3
      Probably ok. Try a primed case, no powder and no bullet, and see if it goes bang.
      "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

      "American by birthright… U.S. MARINE by the Grace of GOD!"

      "And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"

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      • #4
        Was a little bored yesterday, so I went and checked out may emergency brass stash (any of you around from the shortage years will understand). Found a couple hundred 45 ACP cases, ready for loading, so I primed them. While looking for more primers, found some large and small pistol magnum primers. The price was $9.00 per thousand, I would still use with confidence. Currently using up pulled rifle primers (decommissioned loads). They have all worked fine. Would not use them for competition or hunting though. On a side note, opened up some fairly new Winchester non plated brass pistol primers that looked much older. Bought them at the end of the Bummer years and was taking what I could get.

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        • #5
          Depending on what state (climate) you are in the storage unit thing would concern me a bit. I don't recall which member fired a primer that was in water for a while or was WD'd. It went bang but the velocity was way down. If the storage unit was in a dry climate, then I am all for just shooting. Humid? I am going to factor in how much money those primers cost.
          Friends don't let friends shoot factory ammo.

          Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
          -Winston Churchill

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          • #6
            I recently had a question about preprimed brass longevity, so I called Winchester, since I am using their primers and asked them what the life expectancy would be of my primers if I preprimed my brass. They told me that if stored properly, they last just as long as they do in their original packaging. That means years and years and years. The key piece is "if stored properly".

            You mentioned that yours were stored for 4 years in various locations. According to Winchester, the 4 years wouldn't be an issue. The variables in their storage experience may or may not be an issue.

            If it were me, since it's only 35 of them, I'd shove them in my gun, shoot the primers and resuse the brass. If they wouldn't go "pop" when fired, then for sure, you would know they aren't any more good. At that point, I'd still drop a little oil down the primer to kill it for certain, and them pop them out with a decapper.

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            • #7
              I bought a reloading set all contained in a box. It hadn't been used in 10 years and was moved at least 4 times. There were several boxes of primers including a loose box that had come open and spilled primers in the larger box. They were rolling everywhere. Every one of them went off just fine.

              If you decide to decap live primers do not decap into a reservoir on your press! Decap one and remove it to a safe spot, an empty primer box is best, then repeat as needed. One primer going off startles you a bit. Twenty primers going off in a plastic jar below the press, right between your knees, is a whole different experience. BTDTGTTS! You don't want that to happen. RD
              Last edited by Rockydog; 05-19-2019, 09:29.
              Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.

              Et Canis Manducare Canis Mundi

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              • #8
                You can worry and "test" all you want,,,,,,,, but if you load them and shoot them, you are about to find out there is nothing wrong with them.

                Unless they've spent 4 yrs atop a dune at Bonneville or in the USS Thresher, they'll shoot fine.

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                • #9
                  I batch reload and have many primed cased waiting for a powder charge and a bullet. I'm pretty sure I have some 357 Mag brass, primed and in plastic bags that are about 18 years old and some 38 Specials that are much older than that (my 38 and 357 reloading/shooting slowed waaay down when I got my 44 Magnums). When loaded, they all work just like I primed them yesterday.
                  I\'ve learned to stand on my own two knees...

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                  • #10
                    Just loaded 50 rds of 270 with Win WLR primers. I bought them about 23 years ago and they still go bang. Getting excellent accuracy with them in my Win Mod 70.
                    This is the 2nd batch of ammo using those primers.
                    "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

                    "American by birthright… U.S. MARINE by the Grace of GOD!"

                    "And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"

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                    • #11
                      I'd say they're fine, humidity nor age doesn't really do anything to them in my experience. And considering they're in the brass, they're just fine IMO.

                      HBC

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mockingbird957 View Post
                        I recently had a question about preprimed brass longevity, so I called Winchester, since I am using their primers and asked them what the life expectancy would be of my primers if I preprimed my brass. They told me that if stored properly, they last just as long as they do in their original packaging. That means years and years and years. The key piece is "if stored properly".

                        You mentioned that yours were stored for 4 years in various locations. According to Winchester, the 4 years wouldn't be an issue. The variables in their storage experience may or may not be an issue.

                        If it were me, since it's only 35 of them, I'd shove them in my gun, shoot the primers and resuse the brass. If they wouldn't go "pop" when fired, then for sure, you would know they aren't any more good. At that point, I'd still drop a little oil down the primer to kill it for certain, and them pop them out with a decapper.
                        Oil bath or water bath is not a certain primer killer. Several members here will attest to having oiled primers go bang long after soaking.
                        You can waste 35 primers if you want to; I'd reload them and go shooting.
                        It's not that Democrats are so damned ignorant. Their problem is that everything they know is wrong.

                        Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui

                        He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
                        He who knows not and knows he knows not, is wise.

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                        • #13
                          Ha, I read wheezengeezer 's post - thought they were 40 years old. Yup, shoot'em.
                          Friends don't let friends shoot factory ammo.

                          Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
                          -Winston Churchill

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                          • #14
                            I believe the consensus is "Shoot 'em!". But primers are plentiful now and inexpensive so if there is any doubt in your mind, just deprime and toss them. Handloads that you like shoot better than stuff you are not sure of (some say it's all in your mind, but who cares? If you are satisfied with/like your ammo it will shoot better. )
                            I\'ve learned to stand on my own two knees...

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                            • #15
                              I loaded some 30-30 up last summer with 40 year old primers and they went bang

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