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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dad moved to California a few years ago and has really stopped shooting all that much. He still owns guns, but rarely takes them out. So he cleaned out some stuff from his safe and gave them to me. Primarily brass, and primers.

I know his ammo safe has a dehumidifier setup in it, but I don't know if there is a specific test to check them on the bench. The boxes are probably 10 years old, but all are sealed and rip free. I would normally just throw them out, as they tend to be fairly cheap, but between rifle, large and small pistol primers there is close to 40,000 (Not an exaggeration).

Is there a way to test them on the bench? All are still shiny with no corrosion whatsoever. And all are winchester, cci, or federal. Or is the only way to tell, to load some up?
 

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Most likely all are fine because they've been stored in original packaging but you can test a few: Resize/decap and prime a few cases, no powder, no bullet. Into mag, chamber, safe direction. Range would be ideal but not necessary, will only be a pop and maybe some sparks out muzzle. Wear ear and eye protection. Test fire a few.

Eta - if you decide to toss 40,000 primers give me a shout - I'll drive down to Tucson and take them off your hands for proper disposal ;)
 

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Lay a few on the concrete. Put some cardboard over them. Put on your eyes and ears. Smack away with a hammer. Now that's some good old fashion fun.
 

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10yrs is not old for primers, I am still loading on stuff from the late 1990s. At $30-$40 per 1000 to replace, I certainly wouldn't throw them out. Primers are almost like nickels now days.
 

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I have seen primers over 60 years old that were still functional, and they weren't even stored in "ideal" conditions.

10 year old primers stored as you indicated should be in good shape. 40,000 primers are a nice stash for most people. I would try them. Hopefully you have a chronograph so you could compare some loads against others with new primers. If both samples return similar ES and SD as well as velocity figures you are good to go. If nothing else they would still make good range fodder. I cannot imagine them not giving ANY spark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the advice guys. I think I will probably just load some and see how it goes. I figure worst case, I have no boom. Appreciate the advise guys. I will update you all. Unfortunately I don't own a chrono. I tend to just go for range use. Haven't gotten into trying to make crazy speeds yet. Big emphasis on yet. I've only been loading for a year or so, so never tried to push it until I felt comfortable with fundamentals.
 

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Thanks for all the advice guys. I think I will probably just load some and see how it goes. I figure worst case, I have no boom. Appreciate the advise guys. I will update you all. Unfortunately I don't own a chrono. I tend to just go for range use. Haven't gotten into trying to make crazy speeds yet. Big emphasis on yet. I've only been loading for a year or so, so never tried to push it until I felt comfortable with fundamentals.
Though a chrono is indeed necessary for those trying to "go for the gusto" with maximum loads, they are more useful than that.

A chrono will tell you if you are getting what you expect to get from ANY load, and the extreme spread and standard deviation figures will tell you how consistent the load is, whether or not it is a mild or wild one. This type of data can help you make adjustments so you get what you want or expect, and can tell you if the powder and bullet combination is efficient. Large extreme spread and standard deviation figures are telling you that something can be improved or you have the wrong powder for the application. A decent chrono can be had for about $100, so somewhere along the line I think it is an investment that every reloader should make.
 

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Thanks for all the advice guys. I think I will probably just load some and see how it goes. I figure worst case, I have no boom. Appreciate the advise guys. I will update you all. Unfortunately I don't own a chrono. I tend to just go for range use. Haven't gotten into trying to make crazy speeds yet. Big emphasis on yet. I've only been loading for a year or so, so never tried to push it until I felt comfortable with fundamentals.
Actually the worst thing will be a hangfire. The primer has a low heat ignition & the sounds like a squib, but then full ignition of the powder sets in about 1-2 sec later. Very scary if you have the muzzle pointed where it should not go. I seriously doubt there are any issues. I have some primers I just started into that are about 15 yrs old. They are fine.
I try to keep 5K min reserve of any size I use often. In a worst case scenario, I can scrounge powder from other calibers I don't shoot, like 20ga or 7.62x39. I can make my own bullets from tire wts pulled off abandoned cars & reload for my guns. Brass lasts almost forever in handguns, along time in rifles, but Ya gotta have primers though. 10K of each size in reserve is not a bad thing.
I agree 110% with JSG on a chrono. Understand what the numbers mean & there is a wealth of info there for even a noob reloader. It's not always about going max loads, but diff powders do funny things in diff calibers. A chrono helps sort things out.
 

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I'm using CCI shotshell primers purchased in the late 70s. They are stored in the original package in my garage. They work just fine.
 
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