If you have recently come into the possession of old ammo, you have probably found yourself asking the question can old ammunition explode. There are a lot of reasons why you might find yourself in the possession of old ammunition. You may have inherited a firearm and ammunition from a loved one who has passed away or you might have won a bid at a blind auction. Regardless of how you came into the possession of old ammunition, this is a question that you need to know the answer to.
Old ammunition can explode and should always be treated with great care if it shows any signs of degradation. In most cases, old ammo is safe, but it is also more likely to be a problem than new ammo. If the casing on older ammunition has deteriorated, it can become volatile. With these points made, it is worth looking further into this important topic.
What Causes Old Ammo to Become Unstable
So we’ve established that old ammo can possibly explode if it has begun to degrade and so we should make sure it is safe before thinking about using it. We need to learn how to spot the signs of deterioration that could make old ammo unsafe.
If you are like me, you are probably wanting to know more about why it is the case that ammo can become unsafe to use and what the signs are that it is degrading. The simplest way to explain it is that ammo can become weakened as it ages. This can make it more susceptible to backfiring if you try to use it.
You might find yourself thinking about how you have fired old ammo in the past and had no problem with it. This is no surprise because the truth is that you can often use old ammo without any issue. It is usually going to work just fine. What you need to understand is how to read the signs that the ammo has deteriorated and is no longer safe to use.
Watch Out for Green Corrosion
What you really need to keep an eye out for if you are planning to use old ammo that you have come into is green corrosion. You should never under any circumstances fire any ammunition that has green corrosion present on its casing. This is a clear sign of deterioration that can make the ammo unsafe to use. Whenever you see any green corrosion on ammo that you own, you need to safely dispose of it. There are also some other key signs that you need to watch out for if you want to avoid dangerous issues with old ammo.
Signs To Look For
Before you shoot any ammo that you know is old and has been stored for a long time, you need to carefully look at each and every round. As long as the ammo still looks clean, smooth, and lacking the tell-tale signs of corrosion, then it should be ok for you to use. With this said, some of the other warning signs that old ammo has degraded include:
- There is corrosion on the brass or the ammo’s primers
- The case necks of the ammo are split
- The ammo is showing signs of rust
- It is difficult to load the ammo into the chamber of your firearm
How To Safely Use This Old Ammo I Have
So we have established that there are some signs that show that old ammo has become unfit for use. Most of the time, as long as it was stored correctly, it is actually safe to use old ammo. As long as ammo has been stored in a cool and dry place and was not exposed to high humidity, then it will remain viable for many years.
It is best to keep ammo in an airtight container when possible. This will prolong its shelf life even more. Ballistics experts have reported that ammo ranging from 20 to 50 years old will fire with no problem as long as it was stored the right way. Any ammo that is an original factory make is going to have been made using high-quality, premium materials. Factory ammo is also made to very high standards and exacting specifications that will help to ensure that it maintains a shelf life that lasts for many years.
The point that we are trying to reinforce here is that you can use that old ammo that you have had for years or have come into. If you are going to use old ammo, you simply need to use caution and common sense. There is no reason not to use that old ammo that you have stored, but if it shows any of the signs of degradation that we have covered, then it should not be used. Using corroded and degraded ammo is simply not a smart move and could end up leading to dangerous problems.
How To Safely Dispose of Old Ammo
So we have talked about the signs that tell you that old ammo is no longer fit to be used. If your old ammo has shown any of these signs, then you need to safely dispose of it. This leads to the question, How do I safely dispose of old ammo. Old, degraded, compromised ammo must be disposed of safely so that it can not cause any safety issues.
Stockpiling old ammo that is damaged and corroded is simply not something that you want to do. the good news is that you have several options for getting rid of that old ammo that is no longer fit for use.
Turn the Ammo Over to Your Local Police Department
One option that you might consider for getting rid of that old, unsafe ammo is to get ahold of your local police department. They will often be willing to send an officer to your location to pick it up. If they do not offer this service, they can direct you where you can go in your local area to safely dispose of corroded ammo.
Contact Your Local Shooting Range
Another option that we recommend when you are looking to safely dispose of old ammo is to get ahold of your local shooting range. Most shooting ranges will have containers for bad rounds of ammunition. They work with local police agencies and ammunition recycling companies to pick up these old ammunition rounds. This is another great option for safely and responsibly getting rid of that old ammo that is no longer safe for use.
Take the Ammo to a Hazardous Waste Drop-off Center
There are also hazardous waste centers that take bad ammo for safe disposal. You need to call ahead if you plan on using this option. Hazardous waste centers do not generally accept bad ammo as a regular thing, but many of them do offer occasional drop-off services where they will collect and dispose of the ammo for you in a safe manner. You want to make sure that this type of collection is going on before you decide to show up at a hazardous waste drop-off with boxes of old ammo.
Check Local Gun Stores
Yet another option that we recommend for the safe disposal of old ammo is to contact your local gun store. Gun store personnel are well-versed in handling ammunition and many of them will accept bad ammunition for safe disposal. This is another case where it is a good idea to call ahead before showing up with a bunch of rounds of bad ammo.
Check your local gun stores. They might offer to help you safely dispose of old ammo.
Never Dispose of Old Ammo in These Ways
Now that we have talked about what you should do to safely dispose of old ammo, we should go over the things you should not do. One thing that you should never do is to bury old ammo. This creates a real safety hazard and it is also not eco-friendly. Another thing that you should never do is to throw your old ammo away in a regular trash can. This is a huge safety issue that could lead to someone ending up getting seriously injured or worse. Both of these things are prime examples of what not to do to safely dispose of old ammo.
Regardless of which of these methods that you choose for the disposal of your old, corroded ammo, the most important thing is that you are disposing of it in a safe and approved manner. You want to make sure that you are acting responsibly when you are dealing with any ammunition whether it is new or old. Safe and responsible ammo disposal is a big part of this. When you safely dispose of ammo the right way, you will get the satisfaction of knowing you have acted responsibly as a firearms user.
I hope this article answered your question on whether or not old ammunition can explode and how to dispose of old ammo.