Home Business Can Old Ammunition Explode? (And How to Dispose of It Safely)

Can Old Ammunition Explode? (And How to Dispose of It Safely)

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Have you ever stumbled upon a box of old ammunition in your attic or garage and wondered if it’s still safe to handle? Or maybe you inherited a collection of vintage bullets and are wondering how to dispose of them responsibly. As it turns out, the answer to both questions is more complex than you might think. In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind aging ammunition and the potential risks of handling or disposing of old ammo. We’ll also provide some tips on how to safely dispose of any outdated rounds you might come across.

What is old ammunition:

First, let’s start by defining what we mean by “old ammunition.” While there is no hard and fast rule for when ammo becomes too old to use, generally more than 20 years old and have not been stored properly, they may be at risk of malfunctioning or even potentially exploding. You can also get Glock 33 for sale online if you want. This is because certain factors can cause ammo to deteriorate over time, rendering it less reliable and potentially dangerous to use.

Signs To Look For:

To determine if old ammo that has been stored for a long time is still safe to use, you should inspect each round for any signs of corrosion, such as rust or corrosion on the brass or primers. Additionally, look for split case necks or difficulty loading the ammo into the chamber of your firearm. If the ammo appears clean, smooth, and free of these warning signs, it is likely still safe to use.

Humidity and temperature:

One of the main factors that can affect the stability of ammo is humidity. When bullets are exposed to high levels of humidity, the moisture can seep into the casing and corrode the powder inside, making the rounds less reliable and potentially even dangerous to fire. Similarly, exposure to extreme temperatures can also cause ammo to deteriorate. If bullets are stored in a hot, humid environment for an extended period of time, the heat and moisture can cause the powder to break down, making the rounds less reliable and potentially even dangerous to fire.

In addition to humidity and temperature, exposure to light can also cause ammo to deteriorate. This is because the UV radiation in sunlight can cause the chemicals in the bullet casing to break down over time, making the rounds less reliable and potentially even dangerous to fire.

With all of these factors in mind, it’s important to remember that not all types of ammo are created equal when it comes to shelf life. Shotgun shells, for example, tend to have a longer shelf life than handgun bullets or rifle rounds due to their thicker casing and the fact that they are less sensitive to moisture and temperature changes. However, even shotgun shells can become unreliable if they are not stored properly, so it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to handling old ammo.

So, what should you do if you come across old ammunition in your home or if you have inherited a collection of vintage bullets?

The first thing to do is to identify the type and assess their condition. If the bullets are visibly corroded or otherwise damaged, it’s best to err on the side of caution and assume that they are no longer safe to use. In this case, the best course of action is to dispose of them responsibly.

One option is to bring the old ammo to a local police station or gun range, where it can be safely disposed of by trained professionals. Alternatively, you can contact your local hazardous waste disposal facility to see if they can properly dispose of the ammo for you. It’s important to note that you should never attempt to disassemble or dismantle old ammo on your own, as this can be extremely dangerous and could potentially cause the rounds to explode.

Steps to dispose the old ammunition:

It’s important to note that disassembling and disposing of old ammunition can be a dangerous task. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Contact your local authorities for more information on how to safely dispose of old ammunition.

Here are some steps you can follow to dispose of old ammunition safely:

Check local laws and regulations:

Before disposing of old ammunition, it’s important to check the laws and regulations in your area. Different states and localities may have specific rules regarding the disposal of ammunition. Familiarizing yourself with these laws will help ensure that you dispose of the ammunition safely and legally.

Contact your local authorities:

Many law enforcement agencies offer programs for the safe disposal of old or unwanted ammunition. Contact your local police department or sheriff’s office to find out if they offer this service. They may have a designated drop-off location where you can bring the ammunition to be safely disposed of.

Disassemble the ammunition:

If you are unable to dispose of the ammunition through your local authorities, you may need to disassemble it yourself. Carefully take the ammunition apart, removing the bullets or shot from the casing. This can be done using tools such as pliers or a bullet puller.

Dispose of the components separately:

Once the ammunition is disassembled, dispose of the components separately. Metal casings can typically be recycled, while lead bullets and shot should be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. Be sure to check with your local authorities for specific disposal guidelines.

Take caution:

Remember to handle the ammunition with care, as it can still be dangerous even if it is old or disassembled. Wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from any potential hazards. Avoid handling the ammunition in a manner that could cause it to ignite or explode.

My personal experience:

I recently came across some old ammo that I had stored in my garage for a few years. I wasn’t sure if it was still safe to use, so I did some research on how to determine the viability of old ammo. According to the information I found, as long as the ammo was stored in a cool and dry place and was not exposed to high humidity, it should still be safe to use. I also learned that keeping the ammo in an airtight container can prolong its shelf life even more.

Based on this information, I decided to give the old ammo a try. I grabbed my gun and headed to the shooting range to see if it would still fire properly. To my surprise, the ammo worked perfectly and I was able to shoot off a few rounds without any issues. I was relieved to find that my old ammo was still in good condition and safe to use. Overall, I was glad that I took the time to research how to safely use old ammo and was happy with the results.


Old ammunition can be dangerous to handle and should be treated with caution. If you come across old rounds in your home or if you have inherited a collection of vintage bullets, the best course of action is to dispose of them responsibly by bringing them to a local police station or gun range.

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