I recently acquired several hundred rounds of surplus ammo from an estate where the condition or origin was not unknown. Now I’m a pretty thrify guy so I’m not going to let anything to to waste, in the very least I could pull the bullets and recycle the all metallic components.
Instead I decided to do a few quick tests to see if this would be safe to shoot in my firearms. The ammo could be corrosive (comes from an older type of primer used), it could be dangerous due to being stored improperly (storing ammo in high heat can change the propellent’s chemical makeup and result in high pressures), or it could be just plain ruined by moisture.
First thing I did was pull the bullets and weight them to see what type of projectile was used so I knew what velocities to expect when I later chronographed them.
Next was the corrosive primer test – for this I cleaned up 4 pieces of raw steel.
I left one as a virgin plate, and labeled it as such.
I shot one plate with a known primed casing from my reloading bench.
I shot the next with the unknown primer casing.
I sprinkled the last plate with salt to breed corrosion.
After 2 weeks the results were in, the 2 primer shot plates looked identical, with no worse corrosion on either one. The salt one looked pretty rotten. The primers were safe.
Next I choose my beefiest pistol with an aftermarket barrel, shot through a chronograph to make sure the loads were in proper specifications. All looked well, I did have a few misfires, but that’s great for clearing and ball and dummy drills! Looks like I have a few hundred rounds of practice ammo.