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 Safe to shoot rusty shotgun shells?
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odogg
New Member

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  5:58:12 PM  Show Profile
I picked up 10 boxes of old shotgun shells at a local auction today for $20. However, upon opening up the boxes, the shells all appear to have different degrees of rust on them. I tried wiping them off, some of the rust came off, while some of it wouldnt. The shells have red plastic casings with what appears to be brass and/or copper primers.

My first question is, what are the dangers of shooting these old rusty looking shells?

My second question, is there anything I can do to improve the shells before firing them?

Thanks for your help.

rufe-snow
Advanced Member

15851 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  6:19:25 PM  Show Profile
"Red Plastic" sounds like Winchester Shells. Without knowing how long or how deeply immersed in either fresh or salt water, or if the shells are factory original or reloads we have no way of helping you. If the primers and/or powder has been compromised they wont work. You'll either get no ignition at all, or shot and wads stuck in the barrel?

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abcguns2
Advanced Member

USA
2690 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  6:20:29 PM  Show Profile
OK , if they have been "wet" , then the 'smokeless powder' can do some very strange things once wet (then dry) ??? I would NOT fire them on a bet !!! what did the boxes look like ? Water damage ?
Thanks !!!
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odogg
New Member

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  6:35:08 PM  Show Profile
Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Here is the information that you guys said you needed to help me out:

1. Since the shells came from an auction, I have no way of knowing if they were immersed in water, or if they just became rusty from being stored in a damp basement or garage where humidity would be high.

2. The shells do appear to be reloads.

3. The shells brands are all different. Some say Federal, some say Winchester and some say Remmington.

4. The boxes do not have any water damage. They appear to be in almost like new condition. Because the boxes looked good, I did not suspect the shells would be rusty. It wasnt until I got them home and was checking them out that I discovered this.











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rufe-snow
Advanced Member

15851 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  6:46:07 PM  Show Profile
If there isn't any water damage on the boxes, sounds like they have been repacked to me. Personally shooting some guys rusty reloads isn't something that would cause me to sleep soundly at night. For $20, IMHO wouldn't even chance it, get rid of them.

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perry shooter
Advanced Member

13984 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  7:11:17 PM  Show Profile
The metal on the base of most cheap shells are Brass in color only and are actually steel These will rust in damp conditions . the metal base is there more for looks then strength some shells were all plastic no metal base at all and worked very well. However I would never fire ANY reload from someone I did not know. rusty or not .Call it a learning experience you can save the SHOT if you reload.
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lts
Senior Member

USA
1020 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  7:53:39 PM  Show Profile
I'd go try a few in my top-break if they chamber. Had a similar deal years ago and they wouldn't chamber or cycle in some of the pumps so we ran them in the guns that would (toppers only) and had no duds. Were we bold or wrong? Can't say but we had a good time and we did break lots of clay with them.
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Barzillia
Ebola Lover

19915 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  10:38:16 PM  Show Profile
Open up a decent sized sample and have a look.

Do you mean rust, or corrosion ?

"Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted." Seneca

"Hope has two children: anger, and courage." Augustine, Confessions

Der Verzagten aber und Ungläubigen und Greulichen und Totschläger und Hurer und Zauberer und Abgöttischen und aller Lügner, deren Teil wird sein in dem Pfuhl, der mit Feuer und Schwefel brennt; das ist der andere Tod.


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odogg
New Member

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  10:54:02 PM  Show Profile
Thanks again guys for the replies. I have a semi-automatic winchester shotgun, so I am worried about these shells damaging it since it isnt a single shot break away like one poster mentioned they used when they bought some reloads from someone else.


To answer the question about rust verse corrosion. When I wiped the shells with a paper towel, the color on the towel was a dark reddish color which made me think of rust, but other times it was a blue-green color which I guess would indicate corrosion.

Keep in mind I wiped down about 250 shells.

I was really hoping to be able to use these shells to break some clays. But as I mentioned before, I dont want to damage my gun or myself.

Oh yes, and to answer another question, no, I do not reload my own shells. So if I cant shoot these shells, then I really dont know what to do with them because taking the bb's out of them would not do me any good.
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EhlerDave
Advanced Member

USA
3114 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  11:58:58 PM  Show Profile
For $20 I would open them and save the shot discard the rest. Make a shooting rest from the shot. But thats just me.

Smile and say nothing, just let them guess how much you know.

Check out www.EDNF.org it will tell you about EDS.

http://www.ok.gov/osbi/Handgun_Licensing/index.html

Edited by - EhlerDave on 08/01/2010 12:00:45 AM
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USN_Airdale
Advanced Member

USA
3811 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2010 :  11:00:18 AM  Show Profile
what indications are there that makes you think they are reloads ?

clean the metal with steel wool, take 5 of them randomly number them and open them up if all 5 are exactly the same i would say shoot them, i have found live ammo while Duck and Goose hunting cleaned them and shot them.



COME AND GET IT !
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odogg
New Member

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2010 :  11:25:50 AM  Show Profile
I believe they are reloads because there is a pieces of white tape on the inside of each of the boxes that says things such as "21.5 grains Green Dot 1 oz. #8 shot"

Also, at the auction, there were several reloading devices sold, along with several guns, knives, holsters, ammo boxes, etc...
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odogg
New Member

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2010 :  11:33:13 AM  Show Profile
Also, is everyone sure that the brass can safely be cleaned with steal wool on live shells? I dont want one of these things going off in my hand.


If they can be cleaned up more, I am thinking about doing as someone mentioned and opening up a couple of the shells to see if their loads match what is written on the tape inside of the boxes. If they match, then I think it is fairly safe to assume that the guy knew what he was doing when he loaded them.
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Mossbergboogie
Advanced Member

USA
12843 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2010 :  11:43:12 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by USN_Airdale

what indications are there that makes you think they are reloads ?

clean the metal with steel wool, take 5 of them randomly number them and open them up if all 5 are exactly the same i would say shoot them, i have found live ammo while Duck and Goose hunting cleaned them and shot them.



I have done that many of times with my duck shells the left overs that went to the marsh and never got shot. Little steel wool and all is well.

"There are few people who are more often in the wrong than those who cannot endure to be so." Francois De La Rochefoucauld



I know who I am and who I was. Who I am is always better than who I was.

"In a world where our [political] choices are limited to John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, the survivors envy the dead," matt welch and nick gillespie The Declaration of Independants
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