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Old 11-21-2020, 10:24 AM
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Default Using old primers

I think that I know the answer but I'll ask anyway. How long are primers good for? Stored in a dresser drawer in a spare bedroom. I have a bunch that I bought from a co-worker close to 20 years ago and put away. Should be fine, right?
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:30 AM
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I have 10,000 win and federal primers which I got together with an old Dillon machine I bought. From the boxes they look to be late 1970s and through the 1980s. ~40 years old on average. Now with this primer shortage I tried them out just to see how they perform and in 9mm with my standard competition load they seat perfect, they seem more uniform when seating, beautifully made and the groups are slightly tighter and at the same exact POA. They have been stored in my climatized garage for the last 5 years and in the other guys garage 35 years prior to that. I am using them and I am now more than psyched I have them. Hope that answers your Q, if in doubt, I take them.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:42 AM
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Primers , when stored properly , have a long shelf life ... 25 years at least to be considered "good as new" would be my guesstimate .
I still have 1970's Alcan Primers that still go bang ....that's 50 years old primers !
But ...while that's fine for practice and plinking ammo ... I wouldn't use old primers , over 25 years , in ammo I might have to bet my life on !

20 year old primers ... those are almost nearly new !
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:01 AM
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A friend passed away this past Summer and his brother gave me much of his reloading equipment and supplies. I got over 1k pistol primers and based on the packages, they appear to be from the 60's and 70's. I know my friend was in the Army from 69 to 71, so I am going to guess he got them after that.

I have been using his old Federal and now CCI primers and they are working just fine. I would have no problems with older primers. Some day, someone may have my "old" primers.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:05 AM
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If they haven't been exposed to moisture they will last for a looooooong time!
Excessive heat wouldn't be good i.e, storing in a garage in the SW might not favor them.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:25 AM
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Thumbs up Primers 65-70yr old

FWIW, I have a few .222 reloads left from the 1950s, and they still shoot dead on at 200yd. They are 65-70yr old. And of course, I culled any with cracked necks and such. They have just set in a drawer inside the house with no special care. The .222 SPs did grow some hair/fuzz on the exposed lead, but still worked/fired.

BTW, these were not the "first" reloads of the pictured brass.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:06 PM
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I still have a couple thousand small rifle primers (Winchester) from the 50's that I plan to use if I run out of small pistol primers. I have used a few a couple years ago in .222 rifle loads for Prairie Dogs, and they chrono'd the same as new primers.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Mac View Post
I think that I know the answer but I'll ask anyway. How long are primers good for? Stored in a dresser drawer in a spare bedroom. I have a bunch that I bought from a co-worker close to 20 years ago and put away. Should be fine, right?
I gave up skeet shooting about 1975 and started in again in 2017.

I still had plenty of primers and powder and reloaded a large bunch of 12G. I also had a bunch of ammo loaded up from back then and they all worked great. They were stored in my basemen that has good humidity control.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:41 PM
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As long as the primers haven’t been stored at the bottom of an oil tank or a salt water aquarium, they’ll work just fine.
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:12 PM
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I went thru the last of my 1992 primers about 6m ago, still work fine. Cool & dry, last longer than most of us will.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Mac View Post
I think that I know the answer but I'll ask anyway. How long are primers good for? Stored in a dresser drawer in a spare bedroom. I have a bunch that I bought from a co-worker close to 20 years ago and put away. Should be fine, right?
A friend of mine gave me Federal spp the brass crown was green from being stored in a shed for years, but they all fired without any problems.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:32 PM
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My new primers are stored in 50 cal ammo cans for 25 years they should be ok.
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:28 PM
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Let me put it to you this way......... I have NEVER had a primer fail due to age or storage conditions. Last year someone gave me two boxes of CCI Primers (1 box 1,000 large, 1 box 1,000 small) and the boxes were totally damp & destroyed. They even had a bit of mildew on them. There were loose primers all over the cardboard box he kept both Primer boxes in along with some other reloading equipment & parts. This was all stored in his damp, hot in the summer and cold in the winter garage. I was thinking about how to dispose of them when I said to myself, let me just load 50 rounds (45acp) and test them. Two weeks ago I went out to the Range with the 50 test bullets and guess what - every single round worked perfectly! Not only were these Primers stored in the worst possible place and conditions but they have to be 30 or more years old and were in his garage for many many years.

Even without seeing your Primers I'd bet they will work just fine! Load some up and test them out. Primers are the toughest part of a cartridge and it takes a whole lot to destroy them!
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