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My Dad has an almost full box of pinfire bullets - Lefaucheux 7mm they came with the antique pin-fire revolver he purchased from a dealer. He had them tucked away in a drawer for at least 25 years and if they are the same age as the revolver, that means they could be 100 years old (we think it’s Belguim as found ELG stamp on it)

My question is about the stability of these bullets. How do I know they are safe and won’t suddenly degrade to become dangerous - or doesn’t it work like that?

I have suggested he hand these over to be safely destroyed.

Any advice welcome - thanks!

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Discussion Starter #5
Having the destroyed is a BAD idea. They aren’t going to turn into a frag grenade just sitting there so keep them with the gun. If you ever sell it the buyer would pay a lot more having the ammunition that goes with it I’m sure.
Thanks - I’ve no idea on what shelf life these have - do they have a shelf life? The value issue is one thing , but my dads safety is more important to me .... I’d rather loose the bullets than loose him!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do not hand them over to anyone to be destroyed. There are many Cartridge Collectors who would pay good money for that box. Do some research and make some calls. I wouldn't be surprised if they are worth a few hundred dollars.
Ok thanks - we live in UK - I will check on www to see what I can find out
 

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To test them is simple. Put them in the gun and pull the trigger. If you hear a loud "bang", they are OK.
;)
But seriously, MOST cartridge ammunition does not "go bad" if kept dry. As the cardboard box is still intact, I would expect the ammo to be in perfect working condition.
Age will never cause them to spontaneously detonate, nor will it make them more volatile. (an impact could cause detonation however.)
It would be a shame to destroy such a piece of history that would be valuable to collectors.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
To test them is simple. Put them in the gun and pull the trigger. If you hear a loud "bang", they are OK.
;)
But seriously, MOST cartridge ammunition does not "go bad" if kept dry. As the cardboard box is still intact, I would expect the ammo to be in perfect working condition.
Age will never cause them to spontaneously detonate, nor will it make them more volatile. (an impact could cause detonation however.)
It would be a shame to destroy such a piece of history that would be valuable to collectors.
Ha! He told me he fired it a couple of times on 5 November - so the sound blended into the fireworks going off !! At 93 he still surprises me!! Thanks for the advice, I’m glad to hear it’s safe enough in the drawer. I’ll post some pics of the revolver to see if anyone can tell me about it.
 

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Ask your Dad if they smoked quite a bit. If so, they're black powder and their shelf life is just a bit shorter than eternity. Black is a mechanical mixture of 3 elements, not a chemical compound. As Kva said, if kept cool and dry even smokeless/nitro has an immensely long shelf life.

As others have mentioned they are definitely collector's items. Anyone who destroyed them oughta have their foot nailed to the floor....:D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ask your Dad if they smoked quite a bit. If so, they're black powder and their shelf life is just a bit shorter than eternity. Black is a mechanical mixture of 3 elements, not a chemical compound. As Kva said, if kept cool and dry even smokeless/nitro has an immensely long shelf life.

As others have mentioned they are definitely collector's items. Anyone who destroyed them oughta have their foot nailed to the floor....:D
Ouch! Point taken ... I’ll ask him about the smoke - thanks for the advice.
 

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Oh wow!! I just saw they were "Made in Prussia". As Prussia legally ceased to exist in....awww...was it 1945, 46 or 47.....and I would suspect those cartridges pre-WWI, they are most assuredly collector's items!!! Heck, still being about 65% Prussian myself, I'd love to have them. But with you in the UK and me in the US that ain't gonna happen....:(
 

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Oh wow!! I just saw they were "Made in Prussia". As Prussia legally ceased to exist in....awww...was it 1945, 46 or 47.....and I would suspect those cartridges pre-WWI, they are most assuredly collector's items!!! Heck, still being about 65% Prussian myself, I'd love to have them. But with you in the UK and me in the US that ain't gonna happen....:(
I never noticed that on the box - guess they will have to go to auction here if he wants to sell them . Don’t know if it’s the best place, but I just put some pics of the gun in the revolver forum to get a bit more info on it. Would welcome your comments if you know anything about it.
 

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Back in the pre-internet days I had a few antique guns that were impossible to find ammo for. So I would sift through boxes of obsolete individual cartridges at gun shows to find ammo for them. I've never had one fail to fire, and many were over 100 years old.
Just recently I picked up a few hundred rounds of Nazi marked 8x56 for my M95 Steyr. Those kick like a mule, but always work.
 

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The old ammo isn't dangerous, if anything the powder becomes less potent over time not more explosive.
Keep them with the gun....the box is probably more valuable than the ammo. You can't find much pin fire ammo and are collectible.
Like I said old ammo isn't dangerous it will not spontaneously explode....in fact most if not all will probably fire in the revolver normally .
Gary
 

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If they're black powder I bet they'll shoot, probably shoot quite well and not far from original ballistics. With original BP cartridges that's been proven so many times as to darn near be irrefutable. But no, none of them are going to spontaneously ignite.

Firpo, I DO have a boat!! A 16 ft., O'Day, Daysailer! However, I'm still probably close to 1000 miles from the Atlantic and DEFINITELY lack the skill to take a 16 ft. sail boat across that body of water!! When I bear hunted up in Maine I took a little side to trip to see some of the light houses....don't see many of them in the Missouri Ozarks.....and one look across that north Atlantic where the water was so blue it was almost black and the size of the swells.....welp, nope, not this ol' boy. I wouldn't go out there for all the lobster off the coast of Maine!!!!! That body of water just looked angry from the shore!!!!!
 

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I had an ancient rim fire parlor rifle - .32, IIRC - with original ammunition. It fired just fine. In the late 60's, I found a box of .22 LR in an abandoned gold miners cabin; had to be there around fifty years suffering EXTREMES of temperature summer after winter. It fired just fine. OTOH, I had .22 misfires from a derringer I had got a LITTLE too much gun oil on - go figure.
 
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