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05:25, 24th July 2024 (GMT+0)

old ammo.

Posted by Ice Raven
Ice Raven
member, 197 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 02:12
  • msg #1

old ammo

Attention all you gun nuts out there!

I'm playing a 19th Century hunter.

The party has just moved into our new base: a dilapidated mansion with a leaky roof, mouldy beds, rat nests and mould and water damage in the library, and an armoury with guns in a bad state of repair and ammunition that is rusty and corroded.

Hunter has proposed destroying the old Ammo and getting new stuff bought in. Problem is, Google answers are mostly "take it to the police station/gun range/gun shop", but that doesn't sound very exciting and doesnt sound like what a self reliant 19thC Hunter would do. Probably wouldn't fire it off, as it might damage the gun.

Bury it? Burn it? How to do so in a controlled fashion?
This message was last edited by the user at 02:13, Fri 26 Apr.
member, 201 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 02:18
  • msg #2

old ammo

Cartridge ammo didn't become common until the Civil War and it wasn't all that great compared to today, so chances are that it's just ruined and burying it somewhere damp and deep would be ideal.
member, 968 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 02:27
  • msg #3

old ammo

What part of the 19th century? For quite a lot of it, "ammo" meant just the lead, with powder being separate. Even he early revolvers had cylinders that came out You'd load each slot with a bit of grease at the end to hold everything in, then the lead ball, then the wadding and powder. To do a quick reload you'd take out the cylinder and replace with a fresh one that was already prepared.

Cartridges were developed in France around....1846 it looks like... but didn't see use in the US until the 1860 and 1870. Some older style guns were converted, as well.

If you have bullets, wadding and powder, just melt down and reuse the lead. Powder is probably better buried than burnt. Fewer accidental explosions.

If you're taking cartridges...They shouldn't be that old, yet, assuming it's still the 19th century. The wrong caliber, if you've bought a new gun, possibly, in which case, try selling them to someone using the older model weapon. Or a gunsmith that might cater to such folks.
This message was last edited by the user at 02:27, Fri 26 Apr.
member, 3076 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 02:31
  • msg #4

old ammo

just keep them , you still have the weapons?.. use them up
member, 33 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 02:34
  • msg #5

old ammo

#this is "game" ways to deal with this problem, dont try this inrl.. warning and stuff.

most of the 1800's was not cartridge ammunition.  Given the way ammunition was made/stored in that time period it is 'probably' ruined and wont fire.

Now assuming that you are not doing this historically accurate:  Clean the corrosion off the brass so it does not foul the weapon while putting it in the breach, and fire it.  Either it will go off normally, squib, or dud.

Go off normally not a big deal, squibbing mean you have to check the barrel to make sure the bullet is not stuck in it, and dud just means the brass and bullet are pulled out the back.  Removing a squib can be a real pain if you dont have proper tools, but as long as you remove it before firing another round it will not cause undue damage to the fire arm.   Firing a second round with a squibbed firearm from that time frame will probably result in a broken firearm.   Firing in a modern firearm has a chance that the round is pushed out or the firearm is damaged as the steel is much higher quality.

Now as far as disarming the ammo, they make hammers specifically to do that, and you just put the bullet down and it fits inside the hammer and strike it.  Usually that is enough that the lead will get pulled out, releasing the powder.   Air burning the amount of powder in a single cartridge is not a danger if you take minimal precautions.  google search bullet puller.
Ice Raven
member, 198 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 04:58
  • msg #6

old ammo

Thanks guys, you've been very helpful!

 My guy's going to have a new revolutionary gun in the mid 19thC, with paper cartridges that he can load himself. So old gunpowder it is, and it's going in a hole.
member, 34 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 16:00
  • msg #7

old ammo

Yes paper cartidges with this description " ammunition that is rusty and corroded." is ruined.  The ball would still likely be good with a wire brush at most for that kind of fire arm.
Larson Gates
member, 73 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 16:53
  • msg #8

old ammo

Gun powder doesn't explode if loosely dispersed, it just flares. You need to contain it to make it explode, so you can throw gunpowder onto  a fire with out a great deal of risk, even the sort of paper cartridges that first came about to make loading muskets easier. Once you get into the brass cartdige era of weapons, then the cartridges will 'explode' or pop when thrown onto a fire, but again the explosion is not contained. The risk here is with 'shrapnel' as the cartridge ruptures.
Nominally any experienced hunter would make their own bullets, or load their own cartrigdes, once you get into that era. So lead would be re melted, the bullet, again initially lead would be seperated from the cartridge, the powder emptied and the cartridge and bullet resmeleted.
member, 1127 posts
A brain driving a bone
mecha with flesh armor
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 17:05
  • msg #9

old ammo

As an add-on to the information about throwing cartridges into a fire, Mythbusters discovered that the casing is actually more dangerous than the bullet when it explodes.  The casing travels further and faster.
member, 35 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2024
at 17:22
  • msg #10

old ammo

In reply to phoenix9lives (msg # 9):

Well yes but it starts with less than 1/2 the total energy, is not aerodynamic, and has a large flat area with low mass.  meaning a low inertia, so  Unless its a few very precise points like an eye, it isnt going to do anything significant.

with the paper cartridges, they will just make a little poof.
member, 2109 posts
Captain Oblivious!
Thu 16 May 2024
at 04:01
  • msg #11

old ammo

In reply to Ice Raven (msg # 6):

My nickel on this is that it sounds like you're moving from muzzle-loading to cartridge ammunition.   Others better educated than me on the subject have supplied better information, but I'll add this.   It sounds like you're roughly in the period of the American Civil War...and on that note, remember that the Gatling Gun was patented in 1862.
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