If you live in a family of firearm owners, the odds are good that you have a lot of useless ammunition laying around, too old to be dependable anymore. Even if it’s been sitting in the protective shell of an ammunition case for the last 10 years, ammo is still subject to corrosion.
You have several options at your disposal if you want to get rid of your unneeded ammunition. Contact your local police department, recycle it, locate someone who collects or recycles them, call waste management, or recycle it yourself.
The odds of a bullet just arbitrarily going off on its own are slim, and none but you still don’t want them to end up in the hands of some kids. If any of the cartridges have corrosion on them, the last thing you want to do is try and use them.
How to Dispose of Bullets Correctly
The best way to dispose of ammo is to take it apart first. Kinetic pullers are cheap and will separate the bullet from the shell casing. If you have a ton of unwanted ammunition, set aside a day to stream a movie while you work your way through them.
So long as the gunpowder inside the casing has never been exposed to anything, it’s good for future use if you want to keep it. You can purchase a powder horn to store all of your smokeless powder or you can burn it off to safely dispose of it.
Smokeless powder is not as reactive as black powder, but you shouldn’t try and light a huge pile of it. Just burn it off bit by bit. You can sell your shell casings or recycle them at a metal recycler. Smokeless powder is also useful as a fertilizer in your garden, so long as you don’t overdo it.
Where can you take ammo to dispose of it?
If you take your ammo apart, you can take the metal shell casings to a local metal recycler. For whole cartridges, the local police department will often be more than happy to take any unused ammo you have.
Notice we said “often,” because they may not have a system set up for recycling or reloading old ammo. Sometimes, local police departments will recycle your old ammo for you, somewhere in the state. Not every community has easy access to a recycling center.
For the most part, police departments have the necessary equipment and expertise to handle your unused cartridges, so it’s always a good option.
Local gun dealers are good options as well. They’re probably the only business around you that will know what to do with your used ammo. Most of the time, they won’t charge you for it. It may not be the gun dealer that takes it off your hands either. When you go to a gun shop, the gunsmiths and employers there are likely to have the necessary reloading equipment at home.
You may find that an individual at the gun dealer will be more than happy to take your old ammo. Trading it online is another good option, especially if you can find an active firearms forum. You would be surprised at how many gun enthusiasts reload their ammo.
Since the smokeless powder inside each cartridge is practically indefinite, in terms of lifespan, it’s useful to collect it, weigh it out, and use it to reload other calibers, whether they are smaller or larger.
Can it be recycled?
Everything can be recycled (at least, almost everything). The problem with recycling is there’s not always a recycler nearby. Sometimes, your options may be limited to just the metal and not the powder.
However, a lot of manufacturers want your spent brass because it’s far more cost-effective for them to reuse it rather than manufacture fresh brass. You’ll be doing them a huge favor, especially if you have a ton of ammo to get rid of.
What not to do
The last thing you want to do is dump all of your old ammunition in a garbage back and take it to the dumpster. For one, it’s dangerous. Wherever those cartridges are going, they could end up getting crushed, or they could end up someplace with a lot of heat.
Don’t bury it either. Lead is the problem, and it will leech out into your soil. While that might not cause you any immediate problems, it could make its way down into the water table. Plus, it’s illegal in some states to bury old ammunition.
You have plenty of choices if you’re looking to get rid of your old ammunition. But one of the best options is to harvest from it what you can. Either use what you get out of them to reload your ammo or cycle the smokeless powder into your garden as a fertilizer.
Though there is a lot of upfront cost, the benefits of reloading your ammo are worth the short-term expense, especially if you spend a lot of time on the range. If you don’t or can’t reload your ammo, recycling centers, police departments, and gun dealers are a safe bet as well.
As long as you’re not tossing your ammo in the garbage can or burying it in the backyard, you’re sure to find an interested party, even if you have to seek them out online. Ammo is getting more expensive by the day, and a lot of people would prefer to reuse what you have.
Visit the OutdoorWorld Reviews homepage for more expert information and guides.