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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A guy came into the gun club last week and dropped off about 300 Winchester 12 gauge shells. They are all paper, in great shape, marked Winchester Ranger. I cut a few open, in some it looks like the lead shot is oxidized, still solid, but darkened. The others look like they were manufactured yesterday.

He also dropped off about 500 Federal #7.5 and #8. Some of these looked reloaded so instead of chancing an overcharged round, I cut them all open and poured the shot into a coffee can. Ended up with about 25lbs of shot!

Think it would be safe to shoot these paper shells in a modern shotgun or should I harvest the lead? A little more difficult cutting these open because of the paper/felt in the hull.
 

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I've never seen lead "break down", if anything I would expect it to oxidize, if anything. I'm not a chemist, but I can't imagine lead being formed in a molten state and breaking down-------not from age or anything that could be in that shell.

I think I would pick out the very best as curios to keep, and if you're sure they are new, shoot a couple in one of the open choked pumpguns, if OK then shoot them at skeet or whatever.
 

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But lead "oxidation" as I know it, is white, not darkened as previously stated. And bigger in volume. Are the ends of the cartridges swelling any? If so, will they still chamber?

(If the oxide layer is disturbed enough to dis-attach from the pellet, you will have lead oxide dust and the pellet will be smaller than when it was formed.) (Shoot them down wind!) :roll: :lol:

Clyde
 

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When I first started shooting ten ga. I did not have much money and no source of empties to reload. So I would haunt the back country hardware stores for old ten ga ammo that they had not been able to sell. Plastic had not been invented yet for shotshells (yeah, I'm that old). I could get short shells for $2.50-3.50 a box and once in awhile a box of long ones for $4-5. Sometimes they would be in old boxes that collectors would die for today. At least 20 years old and some 30 or more. Almost always roll crimped. Factory loading almost always fired fine. Once in a great while a bad primer.

Since I was waterfowling, keeping the powder dry was a concern. So I always rewaxed the cases in hot parafin before the first reload. Using Winchester/Hogdon ball powder I could get 3-5 reloads out of them before the mouths would tatter from star crimping. Herco would pinhole the case at the top of the brass after the first or second reload.

To answer your original question, I wouldn't hesitate even today to fire old paper shells that show no signs of swelling or other damage. I wouldn't use them in competition because you may get an occasional FTF or squib. And they will reload fine at least once. The dark shot coloration may be caused by the original graphite coating on the shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Decided to save the paper hulls. As for the others, after 3 days of cutting with a pvc pipe cutter, I finally finished. One last question....

Any chance of oxidation/lead dioxide/monoxide shot inside of a windjammer wad damaging a barrel?
 

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Not likely, though like any other I would only load what the cup (of sorts) will hold.

A word to the wise though, if it is heavily oxidized and your loader uses the shot drop/wad rammer tube that is tapered right at the end, find you a straight walled tube that doesn't have the taper. Been there/done that, that oxidized shot will bridge off right in the taper and make a mess.

You can tap on the tube while it raises up and jar it loose, but is best to get the smooth tube.
 
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