Tray containing old ammunition

How To Dispose of Ammo?


Whether you're a new gun owner or a seasoned veteran, you'll almost certainly come across ammo that can't be fired. You may find yourself in need of a way to dispose of ammo, whether it's old or damaged. But how can you safely dispose of unwanted ammo?


Ammunition Disposal Options: How To Dispose of Ammo Safely


There are many suggestions on the internet about what to do with old ammo, but not all of them are environmentally good or legal. We offer the following six methods for properly disposing of ammunition.


1) Police Station

 Outside of a Police station

Credit: Masterfile


Calling the cops or your local sheriff's office is the simplest approach to get rid of unwanted ammunition. However, don't just show up with your unwanted rounds. Before you go, make sure you call ahead.

If it's a tiny agency, they might not have the resources to dispose of ammo. Someone at the station should be able to point you in the appropriate route in this scenario. They might even send someone out to pick up the unusable ammo if you have a lot of it.


2) Hazardous Waste Collection Events

 Hazardous waste drop-off center

Credit: Watershed Information


If your local police station refuses to accept ammunition, look for a hazardous waste drop-off center in your city or county. While many organizations will not accept ammo on a daily basis, they may accept it during certain collecting events throughout the year.


3) Take It to a Nearby Local Gun Range or Gun Store

 Lady holding gun in shop

Credit: Pew Pew Tactical


Many shooting ranges will accept your rejected rounds. Many have a dedicated bin where "bad" rounds can be discarded. Any good gun ranges or gun stores handle and deal with unsafe or abandoned ammunition, which should most likely involve local law enforcement or a recycling company. You can probably leave your ammo at the gun range because they already know what to do with unsafe or discarded ammo. However, if you have a large quantity, you should inquire before placing it in their bin.


4) It Can Be Recycled

 Rifles laid out on table

Credit: Edgy Labs


You could always consider recycling ammunition if it's simply bad ammunition that won't shoot. This is something that home reloaders have been doing for a long time, and it could be your first taste of a fun and cost-effective hobby. Using an inexpensive tool called a kinetic puller, disassemble the round with ease, leaving you with a reusable bullet and cartridge. If you don't want to recycle the round but know someone who does, they could be willing to take it off your hands.


5) Make a Commemorative Plaque Out of Your Gun

 Commemorative Plaque of gun

Credit: iCollector


If the gun has sentimental importance, such as if it was passed down from a family member, having it mounted on a plaque to place on your wall would be a good idea.


6) Look for a Collector 

 Collector looking at Rifles

Credit: The Trace


While you may not find old cartridges particularly interesting, a collector may consider them a once-in-a-lifetime find. Your ammo may have historical value if it's old, especially if it's still in its original packaging. A collector could be willing to take them off your hands. They may even compensate you for them.

 How To Dispose of Ammo Safely


When Should You Dispose Of Your Ammunition?


If you're on the fence about whether or not you should get rid of your ammunition, here are several signs that it's time. 

  • A cartridge's faults or structural flaws usually render it unusable. 
  • Ammunition that has been exposed to an environment that affects the functioning of the primer or powder charge should also be discarded.
  • The case of the ammunition has considerable corrosion or structural deterioration (e.g. bad dent or puncture).
  • Cartridges have been exposed to oils, lubricants, and solvents, all of which could contaminate the ammunition.
  • Cartridges have been submerged in water.
  • Ammunition has been in a fire.


How to Not Get Rid of Ammunition


Never bury old ammunition you don't want or can't use anymore. Lead, which is commonly used in bullets, can be damaging to the environment, especially if it seeps into and contaminates the water system. Throwing off old ammo can also be troublesome, as the collection process may result in the cartridge firing. One common misunderstanding is that ammunition can be soaked in oil, which can soil the gunpowder, and then discarded. However, because this may not work every time, it is not a reliable technique of disposal.




Ammo disposal isn't a big concern. There are a number of environmentally friendly and law enforcement-friendly alternatives to properly dispose of your old or unwanted ammo safely. Please share this article with your gun-obsessed pals if you find it useful.


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